Monday, January 7, 2013

Added Mobility

We are all very well aware of how mobility plays into the way we move, feel and perform. I've gone over the subject several times, as have just about every other coach who writes a blog. What if you're writing a program for someone who has the mobility of a sofa, but won't adhere to a program that involves 45 minutes of dedicated mobility work?

Something that people don't realize is what a good stretching effect you can get from weight-bearing exercise. Simply performing some key exercises can help you stretch out particular areas of your client/athlete that need more work.

The reverse lunge from deficit is a fantastic way to help your clients achieve more length in the anterior portion of their hip capsule. The leg moving backwards will get a big stretch right through the quads and the hips, and will get pushed down a little further because of the added weight. Because you'll be doing reps, it acts as a dynamic stretch rather than a static stretch so the client won't be too uncomfortable. This will also help to activate the glute on the same side. Lengthening the shortened area and activating the weakened area? Sounds good to me.

Too, any split stance exercise will provide a similar benefit in terms of stretching and pelvic stability. I use a ton with my clients: split stance cable rows, cable presses, landmine presses and Pallof presses are all staples in my training programs.

Tempo squats are another great way to achieve more length in the hip area. By increasing the amount of time that someone takes for the eccentric portion of the squat, you are forcing the contractile elements of the muscles involved to stretch for a longer period of time. They also suck to do...a lot.

Pushups and Pull-ups are both under-rated exercises to provide added range of motion in the upper body. The bottom position of a pushup is going to provide a big stretch across the anterior portion of the chest, assuming you make your clients do their pushups with the chest to the floor (hint: you should be doing that). Meanwhile, the bottom position of a pull-up is going to provide a ton of stretch to your lats, upper back and even your chest. With a client who is really bound-up in the upper body, just letting them hang from something can provide a huge stretch benefit.

Lastly, one of the best exercises to add some mobility work is the overhead squat. For this exercise, you need to have achieved a particular level of mobility to begin with, but it's a great way to get in more stretching. I wrote one program recently where one of the mobility drills was overhead squats with a dowel facing a wall. This miserable exercise is going to force you to open up every pathway in your body while producing stability. As stated, this isn't an exercise I would consider doing with everyone, but for those who are capable of doing it and pushing their body a little, it's a great exercise.

Any other exercises that you use to provide more mobility work? Let me hear them!

Have a great day and go lift something heavy!

1 comment:

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