Mobility is a pretty hot topic right now -- and for good reason. With everybody hitting up HIIT classes, running races, and lifting heavy weights, there’s a whole lot of hard work going on at the moment.
Couple that go-getter workout culture with eight- to nine-hour sedentary desk-job bodies, and there’s bound to be a whirlwind of injuries. So, what’s the fix for all that sub-par movement? Mobility exercise.
Mobility exercises can do wonders for your overall health. From keeping your joints healthy to reducing your risk of injury, mobility helps our bodies function optimally. And while many fitness studios now offer entire classes dedicated to improving mobility, the truth is that you should really be thinking about it during every workout.
But what exactly *is* mobility? In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about mobility and go over our favorite exercises so you can move better and feel better during your next workout.
But First, Are Mobility And Flexibility The Same Thing?
Not exactly. We’ll explain:
Flexibility is the ability to lengthen a muscle. Think about touching your toes. As you increase your flexibility, you can lengthen your hamstring muscles allowing you to reach further and further toward the floor. Mobility, on the other hand, is a bit more involved.
While flexibility refers to lengthening a muscle, think about mobility as moving a joint and accompanying muscle in the full range of motion it was designed for without mechanical assistance.
Someone with excellent mobility can move their entire body freely and without pain through a full range of motion -- this involves much more than simply muscle flexibility! It requires range of your joints, muscle strength, joint and muscle stability, proper alignment and muscle symmetry, as well as muscle flexibility.
Bottom line: flexibility allows you to lengthen a muscle. Mobility allows you to move that muscle in many different ways.
OK -- Why Is Mobility Training So Important?
People often think of mobility as the ability to do crazy yoga poses on the fly, but there are many practical reasons to incorporate mobility exercises into your workout. Here are a few of them:
Reason #1: Decreases Chance of Injury. Although there are an infinite number of reasons why people can get injured, a common exercise problem fitness fanatics have is not being able to perform an exercise properly due to -- you guessed it -- lack of mobility.
If you’re unable to get your body in a safe position so that you’re doing an exercise in an optimal way, you’re far more likely to get injured, which can push you further away from your fitness goals. Having good mobility will ensure that stress is distributed properly throughout your body so you’re not compensating in ways that can get you hurt.
Reason #2: Keep Joints Happy and Healthy. When doing mobility exercises, the joint being targeted is commonly referred to as being “warmed up.” What is actually happening here is that blood is being moved to the surrounding tissues, and synovial fluid -- the fluid in your joints that helps them glide -- is shuttled into the working joint.
For example, hip circles aim to warm up your hips. Blood is then transported to the muscles working to move your leg (glutes, hip flexors, external rotators), and synovial fluid hydrates the hip joint in preparation for exercise.
Reason #3: Become Stronger. If your movement is restricted in a squat and you can only drop down to just above parallel -- how strong would that squat be through its full range of motion if you’re not able to train the bottom fourth of the movement? Not very strong at all.
This logic can be applied to every single exercise as well. Think about it: if your mobility limits a full range of motion, you can’t strengthen all parts of the movement, period.
3 Great Exercises To Improve Mobility
Certain mobility exercises and stretches are best done with assistance from someone. You see athletes getting stretched by their trainers all the time -- that’s because certain movements require a little assistance. But if you’re working out alone, you can actually achieve the same kind of stretching with the help of the right equipment.
With GEAR 1 from HYGEAR, you can do effective flexibility and mobility exercises by simply anchoring the versatile bands to your body, a door frame, or anything heavy that won't budge. That means you can bust out one of HYGEAR's on-demand workouts pretty much anywhere. Whether you’re looking for mobility exercises or an intense HIIT workout -- HYGEAR’s got your back.
So, without further ado, here are three effective exercises to improve your mobility:
Mobility Exercise #1: Squats
With GEAR 1 attached to a low-level anchor, begin with your back to the anchor point. Grab each handle in each hand and drop your hips straight down to the floor into a pain-free squat, making sure your spine and shin angle are parallel.
Then, push off the floor and pull yourself back to the starting position.
Mobility Exercise #2: Face Pulls
With GEAR 1 attached to a mid-level anchor, begin by facing the anchor point. Grasp a handle in each hand and take a few steps backward. Your arms should be stretched out in front of you with slight tension on the band.
Now, pull your hands toward your face, making sure to keep your elbows up. Hold this position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.
Mobility Exercise #3: Golf Rotation
With the bands attached to a mid-level anchor, begin by facing the anchor point. Step back so that your hands are about belly-button height. Keeping your hands fairly close together, maintain a little pressure on the band while rotating 180 degrees in one direction, really stretching to the ceiling and opening through the hips. Repeat on the other side.
Note: If full rotation can’t be achieved without causing lower-back extension, limit the range of motion until adequate mobility is reached.
A Final Word
Mobility is essential because it preps our bodies for the stress of training. It’s a vital contributor to reducing the risk of injuries as well as improving technique and range of motion.
If you’re looking to improve your mobility, the HYGEAR GEAR 1 Smart Resistance System can help. Whether you’re looking to improve your flexibility, build sculpted abs, or simply increase your overall strength -- GEAR 1 is for you.
Get in gear and check out HYGEAR GEAR 1 today!