There is no one size fits all mobility solution, though there are universal principles that apply. We need movement variety in our lives and we need to do many different varied movements to maintain healthy functioning bodies. It is the slight variations in movement patterns that we need to help our bodies’ better deal with our lives. These many and varied movements have been removed from our environment as most of us tend to live a less physical based existence and most of what we do is at a desk and involves our mind and hands. We don’t move enough. School, work and relaxation is mostly done in a seated position these days. As efficient as we were with devising comfortable sitting devices, we did not do our bodies much good with this. We need to move to maintain normal joint range. In the long ago past we would get this from walking, climbing, hunting, gathering, farming, fighting, and play. Our existence depended on all of our abilities, now … not so much.
Now we need practices to maintain a healthy body, because our lifestyle does not do this for us.
We use two main principles as the foundation of mobility work.
1. Take a joint through its full range of motion
Hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, feet, toes, spine are all made up of many joints and articulations. If we are restricted in one place it has an effect on another. Tight ankles can affect your knees. Tight hips can affect your lower back. We need optimal mobility. Not too little, but not too much either.
2. Build control through the range of motion
Being able to get to end of range is useless if it’s not useable. We need to build control in our ranges. It’s been said that a tight muscle is a weak muscle. This doesn’t mean that you have to be able to generate a lot of force or move a lot of weight at the end of a joints range of motion. THAT IS A BAD IDEA. Having strength at end range provides stability. Stability means safety. Safety means there is less tension, which is a means to protect the joint. Can you actively move through the range of motion?
There is no one solution. This is the approach and some of the movements that I use to improve mobility along with soft tissue work and self-mobilisation (rolling).
WGS (Worlds greatest stretch)
Turbo Dragons ( I have no idea why I called it this)
There is no ultimate solution to mobility. The best solution is the one that you use. One of my favourite things to do is a 5 minute flow. I learnt this from Max Shank (https://maxshank.com/). You spend 5 minutes exploring your ranges of motion in different positions. Pick a position and play. Find where you are restricted and spend some time working on it. If you have an upper body session, work on your shoulders and thoracic spine. If you are doing lower body, work on your hips - you could even dedicate an entire session to this. I do this sometimes and spend around 30min on just moving and playing with different movements and positions. You can do it in the morning when you wake up, before you leave for work or school.
Here are some examples of 5min flows from Max Shank
This is just start
Now you have some things to play with. You have options to explore. Move your body, play around, find your restrictions and gradually expand your range of motion. Become more mobile. Everything is movement, so expand your ability to move.