Strength & Fitness

Commit to Improved Mobility

Having good mobility is something that should be just as important to you as improving your fitness and strength. It is very easy to ignore. But continuing to do that will have some negative effects on your performance and your health. 

Mobility refers to the body’s ability to actively move through a given range of motion. Don’t get this confused with flexibility, which is the ability of the muscle to stretch passively. Flexibility is not an indicator of mobility. Yes, you may be able to do the splits or put your foot behind your head, but that doesn’t mean you won’t struggle with performing basic movements.

Why is mobility important? 

Mobility is important for CrossFit and your overall quality of life for several reasons. Mobility allows for us to perform movements comfortably. If you don’t have the mobility to move through a range of motion without pain, you are likely to do short-stroke exercises that require that movement and you won’t get the full benefit of the workout. If you force through the movement without proper mobility, you could end up with an injury that could sideline your workout plan for days, weeks, or even months.

Mobility is also important for a high quality of life, particularly as we age. When you have insufficient mobility, regular daily activities become difficult. You start to suffer aches and pains, and everything from your posture, to your ability to shift a bag of groceries from the car trunk, is affected. When you are mobile and flexible, every part of your day becomes easier and you have a much more enjoyable existence.

I am definitely one of the worst when it comes to doing mobility (if you haven’t heard my complaints yet, I will happily tell you). Making a commitment to improving your mobility will help you to reap the benefits and effectiveness of your workouts and overall health. We not only want to help make you stronger but also more mobile. 

Shoulders are typically the joints that people have limitations with. A lot of us spend our days sitting down and hunched forward, either working on our computers, looking at our phones or working on paperwork. This takes a larger toll on your shoulder than you think. Below are some quick and easy shoulder exercises that you can do anywhere and with no equipment. 

Rotations: 10 reps forward and 10 reps backward of each

  • Shoulder Rotations – hands down at your sides, shrug shoulders in circles
  • Arm Rotations (external) – arms straight out to your side, thumbs UP, move arms in small circles to big circles
  • Arm Rotations (internal) – arms straight out to your side, thumbs DOWN, move arms in small circles to big circles

Dynamic Stretches: 10 reps of each

  • Shoulder Swings (flexion/extension) – start with one arm down at your side and other arm extended overhead, gently swing the arm overhead down and the arm at your side overhead.  Gradually increase the speed of swings.
  • Shoulder Hugs– start with arms out to your side and elbows bent, then wrap your arms around your torso (like you’re hugging yourself), then pull your elbows back behind your body.
  • Wall Slides – stand against a wall and set your hips, upper back, and shoulder blades back and down, rib cage tucked, and keep elbows and hands in contact with the wall.  From this position gently apply pressure and slowly reach up and back down.

Passive Stretches: hold for 1 minute

  • Child’s Pose – lower down onto wide knees, draw your belly button towards your spine and sit back towards your heels, let your upper body fold towards the floor, and reach arms straight out with palms down.
  • Thread the Needle Pose – in the Child’s Pose position above, slide your right arm underneath your left arm with your palm facing up. Let your right shoulder come all the way down to the floor. Rest your right ear on the floor and look towards your left.  Repeat with your left arm.
  • Doorway Stretch – stand in a door frame with arms out to your sides and elbows at a 90-degree angle, slowly walk forward until you feel a slight stretch in your chest and shoulders.

Give some of these a try and see how much they help. If you want to have your mobility looked at, we have an assessment that only takes a couple of minutes to do. The assessment will tell us what limitations you have and we can put together a plan to address the issues and get you moving better and pain-free. Let us know, and we can set it up!

Matt Kaitchuck

Coach/OnBoarding Specialist