This buzz word is the latest to be thrown around the fitness industry as the most important thing since the squat. But what is mobility and how can it help us?
What is mobility?
In a sentence, mobility is the range of motion you have in a joint. Not to be confused with strength or flexibility, mobility is allows you to perform movements without pain or discomfort. Reduced mobility means we take compensating movements or ‘short-cuts’ and this puts us at risk of injury and structural imbalances.
Why do I need mobility?
It’s as simple as it sounds. You need mobility to stay mobile. In your youth this lets you perform all your workout and sport exercises with the right form. In your old age, you will need your mobility to lift yourself out of your seat to make yourself a cup of tea. It’s basic body maintenance that we often neglect. Pretty vital stuff.
How can I improve my mobility?
It’s actually quite simple. To increase your mobility, you need to practice using the full range of motion in each joint. Any exercise you do that uses joint motion is practising mobility. So this includes your all your gym exercises like dead-lifts and shoulder presses. But sometimes it’s important to slow it down and do some gentler movements that help you test and focus on your range of motion. The examples below will help you get started:
- For the hips: From a plank position, lunge forward with the right leg and step the foot between your hands. Lift the right hand from the floor and rotate to the right, turning your head and torso and extending your arm up towards the sky. Repeat on the left.
- For the shoulders: Rotate your shoulders in small circles from up near your ears round and back.
- For the spine: Starting on all fours, arch your back towards the sky and let your head and neck drop in-between your shoulders. Then, invert your arch, bringing your belly button towards the floor and lift you head up and back.
- For the ankles: Rise up on your tip toes, straightening your foot. Bring your heels back down to the floor and let your toes rise towards your shins. Let the movements lift you up and down.
- For the neck: Let your chin drop towards your head and roll your neck in a circular motion round.