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One of our favorite and most influential coaches says that all athletes regardless of sport, experience, and ability need a daily movement practice. This daily practice involves a few simple but incredibly powerful mobility exercises designed to keep your body moving as it should.
They’re simple and straightforward and will make a HUGE difference your overall well being and your run splits.
Now who wouldn’t want that?
Now to take your mobility to the next level, you need to target the specific areas that limit you. But where do you start, and how do you know you’re doing the right stuff?
After all, who wants to waste their time doing things that won’t necessarily help?
So before you do your DEEP DIVE into the world of various mobility exercises, you need to KNOW YOURSELF. That’s why we are going to walk you through two KEY mobility assessments you can do right now.
We’ll walk you through why they’re important, and also what it means to YOU if you’re struggling with one aspect or another. And trust us. We’ve yet to meet the perfect human!
Can you spend time here for 5-10 minutes in the bottom of your squat? Pain free?
If you can’t it tells us something about you. Like the rest of this country, you spend a lot of time sitting and moving in shortened ranges of motion. You back, hips, shoulders, knees, and ankles STIFFEN up with time and of course with neglect.
At one point in our lives, we ALL could sit with our feet straight, butt to the floor, and with a nice flat back!
NEXT LEVEL: If you’re nailing this try squatting with your heels and big toes touching. This change further exaggerates and requires even more range of motion.
But the ULTIMATE TEST? Squat low on ONE LEG 🙂
If you cannot make it. Do not feel too depressed as you’re in good company as in MOST RUNNERS and most people now a days? Don’t believe us? Test your friends and see what happens.
But more importantly we now have some serious data points we can use to SPECIFICALLY target your tight areas and begin creating a mobility plan that makes sense for…well…YOU!
Yes you’re probably either laughing, crying, or both when you see this next test. We know it looks a little extreme at first, but we’ll show you exactly how to approach it safely and why it’s so darn important.
Other than you may have missed out on some early gymnastics classes, the wheel represents crucial extension in our hips and spine and our ability to flex our arms and shoulders over head.
We spend way too much time in the OPPOSITE position of the wheel, i.e. hunched over a steer wheel, desk, or phone. Our breathing, shoulders, neck, and back suffer as a result.
You may notice that some aspects of this move are easier than others, so pay attention to the awkward parts and tune in to how you can start to chip away!
Remember when it comes to mobility. Ask and you shall receive…eventually!
Quad Rolling: Mobility 101 starts with this simple yet effective foam rolling exercise to open up your tight quads and tight hips. You’ll see an almost immediate difference in your achy knees, tight IT bands, and cranky low back. Oh yeah, and a longer, more fluid stride. If you sit (like at all), you owe yourself some time quad rolling every day. Period.
Calf & Shin Rolling: the annual percentage of runners felled by injury is straight up silly. You better believe the injury epicenter is in the feet, ankles, and calves. Rolling out your calves and your shins will keep you tuned in and one step ahead of the curve. Iron out those kinks before they sideline you and reap the rewards of consistent training!
Glute Smashing/Rolling: Enter the lacrosse ball. Equal parts evil & effective, use this simple tool to surgically locate and eradicate those tight knots in your hips that can stop us all in our tracks. Important for balance, for protecting our spine, and for running powerfully and efficiently, take care of your glutes and they will continue to take care of you!
Thoracic (T-Spine) Rolling: By and large one of the most universal ugly patterns seen out there, the stiff upper back carries some serious consequences. Say goodbye to those deep diaphragmatic belly breathes as your rib cage and chest cannot fully expand. Say goodbye to full overhead flexion and external rotation of the shoulders, i.e. your ability to safely and strongly lift, move, or do anything overhead. But say HELLO to low back pain as lumbar spine becomes hyper mobile and unstable to compensate. Use a roller, use 2 lacrosse balls taped together, and/or a little weight on your chest to really open up where it counts!
Lat (under arm pit) Rolling: Our big powerful lats, so crucial for not only pulling things close to us but also for stabilizing our upper back and shoulders get TIGHT. Rolling under your armpits is one of the most effective ways to reclaim your overhead shoulder position quickly.
Posterior Shoulder Rolling: We carry stupid amount of stress and tension in our Trapezius and Rhomboid muscles, i.e. the bigger moves in our upper back and shoulders. Lie on your back, stick a lacrosse or tennis ball behind a shoulder blade. Are you breathing? Now add some arm circles and watch mobility magic happen.