The 6 Best Exercises for Better Mobility
At Ascent Chiropractic, we see athletes every day ranging from pro cyclists to kayakers to powerlifters. And while, yes, they’re often here for relief from the back pain & neck pain the rest of us experience, they also come to us to help improve their natural mobility.
I’m constantly preaching to my patients that joint function and range of motion matters beyond just injury prevention and recovery. The most important benefit for athletes is the mechanical advantage: optimal positioning and movement leads to optimal power and efficiency. Until you have proper positioning, you simply aren’t using your body to its full potential.
Most patients, when they walk into my office, are brutally inefficient. Correcting joint function via chiropractic manipulation (and muscle balance and soft tissue restriction through physical therapy) is like taking the emergency brake off a sports car.
Long distance runner? Let’s see how much time we can shave off that 5k when you don’t have a tight hip capsule. Powerlifter? Better thoracic spine flexion means you can move more weight.
Mobility is the Key to Injury Prevention
The six exercises below will probably seem incredibly easy compared to the lifts that are part of your normal workout program, but they’re key to doing more intense activities without falling apart. If you want to ensure your ability to run, bike and lift for decades to come, spend two minutes a day on each of the following moves. You’ll need a resistance band, which you can get at Ascent Chiropractic or on our online store.
Remember to squeeze the targeted muscles in each position, and check your range of motion before and after – you should be able to notice improvements almost immediately.
1. Shoulder Mobility
Attach a resistance band to a wall anchor or door jamb at shoulder height, grip it with your palm up, and kneel back. Stretch your arm above you head and activate your latissimus dorsi (the muscle used for pulldowns). This traction stretch opens up the shoulder joint, which is often tight in swimmers, baseball players and rock climbers.
2. Anterior Hip Mobility
Attach a resistance band to a wall or door at knee height and loop it around your upper quadricep. Kneel back on that leg. Reach up with your arm and slowly allow that hip to rotate forward. This exercise loosens tight hip flexors, which are incredibly common in cyclists and runners (and everyone who spends their day at a desk).
3. Posterior Hip Mobility
Again anchor a resistance band at knee height. Get on all fours, perpendicular to the wall or door, and loop the resistance band around the quad closest to the anchor point. Place that foot in front of the opposite knee and slowly move your hip back and forth against the pull of the band. This loosens stiff hip capsules, improving your power and efficiency when you’re cycling.
4. Ankle Mobility
From a standing position, loop a resistance band just above your ankle and step forward, away from the anchor point. Flex your knee back and forth against the pull of the band. Then turn 180º and repeat facing the other direction. This exercise is great for ankle flexibility, which improves running efficiency.
5. Deep Squat Holds
With your feet shoulder width apart, lower your hips to your ankles, making sure to keep your feet flat on the ground. Hold that position for 30 seconds at a time, and return to upright and repeat. Great for improving mobility of the ankles, knees and hips.
6. Couch stretch
Start on all fours with your feet against the wall. Raise one leg so your shin and foot lie flat against the wall, and step forward with the opposite leg. Engage your glutes and quads by arching back and relaxing your back. This lunge variation opens up the entire anterior chain, allowing for full extension of your hips, knees and ankles.
The Ascent Chiropractic Difference
Whether you’re a pro athlete, weekend warrior or just looking to tone up, study after study shows that regular chiropractic care is an essential part of getting out of pain and reaching your full potential. Ready to get stronger and looking for a Brookfield chiropractor? To make an appointment at Ascent Chiropractic, call 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment with our online scheduling app.