Long days of sitting down at your desk or lazing on the couch can lead to a lot of mobility issues down the line. Luckily, there is a way to prevent this. In this article we are looking at five of the best mobility and posture stretches.
Improving your mobility has many benefits. The most obvious of which is that you are able to move more freely. Suffering from a mobility issue can prevent you from performing actions that other people take for granted.
Poor shoulder mobility can lead to difficulty with posture, it can also affect your ability to push, carry, pull, or perform other everyday movements. Poor lower body mobility can lead to lower back pain, difficulty getting up or down, and issues with exercise.
Better mobility can help you lift more weight in the gym, with better form, and it can seriously reduce your risk of getting injured. Here are five mobility and posture stretches/exercises that you can do at home or in the gym.
Leg swings are a superb exercise for improving lower body mobility, they are also quite a lot of fun to do and very easy to learn. All you need is a wall to hold onto.
Place both hands flat on the wall and face it. Keep one foot anchored to the ground and with the other leg, swing out to the side, and then swing back inwards. With each rep, increase the range of motion slightly until you are doing a large swing of the leg in both directions.
Perform 10 reps and then swap legs.
The caveman is an amazing mobility stretch for the hips and lower back, it requires zero equipment, and it can really help with your squat technique in the long term.
Get into a squat position, but then lower yourself even further than usual so that your thighs are well past parallel. Try and keep your heels flat on the floor. With normal squats, you want to keep a nice straight back, but with the Caveman you are instead supposed to drop your shoulders, tuck your chin in, and place your shoulders between your legs.
This really stretches your hips and lower back. Stay in this position for as long as it feels comfortable, then rest.
Another excellent lower back mobility stretch, the Cobra is excellent for improving your back extension. As with the Caveman, the Cobra stretch requires zero equipment, though you may want an exercise mat as it does involve lying on the ground.
Lie on your front with feet slightly apart and legs straight. Place your hands flat on the ground and use them to push your chest, shoulders, and torso off the floor. Keeping your hips on the floor. Once your chest, shoulders, and torso are off the floor, push your chest out. This will create a stretch in your lower back. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then relax.
One of the best mobility exercises out there, and nice and easy to learn. The cat camel stretch is so named because the first part of the movement is similar to a cat’s stretch, and the other looks like a camel’s hump.
Get on your knees with your hands on the floor, directly under your shoulders. Push your chest out slightly so that you have a nice and straight back. This is your starting position.
Now, you want to push your upper back straight up in the air so that it resembles a camel’s hump. Your back should be nice and rounded. Then push your chest out, this should lead to your chest travelling down and forwards, creating a nice arch in your back. This is supposed to resemble a cat stretching.
You’ve probably heard of the Down dog exercise before. But what’s Up dog?
Nothing much, what’s up with you?
The Down Dog Up Dog movement is actually quite similar to the Cat Camel stretch, but a little harder. Start off in a push up position. Then, you want to push your hips upwards and backwards, keeping your arms straight.
The final position should look like a triangle with your hips at the centre. Here, you then push your head towards the ground in between your arms. This will stretch your chest and upper back. It will also stretch your hamstrings.
From here, you bend your arms slide your chest towards the ground, and then finish in Cobra stretch (see movement #3). It’s best to check out the following YouTube video to get a good idea of how this stretch works.
The five mobility stretches mentioned in this article are all able to be performed in the comfort of your own home, or at the gym. The first four are very easy, and the fifth movement (Down Dog, Up Dog) is a bit more difficult.
Once you have mastered Cobra stretch and Cat Camel, you may be able to perform movement #5. Alternatively, you could consider taking a Yoga or pilates class. Both are excellent for improving mobility. As are techniques such as PNF stretching, or exercises like face pulls (using a cable machine or resistance bands).
However you do it, make sure that you are consistent. Mobility drills are incredibly useful and will help to prevent certain injuries by improving your posture, range of motion, and flexibility.