Why mobility exercises will dramatically improve your fitness gains

“Mobility will allow the muscles to lengthen then shorten a lot more efficiently, you are going to achieve a greater range of motion, the muscle will work harder, therefore, you can tolerate more and put on more muscle.”

The strangest exercises can be the best

Moving up the body, he recommends Prone Scorpions – lying on your front and sending alternate legs up and over the floor on the opposite side. Also, Down Dog Cobras – on your front pushing your backside back before arching forward.

The oddest exercise he recommends and one of the most effective are Door Knocks. This involves a band attached to a solid object, with the band held in the fist with the elbow at 90 degrees. You move the fist back and forth. The action is fast – which means fast twist muscles being worked in the shoulder – great for anyone playing racket sports, golf rugby etc.

Finally, one of the toughest… using 1.25kg weight plates. Lie face down on a mat and hold one plate in each arm – keeping arms at full length raise the plate off the floor. Move these up into a Y shape, then straight above your head and repeat. This move sounds straightforward but elevating those tiny plates is fiendishly taxing.

These are all well and good, but why do mobility sessions seem so unaccountably boring? Foulis has the answer. “It’s the male ego. We want to get into the gym and crash, bang, wallop. If you walk out less than sore and drenched in sweat you feel like you’ve not done enough.”

The workout

Do these mobility exercises regularly recommended by Foulis:

Roll the fascia of the feetfor as long as necessary
The average person wears running shoes when they train. Due to how soft running shoes are, it means that the muscles in their feet aren’t working to their full capacity – if at all! This will lead to tight fascia in the feet. Using a trigger ball is a great way to break down this fascia. Roll a hard ball underfoot for 10 reps front, middle, side and back.

squat reach up10 reps each side (1 set for general pop, 2-3 sets if particularly tight)
These will help an individual to become comfortable achieving a full-depth squat, whilst getting a little rotation in both the hip and lumbar spine. Get into a deep sumo-style squat with fists on the floor, straight arms and reach up to the ceiling with alternate arms.

down dog cobra10 reps (1 set for most people, 2-3 sets if particularly tight)
These will help to achieve greater flexibility of the hamstring, ankle, hip flexion, lower spine, upper spine, and shoulders. Really good for teaching people how their body moves in space along with all of the mobility benefits. I love this exercise. Hands and feet on the floor, backside moves up and back first then the move is reverse as you dip forward, chest down and shoulders rising.

Side lying T spine rotations10 reps each side (1 set for most, 2-3 sets if particularly tight)
These will help to achieve greater rotation of the upper spine. Will also help people to understand how to separate their lower from upper spine. Lie on your side, put the foam roller underneath knee of the top leg, and touch the hand on the same side as the raised to the floor on the opposite side of your body.

Door knocks (single arm, fast twitch) – 50 reps (1 set for most people, 2-3 sets if particularly tight) These will help to achieve greater internal rotation of the shoulder. Most rehab plans focus on external rotation only, yet most sports we play rely heavily on explosive internal rotation of the shoulder – think racket sports, golf, volleyball, rugby. Hold a band, connected to an object behind you in a fist salute position. Elbow bent at 90 degrees, make small, fast forward and back motions with your fist, as though rapping on a door.

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