In Part 3 of our four part series we are going to look at the mobilising exercises of this workout. The general rule of thumb is, to make men look better, increase their mobility, for women, get them stronger. This is especially true the older we get. I’m not saying men don’t need to work on strength or women on mobility but as a species, men are generally stronger and women, more flexible and it is advisable to give a bit more attention to our weaknesses.
Hip flexors: Like I said in part one, our lives involve sitting, we sit to eat, we sit to go to work, in work and on our way home from work. We sit to relax, even our Globo gyms have so many isolation machines in them that we now sit while exercising. One of the main problems with all of this sitting is a shortening of our hip flexors. This leads to to us having problems standing in a vertical position. Over time this can lead to imbalances and pain. A simple but effective way to counteract this is to drop to a half kneeling position, one foot and one knee, what I refer to as a 90/90 position (you should be creating a 90 degree bend at the knees). Push the big toe of the front, hard into the ground. At the same time squeeze the glute on the opposite side while making yourself as tall as possible. If you have hight hip flexors you should start to feel a stretch and possibly, mild pain, in the quad of the leg with the knee on the ground. (if you are feeling pain, don’t push any harder, instead just focus on slow breathing and it will ease). If this isn’t working then what you can do is place the foot of the leg that you are kneeling on, on to a raised platform, so that the heel is brought closer to the glute. Remember to keep tall. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5a0i6eWROWQ
Hamstrings: My go to stretch for the hamstrings, is the straight leg bear crawl. Lock your legs out and start pushing your bum back while reaching towards the floor. If you can’t touch the floor then bend your knees slightly until you get there then walk your hands forward until you are in a position to lock them. Lift one hand and step it forward around 6-8 inches in front of you, as soon as it is on the ground, do the same with the opposite leg, from the hip, keep the leg locked. You are trying to get your toes as close to the hand on the same side without the legs bending. Keep this gait pattern going. DO NOT RUSH THROUGH THIS!Instead, keep a purposeful slow, controlled pace. To increase the stretch, all you do is rock back into the hip of the leg you have just stepped forward with before coming back and moving the opposite hand to take the next step. You can hold that extra stretch position a couple of seconds to get maximum benefit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo78BBEN1Q0
Pecs and biceps: This stretch is a hidden gem. I use the KO8 suspension & resistance trainer for this stretch as the resistance bands add a new dimension to it but it can be done with any suspension trainer or even a bit of rope if needed. Face away from the KO8, holding the handles. Place your hands above your head and walk out so that the ropes go tight. Keep your pelvis tilted towards you so as your abs are engaged. Step one foot in front then the other foot back and keep this going until you find your back legs, knee, on the ground. From here, keeping your arms locked, pull your hands towards the ground, drawing a semi circle. Find the position where the stretch is the tightest and hold it there. Don’t allow your head to fall forward. keep upright and focus on your breathing. Remain there for 30 seconds to a minute then come back to standing, swap legs and repeat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vK9-aEpX63I
T-spine: A lack of T-spine mobility is, without doubt, the reason for so many peoples pains and imbalances. Todays life style of sitting behind wheels and computers and generally not moving has caused this to lock up. The T-spine is built for mobility and lack of mobility through this area is a major cause of lack of shoulder mobility. Perfect example: How many people do you see in the gym doing a barbell shoulder press and they lean back, some, almost to were it is more a standing incline bench than a shoulder press. This is caused by a lack of T-spine mobility and means that you are now loading the Lumbar spine, which isn’t a great idea. A great drill to open the T-spine is the six point Zenith. Get on to all fours so that toes, knees and hands are on the floor, a 90 degree bend at the hips. Take one hand and place it on the small of your back. Close the eye on the same side of this arm. Twist so that the elbow of this arm is pointing towards the ceiling and with the opened eye (at this point it is the one closest to the ground), look as far back as you can. Remember this spot. Once you have found your marker on the ceiling, straighten your arm and reach under your chest, go as far through as you can. When you have pushed through as far as you can, reverse it so as your arm comes up and reaches towards the ceiling, really pulling with the T-spine. Repeat this 10-15 times making sure to PUMP the arms, stretching as far as you can on both the up and down motion. Repeat the test at start of the drill and you should notice you can look further now. Repeat on the other side.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEXSWeCh_rw
This is a simple mobility program that will take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete but by doing so everyday, you will notice a huge difference to your movement