Movement Habit #48: Mobility Practice

We are going to begin our mobility focus on 3 keys areas of the body that all require adequate mobility to function optimally – the ankles, the hips, the thoracic spine, and the shoulders.

Joint: Designed for: Improved by doing:
Ankle Mobility 1. Ankle stretches

2. Ankle circles

Knee Stability Ankle and Hip mobility exercises [above and below]
Hip Mobility 3. Get-up position with hip rotations

4. 90/90

5. ½ Kneeling hip flexor stretch and hip circles

Lumbar spine Stability Hip and Thoracic spine mobility exercises [above and below]
Thoracic spine Mobility 6. Dracula / Supermans

7. 4 way Cat & Cows

8. ZHealth Seated Tilt – Rotate – Exhale drill

Scapula Stability Thoracic spine & Shoulder mobility exercises [above and below]
Shoulders Mobility 9. 4 way Shoulder Reach

10. “Egyptians”

11. Tea Cup drill

12. Nerve Flossing

  1. Ankle stretches – roll lateral / outside of foot for a few reps. Point foot straight back behind you to stretch top of foot, then point foot inward, finally point foot outward. Hold each position for 10- 20 seconds. Repeat with other foot
  2. Ankle circles – from a comfortable position (seated, standing, on the floor) pretend to draw a circle with your big toe. 3 in each direction. Repeat on other foot
  3. Get-up position with hip rotations – from your back, press lower back firmly into ground and raise a straight leg up as high as possible. Hold it in position as you rotate your entire leg from the hip socket. 3-5 rotations per direction. Repeat on other leg.
  4. 90/90 – while seated place both legs in a 90 degree angle with one foot forward and one foot back, behind you. Take easy deep breathes. Add small rotations. Repeat on other leg
  5. ½ Kneeling hip flexor stretch and hip circles – both knees are again at 90 degrees but now left knee is on the ground and under left hip, right knee at 90 degrees with right foot on ground. Find your balance in this position. Make small, controlled circles from left hip. Repeat on other leg
  6. Dracula / Supermans – can be performed from seated or standing position. The focus is to mobilize your thoracic spine. A helpful image is to pretend that you are wearing a cap – like Dracula & Superman/Superwoman – Dracula pulls his cap forward, rounding his upper back while spreading his shoulder blades. Superman does the opposite, pushing his chest forward while pulling shoulder blades together.
  7. 4 way Cat & Cows – from a Hands & Knee position – with as much movement as comfortable – round your spine then arch your spine. Reset and brings knees together – with neutral spine – side bend to the left then side bend to the right
  8. ZHealth Seated Tilt – Rotate – Exhale drill
  9. 4 way Shoulder Reach – from comfortable position (seated or standing) keeping arm straight, extend right arm forward, horizontal to ground, then vertical, then pull shoulder back down into shoulder socket, and then reach back behind you. Repeat for 3 rounds then switch arms.
  10. “Egyptians” – from comfortable position (seated or standing) extend both arms out to the side, one palm up to the sky, then other turned down to the ground. Feel a comfortable tension throughout the shoulder muscles as your rotate each arm in the opposite directions, keeping both arms extended and straight.
  11. Tea Cup drill – pretend that you are holding a tea cup in the palm of your hand. You begin with your arm extended in a relaxed posture, hand by your hip. In a continuous and smooth motion you bring your hand with the tea cup up into an overhead position. Throughout the movement you must keep your palm facing up towards the sky – so that you do not spill your tea. Reverse the movement and bring the same hand back to the starting position. You’ll notice that you have to find mobility throughout your body – from your wrist, elbow, shoulders and even torso. Think smooth, relaxed, and fluid movements throughout the motion. Repeat on both arms.
  12. Nerve Flossing – In Max Shank’s book, “Simple Shoulder Solution” he recommends nerve flossing to help improve mobility. Per Max’s instructions, “abduct and externally rotate arm, extend wrist and finger. Keep the shoulders down and tilt head to opposite side. Perform neck rota­tions or make shoulder circles to facilitate an increase in mobilization.”

Find 5-10 minutes at least 3 times each week to practice. Move slow and controlled, focus on feeling the nuance of each movement.

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