In common usage, “mobility training” has come to mean what “flexibility training” once meant for many of our clients. Whatever we are calling it, it’s a good idea to examine two joints essential for movement.
Mobility Gatekeepers: Hips and Shoulders
The hips and shoulders provide the most potential mobility in all three planes of movement and they form the point of connection between the extremities and the torso. As a result, successful movement is only possible with sufficient mobility in these two joints. An individual’s arm movement is only as good as the shoulders; likewise, leg movement is only as good as the hips.
This article highlights two very common problems for each joint and presents a few exercises to work on a solution for each.
The order of the exercises will follow a sequence of:
SOFTEN >> LENGTHEN >> STRENGTHEN
Soften = Self-massage, with the intent of either regenerating the tissue we want to be more active or softening restricted tissue that is preventing movement of the target area Lengthen = Stretching, joint distraction Strengthen = Activating muscle or “strengthening” (even though we are not using strength loads, this term will be most familiar to clients)
There are times where it is appropriate to perform self-massage both before and after exercise. (For more details and helpful tips on self-massage techniques, check out this ACE blog.) Self-massage can be used to loosen tight tissue (similar to how chewing gum needs to be chewed to blow a bubble) and can rehydrate and “wake up” inhibited tissue.
Common Hip Problem: Glutes Don’t Work When Doing Glute Bridges
Just because we call it a glute bridge doesn’t mean it will automatically work the glutes. For many people who never feel this exercise in their glutes, it makes sense to consider why. Most often, it is tightness and/or hypertonicity in the hip flexor muscles that is neurologically inhibiting the glutes from firing. Often this is combined with more use of the lower back and hamstrings to pick up the slack for the neighboring glutes. So people lift their butts, but the butt muscles don’t do much of the work.
The Fix for “Gluteless” Glute Bridges SOFTEN 1. Glute 2. Adductor LENGTHEN Tri-planar Hip Flexor Stretch With Joint Distraction
Complete 5 reps each of the following as shown in the video.
Front-to-back Shift Lateral Flexion Hip Rotation (each direction) STRENGTHEN Glute Bridge