The Best Exercises to Increase Your Mobility

You’ve probably heard fitness trainers and health practitioners stress the importance of mobility. While mobility may seem less important than getting in your cardio or strength training, increasing your mobility at any stage of life is extremely important. Wondering why?

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) calls mobility the cornerstone of fitness, which allows the body to move correctly. When a person’s mobility is limited, their postural stability is negatively affected because it causes the body to move improperly, leading to an increased risk of pain and injury. So while it may be tempting to overlook incorporating mobility exercises if you aim to get stronger or lose weight, it is clear that everyone should add mobility exercises to their routine to stay on target with other fitness goals. 

Keep reading to learn about some of the best exercises to increase your mobility.

Table Top Bridge

The table top bridge is a full-body movement and exercise that strengthens several muscles while improving posture and functional mobility. Redefining Bridge details how to execute the Table Top Bridge correctly. 

  • To do the Table Top Bridge, start seated on the ground with your feet flat on the floor in front of you and your hands on the ground behind you.
  • Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips as high as you can. Lean your head back and press your chest out as you bridge up. Really feel a nice stretch across your chest and shoulders.
  • Keep your core tight as you bridge up. Try to create a “table” with your body.
  • Drive your hips up as high as possible without hyperextending your lower back. Really squeeze your glutes at the top.
  • Hold for a few seconds at the top, then lower back down and repeat.
  • Keep the core engaged and even do a pelvic tilt at the top so that you engage your glutes without hyperextending your low back.

Focus on specific joints

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A significant part of improving mobility is focusing on specific joints, like your toes, ankles, hips, thoracic spine, shoulders, and neck. We recommend that you focus on performing “CARs,” also known as “Controlled Articular Rotations,” and PAILs / RAILs, also known as Progressive Angular Isometric Loading / Regressive Angular Isometric Loading. The more of these exercises you do, the more mobility you can gain, thus improving your range of motion and simultaneously decreasing pain with movement and improving the quality of movement. A few joint-focused examples include deep lunges with rotation and standing hip CARS.

Goblet Squat Curls/Heartbeats

A goblet squat + heartbeat is an exercise that incorporates kettlebells to help strengthen your core and lower body. While this exercise may be too advanced for those just starting in strength training, you will gain the mobility benefits of this exercise from the beginner to advanced-level modifications since taking joints through any range of motion while under load (weight) will improve your mobility. Your hips, ankles, and upper back will all gain increased mobility doing the goblet squat curls/heartbeats. 

Check out this demonstration from Girls Gone Strong!

Scapular rotations & scapular push-ups

Many people take advantage of the ability to do basic things like pulling a sweater over their heads or brushing their hair, especially during their younger years. In order to do these daily tasks, the scapula (also known as the shoulder blade) and the muscles around the shoulder must be able to move quickly and (hopefully) without pain.

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Scapular rotations and scapular push-ups are two of many shoulder-focused exercises that help to create stability in the shoulder to protect against neck pain and help to improve good posture. You can easily do simple scapular rotations throughout the day by rotating and rolling your shoulders in a circular motion, both forward and backward. While your shoulder needs to move in several different directions, these two exercises can be done while sitting at your desk. You can also try scapular wall slides and prone rowing exercises. 

The Serratus Anterior, also known as the “boxer’s muscle,” is vital to mobility because it is connected to movements like throwing a punch. Scapular push-ups effectively activate and strengthen the serratus anterior, and increasing the strength of this muscle is essential for optimal shoulder performance. ⁠⠀


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