Hi, folks! Enjoy this guest post from my pal Ryan of GMB fitness in which he covers a topic near and dear to my heart: mobility exercises and undoing some of the negative effects of a too-sedentary lifestyle. Take it away, Ryan.
The unfortunate truth of modern life is many of us sit for too long during the day. This is mostly due to office culture that requires us to stay at a desk to get our work finished—even if we work from home. And while you might be combatting this with regular breaks, walks across the office, or even fancy ergonomic chairs and standing desks, it might not be enough to maintain a healthy range of motion throughout your joints.
You need mobility exercises designed to combat all that sitting.
If you’re making time to move and exercise regularly, you know how important your hip, shoulder, and ankle mobility is for deep squats, pullups, lunges, and other full-body movements. Over time, if you’re not actively working on improving and maintaining mobility, it’s easy to lose. Fortunately, we can keep a healthy, functional range of motion starting with these five mobility exercises you can do anywhere.
1. Backward Facing Wrist Flexor Stretch
This stretch will help open up your forearms and wrists after long days of typing.
Kneel on a comfortable surface. Put your hands on the ground in front of you, rotating your wrists around so that your fingers point toward your knees.
At first, start with your fingers closer to your knees (this is easier if you’re especially stiff).
Now with your palms flat on the floor, ease your butt back toward your heels, then pulse toward your hands. That’s one rep.
Do 10 total reps and hold for 10 seconds on the last one.
2. Quadruped Shoulder Protraction and Retraction
This one is good for getting some movement in your shoulders and upper back.
Begin with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees right under your hips.
Start by letting your chest sink downward, pulling your shoulder blades together.
Then reverse the movement by pressing downward and pulling your shoulder blades apart.
Don’t move your hips; this is all about the upper back and shoulders.
Take it slow and repeat for 10 total reps.
3. Quadruped Spinal Circles
This exercise helps open up your back and releases the spine from being in a rigid position all day.
Start on your hands, placing them directly under your shoulders like the previous exercise.
Push with your lat (the large muscle of your mid and lower back) to one side while dropping your chest.
Pull your back upward and sway to the other side.
Aim to make a circle with your spine while keeping your arms straight and firm on the floor.
Take your time and do 5 reps in one direction, then repeat 5 reps for the other side.
4. Frog Stretch
This exercise helps open up your hips and groin, and gives you better squat depth.
Start on your hands and knees, bringing your knees as far apart as is comfortable.
Keep your hips between your knees and the balls of your feet on the ground with toes pointed outward.
Rock back and forth in that position.
Go forward and pulse for 10 reps, allowing your hips to drop steadily as you gain more range of motion. Then hold for 10 seconds.
Then push your butt back toward your feet, pulse for 10 reps and hold for 10 seconds.
5. Three Point Bridge
This exercise is great for opening your hip flexors, shoulders, and chest.
Sit down with your butt on the floor, knees bent, and one arm behind you.
Lift your opposite hand in the air, then flex your butt to extend your hips to the ceiling.
Extend your arm back and look at your thumb to encourage full extension of the hips.
Do 5 reps and then hold the final rep for 10 seconds. Focus on extending your arm that’s on the ground and feeling that stretch throughout your body. Repeat on the other side.
Better Mobility Means Better Movement, Performance, and General Well-being
Getting down on the floor and knocking out mobility drills isn’t as sexy as an intense sprint workout or a bodyweight circuit that leaves you drenched in sweat. But taking the time daily, even just for 15 minutes, can do wonders for getting your body to open up and combat the stiffness that comes from sitting too long.
Plus, the 5 movements we showed you here can be used for a daily mobility practice and also as a warm-up before hard training. They are a part of GMB’s free 15-minute Mobility Boost that was created for people who get stiff and sore and want a practical solution to regain and maintain their mobility.
After a training accident ended his competitive gymnastics career, Ryan moved to Japan and competed in various martial arts until another injury made him reevaluate his priorities in life. As Head Coach at GMB Fitness, his mission is to show everyone that you can define your own fitness as a sustainable and enjoyable part of your life. You can follow GMB Fitness on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.