Mobility is something every single one of us needs to work on. No matter if you’re on your feet all day is sitting on your bum for 8 hours at a time, becoming more mobile is essential to maintaining vitality as we age.
But most of us struggle with working flexibility and mobility work into our routines. Sometimes it’s because we think we don’t have time and other times is simply because we can’t think of anything that might make us better.
Before we find out what can be done to help get you more flexible and mobile, let’s break down our options when it comes to types of stretching/mobility exercise.
I’m actually using the words flexibility and mobility incorrectly when it comes to the physical therapy world, so let me straighten that out first. Flexibility is the ability to get a muscle into a specific length. Mobility, on the other hand, is the ability to take a joint into a full range of motion. The end result overall is pretty much the same…to move better. But, technically flexibility and mobility are different things.
Now that we have that cleared up, there are 2 different types of exercises that you can do in order to improve you flexibility or mobility. The first type of exercise is static stretching. Static stretching is what you would do if I told you to stretch. You would probably bend over to touch your toes or put your leg up on a box and reach for your foot. Static means holding in place for an amount of time. The other type of exercise you can do is dynamic stretching. With dynamic stretching, you are moving while you stretching. There are even a couple different types of dynamic stretching, but we’re going to keep it simple. A dynamic stretch can be anything from a bodyweight lunges to high knees.
Typically, static stretching can be placed in the “get more flexible” category, while dynamic stretching can be placed in the “get more mobile” category. Again, although you’re technically trying to accomplish different things, the end goal is the same.
Life I said before, many people have trouble getting stretching/mobility work into their routines. Luckily enough for you, there is a perfect solution for you that doesn’t require any more time than you spend in the gym already.
What do you do between sets during your workout? Are you talking? Are you just standing and waiting? Be honest with yourself. If you’re like most people I’ve seen, most likely you’re spending your rest periods talking. Remember, you’re at the gym to get better. And although socializing is a basic human need, it has to fit within the context.
So instead of standing and talking at your next gym session, spend your rest periods doing mobility work. Not only does this eliminate the “I don’t have time” excuse, it will actually help you burn more calories and keep your heart rate up.
A Perfect Mobility Exercise for Your Rest Periods
A great exercise that you can do during your rest periods is the spiderman lunge with thoracic spine rotation. Sounds fun, I know. This exercise is great because it accomplishes a whole bunch of things at once:
#1. Thoracic spine stiffness – Because we live in a sitting world, we get bound up in our thoracic (mid-back) area over time. This is not good for longevity. This exercise will help keep your t-spine moving.
#2. Hip mobility – Hip mobility is another issue that arises due to lots and lots of sitting. This is a great way to maintain movement in your hips.
#3. Getting off the ground – This one may take a little more convincing. How often do you get up and down off the ground during your workout? If your answer is any less than 5 times, it’s not enough. Getting off the ground is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL when it comes to longevity. So get up and down as often as you can!
Use this spiderman move a couple of times a week. Rotate sides as you’re performing the exercise. Shoot for 3-5 rotations on each side for one set. Happy Spidermanning!