mobility

What is mobility? Mobility is defined as the ability to move your joints and muscles in the full range of motion with no restrictions. This differs from flexibility as flexibility means how far out your muscle can go. You may be able to lift your leg up quite high if you use your hands to push them, this is an example of flexibility. Mobility is important because it decreases your risk of injury. If you lack a range of motion then trying to do a strength exercise in a position that is uncomfortable for you can cause more harm later. If you are mobile then it increases your strength potential, you will be able to perform different exercises and work the muscle to it’s fullest not just partly due to restricted range of motion.

15 Strength Exercises to Improve Mobility

1. Goblet Squat

Muscles Engaged

Glutes, Quads

Directions

  • Stand holding a kettlebell by the handle or horns to your chest with both hands.
  • Your legs should be hips length apart and back is straight.
  • Squat down between your knees (your arms should be between your legs).
  • Repeat as needed.

2. Dumbbell Row/ Bench Row

Muscles Engaged

Shoulders, Arms

Directions

  • Get into a bent over position with your left knee on one end of a bench and left hand on the other.
  • Your right foot should be off to the side of the bench, not right up against it. Keep your back flat, core braced, and shoulders down and back.
  • In this position, pick up a dumbbell with your right hand and pull it in a straight line up towards the ceiling, keeping the elbow and arm close to your body and squeezing the shoulder blades together at the top.
  • Repeat on this side for the desired amount of reps and then switch sides.

3. Push-Up

Muscles Engaged

Upper body, Core

Directions

  • Get on the ground as if you were laying on your stomach.
  • Put your hands shoulder width apart with palms firmly planted on the ground.
  • Your feet should be the same distance apart, but your toes should be the only thing touching the ground.
  • Slowly lower your body to the ground keeping your back straight and not curved too low that it makes a U shape or too high that it looks like an upside down U.

4. Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat 

Muscles Engaged

Lower Body, Glutes, Core

Directions

  • Start with your back leg elevated on a bench or preferred object.
  • Starting in a lunge position.
  • Keep your legs hip length apart, your back leg/foot should not be directly behind the other leg.
  • When bending your front knee make sure it does not move inward, it should be in a straight line.
  • Have a nice tall posture.
  • Lower yourself to the ground and slowly back up.

5. Towel Reverse Lunge With Lateral Lunge 

Muscles Engaged

Glutes, Calves, Hamstrings

Directions

  • Grab a towel, piece of paper or take your shoe off and use your sock.
  • Start with one foot on the towel, paper or sock.
  • With the foot that is on the towel, slide it straight back while take a big step.
  • Bend your back knee down (your front knee and back knee should look the same).
  • Make sure your knee, shin and ankle should be in a straight line.
  • Slide the towel forward by pushing through your front heel and return to the starting position.
  • Now you are going to take that same foot that is on the towel and slide it to the side of your body.
  • As soon as you start to slide it out, push your hips back until you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings while keeping your weight on the foot that is not on the towel.
  • The foot that is on the towel slides out directly to the side and should be completely straight.
  • Slide the foot back by pushing through the heel that is not on the towel and return back to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the same leg.

6. Squat Lateral Step-Up 

Muscles Engaged

Glutes, Hips, Hamstrings

Directions

  • Grab a bench or box
  • Stand on the side of the step or box and take a medium step back.
  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
  • Start by squatting down by pushing your hips back and get down to where you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings.
  • Your ankles, shin, and knees should be in a straight line.
  • Push yourself up from the squat.
  • As soon as you reach the top, take a diagonal step up on to the box with the foot that is closest to the box.
  • Push yourself up through your heel with knee, shin and ankle in a straight line.
  • Once you have reached the top, step down in a diagonal down and back.
  • Repeat with the other foot.

7. Glute Bridge 

Muscles Engaged

Hamstrings, Glutes

Directions

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  • Keep your feet hip-length apart.
  • Drive through your heels and raise your hips up as far as possible.

8. Bent Over Row

Muscles Engaged

Chest, Back, Arms, Shoulders

Directions 

  • Hold a barbell with your palms facing downward.
  • Bend knees slightly and bring your chest forward.
  • Bend your waist and keep your back straight (almost parallel to the floor).
  • Lift the barbell towards your body and then slowly lower the bar back to starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

9. Deadlift 

Muscles Engaged

Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings

Directions

  • Your feet should be hip-width apart and grip the bar outside of your legs.
  • Use the overhand grip.
  • Keep your back straight from start to finish.
  • Your knees and lower half of the body should move as you progress the bar from floor to the desired position.

10. Plank 

Muscles Engaged

Core, Lower Back, Shoulders

Directions

  • Prop yourself on your elbows with your feet shoulder length apart.
  • Make sure your body is aligned and your core is engaged.
  • Keep your back straight and hold this position.

11. Lateral Squat

Muscles Engaged

Inner Groin, Thighs

Directions

  • Stand tall with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, feet flat on the ground and toes pointed forward.
  • Bending your left leg move your hips to one side. Lean to the left with your right foot out. The left knee should be bent, and right leg extended with your weight over the left side of your body.
  • Return to a standing position and descend doing the same movement on your right side to even things out.

12. DB Bent Over Y and Reverse Fly

Muscles Engaged

Upper Back

Directions

  • Start with a light DB to get the hang of it.
  • Bend your knees and bend at the hips by sticking your butt back as far as you can.
  • You should feel a good stretch in the backs of the hamstrings.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades.
  • Your arms should be slightly in front of you.
  • While keeping your shoulder blades squeezed and your arms straight, slow as you can raise your arms directly in front of you and do not force them up.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades at the top.
  • Slowly lower them back down until your hands are directly under your shoulders.
  • While keeping your arms straight and shoulder blades squeezed, raise your arms directly to the sides of you so your hands and arms are lined up with your body.
  • Get the last squeeze at the top and slowly lower them down.

13. DB Incline Row and Rear Delt Raise

Muscles Engaged

Shoulders

Directions

  • Lay down as tall as you can on a bench that is at 15 degrees.
  • Start out with a lighter weight to get the hang out it.
  • The DB’s should be directly under your shoulders and your shoulder blades need to be squeezed the whole time.
  • Start with your hands in a neutral grip and raise your elbows up until they are past your body and get the last squeeze of the shoulder blades at the top.
  • Lower your hands down until your elbows are almost fully extended.
  • Turn your hands so that your palms are facing your feet.
  • Raise your elbows up and out into a triangle position.
  • Your elbow and forearm should be at 90 degrees.
  • Lift your elbows past your body and get the last squeeze at the top.

14. Jammer

Muscles Engaged

Shoulders, Forearms

Directions

  • Grab a barbell.
  • Put one end on the ground and grab at the end of the other side of the bar with your hands in a cupped position.
  • While standing tall take a step back with your feet, your body should be leaning slightly forward.
  • With the bar close to your neck and your feet shoulder-width apart, squat back at an angle by pushing your hips back as soon as you bend your knees.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades and keep your core tight.
  • Lower yourself down until you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings.
  • Once you have reached the bottom, drive through your heels to push yourself up.
  • Once you have just about reached the top, shift your weight to your toes and explode your hand forward.
  • Your body should be fully extended and leaning slightly forward.
  • Return the bar back to your chest and repeat.

15. Bench Press

Muscles Engaged

Chest, Arms

Directions

  • Start by laying down on a bench.
  • Keep your feet planted on the ground around your butt.
  • Position yourself under the bar. Easy for you to take it off the rack and push up without the bar hitting the pegs it was being held on.
  • With a tight grip, grip the bar and slowly lift it off the rack.
  • Touch the bar to your body or close to and push the bar up.
  • Repeat for the desired amount of reps.

Conclusion

Mobility is important for our overall health, even if you are not an athlete. To be able to move our arms, legs, etc. without restriction and pain-free is something we take for granted. Strength exercises like the ones shown above help keep our bodies healthy keeping you healthy and strong through functional ranges of motion. Even after an injury and seeking rehab, there are always ways to improve your body. Strength exercises build muscle increases your balance because these exercises work on your core and legs. Working on your mobility decreases your chance of injury through having better balance, but also giving you the full range of motion in your muscles and joints.

If you want to improve your mobility, especially while gaining strength, fillout the short survery below and our expert team is happy to help!

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