A woman and man exercising and doing deep mobility squats

Top 10 Mobility Exercises for Improved Movement and Flexibility

Achieve Better Performance, Reduce Risk of Injury, and Improve Overall Wellbeing

Mobility exercises are crucial for maintaining and improving the range of motion of our joints and muscles. Incorporating regular mobility work into your routine can lead to better performance in physical activities, reduced risk of injury, and improved overall wellbeing. Here, we explore the top ten mobility exercises that can help you achieve greater movement freedom and flexibility.

1. Cat / Cow Stretch

Benefits: Improves spinal flexibility and relieves tension in the torso, shoulders, and neck.

Illustration of the cat cow stretch

How to do it:

  • Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.

  • Inhale as you arch your back, tilting your pelvis up and looking slightly upward for the cow pose.

  • Exhale as you round your spine, tucking your pelvis under, bringing your chin to your chest for the cat pose.

Repeat for 8 – 10 cycles.

2. Thoracic Spine Rotation

Benefits: Enhances rotational mobility in the upper back, promoting better posture and spinal health.

Illustration of a woman doing thoracic spinal rotation

How to do it:

  • Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.

  • Place one hand one the floor and extend the other out to the side as you rotate your core.

  • Rotate inward while dropping your upper body down and thread the extended arm under the body along the floor.

Perform 8 – 12 repetitions per side. 

3. Hip Circles

Benefits: Increases hip joint mobility, beneficial for lower body movements and reducing lower back stress.

How to do it:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands on hips.

  • Move your hips in a large circle, leaning forward, to the side, back, and then to the opposite side.

Complete 8 – 10 circles in both directions.

4. Deep Squat to Hamstring Stretch

Benefits: Improves flexibility in the lower back, hamstrings, and ankles, promoting lower body mobility.

Illustration of a man alternating between a deep squat and a hamstring stretch

How to do it:

  • Start in a standing position, then lower into a deep squat, keeping your heels on the ground.

  • Hold the bottom position for a moment, then straighten your legs into a hamstring stretch, keeping your hands on the floor for balance.

Return to standing and repeat for 5 – 7 reps.

5. Shoulder Pass-Through

Benefits: Enhances shoulder mobility and opens up the chest, useful for overhead activities.

Man holding a stick and doing shoulder pass-through movements

How to do it:

  • Hold a broomstick or resistance band with a wide grip in front of you.

  • Keeping your arms straight, lift the stick or band over your head and down behind your back as far as comfortable.

Bring it back to the front and repeat for 8 – 10 reps.

6. Leg Swings

Benefits: Improves dynamic leg flexibility, targeting the hamstrings and hip flexors.

How to do it:

  • Stand facing a wall or holding onto a stable object for balance.

  • Swing one leg forward and backward, gradually increasing the range of motion.

Perform 10 – 15 swings on each leg.

7. Lunge With Spinal Rotation

Benefits: Enhances hip flexor flexibility and spinal rotation, promoting functional mobility.

Woman doing a deep lunge with spinal rotation

How to do it:

  • Step forward into a lunge position.

  • Place your opposite hand on the ground and twist your upper body toward your front leg, extending your other arm towards the ceiling.

Hold for a few seconds, then switch sides. Repeat 5-7 times each side.

8. Ankle Circles

Benefits: Improves ankle mobility, crucial for balance and lower body exercises.

How to do it:

  • Sit or stand, lifting one foot off the ground.

  • Rotate your ankle in a circular motion, making as large a circle as possible.

Do 10 – 15 circles in each direction, then switch ankles.

9. Scapular Wall Slides

Benefits: Increases scapular mobility and strengthens the upper back muscles, aiding in posture correction.

How to do it:

  • Stand with your back to a wall, elbows and wrists against the wall.

  • Slide your arms up overhead, keeping contact with the wall, then lower them back down.

Repeat for 8 – 12 reps.

10. Neck Half Circles

Benefits: Relieves tension in the neck and shoulders, improving neck mobility.

How to do it:

  • Sit or stand with good posture.

  • Gently lower your ear towards one shoulder, roll your head down towards your chest, and then up to the other shoulder in a half-circle motion.

Repeat 5 – 10 times in each direction.

Incorporating these mobility exercises into your daily routine can significantly enhance your flexibility, reduce pain, and improve your overall quality of life. Remember to perform each exercise with proper form and to adjust the intensity according to your comfort level.

NOTE:  This blog post aims to provide a beginner’s guide to starting or enhancing a mobility routine. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have existing health conditions or concerns.

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