Boosting your mobility is only ever going to make you train harder and better. But if you’re short on time, you may find yourself skipping this portion of your training, even if unintentionally. We have good news: in a matter of minutes, you can undertake some simple exercises that will get your blood flowing and body limber. Try some of these mobility exercises for a WOD-ready body in a flash.
1. Bodyweight Squat Variations
Get ready to feel the burn. Squats truly do require your whole body — so shouldn’t your mobility warm-up reflect that?
How to do it: This exercise packs a lot of punch and it’s a great place to start your workout. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and sit in the bottom of your squat. Make sure your chest is raised and the pressure in your feet is evenly spread. After a few seconds and still in a squatting position, follow up with:
- Knee circles: with your hands on your knees, circle them inward toward each other 10 times, and then outward away from each other 10 times.
- Squat-to-hammies: sit back in your squat, chest high. Grab onto your toes and straighten your legs, folding your body in half. You should feel a stretch in your hammies and calves.
- Changing your stance: at this point, you’ve spent ample time with your feet shoulder-width apart. To finish, do five narrow-feet squats (with your feet touching), and five with wide feet (you won’t squat as low).
Your hips and legs should feel ready for action by the end of this little routine.
2. Coccyx Stretch
This works a muscle some people don’t even know they have, and as a result ends up being very challenging; so you should start slowly with this one.
How to do it: Starting from a standing position, pick one leg and slowly start squatting on that side, with the other leg outstretched, weight on your heel and toes pointed upward. It helps to keep your hands in front of you for balance. As your base leg continues to bend, you’ll begin to feel a stretch on the opposite leg, on the inside and toward the top of your quad, near your adductors. Don’t worry if you can’t lower all the way down — this muscle could very well be super tight. Stop once you feel a good stretch. Repeat on the other side.
3. Massage Ball Roll-Out
Never overlook the importance of your feet. They quite literally carry you when you’re training and are what connect you to the ground, so stretching them and warming them up are crucial. Rolling them out with a massage ball (like this one!) helps to ease tension and reset your feet.
How to do it: Remove your shoes and sit down on a bench. Place a massage or lacrosse ball between your foot and the floor, and gently roll your foot around on it. Add pressure as needed (you might need to stand), and don’t forget the toes! Repeat this for a period of 20 seconds per foot. We promise you’ll feel the difference — in your feet and even your ankles.
4. Hip Circles
Are you noticing a pattern here? Hips make a second appearance on this list, because hips that haven’t been properly warmed up are a recipe for disaster. Ensuring that yours aren’t tight will help you avoid common injuries often caused by strain. This hip rotation exercise will boost your mobility while also preparing your body for movement.
How to do it: Stand with your feet together and lift one of your knees so it creates a 90-degree angle forward. Next, move your leg away from your body so your knee is facing outward to the side. Drop it to the ground and repeat the circle. Do 10 in each direction, with each leg. Focus on keeping the rest of your body strong and motionless. You should feel your hips not just circling, but fully engaging.
5. PVC Fun
People ignore the good ol’ PVC pipe, even though there’s so much you can do with it. Take a few minutes and go through the following exercises with your trusty PVC in hand.
- Wrap-arounds: with a snatch grip on the PVC, circle it behind your head until it hits your backside, and bring it forward in front of you again. Inch your hands closer together, if possible. Repeat 10 times.
- Overhead squats: without any added weight pushing you down, you have to work even harder to stay stable. Take these slow and repeat for 10.
- Good mornings: prep the hammies and back. Remember: slow on the way down, quick on the way up.
- Body circles: start with the PVC overhead and arms locked. Bend to one side. Start to circle down toward the ground, letting the arms drop but still keeping them straight. Swing up to the other side, and finish with the PVC once again overhead. Do five in each direction.
When it comes to trying to squeeze in a sweat sesh with a busy schedule, mobility is often the first thing that gets sacrificed; but it’s crucial in avoiding injury and being fitter overall. With these quick exercises, we all have no excuse to skip this very important part of our gym session. Happy mobilising!