Dead Hang, Adductor Stretch All Part of 8 Simple Exercises for Better Mobility

Alex Reader's picture
Exercise for Mobility

As you probably well know, modern lifestyles aren’t conducive for a healthy body. Not only are they generally inactive, they also repeatedly place us in less than optimal positions for our muscles, joints, and bones. The first start is simply getting into a good exercise routine. This strengthens our muscles, improving our posture whilst reducing our risk of injury and pain.

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As you probably well know, modern lifestyles aren’t conducive for a healthy body. Not only are they generally inactive, they also repeatedly place us in less than optimal positions for our muscles, joints, and bones. The first start is simply getting into a good exercise routine. This strengthens our muscles, improving our posture whilst reducing our risk of injury and pain.

However, exercise is kind of a paradox when it comes to mobility because it can make us tight. There’s a difference between how strong a muscle is and how tight a muscle is. Just because something’s tight, doesn’t mean it’s strong. Equally, just because a muscle is strong, doesn’t mean that it needs to be tight. Tightness is simply where the muscles have been shortened for an extended period of time and therefore, default to this position.

For instance, the muscles on the front of the hip can become tight from too much sitting. Though, sitting doesn’t make your muscles any stronger. A common example of this is with desk workers who spend 8 hours a day sat with poor posture in a chair, only to then continue sitting when they drive home and sit on the couch.

Also see: How Daily Motion Exercise Can Make You Feel Younger

As well as keeping up an effective gym routine, you need to work on your mobility so that your muscles are both stronger and more flexible. Try to fit in two of these 8 exercises at the end of each workout or dedicate a normal rest day for mobility and include all 8.

1. Dead Hang

The dead hang is an extremely simple but effective movement that simultaneously stretches out the entire body whilst strengthening the grip. All you need to do is grab a pull-up bar slightly wider than shoulder width and hang for as long as possible. When your grip is 5 seconds away from failing, let go, rest 2 minutes, and then repeat. The dead hang is fantastic for opening up the shoulders as well as lengthening the muscles surrounding the spine.

2. Adductor Stretch

To stretch out the insides of your legs, begin on all fours on a yoga matt. Next, open up your hips and sit your pelvis back until you feel a dip stretch in between your thighs. You can either hold this position for 1-2 minutes before repeating or ‘bounce’ up and down to actively lengthen the muscles. The latter option is more suited to the pre-workout period when you want to stay warm whilst improving your mobility.

3. Quadricep Stretch

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Sitting on top of the thighs, the quadriceps are a common problem area for people who spend a long time at a desk. In order to lengthen them, begin in front of a wall with one knee on the floor and the other leg bent in front of you. Extend the leg below you backwards and raise your lower leg so that it’s resting against the wall behind you, knee still against the floor. You should feel the muscles on the front of your leg lengthening as well as on the front of your hip. If you want to deepen the stretch, lean backwards, placing a bend on your back and stretching the abdomen.

4. Cat/Cow Pose

The cat/cow pose is a great way to mobilise the spine quickly and effectively. Once again, begin on all fours, except this time you’re going to switch from arching your back as much as you can to pushing your belly button towards the floor. Your hips, legs and arms should all remain still throughout these movements. Hold each position for 10 sets of 5 seconds at a time. If you’re doing this before a workout, hold each position for just 2 seconds, but complete 20 sets.

5. Glute Stretch

The glutes are one of the biggest muscles on the body. What many people don’t realise is that when they have lower back pain it can be stemming from tightness in the glutes. To stretch out this area, begin in a lying position on your front. Raise your body and bring one knee underneath your chest, keeping the other leg straight. Place your weight on top of the bent leg and slowly rock about until you can feel your glute lengthening. Hold for 1 minute before swapping to the other leg. Repeat 3 times.

6. Thoracic Windmills

Thoracic windmills are another great way to mobilise the upper portion of the spine. Your thoracic area begins at the base of your neck and runs down to your shoulder blades. Begin by lying on your side with your knees and hips bent at a 90-degree angle. Keeping one arm and your legs pressed to the floor, rotate the upper portion of your body so that your other arm can rest against the floor. The final position should have you facing upwards with your arms out in a ‘T’ and your knees pointed to one side. Complete 15-20 repeitions before moving to the other side.

7. The Shoulder Pass Through

If you want a quick test for your shoulder mobility, all you need is a wooden stick. You can use a broom handle or mop if you don’t have access to a designated wooden pole. Grab the pole at either end and raise the bar over your head until your arms are pointing down and the pole is behind you. If the movement was too easy, take a slightly narrower grip so you feel a stretch in your shoulders when the pole is directly behind them. Complete 15-20 repetitions.

8. Chest and Lower Back Rotations

Lastly, we can stretch the chest further at the same time we mobilise the lower back in one swift movement. Rest the pole behind your back in the crook of your elbows so that you almost look like a scarecrow. From here, simply turn left and right as far as you can until you feel a stretch in your chest. You can also do them diagonally to stretch out certain parts of the lower back by trying to touch one end of the pole to the opposite foot. Complete these as fast or as slow as you like, the main focus is on stretching the chest and getting blood flowing to the musculature around the lower spine.

Alex Reader MSc is a UK based personal trainer and fitness expert.

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