Activities of modern life, such as typing at a computer or even just being on our phones, have ultimately changed our body’s mechanics. We tend to have internally rotated shoulders, tight hip flexors, and many other issues that arise from being in a seated position or a position that is less than ideal (ie. head down looking at a phone). While modern life has provided us with many conveniences and improvements in the quality of our lives, there are also many problems that have resulted. To offset these issues, we need to be sure to take the necessary measures, such as practicing mobility exercises, to promote mobility, range of motion, and recovery so our bodies can stay healthy and active.
According to Brian Mackenzie, these are the top 3 mobility exercises everyone should be doing on the daily.
Mobility Exercise #1: Couch Stretch
• Find a wall
• Place knee about 6 inches from wall
• Bring other foot in front of body. Be sure to stay forward and do not let hips roll out to the side
• Activate glutes to bring hips towards the floor
• Squeeze for 3 seconds and release for 3 seconds. Repeat this multiple times to get hip flexors to open up.
There are a ton of variations around this stretch. In fact, they call it couch stretch because you can actually do it in a couch. To do this variation, put one leg back in the couch and have your other leg on the floor, then just lean back.
Mobility Exercise #2: Pigeon Stretch
• Find a platform that is slightly lower than your hips
• Place one leg on platform so that your shin is straight across and perpendicular to your body
• Keep rear foot that is on ground straight. If you turn your foot out, you’re just cheating yourself. Switch legs and repeat.
Another variation of the pigeon stretch is lotus or half lotus. A lot of Yogis use these positions since they are a great way to widen and open up the hips while still being able to access the diaphragm. While doing lotus or half lotus, set shoulders in external rotation while legs are crossed to get your spine in the desired position. For those who have never done this before, start with half Lotus and progress to full Lotus when you are ready to take it to the next level. Lotus creates a great way to stay mobile, especially when in a seated position.
Mobility Exercise #3: Shoulder Internal Rotation Stretch
• Lay down on ground
• Set shoulders down so that they touch the ground and lift hips
• Slide hands underneath hips. If you can only get your hands up to your hips that’s fine, but try to work your way up to getting your hands flat higher on your back.
• Once hands are in place, slightly lower your body down.
• Make sure shoulders remain touching the ground throughout the entire stretch
• Sit for 3 seconds with body lowered then bring body up
• Slowly lower body while squeezing your shoulders outward as you get lower and lower. Repeat this a few times.
Because we take part in activities that cause our shoulders to rotate internally, such as typing and texting, we need to perform other movements to offset these issues, like mobility exercises. After just 3 sets of the shoulder internal rotation stretch that takes about 10 seconds total, you will immediately experience more range of motion.
These 3 mobility exercises are essential for staying mobile, staying healthy, and maintaining or increasing range of motion. If you haven’t yet incorporated these or other mobility exercises into your daily routine, it’s time to start now. The best part is they take only minutes or even seconds and can be done almost anywhere.