When a lot of people think about strength training, it is crazy the misconceptions that come to mind.
It is way more than just throwing around heavy weights.
To lift heavy, you must first move well. Unfortunately, the average gym goer or group fitness bunny tends to focus more heavily on just getting through their workout rather than really being present in each movement.
If you do any movements repeatedly, you will develop tightness in certain areas. But the decreased range of movement that can sometimes be experienced with resistance exercises does not have to be the norm.
In fact, daily life can take an equal toll on your mobility. Time spent sitting, looking a your phone, hunched over a laptop or general inactivity can be equally detrimental. All of these exercises, as well as tightness and instability can prevent us from moving through our full range of movement and getting stronger.
Why is it important to incorporate stability and mobility exercises?
Your strength is determined by stability and mobility. Both components are important for healthy joints, to increase injury prevention and increased range of movement. Having a great range of movement will increase time under tension, leading ultimately great strength gains, while supporting the creation of a balanced physique.⠀
How much is enough?
All it takes in 5-10 minutes at the start or end of your workout to see changes in your body’s ability to move.
Let’s focus on mobility and stability- our chest, shoulders and thoracic spine ⠀
These are my favourite upper body exercises designed for improved range of movement in our chest, shoulder and t-spine. These exercises can be done at the start or end of a workout.
1. Downdog On Elbows
In this position, your aim is to push your chest through your elbows. push your forearms into the floor and aim to broaden your back. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minutes.
2. Side-lying Chest Opener
In this position focus on your hips staying stable as you draw your arms across you body until you elbow reaches as close to the floor on the opposite side as possible. Repeat 10 times through on each side.
3. Thread The Needle
This is a great thoracic mobility exercise where your aim is to rotate your torso and midline of the body. Repeat 5-10 times each side.
4. Cat Stretch
This is an oldie, but a goodie. Use your breath to draw you chest towards the ceiling, hollowing out your lower back. Exhale to arch you back up towards the ceiling. Repeat for 5-10 breathes.