5 Tips to Increase Mobility and Lift Better

The best weight lifters and power lifters in the world spend enormous time doing drills and exercises to open up their bodies and improve overall mobility. Mobility exercises and stretches are crucial for improving technique. exercise posture as well as performance, speed and strength. By opening up tight muscles and releasing pent up pressure from deep tissue, they help the athlete dig dipper and perform with greater structural integrity and explosiveness.

In this article, we will be looking at different ways to improve mobility throughout the body, so that you can not only lift heavier weights but do so with ease by greatly reducing the risk of injury. Most of the mobility work we will be discussing will be related to performing power lifting as well as body building exercises such as the shoulder press, front squat/back squat, Deadlift, clean, clean and press and the snatch.

The squat of course is the foundation for all power lifting movements and is the king of body building movements because of the number of muscle it works. If you’re goal is to increase muscle mass or strength and explosiveness or even perform better at your given sport, the squat can help you make the difference. However, learning to hit your ass to the grass on every rep is where the most magic happens. And, to be able to that, you’ll need great flexibility in your shoulders, lower back, hips, and ankles.

Shoulder mobility

Both the back and the front squat require good shoulder mobility. While many fitness professionals and instructors tend to favour one o over the other, the truth is that both types of squats work a large number of muscles with only a slight difference between the two – while the front squat puts a greater emphasis on the quads and upper back, the back squat places greater emphasis on the glutes and the lumbar spine.

Good shoulder mobility can help improve your performance and save you from suffering aches and pains after your training. These three shoulder mobility exercises will help you increase t the range of motion in your shoulders as well as warm them up before you begin your lifting.

Standing Chest Openers

Stand Sideways to a wall at arm’s length from the wall.

Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart.

Place your arm on the wall with your palm and your fingers were pointing upwards.

Make sure your arm is straight and that your wrist and elbow are in line with your shoulder.

Rotate your arm from the shoulder by turning your hand and your elbow. Do 40 repetitions for each arm.

This simple yet effective exercise messages the muscles needed for scapular stabilisation and improves the overall mobility and range of motion in the shoulder joint.

Shoulder Dislocations

What you’ll need: A wooden stick or light rod. Don’t use the barbell; it’s too heavy and you’ll end up injuring yourself.

Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Hold the stick with both hands.

Use a wide grip (wider then shoulder width). Keep your arms straight and lock out your elbows.

Bring the stick-up, over your head and behind your back in a single controlled motion without bending your elbows.

Hold it behind your back for a few second before bringing it over your head and back to the front.

Do 15-20 reps for a good warm up.

Like the previous exercise, this exercise too greatly helps to prep the shoulders and increase the range of motion, especially if you’re planning on doing cleans, front squats, deadlifts or even shoulder presses.

Hip Mobility

Squatting with proper form can be a nightmare if you have tight hip flexors with little or no range of motion. If you hip can’t move through a full range of motion with relative ease, you’re going to face serious trouble while lifting weight and that one rep max will forever be out of your reach.

Here are a few stretches that are designed to target the key muscles that will help you dig deeper and hit well below parallel on each rep.

Psoas Quad Stretch

The Psoas major is a pelvic muscle that is crucial to hip flexion. Unfortunately, not many people or coaches are aware of its pivotal role in increasing the range of motion in the hips and so don’t know how to help their athletes improve their squatting form.

How to:

Stand in front of a bench with your back facing it.

Bend down on one knee and place your leg on the bench with the toes facing down on the bench.

Let your knee rest on the ground. (place a towel or mate beneath your knee for added comfort).

Balance yourself by placing both your hands on the opposite knee. Hold this position for a few seconds before changing legs.

Stretch your Hip Flexor

This next stretch is ideal for releasing tension in the hip flexor and further increasing range of motion so that you can squat deeper and reap all the benefits of proper squatting form.

How to:

First, get into a lunge position. Then spread your legs out a little a wider.

Rest the shin and knee of your back leg on the floor and bring the heel of your front leg under your shoulder.

Place your elbow inside the front knee.

Gently push your leg outwards with your elbow and rock back and forth.

Next, apply a little more pressure to your knee with your elbow to get an even deeper stretch.

Depending on your level of flexibility, not try and rest your front foot on it side while you continue to apply pressure on the inside of your knee.

Work on each leg for 3-5 minutes.

Ankle Mobility

Don’t neglect them ankles. Often time, we see people’s heels lift off the floor as they descend into their squat and applying unnecessary pressure on their knees. This leads to knee problems and can even cause ligament damage if left unchecked over time.

The key to keeping your heels on the ground lies in ankle flexibility and mobility. While ankle Rotations and such do play an important role, they often fail to release tightness in the soles or surrounding areas of the foot.

You’ll need to Lacrosse ball for these following drills.

1. Sit on a chair or stool

Place the ball in the middle of your foot and rotate the ball with your foot while pressing down on it.

2. Sit in a figure four posture with one leg resting on the knee of the other.

Place the ball on the side of the calf of your bent leg.

While pressing it gently into the soft tissue of your leg rotate your ankle clockwise as well as counter-clockwise.

Move the ball up and down your calf and work out the tension in any tight spots in your calf.

Final Word

The best weight lifters and power lifters in the world spend enormous time doing drills and exercises to open up their bodies and improve overall mobility. Mobility exercises and stretches are crucial for improving technique. exercise posture as well as performance, speed and strength. By opening up tight muscles and releasing pent up pressure from deep tissue, they help the athlete dig dipper and perform with greater structural integrity and explosiveness.

In this article, we will be looking at different ways to improve mobility throughout the body, so that you can not only lift heavier weights but do so with ease by greatly reducing the risk of injury. Most of the mobility work we will be discussing will be related to performing power lifting as well as body building exercises such as the shoulder press, front squat/back squat, Deadlift, clean, clean and press and the snatch.

The squat of course is the foundation for all power lifting movements and is the king of body building movements because of the number of muscle it works. If you’re goal is to increase muscle mass or strength and explosiveness or even perform better at your given sport, the squat can help you make the difference. However, learning to hit your ass to the grass on every rep is where the most magic happens. And, to be able to that, you’ll need great flexibility in your shoulders, lower back, hips, and ankles.

Shoulder mobility

Both the back and the front squat require good shoulder mobility. While many fitness professionals and instructors tend to favour one o over the other, the truth is that both types of squats work a large number of muscles with only a slight difference between the two – while the front squat puts a greater emphasis on the quads and upper back, the back squat places greater emphasis on the glutes and the lumbar spine.

Good shoulder mobility can help improve your performance and save you from suffering aches and pains after your training. These three shoulder mobility exercises will help you increase t the range of motion in your shoulders as well as warm them up before you begin your lifting.

Standing Chest Openers

Stand Sideways to a wall at arm’s length from the wall.

Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart.

Place your arm on the wall with your palm and your fingers were pointing upwards.

Make sure your arm is straight and that your wrist and elbow are in line with your shoulder.

Rotate your arm from the shoulder by turning your hand and your elbow. Do 40 repetitions for each arm.

This simple yet effective exercise messages the muscles needed for scapular stabilisation and improves the overall mobility and range of motion in the shoulder joint.

Shoulder Dislocations

What you’ll need: A wooden stick or light rod. Don’t use the barbell; it’s too heavy and you’ll end up injuring yourself.

Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Hold the stick with both hands.

Use a wide grip (wider then shoulder width). Keep your arms straight and lock out your elbows.

Bring the stick-up, over your head and behind your back in a single controlled motion without bending your elbows.

Hold it behind your back for a few second before bringing it over your head and back to the front.

Do 15-20 reps for a good warm up.

Like the previous exercise, this exercise too greatly helps to prep the shoulders and increase the range of motion, especially if you’re planning on doing cleans, front squats, deadlifts or even shoulder presses.

Hip Mobility

Squatting with proper form can be a nightmare if you have tight hip flexors with little or no range of motion. If you hip can’t move through a full range of motion with relative ease, you’re going to face serious trouble while lifting weight and that one rep max will forever be out of your reach.

Here are a few stretches that are designed to target the key muscles that will help you dig deeper and hit well below parallel on each rep.

Psoas Quad Stretch

The Psoas major is a pelvic muscle that is crucial to hip flexion. Unfortunately, not many people or coaches are aware of its pivotal role in increasing the range of motion in the hips and so don’t know how to help their athletes improve their squatting form.

How to:

Stand in front of a bench with your back facing it.

Bend down on one knee and place your leg on the bench with the toes facing down on the bench.

Let your knee rest on the ground. (place a towel or mate beneath your knee for added comfort).

Balance yourself by placing both your hands on the opposite knee. Hold this position for a few seconds before changing legs.

Stretch your Hip Flexor

This next stretch is ideal for releasing tension in the hip flexor and further increasing range of motion so that you can squat deeper and reap all the benefits of proper squatting form.

How to:

First, get into a lunge position. Then spread your legs out a little a wider.

Rest the shin and knee of your back leg on the floor and bring the heel of your front leg under your shoulder.

Place your elbow inside the front knee.

Gently push your leg outwards with your elbow and rock back and forth.

Next, apply a little more pressure to your knee with your elbow to get an even deeper stretch.

Depending on your level of flexibility, not try and rest your front foot on it side while you continue to apply pressure on the inside of your knee.

Work on each leg for 3-5 minutes.

Ankle Mobility

Don’t neglect them ankles. Often time, we see people’s heels lift off the floor as they descend into their squat and applying unnecessary pressure on their knees. This leads to knee problems and can even cause ligament damage if left unchecked over time.

The key to keeping your heels on the ground lies in ankle flexibility and mobility. While ankle Rotations and such do play an important role, they often fail to release tightness in the soles or surrounding areas of the foot.

You’ll need to Lacrosse ball for these following drills.

1. Sit on a chair or stool

Place the ball in the middle of your foot and rotate the ball with your foot while pressing down on it.

2. Sit in a figure four posture with one leg resting on the knee of the other.

Place the ball on the side of the calf of your bent leg.

While pressing it gently into the soft tissue of your leg rotate your ankle clockwise as well as counter-clockwise.

Move the ball up and down your calf and work out the tension in any tight spots in your calf.

Final Word

Incorporate all the above in pre and post workout stretching routines to dynamically affect your mobility and increase the range of motion in your squats as well as other lifts. Prior to your workouts, try and focus on dynamic stretching and use the post workout session to focus on slower, deep tissue work, preferably with a lacrosse ball or foam roller. By adding the above-mentioned mobility exercises into your routine, you will experience greater stability and strength in your lifts. Train hard and train safely.

Incorporate all the above in pre and post workout stretching routines to dynamically affect your mobility and increase the range of motion in your squats as well as other lifts. Prior to your workouts, try and focus on dynamic stretching and use the post workout session to focus on slower, deep tissue work, preferably with a lacrosse ball or foam roller. By adding the above-mentioned mobility exercises into your routine, you will experience greater stability and strength in your lifts. Train hard and train safely.

Author Bio: Andrew is the founder and CEO at AimWorkout (http://aimworkout.com/best-rowing-machine-reviews/). As a passionate fitness professional and tri-athlete, there is literally no adventure he won’t embark on. From mountain biking, deep sea diving, rock climbing and cycling to boxing and mixed martial arts, Andrew has a penchant for the wild and extreme.

  • June 10, 2016
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