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Do you feel you have hit a wall with your muscle-building efforts? Or do you find you’re not quite able to reach your next level of training for those epic gains? Maybe you have recurring joint pain or injuries?
Whatever your training issue, restricted joint or muscle mobility could be the reason. But, the good news is—you can do something about it.
While you might jump to thinking you are not eating enough, need to change your training routine or feel you've reached your limits—but, with the right mobility exercises, you can push your physical abilities to new heights. And, we're going to tell you how to improve your mobility right now.
Ready to get the gains you deserve? Let's go.
What is mobility?
Mobility refers to the ability of a bone joint to move freely and to its full capacity. Restricted mobility means your joints have a less-than-optimal range of movement. This rigidity can leave you more susceptible to injuries and joint pain.
A full range of motion is the key to training success
Mobility affects our daily lives, health and training abilities. As we age, mobility can deteriorate. But mobility is determined by our posture and movement.
On the flip side, our mobility (or lack thereof) affects our posture and range of motion. It can be a vicious cycle without specific mobility exercises.
Even people who train regularly often live relatively sedentary lifestyles outside their workouts. Many people now work in office jobs or spend their downtime in front of TVs or computers. Unfortunately, this lifestyle results in reduced mobility.
Mobility vs. flexibility
It's important to understand the difference between mobility and flexibility. Where mobility refers to the freedom of movement in joints, flexibility refers to the level of stretch in our muscles and ligaments.
So, while you think you're active because you train regularly and stretch for flexibility, you could be holding yourself back with a lack of mobility. But, the right style of mobility training can get you where you need to be.
Why is mobility important for building muscle?
How do mobility exercises apply to your strength training? Let’s look at a quick example to put things in perspective, shall we?
Mobility training in action
Imagine you are in the gym, about to do a bar squat. Think of each movement as you sink into your squatting position.
What parts of your body are working to make the pose possible? You might initially think of the big muscle groups: quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
But remember, your joints allow your muscles to reach that position. Your knees (you must have your knee bent at the correct angle), hips and ankles are core to the squat. And, your wrists are holding the barbell in place.
Building muscle with good joint mobility allows you to concentrate on muscle gain. Instead of wasting energy compensating for a limited range of motion, you can focus on bettering your training and reaching new levels of your abilities.
Got for a full range of motion
You need a full range of motion in your joints to get the most out of your strength training. This helps you avoid poor posture during weight training while preventing injuries and reducing joint pain. Less time spent in recovery means more time spent training. And, that's the fastest route to achieving those epic gains.
FYI: In our bar squat example, low mobility in the hips would hinder your ability to dip down fully. Creating good mobility in your hip flexors will allow you to work into a deeper squat and support the development of your glute muscles.
The right exercises will also improve your ankle mobility, empowering you to go for a deeper lunge in the process.
Mobility exercises can improve the joint itself and the surrounding muscles and ligaments. Full mobility is the best way to support your health as you age and increase the outcome of your training. And, mobility training is more straightforward than you might think.
Try these five essential mobility exercises
You now know how mobility is essential in your training plan. At this point, you're probably asking yourself the question, "How do I improve my mobility?" We're going to tell you.
Now, let’s look at exactly how to improve your mobility to improve your strength, stamina, and general movement.
Now, here are some mobility exercises for you to get started:
Great for: Knee and hip mobility. This exercise is also good for strengthening your hip joint.
- In a standing position, rest your hands on your hips. Stand straight with your legs shoulder-width apart.
- Start by making slow, wide circles with your hips in a clockwise direction. Don’t worry if these are not very wide to begin with.
- Make 10 circles. Repeat in an anti-clockwise direction.
Great for: Knee and hip mobility. This exercise will also help you tackle any lower-body mobility restrictions.
- Sit on the floor with both legs in front of you. Bend both knees into 90-degree angles to the left, facing diagonally towards your left knee.
- Starting slow, switch the direction of your knees to your right. Then, switch them back.
- Repeat for ten reps.
Bonus exercise: For an additional hip mobility benefit, push up onto your knees towards the direction of your front shin. Use your arms for extra support if needed. You should feel the hips opening as you rise. Slowly retreat down again and repeat when you switch to the other side.
Deep squat rotation
Great for: Shoulder, knee and hip mobility. This exercise also offers the additional benefit of a solid chest stretch while adopting your preferred squat position.
- Lower yourself into a deep squat position. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and facing ahead.
- Hold your right ankle with your left hand.
- Twist your upper body and reach your right hand toward the sky.
- Your head can twist towards your armpit but do not strain your neck.
- Hold for three seconds, then return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
Great for: Spine and shoulder mobility. This savvy mobility exercise will also make an excellent addition to your warm-up routine by engaging key parts of your upper body.
- Begin on all fours with a neutral, straight spine. Your arms should be directly underneath your shoulders, and your knees should be underneath your hips.
- Keeping your arms straight, lower your spine into a curved position, with the head and pelvis rising. This is the 'cat' position.
- Return to your neutral starting position.
- Now curve your spine in the opposite direction, towards the sky, sending your pelvis and head downwards and curving your shoulders in. This is the “cow” position.
- Return to a neutral position.
Great for: General ankle mobility. This most epic of ankle mobility exercises will make an essential part of your mobility workout.
- Standing or sitting, extend one leg in front of you.
- Start tracing the shapes of alphabet letters with your foot.
- Limit movement to the ankle, not your whole leg.
- When finished, switch sides and repeat.
Read: Our practical guide to getting in top-notch workouts when you live a busy nine-to-five lifestyle.
Are you ready to improve your mobility?
Now that you know how mobility training can help you reach (or even smash) your health and fitness goals, it's time to get, well...moving.
Mobility exercise is your friend
Weave these five essential exercises into your mobility training routine and you'll prime your body for success in every way. Those epic gains are just around the corner.
You can start by picking two or three mobility exercises that appeal to you or support your core training goals—then weave the others into the mix as you start gaining momentum.
Add these mobility training movements to your existing workout routine, build a specific mobility workout or integrate mobility into your daily life. However you decide to tackle your mobility training regime, as long as you're consistent, you will reap a treasure trove of body-boosting rewards.
Consistency is key
Remember: Sticking to a new habit is the hardest part. But if you make mobile exercise a part of the habits you are already committed to, adding mobility exercises into your training routine will be much easier.
Once you’re established in your mobility training, you can even find new exercises to try. You might even consider getting yourself a specific mobility coach. The possibilities—our friend—are endless.
Level up your training with Crazy Bulk
Taking the time to improve your mobility is always worth the extra effort. You will help protect your joints from pain and injury, increase your ability to build muscle and improve your overall health.
To add to your brand new range of mobility exercises, throwing these training supplements from Crazy Bulk into the mix will help you take things to the next level.
From bulking, cutting and strength supplements to fat burners, performance enhancers, and beyond, we have everything you need to succeed. Try our product finder to discover your perfect supplement today.
Mobility exercises: FAQs
Is mobility important for bodybuilding?
In a word, yes. Mobility exercises are essential for bodybuilding as they will give you the tools to perform your exercises with more precision while helping to prevent inflammation and injury.
Armed with a better range of motion, you'll also prime your body in a way that speeds up recovery, so you can reach (or even smash) your training goals more swiftly.
What mobility exercises should I try to improve my training?
If you want to improve your training and improve strength as well as stability, there is a full range of exercises you can try.
To train mobility and tackle tight muscles, it's best to focus on all key areas of your body. From shoulder movements to ankle rotations, and beyond, committing to a full-body mobility routine will work wonders for your training efforts.
As a guide, here are the five exercises you should add to your full-body mobility routine: Hip circles, 90/90, Deep squat rotations, Cat-Cows, and Ankle Alphabets.
How can a bodybuilder become more flexible?
As a bodybuilder, one of the best things you can do to become more flexible is to commit to mobility exercise.
By improving your range of motion, you will become more flexible and, as a result, better equipped to perform your training exercises well.
Not only will you boost your training performance, but you'll also reduce inflammation, prevent injury, and speed up recovery: all of the key ingredients you need to go for those epic gains.
Should you do mobility exercises every day?
If you can, you should commit to a mobility exercise routine every day. By focusing on a range of motion, you'll improve flexibility while making sure you're far less prone to injury.
For anyone who trains hard or works to gain serious muscle mass (we're looking at you), trying a range of motion exercises every day will help you take your training to the next level while speeding up your recovery between workouts.
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