Is it difficult for you to extend your arms overhead? Do you struggle to squat deep without bringing your chest down and leaning forward? Do you hate front squats and cleans because you can't bring your elbows up to hold the bar? You might be having mobility issues.
I discussed what mobility is and its importance in helping to correct an athletes movement in a previous post. If you're subscribed to the newsletter, you also received links to videos showing several different ways of mobilizing that you can try out yourself.
In this post, I'll provide some basic points that will help you figure out if you need to and where to mobilize to move better. By assessing our movement through a couple of tests, we can determine where the trouble spots are and which part of our body needs extra mobilization in order to improve that movement and prevent pain.
Below is a list of questions that you should ask yourself or have your coach assess you. This is a very basic and simple assessment. There are much more detailed assessments that can be found online. A great resource is MobilityWOD.
1. Posture: check the way you stand. Are you standing straight?
2. Squat: are you able to squat full depth as in hip crease below the knee? Are there any faults when squatting with the feet? Ankles? Knees? Curving back?
3. Hips and Posterior Chain (back): is there a neutral spine maintained when bending forward? Meaning is your back straight or do you have to curve it to be able to bend farther?
4. Front rack position (front squat/clean): elbow position, shoulders, rib cage position?
5. Overhead position: straight bar path? Arms locked out? Head position? Shoulder position?
Make sure you move through each position and check your movement pattern from head to toe, as well as any part that causes pain or discomfort. By doing so, you can determine if your shoulders need mobility because you can't get into a good overhead position, or if your ankles need mobility because of faults in your squat.
Do the assessment test and look up some mobility exercises that you can do. Pick your favorites and do them as often as you can! Kelly Starrett's YouTube page is a great place to start.
Mobilizing with a ball, foam roller, or resistance bands can be done before and after a workout. It is preferable if you use the time before a workout to focus on difficult spots, then after, you can do more general mobilizing if needed (such as stretching).
If you have an issue, CORRECT IT. Come in ten minutes early to do extra work before starting your workout. Don't just do it once a week. Just like most things, consistent and focused work will show huge improvement with time. Avoid pain and move better.
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