These are 5 mobility drills for everyone to do daily. Keep in mind that you may not be able to do them to the maximum range of motion, but that's what we're working on. If you are one who can't perform these mobility drills to the fullest then you're also the one who should be doing these the most. We're going to be creating control of ROM (Range of Motion) for greater joint stability. We'll also be inducing progressive tissue adaption in your ligaments and capsule tissue which creates joint protection. In order to do this, we have to do what's called Controlled Articular Rotation aka CAR. These drills will tell your CNS (Central Nervous System) through afferent feedback, meaning, giving the nerves that carry signals toward the central nervous system from the periphery, feedback that will in-turn prepare the body for more complex tasks. Still following? Great.
The reason we want to work from the joints is that unlike muscles, the joint capsule has more tissue and is the first area to perceive motion. These joint capsules can also do complex, multi-dimensional, rotational information back. This is how the afferent feedback happens that we mentioned above. Let's go ahead and hop into these movements now, shall we? Enough of the movement nerdy stuff. Grab your Ape Movement Yoga Blocks and let's get it going!
1. Wrist Opener (Great for the Carpal Tunnel)
First off is the wrist opener. You’ll notice we said “for the carpal tunnel”, that’s because we want you to know that your carpal tunnel is an actual body part, not a syndrome or disability. This first wrist mobility exercise is great for making room in the wrist for optimal blood flow which will make your wrist feel much better. This is all great for doing after any exercise where your wrist is in constant extension like a pushup, handstand, plank, etc
How to do it:
Kneel down and grab one Ape Movement Yoga Block. Place it on the ground in front of you.
Take your right arm and place the top of your wrist crease on the short edge of your yoga block with your hand supinated (palm facing upward)
Take your left hand and push down on your arm right below your wrist. If your fingers curl that’s okay, just make them straight again.
Keeping your hand and fingers spread and straight, move your wrist from flexion to extension meaning up and down basically. Fingers to the ceiling, fingers to the ground.
Alternate between the two positions for about 4 times each, or until it starts feeling good. Reps and sets just depend widely on the person. Switch sides and start again.
TIP: Try not letting your thumb curl in, keep your hand as flat as possible. Extending and spreading your fingers will help with this. Also, sometimes I like using my other forearm to press down instead of my hand.
2. Awaken Your Hamstrings
We think it’s safe to say that most of society has sleepy hamstrings. Meaning the muscle group isn’t doing anything due to our comfortable society; chairs and desk jobs.
How to do it:
The Position: Get into a cat-cow position. If you don’t know what that is get on all fours, hands, and knees, like a baby crawling position.
Now be strong in your position, don’t just slouch and hang out in your body. Be present.
Start to bend your knee. You should feel your hamstring awaken, cramp, flex, etc. Take your yoga block and place it in-between your heel and glutei.
Now hold that for like 30 seconds or however long you can before you start compensating in other areas of your body.
If you’re feeling good, lift your leg up. OH BABY, now we’re feeling it!
TIP: Make sure to breathe and keep your ribs lifted. Don’t let your head drop.
3. Shoulder CAR’s (Controlled Articulate Rotations)
Shoulder Controlled Articulated Rotations is really great for working the shoulder mobility inside the joint. If you’ve ever had a shoulder injury this will help gain the mobility back into it. Just remember to work on the threshold of no pain and a little pain. Like, very little pain to none. You can stand shoulder to the wall and see if you can clear the wall without touching it. That is a healthy shoulder. There is a lot happening on this one so just do your best. If you want to make this mobility exercise more strict, use a Yoga Block.
How to do it:
Stand up for this one. Brace yourself aka squeeze your core. Cough, and hold that feeling, to turn on your rectus abdominis (the muscle beneath your abs)
Flex your arm muscles and bring your right arm upward, toward the ceiling, with a neutral arm position, palm facing you.
Once you get to the top, start internal rotation of your arm as it goes back. Activate your rotation through muscle action, don’t just rotate it. Keep the muscle energy the whole time! Your shoulder will want to collapse, don’t let it. Keep your body upright with good posture the entire time.
Once you make it around, go in reverse and apply the same principles.
How to do it with a Yoga Block
Face the wall and place the yoga block against your torso, holding the block in-between you and the wall. This will help keep you aware of your body position.
Everything else is the same as above.
TIP: Picture the ball in the socket rotating for visualization. Keep your ribs down. Keep your should blade on your back, don’t let it pop up. Remember to keep muscle energy and rotate from the joint.
4. Hip Flexion Hovers
Let’s get your hip flexors going so you can shake your hips like a salsa dancer. Strong and stable hips are vital to everyday movement and mobility. If you want to avoid having a hip replacement, this is absolutely necessary. We’re going to strengthen around the ball and socket so you can move more and live better!
How to do it:
Find yourself a wall and sit up against it. You can also sit away from the wall but put something behind you like a foam roller and try not to knock it down. We’re going to be sitting up with our legs out.
Grab your Ape Movement Yoga Block and place it next to your ankle (You’re going to be laterally (side to side) lifting your leg over it.
Brace your self, especially your core. Cough, as we did in the others, and that will activate your rectus abdominis, make sure to hold that feeling.
Clasp your hands together and squeeze, activate your muscle energy and push your hands together while keeping your body upright as much as possible.
Now, here’s the good part. Lift your leg over the block about 2-4 times each leg.
Repeat for the other leg.
TIP: Your quad will probably cramp up but the more you practice the less it will do that. Really just make sure you keep your muscles energy for this one, it will help keep you stable.
5. Cat-Cow for the Spine
Our spine is often neglected in that we have desk jobs. Do you see the common occurrence of how desk jobs aren't benefiting us? We are often hunched over and being in that position isn't good for a prolonged period of time. With this Cat-Cow pose, we're going to add another aspect to it that is really going to wake your thoracic spine up. It's all about the curves when it comes to the spine.
How to do it:
Get on all fours. Grab a Yoga Block and place it in-between your inner-thighs. Squeeze it, don't let it drop.
Now, hover your legs. Stay strong in your body and keep your core strong.
Now, slowly round your entire spine, including your neck, until you reach the rounded position.
From the rounded position, arch your entire spine until you reach the extended position.
TIP: Try moving each vertebra one at a time as you go into cat and back to cow. Go slow, breathe, and stay strong.
Try and practice each one of these mobility drills to strengthen your joints and prevent injury. It's all about longevity, and these 5 mobility drills will help with that. We do recommend going to a doctor to figure out your underlying injury first (if you have one). If you don't, great! Let's keep it that way.