Strategies for Increasing Mobility and Durability

Considering the numerous benefits that increasing mobility can have (improved technique, reduced risk of both chronic and acute injury) you’d think that everyone in the gym was finding space in their programs to improve it. But the opposite is the case with mobility being bottom of most lifters’ priority lists – after calf growth!

The reason being that a lot of mobility work can be time-consuming and tends to concentrate on small muscles that don’t tend to get noticed by other people. The “mirror” muscles (pecs, triceps, biceps, quadriceps etc) are overworked by many lifters while rotator cuff muscles, teres major and minor, and muscles of the lower back and hip are typically neglected. Since no one has ever come up to a bodybuilder and said “you have such great Erector Spinae,” it tends to get overlooked.

But anyone who intends to lift weights for a long time or have a successful sports career needs to improve their mobility. So finding time at the beginning of your workout to focus on these muscles is crucial.

Starting off a session with mobility exercises is good for a number of reasons; firstly, it is habit forming. Humans love habits (which is why brushing our teeth first thing in the morning comes a lot more naturally to us than brushing our teeth at 4 pm) and we’ll always do better when we create one. If you start every session with some mobility exercises then you will find that you won’t forget to do them and it will become harder for you to justify skipping them.

Secondly, mobility exercises are a fantastic way to warm up your muscles without tiring them out. If your session is going to consist of heavy squats, then add some mobility exercises for the feet, hips, and lower back muscles, it’s a great way to temporarily increase mobility for the exercise and prepare the muscles for the load.

Finally, there is the practicality of performing mobility exercises while the muscles are still fired up. For example, if you were to smash out a new personal best deadlift, would some hamstring mobility exercises be a great idea? Even if you weren’t exhausted, your hamstrings would probably not respond well to the movements.

One common mistake that you want to avoid is not adequately incorporating mobility exercises into your workouts, some people in the gym spend 30-60 minutes on mobility work before doing their actual workout! If you are only spending 5-10 minutes on mobility, you should try increasing it to around 20-30 minutes if time permits.