Today I thought it would be fun to start a “Mobility Monday”.
Basically each Monday I will bring you a “Mobility” exercise of the week.
Before we begin let’s 1st define exactly what mobility is.
To me Mobility is a combination of Flexibility AND Stability. A lot of folks are very “flexible” and can touch their toes or do some super redonkulous yoga things; however if you ask them to go through a squat or lunge patter with any amount of weight all of a sudden the crumple over like a wet paper bag.
On the other side of the spectrum some folks are incredibly stable and and can squat like twice their body weight. However, they lack the flexibility to properly scratch their back without one of the extended scratcher gizmos.
Mobility is the best of both worlds. You have the flexibility to reach a full range of motion in daily life activities while simultaneously also possessing the stability to not get blown over by a stiff breeze.
With that out of the way let’s get to our 1st Mobility exercise in this series. I figure the best place to start is with one of the 1st exercises I teach all of my new trainees.
Hip Flexor Mobilization with Band
I love this exercise because it really targets your hip flexors.
These are chronically tight in the office work population as well as with the “sloggers – slow joggers” of Austin and other cities nationwide.
Most folks will do the stretch where they pull their foot to the back of their butt.
The problem is that this stretch does not adequately mobilize the Rectus Femoris.
This is a problem because this is the biggest baddest hip flexor of the bunch. Not adequately mobilizing it; and only mobilizing the other hip flexors, is sort of like taking out all of the henchmen in a James Bond movie but never stopping the “big baddie” of the movie. As long at that “big baddie” is out there the henchmen will simply keep coming. Stop the super boss though and you can win the war and save the planet….or your hips, back and knees.
On a 2nd note using the band allows for “traction” during the stretch. This is key as a passive hold for 30″ stretch will definitely lengthen the muscle BUT it will also cost you that oh so important stability component and affect your performance. What this means is that you will run and slog even slower, lift less weight in the weight room, or simply not be able to get over that nagging knee or back.
Using the band will lead to an even LARGER increase in range of motion of the Rectus Femoris while simultaneously NOT leading to any performance issues and a loss of stability.
How to do it
Simply wrap the end of a continuously looped resistance band around your foot – make sure it is snug so that it doesn’t slip. Then grab the other end of the band with the same side hand of the foot that the band is wrapped around. Place your free foot between the opposite leg and band and then roll over to get into position. Now hang out for about 30 seconds while alternating between letting the band “stretch” your hip flexor and flexing back against the band so that you can feel a contraction.
The biggest mistake on this drill (once you get into position) is allowing your back to over-arch. If you feel pressure in your lower back you are doing this drill wrong and need to sort of “crunch” over in order to rectify this.
The 2nd biggest mistake is not locking out the wrist so that it is in a neutral position.
Hope you enjoy this drill and finally get those hip flexors loosened up. I’ll be back next Monday with another Mobilization exercise.