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Top 3 Mobility Tools & Tips on How to Use them!

Posted on: February 23rd, 2018 by Kayla Nguyen No Comments



This is post two in our injury prevention series!

Check out the first post on What the Heck IS Mobility?


Hiiiiiiii Kayla here!

So now that you’re super pumped about wanting to be mobile; I’m going to discuss my favourite 3 mobility tools, their benefits, and some of my favourite ways to use them!

Fact:

When you are using these tools – you are NOT (I repeat, you are NOT) breaking up scar tissue, releasing ‘fascial adhesions’, or even ‘making the knots disappear!’.

Without sounding TOO nerdy/science-y; What you ARE doing is : increasing blood flow to the area, (we love blood flow! Blood brings all kinds of nutrients and oxygen to the local site!), helps the tissues slide and glide between each other (aka assisting with tissue extensibility) , and you’re actually helping to decrease that ‘tightness’ sensation so your body can start to move properly! Think of it as a cool tool that helps your body reach full range (: Also, they are great post workout to assist with muscle recovery!

Disclaimer: there are TONS of things you can do without these tools! Don’t just limit yourself to the few I have mentioned here. The YouTube links are good examples of what I am trying to describe!


The Foam Roller

I have a feeling you already hate me for saying this. THE FOAM ROLLER IS NOT INHERENTLY EVIL! It can be a great tool to help get you moving! These guys can be quite cheap, sturdy, and are now normally found in nearly every fitness facility.

Because the foam roller is pretty long (or at least it can be), my 3 favourite mobility exercises for this bad boy include:

Number 1: Rolling out your quads / hip flexors

No need to kill your self but I like to spend 30 seconds rolling the bottom half, and then 30 seconds rolling the upper half! (get right up in that hip joint).

This is wonderful after sitting at a desk / driving all day!

Number 2: T-spine Extension Over the Roller

This one is awesome pre-overhead lifting in the gym, or post sitting slouched all day

Grab the roller, lay perpendicular to it. Start with the roller around the bottom of your rib cage, keep you tummy tight (rib cage down!), and slowly allow yourself to extend over the roller. Spend a few minutes going up and down the middle of your back.

 

Number 3: Open Book

Ok, so technically you don’t ‘need’ the roller, BUT, it makes a great head support (unfortunately, in the YouTube video, he doesn’t use it as a pillow!)

On your side, with your bottom leg straight, bend your top hip and knee to 90 deg. Lift one arm and rotate, like ‘opening a book!’. Try to do 15 per side!

 


 

The Lacrosse Ball

So small, so simple, yet so effective. This little sucker is awesome. It’s really great to use on areas that are a bit smaller / awkward, plus – super easy to bring around with you anywhere!

 

 

Almost too easy, right? But for real. There’s a ton of fascia on the bottom of your foot that needs some love. This will help reduced the risk of plantar fasciitis, help with your ankle mobility, and believe it or not, your low back mobility too! (everything is connected, you’ll see)

 


Number Two: Lat Smash

Lay on the ground with the lacrosse ball ,and place it JUST below your armpit, with your arm above your head.

Roll up and down a little bit (this may suck for a few minutes)

Stand up, and realize how awesome your overhead mobility is!!

Number Three: Glute Release

Fun fact: there are 3 gluteal muscles, and they’re DEEP! The ball helps get right in there to reach all layers of muscle.

On the ground, cross one leg, and roll on one bum cheek on the ball (really move it around! Glutes are big!)

This really helps to unlock hip extension, and will help with squats, deadlifts, running and jumping!

 


 

The Peanut

Pro Tip: if you take 2 lacrosse balls in a sock, and tie the sock – voila! Peanut! This little sucker is great on necks and backs, and killing 2 birds with 1 stone.

Number One: Calf Smash

Yes, your calf muscle actually has two ‘heads’! Rolling this guy up and down for 30 sec

can really help with your ankle mobility, and make running way less painful.

Number Two: Lumbar Spine Rocking

Get this sucker on each side of your spine on your low back

Lay on your back with your knees bent, and rock your knees back and forth

This helps to get your low back moving in a safe way, which is more than likely tight after being in a slouched position all day

Also important to not have a jacked up back when lifting heavy

*sorry couldn’t find a video for this one friends!

Number Three: Upper Neck Release

While this one may not be ‘fitness’ released, its super important! Especially for those who suffer from headaches

Lay on the ground, get the ball at the base of your skull, hold in place, and nod your chin up and down

This gets right into those sub-occipital muscles, often the cause of headaches!


Now – these are just a few simple suggestions! There are zillions of different ways each of these tools can be used. YouTube can be a great source – but if you’re at all confused, reach out to your local gym trainer or physio!

I would also encourage you to follow up some of these drills with some body weight movements! You can really feel the quick change that these small movements can create. And by just moving your own body, you really help to ‘lock in’ that new found mobility!

Get up, get moving, get mobile!

(This post was originally published on the Staz Fitness site here.)

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