While gyms are closed, one of the best things you can do to benefit your body is to spend time working on mobility and range of motion. It is often the case that individuals who are dedicated to strength training have “programmed” their bodies to move in certain patterns by practicing them over and over and over again. While these patterns can have many benefits in terms of strength and muscle building, too much of a good thing can lead to problems. For example, squatting is a phenomenal exercise, but if your entire leg routine day-in and day-out consists of only squatting, then you’re missing out on many other important aspects of the lower body such as single-leg movements, hip and ankle mobility, posterior chain development, lower leg musculature, and dynamic/reactive movements initiated throughout the leg. Neglecting these things will almost certainly lead to injuries in some form or another (overuse, muscle/tendon strains, ligament damage, etc.).
Mobility often requires a decrease in resistance, so now is a perfect time to work on it! Many mobility drills can be done with just body weight or a resistance band and encourage a much more integrated and well-rounded functioning of the body. Following the example mentioned above, some beneficial lower-body mobility drills may include pistol squats, hip/ankle CARs (controlled articular rotations), banded stretching to increase flexibility, isometric split squats, and various exercises with a floating heel to further strengthen/mobilize the foot and ankle joint. Working on your mobility now will benefit you greatly when it’s time to return to your gym and start lifting weights again. You will likely feel more comfortable at your end ranges of motion, need less time “warming-up,” and your strength will return faster.
Fitness Professional, Matt Rucinski
Interested in learning more? Contact Amanda or one of our other great Personal Trainers to figure out how to get more physical activity and/or exercise into your lifestyle.