KEEP MOBILE TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR EXERCISE!
Mobility exercises are an important part of any fitness regime to allow you to move comfortably and exercise without restriction. Mobility exercises may involve stretching, foam rolling, trigger pointing and dynamic warm ups. Employing a combination of these techniques can help you to manage injuries, exercise with less pain, increase movement in your joints and improve movement control. Not only will this help you to train more effectively, but it can reduce post-exercise soreness and lower your risk of injuries
What is it: The application of tension to a muscle belly with the aim of increasing a muscle’s length
When to stretch: Stretching prior to exercises can help to improve range of movement. Whilst stretching will not reduce your risk of injury in the short term, a regular stretching routine is beneficial for your flexibility, muscle and joint health in the future.
How to stretch: Research suggests that a stretch must be held for 30-60 secs, 3-5 repetitions to result in an increase in muscle length. The main principle is to fixate one joint and move another to its end of range to stretch the surrounding muscle(s).
What is it: Foam rolling is the use of a hard foam roller to apply deep pressure and shear forces (friction) to muscles and connective tissue to increase mobility and range of movement. Although the exact physiology is uncertain, research suggests that foam rolling reduces muscle tension, creates friction between muscle and connective tissue layers and improves circulation to the muscle it is applied on. It may also reduce post exercise muscle soreness and help muscles to grow (hypertrophy).
When to foam roll: Foam rolling is useful as a pre & post exercise routine. Where muscle injury is present (tear, strain) foam rolling should be approach cautiously.
How to foam roll: Foam roll a targeted muscle for a period of 2-5 mins until a sensation of release is felt. Technique should focus on slow, sustained pressure (imagine the roller only moving a few cm every second).
trigger point release
What is it: A trigger point refers to a palpable, irritable band in a muscle (“knot”) that can limit movement by making a muscle painful, tense and sensitive. Where such a “knot” is present, a trigger point release can relieve pain and improve movement. This involves the use of a hard ball to apply deep pressure over the tense area of muscle, using your body weight.
When to use a trigger point release: Use a trigger point release when you have a tight, tense muscle that is making movement uncomfortable. They are not suitable to use on a torn or strained area of muscle.
How to trigger point release: 1-2 minutes of sustained firm pressure over a trigger point is sufficient to reduce pain and improve range of movement.
dynamic warm up
What is it: A simple routine that primes the body for exercise by moving your joints through their full range of movement with control. This helps to provide circulation to muscles, distributes synovial fluid around our joints and activates muscles we are about to train.
When to use a dynamic warm up: Useful prior to exercise to reduce the risk of injury during a training session.
How to do a dynamic warm up: Select a variety of movements that take your upper and lower body through their range of movement with light load. Examples may include jogging, cycling, squatting and lunging, shoulder circles, rowing, push ups.
For an example of a dynamic warm up for running have a look at our blog here.
IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING MUSCLE TIGHTNESS, PAIN OR RESTRICTION THAT IS COMPROMISING YOUR ABILITY TO MOVE AND EXERCISE, TALK TO YOUR TRAINER OR PHYSIO ABOUT HOW TO RESOLVE THIS