In today’s modern society we are moving less and less, which may be causing minor aches and pains to manifest into more significant issues down the road. In my 20 years of training experience, I have tried many different modalities to keep myself and my clients’ healthy. This includes foam rolling, mobility, stretching, yoga, strength training, etc. I have done a lot over those years, and finally the last 3 years, I have started to reap the benefits.
My secret, CONSISTENT ACTION EVERY DAY. I created routines that keep my body feeling good and ready to take on the world. Remember, the world does not take a break and it will keep coming.
Does my body feel good every day? No way, there are times I wake up with tight ankles, hips, shoulders, and a stiff neck. But I created a morning mobility routine that allows me to work on these minor hiccups before they grow into something larger and more painful. But I can say, I do have less days with stiffness now then I did 10 even 20 years ago.
I have worked on my body to squat comfortably now, 20 years ago this was impossible for me. My ankles, hips, shoulders, and thoracic spine were not mobile and often caused me pain. I could not get any depth in my squat as well as stay in that position for a long time.
This picture was taken in July 2004. I had been a personal trainer for a little over a year and thought I needed to gain more muscle and I certainly did not work on mobility (who has time for that!). Like most twenty-something-year-old males we want to get big and strong, even if that means you can’t touch your toes.
Fast forward to today, and I can finally squat and not feel like the Tin Man. Yes, that is a heel lift. Over the years I have gone back and forth about using a heel lift. I even got mad at a former coach for squatting his athletes with one. I said with a condescending tone, “you should perfect his (HS athlete) squat before you load him with a bar.” I later apologized. The kid we there to get stronger and the coach was trying his best to help him gain strength.
The heel lift allows me access to the depth I need without having to call upon my ankles to get the depth. I had an ankle injury dating back to HS football in 1996. That’s almost 30 years ago, I can’t believe I’m saying that. Doctors at the time basically said that I would have arthritis by the time I’m 40. I’m now 43 and arthritis has not caught up to me yet.
I truly believe moving my body consistently over these last 2 decades has helped me tremendously. This is why I share this information with you. I want to help change your life!
Here is a breakdown on how we get someone to squat better. Check it out HERE!
Your joints need to move well and move often. What does that mean? Our joint-by-joint approach helps build the proper joint mobility to help you move better. We also build the required strength to ensure you have adequate control in the new ranges of motion.
Just gaining mobility and not the required strength can oftentimes create more hazards for you. Do yourself a favor and get strong while enhancing your mobility.
Besides my morning mobility routine, I also have a nighttime routine that helps me relax and unwind from a long day of activity (and inactivity). Creating new patterns and habits takes time. If you can’t do it daily, don’t worry, performing this a couple of times a week between gym sessions will go a long way.
As you gain mobility you can now test it and gain new strength during your focused strength training. This will start with your warm-up, so you can hit the joints that need to move and prime the muscles for the workout.
Another way to help you gain range is controlling your breathing while you are practicing your mobility routine. Breathing properly will help you relax to open your body up. By spending time taking deep breaths you engage your Parasympathetic Nervous System to start to relax and get oxygen to the brain.
There has been a lot of hype about breathing in the last few years. Research is showing the benefits of breathwork and how it can impact your life. Give breathing drills a chance, you breathe an average of 22,000 times per day, and you can certainly work on it during a stint of a few minutes a day.
Here is a LINK to some great drills to follow.
During my mobility and self-soft-tissue treatments, I rely on taking deep breaths to relax my muscles. I have termed this “Muscle Melting,” due to the fact that is the sensation I feel. Give deep breathing a try next time you are spending time doing some self-care. I have also found that doing these movements next to dogs allows an even greater sense of relaxation.