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The Importance of Joint Mobility

By Chris Bardawil

 

We have all heard about the benefits of stretching but something we hear much less about is joint mobility. Mobility is the ability to demonstrate the full range of motion of our joint in movement. It's no coincidence that people who do regular bodyweight training, yoga or pilates have great movement and posture - this is because these practices are heavy in joint mobilization and encourage good technique and alignment to work properly.

The beauty of a basic joint mobility routine is that we can get fluid and nutrients into the joints that have been neglected. The main joints to focus on are the shoulders, hips, spine, and knees - These are the main source of modern-day injuries simply because we do not properly warm up and mobilize on a daily basis.

Here are a few simple joint mobility exercises that can be done to encourage a full range of movement in the joints. 10-12 reps of each before you work out or first thing in the morning will keep you mobile and open up the body.

Kneeling Pushup - A simple pushup on the knees. A great way to mobilize the shoulders, elbows, and wrists while building upper body strength and opening up the chest. You can play around with a variety of grips - a closer grip will mobilize through the shoulders more, whereas a wide grip will open the chest.

Bodyweight Squat - Another classic bodyweight exercise that opens the hips while mobilizing the knees and ankles. Get deep and keep your weight in the heels. Make sure shoulders are back and down and focus on alignment of the hips, knees, and ankles.

Shoulder Bridge - Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands by your sides palms down. Exhale as you bring up your hips and feel them open up at the top. Roll down vertebrae by vertebrae as you unravel the spine back down to the floor.

Ankle Circles - Loosen up those tight ankles. Start by turning your ankle around slowly in circles to the left then the right. You can also draw a figure of eight with your ankle. Be sure to lead with your big toe.

Joint mobility is the key to keeping a youthful, supple and healthy body. Invest some time in these movements daily and your body will thank you!
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