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Whole Body Mobility - Can You Do Them All?

This month, we'd like to have some fun challenging you to test yourself with these simple mobility drills. We know not everyone will be able to do them all, as each of you has a unique body with a unique story. But give these a go and see what happens.

What is Mobility?

At FIT Carrboro, we believe in Functional Integrative Training (FIT - get it?!). And that means we believe that the body is a "kinetic chain." Your Kinetic Chain is the idea that your body’s joints all comprise a chain, and therefore all joints are connected by muscle and connective tissues. Great body movement requires all of your muscles to work together to produce force while simultaneously stabilizing your joints.

Mobility vs. Stability vs. Flexibility

Joint Mobility is the range of uninhibited movement around a joint in your body, whereas Joint Stability is your ability to maintain or control the joint movement and position. Flexibility is your ability to move your joints through their normal full range of motion. Your flexibility is determined largely by the condition and fitness of your muscle and connective tissues.

Why is Mobility Important?

Often, we have flexibility without mobility/stability. For instance, you might be able to lie on your back and use a stretching strap to pull your leg up into the air and stretch your hamstrings really far (indicating a large amount of flexibility). However, if you tried using your strength to lift your leg up to that same place it was that you could get it to with a strap, you might not get all the way up. This example would indicate that your flexibility exceeds your mobility, and probably means that you lack some strength and/or active flexibility despite having passive flexibility.

We want to aim to have as much mobility as we do flexibility. Increases in mobility help us prevent injuries in day to day life as well as sports and activities, especially when something unexpected happens and we are forced to move our bodies in sudden or unexpected ways. The more prepared our tissues are to move and stretch our joints, the more resilient we are. And in case you haven't picked up on our theme here at FIT Carrboro, one of our favorite ways to get there is through strength training through our entire flexible ranges of motion!

We are training for LIFE. We are unstoppable.

Test Yourself - How Many of These Mobility Drills Can You Do?

Take a few minutes to try as many of these mobility drills and see what you can do! I've put them in order of accessibility. If you can do most of these, then you've got really great full body mobility. That being said, some of these might not be possible for you, and that's okay. Let your trainer know if there are any drills that surprised you, or that you want to improve upon!

Seated Forward Fold

From sitting in a chair, can you fold forward and touch the floor in between your feet? This tests your spine and hips.

Seated Sit and Reach

Sitting in a chair and with one leg extended in front of you, can you reach your palms to within 4 inches of your toes, or further? This tests your spine, hips, and legs. Or, you have short arms :)

Standing Straight Leg Forward Fold

Standing up, and without bending your knees at all, can you fold forward and touch the floor in front of your toes? With the legs straight, this tests the back of the legs and hips, as well as the spine.

Over/Under Shoulder Reach

Standing or sitting, and reaching one hand over and one hand under the shoulder, can you get within four inches of touching your fingertips behind your back? This tests your shoulder girdles and the rotator cuffs.

Chin to Chest & Chin Back

Standing or sitting, can you move your head and touch your chin to your chest, then tip your head back to within 10 degrees of having your face flat? This tests your neck flexion and extension.

Back Against the Wall with Overhead Reach

Standing with your butt and shoulder blades on the wall, and feet 12 inches in front of the wall, can you raise one arm up overhead and touch your hand or arm to the wall without your spine lifting off the wall, and without bending your elbow? This tests your shoulder flexion as it relates to your back muscles and core.

Thomas Test for Hip Flexors

Lying on the edge of a sturdy surface like a bed, ottoman, or table, can you hold one knee to your chest and drop the other leg down so that the thigh drops to between 0 and 15 degrees below horizontal, relative to your hips? This tests your hip flexors.

Wall Facing Half Kneeling Ankle Stretch

Half kneeling with your toes four inches from the wall, and holding that heel cup with your other hand, can you shift your bent knee all the way to touch the wall without your heel lifting up? This tests your ankle and calves.

Overhead Squat

Holding a broomstick or dowel above your head (which is a mobility test in and of itself), can you drop into a deep squat, with feet staying in place and flat, arms staying above your head, and no pain? This tests your full body especially as it relates to your trunk.

Cossack Squat

Standing with your feet wide apart, can you shift from one side to the other, bending one knee at a time, without using your hands or falling over, and without your weighted heel lifting up? If you can do this, try it with your arms over your head, hands clasped, the entire time. This tests your inner thighs and single leg strength and balance.

Single Leg Squat

Sitting on a chair, extend one leg straight out in front of you. Can you stand up fully on one leg, then sit back down, without dropping the lifted leg or falling over? Can you do this with NO chair, sitting all the way down to the ground then back up? This tests your single leg strength and hip and knee mobility.

90-90 Hip Rotations

Starting seated on the ground with both knees bent at 90 degrees in the same direction, can you swivel both knees over to face the other direction, without using your hands on the ground to help you? This tests your hip rotational capacity and trunk strength.

Prone Shoulder Flexion

Lying on the floor face down and holding wide a broomstick or dowel in your hands, can you raise your arms at least 8 inches off the ground, and without lifting your head? This tests your shoulder flexion.

Get Up and Down from the Ground (without using hands)

Starting seated on the ground with your legs crossed (again, this might be tough for you!) can you stand up without using your hands to help you? This tests your whole lower body mobility and strength, as well as balance.

Lying on the Floor Body Roll Overs

Lying on the floor on your back, with your arms reaching back, and arms and legs lifted, can you roll all the way over to your stomach and then return to your back, without using your hands or feet to help push you over? This tests your trunk mobility and strength.

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