Aditya Sahu ‧ CPT & Head Coach
Aditya is an ACSM certified personal trainer and exercise physiologist with more than 7 years training various people and transforming people's lives. He has written various publications for various sports and fitness magazines.
Mobility is the ability to control our body through an optimal joint range of motion. It is a combination of extensibility and flexibility. Mobility exercises ensure connective tissues can lengthen and shorten the way they are designed. It makes connective tissues and muscles stronger, reducing the risk of unwanted injuries.
It is better to do mobility exercises to prepare your body physically and mentally for intense workouts and training. Pre-workout mobility drills complement a significant part of your workout. Here are the 9 most effective and productive mobility drills to do before a workout:
9 Best Pre-Workout Mobility Drills
1. Runner Stretch
A runner stretch is a vital mobility exercise for a good warm-up. You can also do this exercise at home as part of your strength training routine. It activates your glutes and opens up your hips to improve stride length. Performing runner stretches helps enhance running performance.
To perform this exercise correctly, find an area of probably 10 to 15 meters. Make sure it is flat, and no obstacles are in the way. Stride out and keep your core engaged. While exercising, ensure that your back is straight, and then try to get your knees to touch the floor. Eight to ten sets of runner stretches are ideal for a good warm-up.
2. Upward Dog To Downward Dog
Upward dog pose is done after downward dog pose, acting as a counterpoise. It is an effective back bending drill giving good flexibility to the spine. If performed in sequence, it provides strength, power, and energy to the entire body for the workout.
For the downward dog posture, get into the tabletop pose. Make a gap between the legs, hip-width apart, and then tuck in your toes. Inhale and raise your hips. The gap between the hands should be shoulder-width apart. Keep your knees straight and touch your heel with the floor. Hold the posture and make sure your arms, shoulder, and spine are straight.
Hold your position with normal inhalation and exhalation until you can feel the stretch in your legs, abdomen, spine, shoulder, and hands. Then exhale and bring your waist down. Raise your knees while keeping your toes straight. Then while keeping your hands straight, inhale and raise your upper body. Raise your knees and hold the posture with normal inhalation and exhalation until you feel the stretch.
3. Dynamic Side Stretch
The dynamic side stretch should be part of every pre-workout mobility drill. It is an excellent exercise for activating the glutes, the primary mover for most exercises. It also helps loosen up the hips and pelvis.
First, you have to put your foot out. Go twice the hip width of your hips. Sink and make a side lunge while keeping the right knee behind the toe. Ensure to activate the glutes, keeping both toes straight and the head and chest up. When you come out of it, do it slowly and try to balance if you can. Then go back, change the side and keep switching it after every rep.
4. Wrist Rock
The wrist is a very small joint that is often not adequately prepared for movements and skills. Therefore, they must be physically prepared for the work and load you will put on them. One of the best ways to accomplish wrist strength is to do wrist rock exercises.
Make fists with the thumbs pointing to and facing each other. Start with the arms straight. Then lower your elbows towards the floor. Focus on maintaining a straight line from the elbow to the wrist. Also, make sure not to bend the wrist too much.
5. Hamstring Kicks
To enhance the quality of your workout or training session, performing hamstring kicks is the most straightforward pre-workout mobility drill.
Lay on your back. Elevate your knee and hip to an angle of 90 degrees. Take your hands and clasp them behind your hamstring. Slowly straighten your leg to a point where you feel tension or pull, then release it.
6. Hamstring Swipes
Hamstring swipes are an excellent mobility drill to warm up before your workouts.
Put your heel on the ground keeping the entire leg straight. Then bend over it and swipe. Moreover, make sure your knees are fully extended. This exercise should challenge your balance, and you should feel a stretch through the back of your calf and up to your hamstring.
7. Side-Lying Windmills
This exercise aids in thoracic mobility, rotation, and overall shoulder mobility.
Position on your side so that the top knee comes over. Then take it down to the floor so that the knee and foot should not move off the floor for the entire time you are doing it. Stack your hands at shoulder height and reach slightly forward with the top hand. Then reach up like you are trying to arc that arm. Once you cannot reach any higher with the arms straight, that is your ending point. Turn the palm over and rotate that hand, bringing a circle back.
8. 90-90 Transfer
The 90-90 transfer drill helps improve the movement of your hips and shoulders.
Get down in the 90-90 positions. Then, try to drive the left leg into the floor. Begin with an external rotation and passive range lift on the front leg. Rotate your pelvis when it cannot go any further, but keep the left leg down on the ground as long as possible.
10. 90-90 Hip Switch
The 90-90 hip switch can be an excellent exercise for your hips.
Put your feet as wide as you can. Rotate to one side, taking your back knee down to the ground. Your front knee should be 90 degrees to the back hip and 90 degrees to the front hip. Go side by side once or twice and try to stay upright.