In 12 years of doing any gig, you amass an arsenal of ‘items you can use to do the job at-hand better.’ I’ve spent 12 years now working with clients as a fitness pro – and I’ve definitely gathered up a toolbox full of ‘items my clients can use to do the mobility, strengthen, move-better-overall’.
It was a fun week sharing 4 of my most key mobility drills daily on the Fit For Real Life facebook page and reading the comments back from folks who tried them & experienced the new depth of ‘feeling it’ they had with each mobility item.
Each of these four mobility drills are VERY important for amateur athletes and pros alike. So, for posterity’s sake, I’ve collated them all here for you. Each drill below has a simple break down, what it’s working on, and some bonus coaching cues.
Barring any injuries, you can use these IMMEDIATELY!
With that said… enjoy. (And you’re welcome in advance for that 2nd calf mobility drill I included.) 😉
The Calf Recovery Move You Need – Posterior Tibialis
The post tib gets so much less attention than the two calf muscles most everyone knows about – the gastrocnemius and the soleus. It’s time to bring the post tib into the light – after all – it bears a massive load if you’re running, or if you’re running around in heeled or dress shoes of any kind. And that often means tight, knotty, gross tissue (if the option of “science-y” words & “normal” words exist to explain a fitness concept, I choose “normal” words every time…so yah, ‘gross tissue’.)
To really hit the post tib, you often need to push in to your calf then to the right or left. You’re moving the top layer of tissue out of the way so you can get to the post tib underneath.
Here’s the video demonstrating the proper technique.
Adductor Release for Better Leg Function
Please say hello to your adductors – that sheet of tissue that runs from your pelvis down the inside of your leg to your knee that is the cause of so much pain & suffering and lost lower body mobility. Chances are, your soft tissue in this area is all kind of tight. There are many reasons it could be tight – the complex of muscles might be weak, they might be overly active, that’s a conversation for another time – today I just want to get you introduced to your adductors.
Really try hard to keep your knee up near your elbow as you do this mobility drill so you can spread out the adductor muscles and get into them with the roller.
A Better Way To Roll Out Calves
I just want you to have a good relationship with your calves. I mean, look. You walk around on those stems for decades and decades. The least you could do is take a bit of care of them.
Here’s the deal with this lower leg mobility drill.
Normally, you have your legs in front of you when you roll out your calves. In this drill, you’re sitting with your lower legs underneath you. This changes how the muscle and fascia sits (fascia = the stuff that encases your muscles – quick mental picture of the layers from outermost in: skin>fascia>muscle…also blood and capillaries and stuff like that, but focus on soft tissue only for now).
That small change in the resting position of the tissues changes everything with how you feel what needs attention in your lower legs.
You can start at your Achilles (right where the ankle and foot meet), and go up all the way through the belly of the muscle (the big meaty part). Changing your foot position also changes things so try it with your heels touching and try it with your heels relaxed away from each other while toes remain touching.
If you have a knee thing going on where you can’t sit back on your lower legs like I do in the video, here’s your solution: take a coffee table, low set of stack mats, or a stair, anything that’s low enough to kneel on with one leg with that knee bent so that leg is in position as I show in the video. Then, take the other leg and stand with it, so your pressure is on the standing leg and you can fold over and use the stick on the bent-coffee-table leg using the technique I show.
Two Ways To Improve Your Quad Stretch
If you’ve ever taken a gym class, you know the classic quad stretch. Sidenote: I’d be way down for having gym class as an adult…kickball at the park at 3 today, yah? see you there. 🙂
Back to the quad stretch at hand.
Two things are going to make that quad stretch infinitely better.
1. Change the way your body sets up before you go into the stretch so that the muscle gets lengthened out more. In the video I do that by propping myself up on my forearms as I would in a plank.
2. Use a method of contract-release called PNF, (‘proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation’ for anyone who wants to know what PNF stands for) which is super cool in how it lengthens out your muscle just by doing this cycle of pressing and releasing that I demo below. Seriously, it’s really cool to see the muscle stretch farther and farther as you do the PNF work.