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Opinion

3 Beginner Friendly Animal Flow Moves to Improve Mobility

These animal flow movements are great for improving coordination, body awareness, and mobility.

In the fitness world, many of us become so preoccupied with performance and achieving goals that we tend to neglect recovery and joint health. This neglect can accumulate over time, which can put us at a heightened risk of injury. Incorporating bodyweight movements is a fantastic way to build a strong foundation while focusing on mobilizing all of the major joints in our body.

Here are some ground-based movements to incorporate into your workout routine to keep all of your joints healthy, strong, and, mobile. Utilizing these exercises can enhance your overall body awareness and performance. You can incorporate these movements into your warm-up, in-between sets, or as active recovery.

Taking the time to work on all of the techniques and synchronizing the movements to your breath is going to allow you to build strength in areas that are more difficult to access with traditional weight lifting and strength training practices.

Animal Flow Moves to Improve Mobility

Animal Flow Prescription

  • Repeat each movement for 40 seconds
  • Complete 3 to 4 rounds of each movement
  • Take minimal rest between exercises and sets

Beginner Move 1: Underswitch Taps to Side Kick Throughs

Underswitch Taps to Side Kick Throughs Benefits

This movement is great for improving your shoulder stability and mobility. Learning how to lift and place your limbs on the floor at the same time in the underswitch is going to improve your coordination over time. The side kick through movement can also help lengthen and strengthen your core and adductors to help improve your body control and hip mobility in your lifts.

Underswitch Taps to Side Kick Throughs How-To

  1. Starting in a quadruped position with your knees and inch off the floor.
  2. Lift your opposite hand and foot a hair off the ground.
  3. Plant the heel of your grounded foot, and bring your leg under, placing it on the ground.
  4. Tap only 10% of your weight on the ground with your hand and foot, and come back to your starting position.
  5. Repeat this movement in the opposite direction.
  6. From your starting position, lift your opposite hand and foot, bring your leg under, and extend your leg out as far as you can, pulling your elbow up and back, externally rotating your arm.
  7. Come back to your quadruped position and alternate sides.

Beginner Move 2: Beast Reach

Beast Reach Benefits

This “beast reach” is a fantastic way to decompress the spine, to lengthen and strengthen the hip flexors, and improve wrist mobility. Focusing on articulating your spine in this movement will help you gain more awareness of your spine, allowing you to maintain a strong foundation and proper posture both in and out of your workouts.

Beast Reach How-To

  1. From a child’s pose position with your knees and inch off the ground, lift your hips up towards the sky and lift one foot off the ground, bringing the leg tight to your ribs, keeping your core engaged, and toes pointed.
  2. Wave through your spine, putting forward pressure on your wrists as you squeeze your glutes as you lift your chin, glancing forwards.
  3. Pull your shoulders down and back, then tuck your chin, and wave through your spine, keeping your knee tight to your body as you descend back into your modified child’s pose position.
  4. Alternate sides.

Intermediate Move: Crab Reach to Reaching Ape

Crab Reach to Reaching Ape Benefits

Combining these movements into a fluid sequence is going to help improve your coordination, ankle mobility, thoracic mobility, along with opening up your lateral line of your upper body, and opening up your hip flexors. By hitting many major joints in one movement, then you are going to maximize your ability to control all of your joints simultaneously, which will transfer to your overall control and awareness in your training.

Crab Reach to Reaching Ape How-To

  1. Starting in a deep ape position, flex your spine, tucking your pelvis under, and internally rotating your arms overhead.
  2. From this position, externally rotate your arms, bringing them out to your side as you shift your weight onto the balls of your feet and lift your heels off the ground.
  3. Try to keep your core tight and stack your shoulders over your hips, then come back to the flexed position.
  4. Next, reach one hand diagonally, placing it on the ground, and bring the same side leg under. Assuming a “crab” position.
  5. Keeping your free hand off the ground, bridge your hips up, keeping your core and glutes tight, and reach your hand towards the ground.
  6. Reverse the movement and alternate sides.

In Conclusion

Remember to take your time when implementing new types of movements into your routine! With my own clients, I like to break down the sequences and just focus on one movement at a time, then string them together into a fluid sequence once they have got each movement down. Listen to your body, and go at a pace that works for you!

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Feature image from @francheskafit Instagram page. 

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