Having a well-balanced routine is something that everyone from the most elite of athletes to your everyday gym-goers want to achieve. I have found that incorporating more bodyweight exercises that focus on mind-body connection, stability, and mobility has allowed me to become more well-rounded with better control, mechanics, and less compensations.
Integrating more bodyweight exercises that are mobility focused doesn’t have to be complicated. The best way to start is to rethink how we structure our warm-ups.
We still want to get our heart rate up, but the first part to moving better, is to start planning better, too.
When designing my warm-up for a given workout, I start by creating my primary circuit (or choosing a “main lift”) first. This allows me to design a movement specific warm-up to meet all of the demands of the work that is ahead. So for example, when designing a warm-up for a squat focused day, I will include exercises to increase range of motion in the hips, ankles, as well as an exercise to help engage the core and improve posture.
Bodyweight drills can be used anywhere and at any time in your programming. In this article I am going to share with you four of my go-to bodyweight drills that my clients and I love to use. They’re not only effective, but they are more challenging than they appear!
3 Bodyweight Mobility Drills for Warming-Up
1. Shin Box Flow
- 60 seconds work
- 30 seconds rest
- 3 to 5 rounds
In this shin box sequence three individual movements that can be done independently or together in a flow.
1. Shin Box Switch
Start sitting down. Bend your legs and bring your heels close to your glutes. Keep your spine as straight as you can and sit your knees over to one side, do your best not to shift your feet around. Lay both knees on the floor, actively pressing your shins into the ground. You can place your hands behind you to help keep a straight spine throughout this movement if needed. Alternate sides.
2. Shin Box Extension
For the shin box extension, follow the same cues for the shin box switch, then come up to your knees. Squeeze the glutes and abs at the top. Come down slowly with control, and alternate sides.
3. Shin Box Switch to Hip Flexor Stretch
To progress to the shin box switch with a hip flexor stretch, perform a shin box extension then sweep the back leg around into a kneeling lunge, and tuck your hips under as you squeeze your glutes and abs at the top. Reverse the motion, and alternate sides.
This is by far one of my favorite shin box sequences to open up the hips and get them primed for adding load. These shin boxes help with accessing internal and external rotation of the hips as well as lengthening the hip flexors, and activating the glutes.
Beast Toe Taps
- 30 seconds work
- 30 seconds rest
- 4 to 6 rounds
From a beast position with a long spine and tight core, lift your opposite hand and foot being sure to keep your body from shifting. Slowly bring your foot and hand towards your midline as you tap them together. Alternate sides.
This is a great bodyweight drill for increasing core strength, as well as shoulder and hip stability at the same time. Learning how to control your body and minimize swaying is going to improve your body control and overall stability.
3. Deep Ape to Front Kick Through
- 40 seconds on
- Rest as needed
- 6 rounds
Starting in a deep squat, try to keep a proud chest and long spine as you reach across your body, planting the outside hand on the ground. Then bring the back leg through and hoover it off the ground as you try to keep your shoulders and hips squared. Reverse this motion and alternate sides.
Incorporating this flow into your routine is going to help strengthen your hip flexors while opening up your hips and groin at the same time. This combo is going to give you some serious core engagement too!
Bodyweight Mobility Drill to Use As a Cool-Down
Beast Wave Unload to Leg Through
- Focus on your breath for 60 seconds at a time
- Minimal rest
- Repeat this sequence 3 times through
Starting in a child’s pose position with your knees off the ground (loaded beast), lift one foot off the ground as you raise your hips up. Keep your arms straight as you wave through your spine and keep your bent leg tight to your body. Once you come into a plank position, thread the bent leg through and extend the knee as much as you can.
Hold this position for a second, pulling your shoulders down and back. Come back to your modified plank position, and wave through your spine as you press back into a loaded beast. Alternate sides.
This decompression flow is fantastic for releasing tension along the spine and lateral aspect of the leg. Holding the bottom position with the leg extended is going to help open up your frontline (chest, abs, and hip flexors) as well.
Feature image from @fancheskafit Instagram page.