From the top level professional athletes to young children in P.E., for one reason or another most of us enjoy the adrenaline rush and positive feedback associated with training hard and ramping up the intensity. But once the intensity is turned down to a sub-maximal level, trainers and coaches often times get blank stares from their students because they “don’t feel it,” or think the “exercises are too easy.”
If there’s one thing that is misunderstood about fitness and physical health is that we are biomechanically designed to perform intricate and dynamic movements, but in our modern lifestyles, we often times deprive our bodies of movements that keep the joints and tissues supple and mobile without over stressing the body.
Whenever I think about really strong and durable athletes, someone who is balanced in strength and flexibility comes to mind.
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” – Bruce Lee
In this article I am going to share with you some of my favorite moves that you can add into your daily life become more durable. Meaning that I want you to think about durability, as the ability to withstand wear, pressure, or damage, more so as a mindset and practice to keeping your body healthy and able, not just as part of your training.
That being said, the movements that we will cover can be added into your warm-ups, in-between sets, cool-downs, recovery workouts, as well as recovery drills that you practice whenever you’re feeling like tuning into your body and mobilizing your joints.
1. Standing Spinal Rolls
- 3 Rounds : 60 seconds on
- Minimal Rest Between Rounds
Starting in a standing position, tuck your chin and let your head hang. Articulate your spine over vertebrae at a time letting your arms hang loose. Tuck your abs in as your start rounding at your mid-back. Once you come to the bottom, let your upper body hang, drive the knees forward, tuck the pelvis under, and roll up slowly, reversing the movement.
By far one of the best spine mobilization exercises that helps teach you how to articulate your spine one vertebrae at a time. Over time, you will gain more control and awareness of your posture and help loosen up your posterior chain.
2. Reaching Down Dog to Reaching Mt. Climber
- 3 to 5 rounds : 45 seconds each
- Rest as needed
From a plank position drive up into a downward dog as you reach one hand towards your opposite ankle. Then step the same side leg as the reaching arm outside the arm as you come into a plank. Pull the opposite side hand off the floor as you stack your shoulders and reach up.
This is a great exercise for lengthening the hamstrings and hip flexors, as well as getting some additional rotation through the mid-back. Adding a single arm reach in both position adds an element of shoulder stability as well.
3. Chest and Shoulder Mobility Flow
- 4 rounds : 60 seconds on
- Rest as needed
From a quadruped position, draw one elbow up towards the ceiling then thread it under your opposite arm. Reach as far as you can, bringing your shoulders onto the ground, and twist as you try to stack your shoulders on top of each other. Then reach up diagonally, putting your wrists in line with each other, drawing your hips back as you keep your forearm off the ground. Then reach out laterally towards the same side to lengthen the muscles of the chest. Repeat on the opposite side.
This ground-based movement is fantastic for opening up the lateral muscles of the upper body and arms. This active stretch also helps lengthen the muscles of the chest as well.
4. Tootsie Rolls
- 3 Rounds : 45 seconds each
- Rest as needed
Hinge at your hips keeping a long spine, grab your knees, keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. Be sure to keep a tight core and tension in your glutes throughout this movement. Drive your knees forward as much as your can, out to the sides, back to full extension of the knee, and then in as much as you can. Reverse this motion with the feet planted. Then try to trail on the outside edges of your feet to get deeper into this movement, reverse directions.
I personally love this mobility drill for hitting the hips, knees, and ankles all at once with smooth, controlled rotational movements.
Feature image from @francheskafit Instagram page.