5 Best Prehab Exercises for Strength Athletes (with Joe Yoon)

Any strength athlete can benefit from adding these movements to their routine!

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Looking to improve your mobility for better weightlifting, powerlifting, and more? Joe Yoon (better known as @JoeTherapy) joined us to demonstrate his 5 favorite prehab mobility exercises for strength athletes. 

And check out Joe’s book “Better Stretching” for more great movement, tips, and routines to improve your mobility!

1. T-Spine Opener with Foam Roller

Whether you’re pressing overhead, swinging from the rings, or trying to build a stable base for front squats, thoracic spine mobility is hugely important for strength athletes of all types. In the video above, Joe walks us through the proper way to use a foam roller to open up the t-spine. I’m personally guilty of making the mistake Joe warns against in the beginning of the video, so this was incredibly helpful in improving my own movement practice!

2. The Shin Box

Shin box drills have become increasingly common as a part of warm-ups for many types of athletes; CrossFitters may have first encountered them in class when prepping for back squats or weightlifting movements. Joe walks us through a basic shin box drill. 

3. Cat Cow

More thoracic spine work — noticing a trend? This two-birds, one-stone movement can be done anywhere and gives the athlete a fantastic feel for an restrictions they’re experiencing in the t-spine and midline. 

[Related: What’s the difference between mobility and flexibility?]

4. Kneeling T-Spine Extension

And finally, one last t-spine opener. This movement is especially good at targeting the lats, an area where countless lifters struggle with tightness and poor mobility. Joe gives us a few variations to challenge your sticking points and improve positioning overhead. 

5. Ankle Opener

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NEXT LEVEL ANKLE MOBILITY DRILL! – 👉Don’t forget to check out my New Book! Link in Bio! – ☝️Do you have tight Ankles? – We all know the importance of the ankles (hopefully😬) and how it affects many different movements! If you've tried some of my other ankle mobility drills here's another to improve it even more! – Here's how to perform this ankle mobility drill! – 1️⃣Place a dumbbell on your thighs. 2️⃣In a half-kneeling position 👉I like to use a medium weight. I'm using 15 lbs here. 👉Concentrate on not letting the knees cave in and collapsing the arch of the foot. 3️⃣Use the weight of the dumbbell to create overpressure in the ankle. – 🏋️‍♀️Tag a friend who struggles with their Ankles! – #ankles #pain #rehab #prehab #stretching #flexible #yoga #bodybuilding #crossfit #powerlifting #olympiclifting #running #sprinting #squats #strengthandconditioning #ifbb #npc #wbff #physio #chiro #massage #healthy #yogaeverydamnday #squats #deadlifts #orlando #squatting

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This simple ankle opener is a classic, and for good reason. Joe gives us some tips and thoughts on what to avoid when it comes to stretching the ankles.

Sets and Reps

Finally, Joe walks us through how to get the most out of each movement and then wraps up by explaining some simple ways you can fit these into your regular training routine!

David Tao

David Tao

BarBend’s Co-Founder and Editorial Director, David is a veteran of the health & fitness industry, with nearly a decade of experience building and running editorial teams in the space. He also serves as a color commentator for both National and International weightlifting competitions, many through USA Weightlifting. David graduated from Harvard University and served for several years as Editorial Director/Chief Content Officer of Greatist.com.

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