Have you heard of…
- Foam Rolling
My bet is that you’ve probably heard of at least a couple of these components of training?
To be honest they’re extremely important but not many people focus on improving these areas, or they don’t know how to!
The problem is that if you have poor mobility, flexibility and tight muscles…
You increase the likelihood of injury, decrease your training performance, and have a poorer ability to recover in between workouts.
If you are tight, stiff and always achy then i’d recommend spending time each week improving these components of your health and fitness – your body will thank you for it!
In this post i’m going to teach you Everything You Need To Know About Mobility, Stretching & Foam Rolling…
I’ll be giving you tips and providing video demonstrations to help you improve each component.
The definition of mobility is “the ability to move or be moved freely and easily”. Unfortunately lots of people are not in this position!
If you struggle to touch your toes, stood up with your legs straight, find it difficult to turn your head right to left (without moving your torso), if you can’t squat to 90 degrees without lifting your heels off the floor…then you will benefit from working on your mobility.
Mobility training is very important not only for improving your workouts, but for everyday life, things like: tying your shoelaces, gardening, house work, etc, etc – all require a degree of mobility.
Try these exercises out….
I’d recommend doing 10-20 reps of each exercise. You can do them in the morning, or evening, or before working out (or all 3!) just make-sure to practice them each day.
Flexibility is the range of motion in a joint or group of joints or the ability to move joints effectively through a complete range of motion.
Again, lots of people have poor flexibility which places stress on other areas of the body and makes movement harder. If you look at some old people they really suffer, even just walking about is a major effort, and small tasks, which many of us take for granted become very difficult, if not in some cases… impossible.
There are lots of ways to improve your flexibility, for example you can do yoga, or pilates, or just complete a static stretching routine in the comfort of your own home.
From my experience and level of knowledge stretching is best done at the end of your workouts, when the body is full warmed up. I wouldn’t recommend stretching without first being warm.
Like I said you could do stretching after your weights, running, or sporting activity or you could do it after a warm bath. Either way i’d recommend raising the body temperature beforehand – even if that means you have to jog on the spot for 2-3 minutes before stretching.
There are hundreds of stretches to choose from, but some of my personal favourites are…
I’d recommend holding each stretch for 30-60s. If a certain muscle is tight do multiple sets until it loosens.
#3 Foam Rolling
I absolutely swear by foam rolling, it’s a great way to relax your muscles, it’s like booking in for a sports massage!).
Foam rolling is great way to iron out muscle knots which cause pain, and stiffness – which ultimately affect performance in the gym and everyday life. I like using the foam roller myself, and use it at least 4x per week, either before training, or after training (sometimes both…if i’m really beaten up!).
The foam roller is particularly great for hitting areas like the lower and upper back, as well as areas like the thighs and hamstrings. To begin with it’s slightly tricky to use, but it wont take you long to get the hang of it. If you don’t know how to foam roll properly, either go on Youtube or hire a personal trainer in your local area to teach you how to do it.
Another word of warning is that it will feel painful, especially to begin with. I’d recommend starting with a softer foam roller and working your way up to something like a rumble roller (hard and spikey).
Here a are some great exercises that you can do using a foam roller…
Spend 1-2 mins on each exercise until the muscle(s) feels looser.
In short i’d recommend including all of these components into your weekly schedule.
- Do your mobility work everyday.
- Stretch after every workout.
- Foam roll when muscles feel tight and you have knots.
In terms of how long to spend on each one? like most things it depends! Sometimes you’ll need to do more than others, but as a general rule of thumb i’d recommend…
- 5-10 mins of mobility work each day
- 5-10 mins stretching 4-7x per week
- 5-10 mins foam rolling as and when needed
This is a very small time investment for a BIG return when it comes to improving the quality of your training and the quality of life you lead on a day to day basis. Whether you are 15, or 99 years old, try and keep yourself mobile, flexible and pain free!
Let me know if you found this post helpful and also if you have any questions.
Thanks for reading,