Maximise Your Training With These Little Known Mobility Exercises (Part 1)

By Rebecca Walsh-Brown

Mobility in the major joints (ankle, hip, spine and shoulders) is crucial for optimum physical performance. This article will outline 3 little known mobility exercises for the ankle, hip and spine that will immediately maximise any physical activity. The following simple exercises will not only help prepare your body but will also go some way to reduce the risk of injury.

1 - Ankle Rolling

Ankles are the most used, and very often abused, joint in the body! Therefore, you'll need to take great care of them to enable effective movement during physical activity or exercise.

Ankle Rolls                     Ankle Rolls 1

Ankle rolling is a great way to mobilise the ankle. Make sure you have something to hold onto then vigorously roll the ankle clockwise for about 30 seconds, applying moderate downwards pressure to maximise mobility. Change direction and repeat as many times as necessary.

2 - Hurdle Walks/Skips & Leg Swings

Your hips are often forgotten when preparing for physical activity but they are essential for the performance of just about every movement when standing, walking, running, jumping and turning! As coaches, we often find mobility restrictions in the hip area as well as weakness in the rear muscles (glutes and hamstrings). However, by doing these simple exercises below you can activate, strengthen and mobilise this area getting you ready to tackle anything physical.

Hurdle Walks/Skips                     Hurdle Walks/Skips 1

Aim to do 10 each side and for an extra challenge attempt them moving backwards!

Lateral Leg Wsings                     Lateral Leg Swings

Aim to do 10-15 lateral leg swings on each leg; these can also be done forwards and backwards

3 - T-Spine  (thoracic Spine) Kneeling Rotation

Although not strictly a 'joint' the thoracic spine (T-Spine) is a critical area that requires mobilisation for optimal physical performance. Poor mobility in this area can lead to injuries to other areas of the spine, in particular the lumbar spine (the lower back) and the shoulder complex. Try this excellent exercise for optimum mobility.

Kneeling Rotation     Kneeling Rotations

Try 4 each side and try and reach further each time for maximum effect.

All these exercises can be integrated into a warm-up routine. My clients and athletes are amazed at how it makes them feel afterwards and how it impacts positively on their subsequent performance. If you're up for more of a challenge then check out my video below for some extra moves.