So I admit, “Mobility Drills, Part 1” sounded less than exciting, so I have tweaked the title this time, hoping to snag your interest. Last Monday I talked about thoracic spine mobility and gave you a drill to try. Today we are going to look at hip and ankle mobility.
As a refresher, certain joints in your body are meant to be mobile…your ankles, your hips and your thoracic spine (upper back) while other joints are meant for stability, namely your knees and your lumbar spine (low back). Because we sit so much ~ at desks/computers, in our cars, in front of the TV, we start to lose the mobility of these joints. If you think about it, it should make sense that if one part of your body isn’t moving the way it should, it could (and often does) impact other parts of your body. Knee and low back problems are prevalent in our society (some statistics state that as much as 85% of the population experiences low back pain). Because both the knee and the low back are meant for stability, they can experience pain when the joints above and/or below them, which are meant to be mobile, don’t move the way they should. So, for example, with low back pain, if the thoracic spine isn’t mobile and/or the hips aren’t mobile (both very common due to the extended sitting mentioned above), the movement is forced through the low back. In other words, the joints that are supposed to move don’t move enough, so the movement is forced through the low back, which is not designed for that (making you experience discomfort or pain). Likewise, an issue in the knee can result from a lack of mobility in the hips and/or ankles.
It is really hard for me to stress how much mobility impacts how you move and ultimately, how you feel. Trying some mobility drills costs you nothing…and might make you move better, feel better, run better (or whatever it is that you do for activity), and so on. A cheap, non-surgical fix!
Last week I gave you a t-spine mobility drill, of which there are many. I will give you some more to try in the future. Today I am giving you a hip mobility drill (again, there are many ~ more to come) and an ankle mobility drill (of which there seem to be few…so you better like this one).
The ankle mobility drill.:
I would have posted the one of my coach, Tony Gentilcore, but he is wearing really long pants that cover his heel and one of the important things about this drill is that your heel stays on the floor. Since I wanted you to be able to see that I had to post a drill by some French guy…don’t worry, there’s no instruction, so there is no language barrier. To do this drill, place your foot an inch or two away from the wall and push your knee towards the wall, keeping your heel on the floor. Because most shoes have some kind of lift at the heel I prefer that this drill is done with bare (or stocking) feet. If your knee can touch the wall, then move your foot further back. Push your knee directly over your foot for 8-10 reps. If you notice, about half way through this video clip the guy pushes his knee towards his big toe, or more towards the inside. Feel free to try this also. You can also push your knee towards your baby toe, towards the outside. If you want to do multiple directions, I would suggest 5 forward, 5 inside and 5 outside, then repeat on the other ankle.
Now for the hip mobility drill…this is my coach, Tony. As I said above, there are a lot of hip mobility drills. I think this is a good one to start with. Some of the hip mobility drills involve various types of squatting…but if you don’t have good ankle mobility, you can’t squat correctly. So work on both the ankle mobility drill and the hip mobility drill I am giving you here, and then maybe we can progress to some more advanced hip mobility drills later. Here’s Tony:
So there you have it…okay, last week I said you could do these in your office, but maybe the hip mobility drill isn’t appropriate in the office. Try it at home, just to be safe. 🙂 One last note…this is not an “overnight” fix. I have pretty good ankle and hip mobility but poor t-spine mobility. I have been doing drills (t-spine, hip and ankle) since October and while I have definitely noticed an improvement (especially in my swimming) I will probably never be able to move like Nick Tumminello does in the t-spine drill I gave you last Monday. Just keep at it, you will notice an improvement ~ make this a part of what you do 3-4 times a week. You can thank me later.