Mobility Exercises

 Mobilize and Gain the

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Organized Based on Joints:

Ankle

Weighted Deep Squat           Paleo Chair         

Knee

Calf-Hamstring Stretch          Couch Stretch         

Hip

 Wall Squat          Wall Splits          Exaggerated Lunge          Couch Stretch          Raised Pigeon          Full Pigeon

Shoulder

Scapular Protraction Stretch          Shoulder Flexion Stretch          Single Arm Doorway Stretch          Doorway Stretch          Triple Bully          Shoulder Girdle Extension         Lat Stretch-Overhand          Lat Stretch-Underhand         Chest Stretch         

Elbow

Triceps Stretch          Biceps Stretch         

Wrist

Extras

The Bow

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Technique

Mobility in the Mathias Method is utilized to increase joint range of motion through self-myofascial release techniques and active stretching. No mobility technique is meant to be static. For each movement find tension and work through it by utilizing controlled movements, moving in and out of tension and contract-relax techniques. When moving into tight positions, do so slowly and hold the tight position for 2 seconds before moving back out. For contract-relax techniques, contract the muscle being stretched or the opposing muscles for approximately 5 seconds before relaxing deeper for 10 seconds. Always maintain safe joint positions and a safe environment. If you feel numbness, burning or tingling then stop and reset or move to a less intense exercise. Mobilize at least 2 minutes for each exercise to gain lasting change. Mobilize after each training session while your body is still warm for the greatest effects.

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Scapular Protraction Stretch:

Purpose- Improve Scapular Function, Increase Shoulder Range of Motion

Focus- Scapular Protraction (Rhomboids, Trapezius)

Technique- Grab a band, or stable object, anchored at shoulder height with one hand. Turn inward so that your arm begins to wrap around your body and walk sideways away from the place of pull until your scapula begins to be pulled forward. Move through different ranges while maintaining tension to find different tight spots. To increase the stretch, move farther away from the anchor point or reach your opposite hand across the front side of your body.

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Shoulder Flexion Stretch:

Purpose- Improve Shoulder and Elbow Flexion

Focus- Shoulder Flexion (Latimus Dorsi, Triceps Brachii)

Technique- While standing erect, grasp a stable structure or band anchored at shoulder height or higher. Turn away and fully extend your arm holding the object with no tension on it. Begin to walk away while allowing your shoulder and elbow to flex. Move away while maintaining a vertical torso until your shoulder is fully flexed. Maintain this tension and move into different positions, finding tight areas. To increase the stretch, move farther away, lean forward, rotate inward or extend your elbow.

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Single Arm Doorway Stretch:

Purpose- Open Anterior Chest, Free Breathing Muscles of Tension, Increase Scapular Elevation/ Depression Function, Increase Shoulder External Rotation

Focus- Shoulder External Rotation (Subscapularis), Shoulder Horizontal Abduction (Pectoralis Major, Anterior Deltoid)

Technique- Stand in front of a doorway with one arm raised so that your elbow forms a 90 degree angle out to your side with your palm facing forward. Place your forearm and palm against one side of the doorway as you step half way through the structure. Pull your shoulder blades together, back and down as you push your torso forward until you feel a stretch in your chest. To increase the stretch, lean forward while turning away from your stretched shoulder. Take deep, relaxing breathes throughout this stretch as it will open your breathing pathways and improve deep breathing function.

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Doorway Stretch:

Purpose- Open Anterior Chest, Free Breathing Muscles of Tension, Increase Scapular Elevation/ Depression Function, Increase Shoulder External Rotation

Focus- Scapular Elevation/ Depression Function (Pectoralis Minor)

Technique- Stand in front of a doorway with your arms raised so that your elbows form a 90 degree angle out to your sides with your palms facing forward. Place your forearms and palms against the sides of the doorway as you step half way through the structure. Pull your shoulder blades together, back and down as you push your torso forward until you feel a stretch in your chest. To increase the stretch, lean forward while turning from one side to the other. Take deep, relaxing breathes throughout this stretch as it will open your breathing pathways and improve deep breathing function.

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Triple Bully:

Purpose- Improve Shoulder Extension, Improve Shoulder Internal Rotation, Improve Shoulder Integrity

Focus- Shoulder Internal Rotation (Infraspinatus, Teres Minor), Shoulder Extension (Anterior Deltoid)

Technique- Place your hand in the middle of your lower back with your palm facing away. Keep your shoulder pulled back throughout the stretch. In this position, grab a stable object or wrap a band around your wrist. Step away from your hand until you feel a stretch in your shoulder. From here you can rotate away, step farther from your hand, drop your hips lower or raise the band attachment to increase the stretch. Move around in this stretched position to find the most effective position for your needs. Be sure to keep your shoulder pulled back so that it does not rotate forward in the socket and improve bad positioning.

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Shoulder Girdle Extension:

Purpose- Improve Shoulder Integrity, Improve Shoulder Extension and External RotationIMG_0482IMG_0483

Focus- Shoulder Extension (Pectoralis Major, Anterior Deltoid, Coracobrachialis)

Technique- Externally rotate your arms so that your shoulders are pulled back together and your palms face forward. Extend both arms behind you, grabbing a stable object to stretch on; this could be a bar, handles on a rope or even a countertop. While standing upright and keeping your shoulders pulled back, step forward until you feel a stretch in your shoulder. Make sure that your shoulders are pulled back into the socket and do not roll forward as you stretch. Breathe deep and relax into the stretch as you try to extend your arms further while standing upright.

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Wall Squat:IMG_0444

Purpose- Improve Squat Mobility, Improve Hip Flexion, Improve Leg Abduction

Focus- Hip Flexion (Upper Hamstrings)

Technique- Lay on your back about 6 inches from a solid wall (avoid dry wall). Place your feet flat against the wall in your squat stance while still staying relaxed with no stretch. Before you begin, brace your core and press your spine into the ground so that you lay completely flat with your hips down throughout the stretch. To begin, start walking your feet down the wall slowly until you no longer can without assistance from your hands. In this position, you can press into the wall to increase the stretch or use your arms to press your knees out farther. Next, use your hands to assist in pulling your feet down lower on the wall or reset closer to the wall. Your feet should always be flat against the wall.

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Wrist Stretch (Extensors):IMG_0357IMG_0358

Purpose- Improve Wrist Flexion Range of Motion, Decrease Wrist Joint Pain, Improve Forearm Function

Focus- Wrist Flexion (Wrist Extensors)

Technique- Place the back of your hand under your shoulder on the ground, or any stable flat surface, with your palm facing up and fingers pointing inward. Place your other hand, palm down, over the top of your base hand and lean your bodyweight forward with your arms locked to put pressure on your hand. Relax your base hand (the one being stretched) as much as possible throughout this stretch. To create tension, lean in the direction your fingers are pointing until you feel a stretch in your wrist. From here, move slightly in and out of tension while going through different angles. After completing the stretch, spread your fingers as far apart as you can for at least 10 seconds while maintaining a neutral wrist position.

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Wrist Stretch (Flexors):IMG_0362IMG_0364

Purpose- Improve Wrist Extension Range of Motion, Decrease Wrist Joint Pain, Improve Grip Function, Improve Forearm and Finger Function

Focus- Wrist Extension (Wrist Flexors)

Technique- Open your hand and spread your fingers as far apart as you can while externally rotating your hand until it points up. Extend your wrist while doing this and lean forward to set your palm down flat on the ground, or a flat surface. When your hand is set, keep your arm straight and relax your hand. While keeping your bodyweight on your hand, lean back in the direction your fingers are pointing until you feel a stretch in your wrist or hand. Move slightly in and out of tension while going through different angles. After completing the stretch, spread your fingers as far apart as you can for at least 10 seconds while maintaining a neutral wrist position.

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Weighted Deep Squat Calf Stretch:

Purpose- Improve Ankle Dorsi-flexion and Calf Function

Focus- Ankle Dorsi-flexion (Soleus/ calf muscle)

Technique- While holding a barbell, place it just above your knee caps go into a full depth squat. Ensure that your heels are down in this position, and only rise slightly as you push the weight and your knees forward. Move around in this position to create change, by flexing the opposing muscles and moving under control. You may put more stress on one side by leaning the barbell to that side or placing all the weight on one side at a time. Use this stretch sparingly as it is more intense than non-weighted mobility techniques.

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Wall Splits:

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Purpose- Improve Hip Abduction, Improve Hip External Rotation

Focus- Hip Abduction (Adductors)

Technique- Lay on one side with your hips flexed 90 degrees and legs extended, close to a wall. Scoot yourself up towards the wall so that you are sitting against it sideways. Raising your legs, rotate so that you are sitting against the wall with your legs directly over your hips and back pressed into the floor. While keeping your back pressed into the ground and legs fully extended, allow them to slide down the wall in opposing directions until you feel a stretch in your inner thighs. Relax into this position, allowing your legs to fall as far as they can. To increase the stretch, flex your glutes to abduct your legs further or use contract and relax techniques.

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Lat Stretch-Overhand:

Purpose- Improve Shoulder Flexion

Focus- Shoulder Flexion (Triceps Brachii)

Technique- Grasp a stable object, near your head height, with an overhand grip (palms down). While maintaining a neutral spine and hips square, extend the same side leg behind you as you lean forward until you feel a stretch in your armpit or lat. With your arm and leg fully extended keep a forward torso lean as you attempt to push your head through, in front of your arm. Work though the tension in this position by internally and externally rotating your torso. Try to press your armpit towards your front hip. If you can flex your arm beyond your ear then this movement is not necessary.

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Lat Stretch-Underhand:

Purpose- Improve Shoulder Flexion

Focus- Shoulder Flexion (Latimus Dorsi)

Technique- Grasp a stable object, near your head height, with an underhand grip (palms up). While maintaining a neutral spine and hips square, extend the same side leg behind you as you lean forward until you feel a stretch in your lat. With your arm and leg fully extended keep a forward torso lean as you attempt to push your head through, in front of your arm. Work though the tension in this position by internally and externally rotating your torso. Try to press your armpit towards your front hip. If you can flex your arm beyond your ear then this movement is not necessary.

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Triceps Stretch:

IMG_0473IMG_0474

Purpose- Improve Shoulder and Elbow Flexion

Focus- Elbow Flexion (Triceps Brachii)

Technique- Loop an elastic band to a solid object near the ground or position a stable object near shoulder height in which you can move under. With the band, put your hand through and circle one time to bring the band together before grasping. Grasp the band, or object, with your palm up and rotate 180 degrees so that you face away from it and bring you hand just over your same side shoulder. Allow your elbow to raise high with your hand just over your shoulder. With your elbow in line with the band, or tension, take one small step away and lean forward to bring the tension to your elbow joint. Allow the pull to be focused towards your elbow more than you shoulder. To increase the tension, lean forward more and allow your elbow to flex fully.

Note: do not use a lot of tension unless you have a larger triceps that can handle the pull and if you feel a pinch in your shoulder, reset.

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Exaggerated Lunge:IMG_0447

Purpose- Improve Hip Extension, Strengthen Hip Extended Positioning

Focus- Hip Extension (Hip Flexors)

Technique- While keeping your hips square, place one foot on a raised surface (12-20 inches high) in front of you and the other behind you. Keep your front foot pointed forward and slightly internally rotate your back foot as you extend your leg behind you. Keep you torso vertical, core braced and tension on your rear glute as you bend your front knee to initiate the stretch. When you feel tension in your hip flexor, hold that position. To increase the stretch you can flex your glute to further press your hips forward or flex and extend your posterior knee slightly to find other tense positions to hold.

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Calf-Hamstring Stretch:

Purpose- Improve Knee Extension, Improve Ankle Dorsi-flexion, Improve Hip FlexionIMG_0423

Focus- Knee Extension (Gastrocnemius, Hamstring Complex), Ankle Dorsi-Flexion (Gastrocnemius)

Technique- With your knee fully extended, place the ball of your foot on a slightly raised surface and allow for your ankle to fully dorsiflex (pull your toes up towards your face). Keep weight on the ball of your foot and your knee fully extended as you lean your torso forward. Maintain a neutral spine and lean until you feel a stretch behind your knee. Be active in the stretch by coming in and out of tension under control, contract-relax techniques and by flexing the opposing muscles (Quadriceps, Anterior Tibialis) to deepen the stretch.

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Biceps Stretch:

Purpose- Improve Elbow Extension, Improve Wrist Extension, Improve Shoulder External Rotation

Focus- Wrist Extension (Wrist Flexors), Shoulder Horizontal Abduction (Biceps Brachii-Long Head)

Technique- With your fingers spread, externally rotate your hand and place your palm flat against a wall, shoulder height or below. Initiate the stretch by leaning your bodyweight into your hand and slowly lower your body until you feel a stretch in your wrist flexors. Next, turn your body away from your hand until you feel a stretch in your biceps brachii or anterior deltoid. To further increase the stretch, turn your head away from your hand. Move in and out of these tense positions under control while maintaining pressure against the wall.

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Chest Stretch:IMG_0487

Purpose- Improve Shoulder Horizontal Abduction, Open Chest Cavity

Focus- Shoulder Horizontal Abduction (Pectoralis Major, Anterior Deltoids)

Technique- With your arms extended out horizontally, grasp a stable object with each hand. Pull your shoulder blades back and down as you push your chest forward until you feel a slight stretch in your chest. Breathe calmly as you relax into the stretch before starting to move through the tension under control. Maintain tension in your back as you pull your shoulders back actively.

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The Couch Stretch:

Purpose- Increase Hip Extension, Increase Knee Flexion

Focus- Hip Extension (Hip Flexors), Knee Flexion (Quadriceps)

The Couch Stretch was originally named for its ability to be done on a couch. The Couch Stretch is one of the most important mobilization exercises for anyone who needs proper hip function for their sport. Improper hip extension can have an effect on all other areas of the hip complex, legs and lower spinal column. With normal range of motion you will be able to better utilize your hips for power and stability. The two levels of the Couch Stretch are meant to focus on separate areas of the anterior hip-leg connection. Level two can only be performed safely will proper level one range of motion.

Level 1 (Intermediate): Hip Extension- Begin on your hands and knees in front of a raised surface, in which your foot can dorsiflex over. First, place one foot over the raised surface and then set the other foot in front of you near your hands. Ensure that your hips stay in line with your shoulders as you flex forward. Initiate the stretch by flexing your raised leg’s glute to push your hips forward lightly. With control, flex in and out of the stretch holding for at least 2 seconds in each position. To further increase the stretch, place your opposite hand on your raised knee and rotate away from the stretched leg while maintaining tension on your glute. For an increased stretch, maintain a neutral spine and raise your torso until it is vertical. From here you can shift slightly forward and back to increase the stretch. Maintain tension on your glute.

Level 2 (Advanced): Hip Extension + Knee Flexion- Begin on your hands and knees with your feet placed flat against a wall behind you. First, set one knee in the corner of the wall, with your shin vertical, and place the other foot out in front of you near your hands. Then, perform level one protocols of the Couch Stretch for at least 30 seconds before initiate level two protocols. Continue by pushing your hips back against your raised foot and then extend your torso against the wall while maintaining tension on your glute. Lean forward and back under control, while holding each tense position for at least 2 seconds. To further increase the stretch, maintain a vertical torso and neutral spine as you push your hips forward.

Note: If you feel tingling, burning, aching or any unnatural sensation stop immediately and reset or move to an easier mobilization exercise.

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Paleo Chair:

Purpose: Increase ankle dorsiflexion, Spinal decompression, Hip Flexion

Focus: Ankle Dorsiflexion (Soleus)

IMG_0563Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes straight or turned out slightly. Brace your core and externally rotate (twist) your knees out during the entire movement while clenching your toes into the ground. Begin the motion by opening your hips and descending into a full depth squat while keeping your feet flat. Only go as deep as you can while keeping your heels down. Hold at the bottom position for time. If you do not have enough mobility to get into a full depth squat you can hold onto a solid object for balance. Try to accumulate at least 2 minutes in the bottom position and work up to 5-10 minutes. To increase the stretch you can attempt to put more weight to one side and lean over your knee.

Check out our FREE eBook:

Daily 30 Cover 2bThe Daily 30:

Basis Of Human Movement Patterns and Improving Body Function

  • Learn how to move properly!
  • Increase your body function!
  • Gain benefits in under 2 minutes a day!
  • Become dedicated to your Health and Fitness!
  • Learn everything you need to know about basic human movement!
  • 12+ Pages of detailed content!

FREE!

Download NOW!

Your STRENGTH Journey starts here!

Plus a 30% OFF discount code to StrengthWorld.store inside!

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The Bow:

Purpose- Increase Hip Extension, Open Anterior Chest, Free Breathing Muscles of Tension

Focus- Hip Extension (Hip Flexors), Expand Rib Cage

The Bow is a traditional yoga pose used to free the body’s breathing system of tension. Breathing is one of the most important tools used during all weight training exercises. If you are better able to breathe you can better perform through increased lung capacity and increased intra-abdominal pressure used during maximal lifting. There are 3 Levels to the Bow exercise, with increasing difficulty and use.

Level 1 (Beginner): Hip Supported Bow

IMG_0328IMG_0325

While standing erect, spread your fingers as wide as you can and place them on your glutes with fingers facing towards the ground. Pull your shoulder blades back and down as if you are going to tuck them into your back pockets. Externally rotate your shoulders until your elbows point behind you. While maintaining a neutral head position, press your hips forward with your knees slightly bent and lean your torso backwards. Keep your glutes activated to support the connection to the ground and increase hip extension. (Note: Forcefully holding your mouth open helps to increase tension release.)

Level 2 (Intermediate): Head Supported Bow

IMG_0324 IMG_0321 While standing erect, interlock your fingers together behind your head, and pull your elbows as far behind you as you can. Begin by pressing your hips forward, with your knees slightly bent, and lean as far back as you can while maintaining balance. Keep your glutes activated to support the connection to the ground and increase hip extension. (Note: Forcefully holding your mouth open helps to increase tension release.)

Level 3 (Advanced): Full Bow

IMG_0320 IMG_0318While standing erect, fully extend your arms overhead. Begin by pressing your hips forward, with knees slightly bent, and lean your torso back as far as you can while maintaining balance. Keep your glutes activated to support the connection to the ground and increase hip extension. (Note: Forcefully holding your mouth open helps to increase tension release.)

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Raised Pigeon:

Purpose- Increase Hip External Rotation, Increase Hip Flexion, Improved Hip Function

Focus- Hip External Rotation (Glutes), Hip Flexion (Glutes)

Find flat raised surface, between knee and hip height. Place the lateral side of your lower leg against the raised surface parallel to your shoulders. Extend and internally rotate your opposite leg behind you until you feel a stretch in your glute. Move around in this position with control going from one side to the other with both a vertical and leaning torso positions.

Note: If you feel pain in your knee, then you likely have tight peroneals (lateral calf muscles) and should free your foot by allowing it to hang off the edge of the flat surface until they are better mobilized.

 

Full Pigeon:

Purpose- Increase Hip External Rotation, Increase Hip Flexion, Increase Hip Extension, Improved Hip Function

Focus- Hip External Rotation (Glutes), Hip Flexion (Glutes)

Place the lateral side of your lower leg against the floor, parallel to your shoulders. Extend and internally rotate your opposite leg behind you until you feel a stretch in your glute. Move around in this position with control going from one side to the other with both a vertical and leaning torso positions.

Note: If you feel pain in your knee, then you likely have tight peroneals (lateral calf muscles) and should free your foot by allowing it to be pulled in towards your hips until they are better mobilized.

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Disclaimer

When participating in any exercise or training program there is a possibility of physical injury. If you engage in any movements, exercises or training programs, you agree to do so at your own risk. By voluntarily participating in these activities, you assume all risk of injury to yourself and agree to release and discharge Mathias Method, Ryan Mathias and all other affiliates of any responsibility if injury occurs. In addition, by following any of the suggested guidelines, protocols, templates, activities or any other information or advice on this website (mathiasmethod.com) you do so at your own risk. Do not begin any nutrition or training program without consulting with a  Board Certified Medical Doctor and/or Registered Dietician first.

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