Taking care of your body is key to achieving the health and longevity you desire. At any age, mobility is critical to physical fitness and an active lifestyle. Having the full range of motion in your muscles and joints helps you move easier, exercise better and prevent injury and pain.
Thankfully, mobility work is simple to incorporate into your fitness routine. The following exercises have been compiled by strength and conditioning coach and longevity practitioner Theodore “Theo” Aasen. The founder of Optimal Athlete Kollective (OAK) has trained hundreds of athletes including youth, professionals and Olympians. These simple moves will help you build a foundation for mobility to benefit your workouts and overall fitness. Plus, they don’t require any fancy equipment and you can do them at home or on the go.
Disclaimer: Every body has its own unique history. Consult with your doctor or other health professional if you have any injuries, questions or concerns before attempting these exercises.
1. Couch Stretch
Get into a lunge position with your right foot in front, aligning your knee above your ankle. Bend your left knee and place your shin along the back cushion of a couch or bench, or against a wall. Elongate your spine and engage your core and glutes. Aim to have your back foot press against your glute, keeping your back knee planted on the ground. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. Aim for 3 sets, alternating legs.
2. 90/90 Shin Box
For Hip Mobility
Sit on the floor facing forward with a straight spine. Make a 90-degree angle with both legs (one leg internally rotated, one leg externally rotated). Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, driving your legs into the ground. Aim for 3 to 5 sets, alternating legs.
3. Lying Hamstring Extension
For Hamstrings/Lower Back
Lay down face-up on a hard surface with both legs straight out in front of you. Engaging your core, bend your right leg and grab hold of the back of it with both hands. Use your arms to pull your leg toward your chest, keeping your left leg straight and planted on the floor. Straighten your right leg as much as possible. Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds. Aim for 3 sets, alternating legs.
4. Lying T Spine Opener
For Back Muscles/Spine
Lay on your side on a hard surface, knees bent at 90 degrees, as if you’re seated in a chair. Extend both arms in front of you. Extend your top arm straight overhead as far as you can while keeping your lower body still. To maximize the stretch, breathe in while making a circular motion with your extended hand. Hold your extended arm open for 3 seconds, then alternate sides, or aim for 10 arm circles per side.
5. Squat to Hamstring Extension
For Hips/Hamstrings/Lower Spine
Begin in a squatting position with your legs greater than hips-width-distance apart and your toes pointed slightly outward. (If you can’t get that low, elevate your heels using a 2-inch block or surface.) Place your hands on the ground in front of you and elevate your glutes, trying to straighten your legs. Then return to your squatting position. Alternate between the squatting and extended positions, holding for 5 seconds each. Aim for a total of 10 repetitions.