Sport-specific training, simply put, is healthy movement put in context. Healthy movement equals healthy athletes.
A common question I’m asked is, “Why do you move the way you do during your warm-up? Isn’t it extreme?” I’m always amused by this question, and at the same time curious about the questioner’s vision.
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I will share five mobility drills that were filmed during a live warm-up before one of my training sessions. You can discern the videos’ authenticity by all the background noise and the lack of professional production value. These videos were shot on the spot right before a workout, meaning these are mobility drills I actually use, not five drills that sound good theoretically. That being said, here are five foundational mobility drills I often use to ensure my joints are ready for action, especially before a deep squat day!
Let’s start mobilizing from the ground up, then mix and match once each joint is moving nicely.
1. Dorsiflexion Mobility
Ankle dorsiflexion is the action of moving your toes up while keeping your heels down. In this video, I’m demonstrating closed chain ankle dorsiflexion, which is similar to what happens at the ankle joint during a Squat when the angle between the leg and the foot decreases.
[youtube video=”LiENuFUJtM4″ /]
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2. Plantar Flexion Mobility
This is the action of standing on your toes, increasing the angle between the leg and foot. During the Squat, you increase the angle between the ankle and leg on the way up from the bottom position; and if you participate in a sport that requires you to jump, such as basketball or Olympic weightlifting as an example, it would be wise and to your advantage to have full plantar flexion range of motion.
[youtube video=”IMB8VVKIc-Q” /]
3. Wide Kneeling Mobility with Thoracic Spine Rotation
Following the Kneeling Rocker, simply widen your leg position, sit back toward your heels, bend your upper back forward, and bring your forearms to the floor. This places your low back and hips in a locked and loaded position, ensuring that when you initiate rotation of your spine, you’ll be emphasizing your upper back—and the adductors will get pulled along for the ride!
[youtube video=”1G7L6_hOJNg” /]
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4. Wrist Rocker Mobility
Whether you’re planning to perform bodyweight Pull-Ups, Push-Ups, Deadlifts, Back Squats and/or Front Squats, it would be wise to invest some time mobilizing your wrist joints, and getting the muscles around them to feel some load before you go from zero to hero on the Front Squat, for example, which requires healthy and adequate wrist flexion-extension.
[youtube video=”D1cy1yjEwok” /]
5. Cossack Mobility
I end with a Cossack dynamic mobility-like movement to mix up all the mobility ingredients demonstrated above (ankle dorsiflexion, plantar flexion, hip flexion, spine rotation, and wrist mobility). This gets the body flowing as a unit, which is important when getting into your arena of play, whether that’s under or over a bar.
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In closing, I encourage you to own your range of motion before it owns you later in life, limiting your ability to be involved in the sport you love or your ability to perform simple tasks, such as walking up a flight of steps. Our bodies are primarily designed to move independently, prior to the addition of complex variables such as barbells or rings.