11 Best Mobility Exercises for Shoulders, Hips, and More


11 Mobility Exercises for Overall Health and Wellness

Mobility exercises enhance flexibility, support joint health, and promote overall physical well-being. Here are some of the most effective mobility exercises and how to perform them correctly.

  1. Standing Roll Downs.
    How to do it:

    • Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and arms relaxed by your sides.
    • Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, start tucking your chin towards your chest, slowly rolling down your spine one vertebra at a time.
    • Continue rolling down until your upper body is hanging forward, and your fingertips are close to or touching the floor. Allow your head, neck, and shoulders to relax completely.
    • Inhale, and as you exhale, slowly roll back up to the starting position, stacking one vertebra at a time and keeping your chin tucked in until you’re standing upright again.
  2. Cat-Cows. This exercise aims to improve posture, balance, and breath movement.
    How to do it:

    • Start on your hands and knees, with your hands positioned directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keep your spine in a neutral position.
    • Inhale deeply and, as you exhale, slowly arch your back towards the ceiling, tucking your tailbone and chin towards your chest. This is the “cat” position.
    • Hold the cat position for a moment, feeling the stretch in your spine.
    • Inhale and, as you exhale, lower your belly towards the floor, lifting your tailbone and chest towards the ceiling while keeping your gaze forward. This is the “cow” position.
    • Hold the cow position for a moment, feeling the stretch in your abdominal muscles. Continue alternating between cat and cow positions for several repetitions, moving fluidly with each breath.
  3. Forward Lunges With Twist: This exercise enhances leg strength and hip mobility.
    How to do it:

    • Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, engage the core, and relax your shoulders.
    • Step forward with the right foot, lower into a lunge, align the right knee over the ankle, and keep the left knee just above the ground.
    • In the lunge, place hands in a prayer position, twist the torso to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee.
    • Hold twist briefly, untwist torso, and push through right heel to return to standing.
    • Repeat with left foot forward and twist to the left, alternating sides for desired repetitions.
  4. Kettlebell Arm Bar: It improves shoulder mobility and core stability
    How to do it:

    • Begin by lying on your right side, holding a kettlebell in your right hand with your arm bent at a 90-degree angle, and the kettlebell resting on your forearm and back of your wrist.
    • Place your left hand on the ground for support and bend your right knee, keeping your right foot flat on the ground.
    • Slowly roll onto your back, keeping the kettlebell pressed up towards the ceiling, and extend your right arm fully, keeping your elbow locked.
    • Extend your left leg straight out and place your right foot on your left knee, using your left arm to maintain balance and stability.
    • Hold the position for a few seconds, then carefully roll back to your starting position, maintaining control of the kettlebell throughout.
    • Repeat on the other side.
  5. Lateral Lunge: It targets hips, inner thighs, and groin muscles for flexibility and balance.
    How to do it:

    • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips or clasped in front of your chest.
    • Take a large step to the right with your right foot, keeping your left foot in place.
    • Bend your right knee and lower your hips towards the ground, while keeping your left leg straight and your toes facing forward.
    • Push through your right foot to return to the starting position.
    • Repeat the movement on the left side, alternating between the two sides for the desired number of reps.
  6. Half-Kneeling Arm Rotation: This exercise focuses on thoracic spine mobility.
    How to do it:

    • Begin in a half-kneeling position with your right knee on the ground and your left foot flat on the floor in front of you. Keep your right knee directly below your right hip and your left knee bent at a 90-degree angle.
    • Place your left hand on your left hip and extend your right arm straight out in front of you, parallel to the ground.
    • Rotate your right arm and upper body to the right, keeping your lower body stable and your gaze forward.
    • Rotate your arm as far as comfortably possible, feeling a stretch in your shoulder and chest.
    • Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps before switching to the other side.
  7. Walking Spiderman With Hip Lift and Overhead Reach: It stretches hips, hamstrings, and hip flexors while engaging shoulders.
    How to do it:

    • Begin in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
    • Take a step forward with your right foot into a lunge position, placing your hands on the ground on either side of your right foot.
    • Lift your left knee off the ground and push your hips upward into a hip lift, feeling a stretch in your left hip flexor.
    • Bring your left knee back down, and raise your right arm up and overhead, reaching toward the left side to create a long stretch along the right side of your body.
    • Lower your right hand back to the ground, push off your right foot to return to a standing position, and repeat on the other side.
    • Continue alternating sides for the desired number of reps.
  8. Three-Way Ankle Mobilization: It improves ankle joint flexibility and reduces the risk of injuries.
    How to do it:

    • Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at shoulder height for support.
    • Place your right foot about a foot away from the wall, keeping your left foot behind for stability.
    • Gently push your right knee forward towards the wall, keeping your heel on the ground, to mobilize the ankle in the sagittal plane. Hold for a few seconds and then return to the starting position.
    • Move your right foot slightly to the right, and gently push your knee diagonally forward and inward towards the wall, maintaining heel contact with the ground, to mobilize the ankle in the diagonal plane. Hold for a few seconds and then return to the starting position.
    • Finally, rotate your right foot outward and gently push your knee diagonally forward and outward towards the wall, again keeping your heel on the ground, to mobilize the ankle in the opposite diagonal plane. Hold for a few seconds and then return to the starting position.
    • Repeat these steps for the desired number of reps before switching to the left ankle.
  9. Back-to-the-Wall Shoulder Flexion: This exercise enhances shoulder mobility and posture.
    How to do it:

    • Stand with your back against a wall, making sure your head, shoulders, and hips are touching the wall.
    • Position your feet about 6 inches away from the wall and maintain a slight bend in your knees.
    • Place your arms at your sides with your palms facing forward, and then raise your arms to shoulder height, forming a T shape with your body.
    • Slowly slide your arms up the wall, keeping your hands, wrists, and elbows in contact with the wall, until your arms are fully extended overhead. Try to keep your lower back pressed against the wall throughout the movement.
    • Lower your arms back to the starting position, keeping contact with the wall, and then repeat for the desired number of reps.
  10. Prying Squat: It focuses on hip and groin mobility, as well as lower body strength.
    How to do it:

    • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing outwards at about 30-45 degrees.
    • Lower yourself into a deep squat by bending your knees and pushing your hips back. Keep your chest upright and your core engaged.
    • Place your elbows on the inside of your knees, and put your hands together in a prayer position, creating a prying motion by gently pushing your knees outward with your elbows.
    • While maintaining this position, take deep breaths and gently rock side to side or shift your weight from one foot to the other, opening up your hips and adductors.
    • Hold this position for the desired amount of time, and then slowly push back up to the standing position. Repeat as needed.
  11. Couch Stretch: This stretch is great for improving flexibility, especially for adults over 50.
    How to do it:

    • Place a cushion or folded towel on the floor next to a wall, couch, or sturdy object for support.
    • Begin by kneeling on the cushion or towel, with your back facing the wall. Place one foot flat on the ground in front of you, with your knee bent at a 90-degree angle.
    • Carefully lift your other foot and position your shin and the top of your foot against the wall or couch, with your knee resting on the cushion or towel. Make sure your knee is as close to the wall as possible.
    • Slowly and gently push your hips forward, maintaining an upright posture and keeping your chest lifted. You should feel a stretch in your hip flexors and quadriceps of the back leg.
    • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, then carefully release and switch sides. Repeat as needed.

What are the benefits of doing mobility exercises?

Mobility exercises offer numerous benefits for people at all stages of life. Some of the advantages of mobility exercises include:

    1. Improved joint function: Mobility exercises can help enhance the functioning of joints, making them more efficient and less prone to injury.
    2. Enhanced range of motion: Practicing stretches and exercises that target your full range of motion can be beneficial, especially for individuals with sedentary jobs or lifestyles that involve sitting for long periods.
    3. Reduced risk of injury: By improving joint function and flexibility, mobility exercises can help minimize the risk of injuries during physical activities or daily life.
    4. Increased muscle strength and control: Some mobility exercises, like ballet, can also help improve muscle strength and control, balance, and coordination.
    5. Reduced back pain: Mobility exercises can help alleviate back pain by enhancing flexibility and muscle strength.
    6. Improved posture: Practicing mobility exercises can lead to better posture, which can prevent or alleviate various musculoskeletal issues.
    7. Enhanced athletic performance: Athletes and gym-goers can benefit from mobility exercises as part of their workout routine, leading to better performance and reduced risk of injuries.

What causes limited mobility?

Limited mobility can result from various causes. Inflammation of soft tissues surrounding the joint or joint swelling can lead to a restricted range of motion and, subsequently, limited mobility. Muscle stiffness can also hinder movement and contribute to limited mobility. Pain in joints or muscles can restrict movement and cause limited mobility as well.

Joint dislocation can impair movement and limit mobility. As people age, changes in gait, balance, and physical strength can affect mobility and the ability to move or walk freely and easily. Injury, disability, or illness can lead to limited mobility. However, exercise can still provide health benefits even with restricted movement.

Arthritis is another major factor in limited mobility. This degenerative disease affects a large proportion of the adult population aged 60 and above. It causes pain and stiffness in the joints, reducing mobility and affecting the quality of life for many individuals.

How To Track Mobility Progress

To track mobility progress while doing mobility exercises, you can follow these steps:

  1. Record your baseline measurements: Before starting your mobility exercises, note your initial flexibility, range of motion, or any specific limitations you have. This will help you gauge your progress over time.
  2. Use a worksheet or journal: Track your progress from month to month using a worksheet or a journal. Record the exercises you performed, the duration of each exercise, and any improvements or changes you notice in your flexibility or range of motion.
    Set goals and create a plan: Establish specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your mobility exercises.
  3. Use a weekly exercise and physical activity plan to outline the exercises you want to perform and the frequency of each session.
  4. Regularly re-test your mobility: Periodically re-assess your flexibility and range of motion to see if you’ve made progress. Compare your current measurements to your baseline measurements to track improvements.
  5. Use an app or tracking software: Consider using a mobile app or tracking software specifically designed to monitor your workouts, such as the Workflow app mentioned in. These tools can help you analyze your progress and make adjustments to your mobility exercises as needed.
  6. Monitor your overall well-being: In addition to tracking specific measurements, pay attention to how you feel during and after your mobility exercises. Notice improvements in your daily movements reduced joint pain, or increased energy levels as indicators of progress.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you have more questions about mobility exercises? Check out some of the most commonly asked questions about this topic below.

How often should I perform the best mobility exercises to see improvements in flexibility and joint health?

To see noticeable improvements in flexibility and joint health, aim to incorporate mobility exercises into your daily routine. You can perform them as a warm-up before workouts, during active rest periods, or as standalone sessions. Consistency is key, and even 10-15 minutes a day can make a significant difference over time.

Can I perform mobility exercises if I have a history of joint injuries?

Yes, you can perform mobility exercises even if you have a history of joint injuries. In fact, these exercises can be beneficial for injury prevention and recovery. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified trainer before starting a new mobility routine. They can provide guidance on the most appropriate exercises for your specific condition and ensure that you perform them safely.

Are mobility exercises suitable for all age groups and fitness levels?

Best mobility exercises are suitable for individuals of all age groups and fitness levels. They can be easily modified to accommodate your current range of motion, flexibility, and strength. Whether you’re an athlete, an office worker, or a senior, incorporating mobility exercises into your daily routine can help improve your overall health, prevent injuries, and enhance your quality of life.

Final Word

Are you ready to unlock your body’s full potential by incorporating the best mobility exercises into your daily routine? Remember, investing time in mobility and flexibility can significantly improve your overall health, joint function, and athletic performance. Don’t let stiffness and limited movement hold you back any longer. Start experiencing the benefits of improved range of motion and reduced risk of injuries today!

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