6 Mobility Moves That’ll Make Your Workouts so Much Easier
Kirra Michel and Callie Gullickson explain why you should give your joints some love.
Words By Amy Gurvitz
You’ve likely heard Peloton instructors talk about mobility during class warm ups or cool downs. But what exactly does it mean? Mobility refers to a joint’s ability or capacity to rotate or move freely without stress on the body, explains instructor Callie Gullickson. If your shoulder feels “stuck” when rotating your arms as if you’re swimming backstroke, for example, your mobility in that joint may be less than ideal.
Mobility can affect not only your workouts but your day-to-day actions, from picking up your groceries to getting in and out of your car, adds Peloton instructor Kirra Michel. Because restrictions in any of your joints can cause your body to compensate, leading to injury, imbalance or pain, she says, it’s important to regularly incorporate mobility exercises into your workout routine. (This differs from working on flexibility, which is a more passive lengthening of your muscles.)
To learn more, we asked Callie and Kirra to explain why mobility matters.
Why should everyone take time to focus on their mobility?
Kirra Michel: “We need mobility for our daily movement. Our bodies all deal with general wear and tear over time, and healthy mobility helps us continue to move with ease. No one wants to move with pain and discomfort—working on mobility will assist in countering that.”
Callie Gullickson: “It is imperative not only when working out but when moving our bodies day to day. When our range of motion is restricted, our form in a movement or exercise is affected, leading to compensation and injury.”
What are your favorite mobility-focused moves?
1. Sun Salutations
“Sun salutations are a phenomenal, well-rounded way to get into a simple mobility routine. The forward folds and backbends address the front and back body, and the squatting benefits the hips, lower body and more.”
2. Malasana Squats
“This is another fave. Hips tend to be tight, so this speaks to those babies as well as the hammies and even the shoulders.”
3. World's Greatest Stretch (aka Low Lunge Twist)
“This is great for your hips, hip flexors and the spine, as we all need a little more twisting in our lives!”
1. Thoracic Spine Opener
“This is one of my favorites for the spine. It helps with rotation in the transverse plane, opening up the thoracic spine. I often resort to it after a long day of sitting.”
2. 90/90 Stretch
“It opens up the hip joints, opening one hip internally and the other externally at the same time. Opening your hips will improve squats, deadlifts and lunges as well as everyday activities such as getting dressed.”
3. Ankle Rocks
“I often put my hands on a wall and rock back and forth from my toes to my heels. Ankle mobility is one we often brush off but is vital in everyday life. Finding mobility in your ankles will help with balance, prevent trips and falls and benefit your form in exercises such as squats.”
How can improving your mobility improve your workout performance?
CG: “You will ultimately perform better in your classes and get more out of them. For example, in a strength class, if the mobility in your ankle is lacking, it can be difficult to hit the full range of motion for a squat, thus making it challenging to add more weight. However, if your ankles have good mobility, you’d likely add more weight and lift heavier since your form would be aligned.”
KM: “If we feel stiff and tight, it can limit our range of motion and be uncomfortable or even painful to move. I think of mobility as a way to help keep the joints lubricated. We want to work towards being well-rounded physically, so cardio alongside strength work and yoga for flexibility and mobility makes for a happy place!”
How should someone incorporate mobility moves into their workout routine?
CG: “Hop into the yoga classes we offer on the Peloton App, as well as the warm ups and stretches! Remember to be consistent. You can start with one exercise if you’re short on time and make it part of your routine. You'll notice not only your rides, runs, yoga flows and strength classes will benefit, but your body will just feel better.”
KM: “All the movements I suggested are dynamic warm ups you can add into any routine. Stretching is great for after class. Start making mobility a part of every workout you do. And find movements you like. If you are going to do it, find a way to enjoy it!”
Ready to put your joints in motion? Check out our yoga, stretching and warm up classes on the Peloton App.