Remember the youthful elasticity we had as children? It can soon fade. Before you know it, you can no longer throw yourself into cartwheels or limbo-dance without a seriously good swarm-up or possibly a week off work due to overzealous movement.
When we solely concentrate on the step-by-step routine during a workout, we neglect our body’s ability to move freely and naturally.
Taking ourselves back to basics can and will improve our natural movements. These three mobility exercises are nothing new. Whether it’s swinging your arms around with a dynamic upper body exercise, stretching out in front as far as you can reach while focusing on your spine, or walking like a gorilla in hope of a giggle from family and friends with our walking squats, you’ll have probably performed them as a young child.
No promise these exercises will take you back in time to that nimble eight-year-old self, but incorporating these natural moves into your weekly routine is a playful and progressive way to improve your body’s overall natural mobility.
3 natural movements to improve mobility
1- Dynamic upper body stretches
- Stand tall and breathe deeply.
- Swing your right arm overhead height, feeling the natural ability of the arm’s motion to swing without discomfort.
- Circle the arm forward about 10 times.
- Stop, then align your body and swing your right-arm backwards 10 times.
- Once your arm feels loose and stretched start circling the arm into the figure 8 at the right hand side of your body.
It’s important to not force the exercise — it should feel natural and not pressured into unnatural positioning as in ballistic stretching. Do five reps then repeat the exercise using your left arm.
2 – Spinal stretch
- Lie on the floor with your stomach on the ground. Your head should be upright and looking forward. The tips of your toes should be balancing you at the rear while your forearms create a comfortable rest in front of you.
- Stretch gently and feel the spine lengthen.
- Stay in position for around 10 seconds.
- Then, balance and stretch your arms out fully in front of you as if reaching out to the side of the room.
- Keep your arms on the ground until you feel stretched enough to push yourself up from the floor with your hands.
- Having your hands further away from the body creates an easier stretch. Walk your hands closer to the torso for a more testing stretch.
- Hold for a few seconds and repeat another four times.
3 – Walking squats
- Position yourself into a squat position with your feet firmly on the floor, your legs apart and your knees in a comfortable position (no locking).
- Clench your hands into a fist and use your knuckles (rather than the palms or tips of fingers), to walk your hands and feet like a gorilla.
- As your right foot moves forward your left knuckle should be forward and walking you along the ground.
- Each foot and fist should be walking you through the movement.
- This is a deep thigh squat exercise – so if you’re uncomfortable and struggle for your muscles to ease into it, you can always try walking on your toes rather than the flat of your foot.
Form is king — so if you’re struggling with any of these natural movements, any EVO personal trainer can help you improve your fitness game.