Many athletes spend their time strength training or honing their technical skills related to their sport. All too often, the importance of mobility when it comes to performance is overlooked. Proper mobility can help improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Here are 5 mobility exercises to help you perform at your peak:
90/90 Hip Stretch
This is a great stretch for increasing hip mobility. From a seated position, place the front leg in a 90 degree angle and the same with the back leg. Position your hands on either side of your front leg and then slowly bend forward towards your knee. For some, the range of motion may be very small. Stay within your comfort zone and do not force anything.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Take a kneeling position with your back knee on the ground and your front knee bent in front of you at a 90 degree angle. With a straight back, place your hands on your front knee and lean forward. To get the most out of this stretch, make sure you activate the glut muscle of the back leg. You should feel a deep stretch in the hip flexor of your back leg.
Figure 4 Stretch
For individuals with knee issues, this is a knee friendly hip stretch. Lay on your back and position your legs in a table top position. Place one foot across the thigh of the other leg. Pull the other leg towards your chest by wrapping your hands around the back of the leg. Hold for 30 - 60 seconds and then switch to the other leg.
This stretch may be very easy for some and almost impossible for others, but everyone can benefit from it. Take a kneeling position with your back knee on the ground and your front knee at a 90 degree angle. With your front foot firmly planted on the ground, slowly rock forward while keeping your heel on the ground. Range of motion will significantly vary from person to person, so work within your limit.
Many people are familiar with the Cat/Cow stretch from yoga. This is a very accessible stretch that can benefit everyone. Begin in a table top position with your shoulders in line with your wrists and hips in line with your knees. From a neutral spine position, round your spine towards the ceiling like a cat. Then, arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone upwards. Cycle through this fluid motion 10-15 times.