The biggest change between my training now and when I first started training is the emphasis I now have on mobility. Back in the early 90’s when I first got serious about strength training you would just jump on a treadmill for 5 minutes, do a few “warm up sets” before training and call it good.
Hell, I still remember reading articles arguing that using a full range of motion during your exercises was all the mobility training you needed.
Needless to say, as a kid, I was all too happy to skip the boring mobility stuff and get right to the good stuff – the workouts! And while it took a while, that attitude started to catch up with me.
Luckily I got turned on to the importance of mobility training through the work of early strength coaching pioneer Ian King. Ian emphasized mobility work in his programs and argued that they an extremely important part of a good training program.
Through this exposure to what he called Flexibility and Joint Control Drills, I started to appreciate how this stuff really did help you perform better and avoid a lot of wear and tear on the body. Since then the term “mobility” has become the popular way to describe this type of training but whatever you call it, making sure your move well and adequate range of motion is the cornerstone to your long-term performance.
The easiest way to start focusing more on mobility is to add some Mobility Flows into your routine. These are short, focused routines that I fit in before and after training and/or riding.
Mobility Flows are broken up into two categories – Warm Ups and Decompressions.
Warm Ups help prepare you for a workout or ride and Decompressions help you begin the restore and recovery process after a training session or ride.
Doing a Warm Up Flow before training or riding will serve two purposes. First, it gives you a chance to mobilize and “turn on” your joints and basic movement patterns. This will help you move better during your workout, helping you avoid injuries and practice higher quality movement which leads to better results.
Second, it gives you a chance to do a quick check to see if anything is feeling a bit “off”. You don’t want to get under a heavy weight and find out that your shoulder isn’t quite right or your low back was a bit tighter than normal. Taking some extra time to loosen up tight areas and/ or modifying the workout based on anything you find during the Warm Up Flow can save you a lot of time off from training related injuries.
You can check out a follow-along Warm Up Flow I shot below. It will give you an idea of how they can be structured to address each major joint before going into bigger movement patterns:
The Decompression Flows work on restoring some length to muscles that were used a lot during the workout/ ride and giving you a chance to calm your breath and mind before going about your day. Both of these things help trigger the recovery process in the body and help you recover faster and avoid overuse injuries from commonly used muscles getting chronically short.
As important as it is, though, this is also the easiest one to skip out on. Commit to taking an extra 5 minutes to finish with a Decompression Flow and take advantage of this easy yet powerful technique.
Here is a follow-along Decompression Flow I shot that you can use after your next workout. You’ll see how it uses fewer total movements and focuses on some slightly different things than the Warm Up Flow, taking on a more yoga-esque feeling.
And if you liked this Mobility Flow and would be interested in more of them, I post new ones every month as part of my Group Coaching Program’s Workout of the Month. If you are interested in learning more about my Group Coaching Program and how it can help take the guess-work out of what to do to see the best results, then click here to learn more.
Until next time…
MTB Strength Training Systems