Body Mobility and Stretching routine – why we need it
Compare the above two images: one taken on a train in today’s London, UK and the other taken on a subway in 1947. The similarities are striking! We seem to have evolved from reading the newspaper to browsing and consuming media on our smartphones and tablets. A big difference is that there is an expiry date to newspaper. Mobile devices, however, provide limitless options and entertainment for hours on end, from navigating, checking the news, creeping on your friends to online banking and playing flappy bird. It’s no wonder that digital advertising revenue is moving to mobile in a big way (more on that later).
I work at a desk and sit for 8 hours a day. My commute takes me close to 3 hours each day and I look at my phone the entire time. And on days like this, I’m still trying to finish my blog post at 12 in the morning. On average, I easily spent at least 12 hours a day hunching over some device, with my posture compromised and actively typing away. I came across this Washington Post article recently. The image on the article really puts things into perspective for me.
No wonder I feel a strange nerve pain on the side of my head from time to time. Usually by the end of the week, my neck and traps feel stiff and sometimes painful. I injured my knee in ultimate frisbee some time ago. I can actually feel my knee stiffens up towards the end of the week (due to shortening of hip flexor).
Luckily I have 2 friends that came to my rescue: foam roller + lacrosse ball.
As I’m beginning to foam roll and stretch more regularly, I’m definitely seeing some progress. I came across Chelsea Lift’s YouTube channel and her lower body mobility routine video and wanted to share it with you:
Chelsea Lifts’ Basic Lower Body Mobility Routine
This girl is awesome and she’s becoming quite an inspiration. Be sure to check out her other videos – she’s a beast!
Check out these products on Amazon:
ProSource Ultra Deluxe Revolutionary Sports Medicine Roller (I have the same one but in blue, the extra knobs on the foam roller can give you a better roll and stretch)
Lacrosse Balls – NCAA NFHS Certified (These are very inexpensive but so effective! I brought mine to the office today to roll against the wall for a bit)
Strength and mobility go hand in hand – I’m sure any elite athlete would tell you that. I came across this article on T-Nation and thought Lee Boyce really laid down a comprehensive guide on what muscles to pay attention to. Since I can’t tell it better than him, I’m quoting him here word for word:
Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of muscles to give less or more attention to when stretching.
Traps. Deserve more of your attention. They surround vital nerves that can be compressed, and tightness can lead to them overcompensating for rotator cuff muscles that aren’t active.
Chest. Deserve more attention. Tight pecs pull the shoulders way out of position and contribute to joint stress in the shoulder capsule, and general posture problems.
Upper Back. Much less attention. Loosening upper back tissue will contribute to rounding of the upper back, and take away from stability of the shoulder capsule.
Hip Flexors. More attention. From sitting, walking, running, and training, chances are as a lifter you’llalways have tighter than desired hips. They also attach to the low back, a common spot to strain, so you don’t want them tight and tugging on your spine.
Lower Back. Much, much less attention. The last thing we want is to put the back into a less than ideal position by going into flexion.
Glutes and Hamstrings. Less attention. The glutes and hams are normally loose enough, and as direct antagonists to the hip flexors, loosening them can encourage shortening the hips.
Groin/Inner Thigh Musculature. More attention. Any bilateral imbalance that exists due to tightness in one side can lead to hip tilting.
Calves. More attention. The calves’ flexibility will avoid problems like Achilles tendonitis, bursitis, and other inflammations surrounding the heel.
What are your stretching secrets or pains? Please share them with me in the comments below! Would love to know more about your experiences!