Most Common Mistakes - Not doing mobility work
It’s all well and good to lift weights and get stronger, but that strength isn’t that much use if you can’t move your body well.
Lifting 300 kilo’s but not being able to bend down to pull your socks up isn’t most peoples’ idea of being in good shape.
Strength training is, in my opinion, a non-negotiable. There’s no downside to being stronger, and if training is programmed correctly, the chance of injury is slim. As we age, strength training also becomes even more important to maintain (or even still build) strength, and remain active into old age. It staves off osteoporosis, helps maintain strength and balance, and can help ensure you enjoy an active lifestyle, rather than an awkward, restricted one riddled with aches and pains.
It’s important to include mobility/flexibility work with your strength training routine.
Being a strong but immobile pensioner won’t help you much either.
Including mobility work at the beginning of your workouts is the easiest way to integrate it - use it as a warm-up, rather than sitting on a bike or walking on a treadmill for 5-10 minutes.
A basic, full-body mobility routine will take between 5 and 10 minutes and will ensure your joints are prepared for the workout ahead (reducing the risk of injury), it’ll raise your heart rate (i.e a “warm-up”) and most importantly of all, it’ll ensure that all of your joints are being put through their full range of motion at least a few days a week, meaning you’ll keep that mobility rather than getting gradually more and more restricted (think how flexible you used to be… why did you lose that flexibility?)
Start with your neck and work your way down every joint in your body, taking it through it’s full range of movement a dozen times.
Neck. Shoulder girdle. Shoulders. Elbows. Wrists. Fingers. Spine. Hips. Knees. Ankles. Toes.
It’s worth learning a short routine that covers all of these and it’ll add no time to your workouts because you can replace your “sitting on a bike” warm-up with this instead.
You could also use it after a workout for your cool-down along with any specific stretches you feel you need.
Use it on non-workout days just to keep your body moving.
Obviously this is very generalised advice. If you have muscle imbalances, you will likely need to include some more specific mobility/flexibility work to address these.
You may also already be quite restricted in your movements, meaning you’ll want to dedicate some extra time to this mobility work to regain lost mobility.
It’s easy for people to get stuck in one style of training i.e. JUST doing strength training, or JUST doing yoga, or JUST doing aerobics etc…
Fundamentals are to include strength training, mobility/flexibility work, and some “fitness” work, all built on top of good nutrition and plenty of general movement (like hitting your daily step target).
If you currently focus solely on one type of training, figure out where you can include the others in order to ensure a more rounded result.
Even if you’re dedicated to just one of these, you can still benefit from including at least a small amount of the other fundamentals.
I’m even guilty of this myself! I trained martial arts when I was younger and high kicks were no problem. In later years, when that training gradually faded out and my training was more strength based, my flexibility has suffered immensely because I didn’t dedicate just a small amount of time to maintaining that level of flexibility. And it really doesn’t take much to simply maintain it, just a bit of consistency.
Now I will need to dedicate a LOT more time, at the expense of other training, to regain some of my lost mobility.
So whatever your main training focus is, please, take my advice and be sure to include all of the fundamentals, just a little bit.
It won’t make you less manly to do some stretching and a good warm-up before you start lifting heavy weights and grunting and it won’t negatively impact your results - in fact, it’ll likely IMPROVE your results!
You won’t look un-feminine if you go to the gym and lift some weights before your exercise class. It’ll just make you stronger.
You won’t lose all your gains if you walk 10,000 steps a day.
Either try to balance it all out if you have no particular preference, but if you do have a preferred training style, don’t shy away from doing a conservative amount of the others too.
Mobility work is by far the most neglected part of training and the result is a gym-full of people with unnecessary aches and pains.
Don’t be one of those people. Learn from my mistakes instead of wasting years finding it out for yourself.
I’ve posted a mobility routine in my Instagram and Facebook accounts as well as on YouTube so you can find a basic routine to follow there. YouTube Link - https://youtu.be/-U3_idAeesk