Whether you are just beginning a physical therapy program or you are an athlete looking for a workout regimen, there’s a lot to be said about integrating mobility exercises into your program. Mobility exercises help patients with mobility disabilities travel easily and without discomfort. Mobility drills will also allow you to focus on strengthening and conditioning without restricting your range of motion. These are healthy exercises that should always be performed before, during, and after every physical therapy, stretching, or strengthening program. In reality, many rehabilitation professionals provide mobility activities as part of their program. Joint supplements may be used in conjunction with mobility drills for even greater effectiveness.
The types of mobility exercises you do can differ, but the purpose is the same—you want to stretch and strengthen the muscles and make them less vulnerable to injury. Many people have pain and discomfort from a restricted range of motion, and they are searching for ways to expand their range of motion. Mobility drills are helping you do that. Dynamic joint mobility exercises are an important alternative to daily stretching, a simple way to enhance general mobility in many people.
Here we will mention some mobility activities that should take place at least three times a week. The key ones are static squats, seated knee extension, prone bridge, heel raises, and gravity knee bend. You can tailor your exercises to particular areas of your body by performing a number of different exercises in each area.
Static exercises are also referred to as isometric exercises. The concept of static is “pertaining to or characterized by a fixed or stationary condition” and refers to this type of strength training because the intended muscles do not change length during these fixed-position exercises. It is necessary to hold a position for a given period of time to conduct static exercises. You can either perform a high number of sets, hold the position for up to 10 seconds per set, or you can perform a low number of sets, hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds, or until you can no longer retain the proper form.
It is important to remember that static exercises only improve the muscle at a very specific joint angle and do not increase muscle strength across the entire range of motion of a particular muscle group. For this reason, static exercises are especially beneficial for individuals who want to improve muscle strength and flexibility of a specific joint.
- With your back against a wall, lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Position your feet so your calves are parallel to the wall behind you. Knees should be bent to 90 degrees.
- Place your hands on your hips or hold your arms out in front of you. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise two to three times.
Seated Knee Extensions (courtesy of Motion)
- Sitting up tall with your shoulders back and down.
- Lifting one leg up, extending at the knee.
- Hold briefly at the top of the movement, squeezing the muscles at the front of the thigh before lowering your leg back down.
- Ensure the movement is slow and controlled.
- Alternate legs, ensuring full knee extension (leg completely straight).
- Repeat for the set repetitions.
Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is one of the prevalent health issues in modern society, with 70–80% of the population experiencing back pain at least once in their lifetime. Movement restricted to low back pain induces morphological changes in lumbar muscles that induce reduced muscle strength and endurance. Decreased muscle strength and endurance adversely impact lumbar stability and ultimately cause functional limitations.
Recent research and therapies for CLBP have focused on increasing trunk stability to minimize repeated episodes and improve prevention. Many studies have proposed trunk stability exercises in various positions with or without an unstable platform system to improve trunk muscle co-activation. Bridge exercises are the most widely used for trunk stability exercises in various positions. Back pain patients are relaxed assuming the bridge position and the pain is minimized. In addition, bridge exercises stimulate the superficial and deep trunk muscles at an acceptable ratio and strengthen the gluteus and lower leg muscles.
Prone bridge exercise may be recommended as a way of improving body control in patients with back pain. They have been found to be more effective in improving trunk stability and increasing trunk muscle thickness compared to supine bridge exercises in patients with CLBP.
Prone Bridge (Plank)
- The starting position for the prone bridge is similar to the push-up, except the elbows are bent and the forearms are flat on the floor.
- Rest palms on the floor or keep together with fingers interlaced.
- Use your elbows and toes to hold the body up off the floor. Keep your back flat, abs tight, and body completely straight.
- Hold this position for several seconds (between 30 and 60) and repeat. You can modify this exercise by doing it from the knees instead of the toes.
Full Range of Motion
The heel raise is an exercise that works just as well for beginners or experienced athletes. Heel lift (also called heel lifts or calf lifts) is a basic exercise, generally done without weights. Exercise mainly improves the calf’s muscles and can be useful for athletic fitness, physical therapy, general fitness, and more. This exercise is specifically directed at the calf’s muscles, namely gastrocnemius and soleus. These muscles are linked to the tendon of Achilles in the heel. The exercise strengthens the muscles of the calves and helps with the strength and stability of the ankle.
- Stand with both feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
- If you need support, steady yourself with your hand on a ledge, wall, or table.
- Raise both heels so you’re standing on your toes.
- Hold this position for several seconds and repeat.
- Make sure to not lock your knees or arch your back
Gravity Knee Bend (courtesy of Motion)
Strengthening the muscles around the knee and preserving their strength decreases tension around the joint. Knee strengthening exercises will help you increase flexibility around your knee and build up muscle support. If you have osteoarthritis of the knee—a very popular problem as a roll of years—doing it can help keep you mobile. In addition, creating ample strength and stability around your knee allows you less vulnerable to bursitis and tendinitis.
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent.
- Reach and clasp your hands behind the thigh of your affected leg and pull your knee towards your chest.
- Hold this position and allow gravity to gently bend your knee.
- Next, try to actively bend your knee by bringing your heel downward.
Any of these mobility drills should be carried out carefully and purposefully, using the proper technique, so as not to jar the joint or dislocate any of the joints or muscles. After each of these movements, concentrate on easing the pain you feel in your joints by applying pressure to the area.
Each of these mobility drills are intended to serve a purpose. They’re helping to get your body ready for the real things you’re going to do in a day. Through doing so, you can keep your body limber and prevent injury. If you have mobility issues that make it difficult for you to get around, or if you encounter over-exercise discomfort, you can look at exercises that can enhance your strength, endurance, and range of motion. Check with a trained physical therapist to determine the right exercises that can work out the unique pain areas, and you can get back to what you want to do.