Quads, Hamstrings, Shoulders and Backs seem to be the areas where we feel the most sore and tired. Often then, these muscle groups tend to get the lion share of mobility and recovery focus when it comes to SMR and stretching. This can fall into a common “treating the symptom” problem and not only leave performance on the table, but also lead to those muscle groups experiencing higher and higher levels of stress.

As a rule of thumb, we should aim to DOUBLE the amount of time we spend exercising with intensity with lower intensity body maintenance (SMR or Stretching) and light aerobic movement (like walking or Yoga). Today, I want to discuss how we should view “up and down stream” to provide relief to over-worked muscle groups and joints and some of the most commonly skipped (and highest valued) mobility areas:

  1. Ankles and Feet

Hands down the most avoided area on the body is the one that arguably gets THE MOST work every single day! Having tight calves, ankles and feet can cause a ton of issues – most commonly cause: plantar fascitis, knee issues, tight quads and hamstrings, lower back issues, and hip pain. The main focus of this area will include: dorsiflexion improvement, keeping the foot muscles and skin loose, and SMR on the calves to ensure they’re not locking up on us. Estimated time each day — 10-15 minutes:

Drills:

  • Voodoo Floss your Ankles each day. Friendship has these available under the coaches speakers in the main area. This is an excellent way to mobilize your ankles pre-workout!

  • Rolling out the bottom of your feet is a GREAT way to mobilize your feet throughout the day. You can do this at your standing desk OR while sitting — But I recommend a few minutes each day.

  • Rolling out your calves after workouts will help get you to a better place over the long haul. I would choose one of the following exercises and do one per day:

2. Lats

As Coach Jenny Borda famously noted in a Gymnastics Seminar we once ran, “The lat is the butt of the shoulder” — And thus at Friendship it is called “The Shoulder Butt”.  The lat is a HUGE muscle that is responsible for a lot of the very important pressing, pulling and stabilizing of the shoulder and torso throughout almost every functional movement. Because it wraps our bodies in a bit of a weird way (see image), it is often neglected when performing SMR work, or mobility — But this can have a HUGE effect on performance and injury prevention in the shoulder. Estimated time each day: 8-10 minutes:

Drills:

  • This full routine from K-Star at MobilityWOD is one that I would HIGHLY recommend following. It is a quick, 10-minute routine that will show a noticeable improvement in your overhead position and help your lat allow the shoulder to move in a more natural position.

 

3. Neck

Cell phones, computers and sitting do a number on your neck every day. On top of that there are a ton of very important things running through this bottleneck that need to stay loose and have good blood flow so we can avoid neck pain, migraines, stress (most importantly), but this will also have a major performance effect on posture in almost all of our movements, overhead positions for pulling and pushing movements and more. Estimated time per day: 12-15 minutes

Drills:

  • Chin Tucks are a great exercise for us to help work on correcting some of the postural mistakes that we’re making throughout the day. These are a great things to add in at Red Lights, or after an extended sitting/cell phone bout.  Aim for 10-12 repetitions a few times throughout the day.

  • Smell the Armpit / Listen to the Armpit stretches — Simple addition to any post-workout or pre-bedtime routine. You’ll find this is a great one to work on your deep breathing:

Hopefully this will give you guys a few new places to look at when doing pre and post-workout care on your body. Remember, we should DOUBLE the amount of time that we spend exercising with intensity, so that means if you hit a CF class and had 30 minutes of high-intensity work, you should aim to accumulate 1-hour of lower intensity work throughout the day to maintain your body!

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort and would like some instruction on help in these areas please check out Friendship Fitness!