Mobility and recovery are equally important to your fitness and wellness routine as working out and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. Cardio exercises, weight training, and sitting or standing for long periods of time all contribute to your muscles tightening up, causing aches and pains, and limiting your range of motion. Muscle tightness can cause limited mobility within the muscles and can have a very negative impact on your workouts. Prioritizing your mobility, however, can leave you feeling great during and after your workout. Here are three important mobility tools to incorporate into your daily wellness routine.
1. Foam Roller
Foam rollers are a great tool for targeting large muscle groups, such as your quads, IT band, and hamstrings. Foam rollers come in a variety of lengths, widths and surface types, but all work essentially the same. You place one muscle group directly onto the foam roller (like your quad, for example) and relax the muscle as much as possible onto the foam roller.
Allow the muscle to slowly loosen up, and then begin moving that muscle group forward and backward on the foam roller. This will allow any tension and knots within the muscles to loosen up, allowing for more range of motion within that muscle group.
2. Lacrosse Ball
A lacrosse ball allows you to target smaller areas of the body with more localized pressure. Unlike something softer like a tennis ball, the lacrosse ball can handle the weight of the body without collapsing down, allowing you to really dig into knots and high tension spots on the body. The lacrosse ball is great for areas like the glutes, bottoms of the feet, and along the shoulder blades. To roll out the glutes, for example, you would start by sitting on the ground with your hands firmly planted, placing the lacrosse ball underneath one side of the glute. Cross that leg over the other leg in tower to mimic a seated position and to allow for the most amount of downward pressure coming from the glute onto the lacrosse ball. From there, you can roll out the glute onto the lacrosse ball, allowing it to dig into high tension areas and slowly release the tension.
The peanut is a unique foam rolling tool that is essentially two lacrosse balls packaged together to create one unit shaped like a peanut. This tool is great for releasing tension in the neck, alongside the spine, and on the sides of the hips.
The space in between the two lacrosse balls allows for you to lay on top of the peanut and loosen up the tension in the muscles surrounding the spine without having the lacrosse ball digging into the spine and causing any pain. Start by lying on your back with the peanut toward the top of your neck. Relax in that position for 20 seconds, slowly tucking your chin in toward your chest and then raising the chin toward the ceiling. Slowly work the peanut down the spine until you’re just above the glutes.
Incorporating mobility tools into your routine before and after a workout will help prevent an increase in muscle tension and will allow for more mobility overall. trying incorporating the use of these three tools into your routine, and you’ll start to see a positive impact in your strength gains and movement patterns.
Lauren Weiss is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor based out of Long Beach, CA. She specializes in kettlebell training and unconventional workouts and has been working with both types of fitness for over a year. Lauren has her BOLT Kettlebell Sport Certification through the USA Kettlebell League and has expertise working with kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells and several unconventional fitness tools. Lauren received her BA in Journalism and uses her writing expertise to craft thought-provoking articles about trending fitness, health & wellness topics. Follow Lauren on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.
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