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3 step to improve mobility and get rid of “computer posture”

Over a couple of decades, I’ve accumulated several aches, pains, and injuries.

My right ankle is botched and the range of motion is limited.

My MCL and meniscus are torn in my right knee.

I’ve got an abdominal wall injury that led to scoliosis and a fractured vertebrae.

Plus a host of other more minor aches and pains that rear their ugly heads periodically.

And I imagine your body isn’t 100% ache-free 100% of the time.

So I wanted to share the 3 steps to improve mobility that I’ve used – and we use with many of our clients – to limber up, improve mobility, and feel great.

Before I dive in, I do want to share that more mobility isn’t always the answer. Mobility is not a panacea, and there are other factors at play such as stability, strength, injury history, and more.

And, in many cases, improving mobility is only the first step. 

After that, you have to build strength otherwise the newfound range of motion from mobility work doesn’t “stick”.

Let’s dive in! (scroll down for the video version)

Step 1 – Release

The first step is to release the right muscle. For instance, let’s assume you’ve got tight pecs from sitting at a computer with not-so-great posture. Pecs are tight, leading to forward head posture, and tightness in the upper back.

The first thing to do is release the pecs, and my weapon of choice is a lacrosse ball.

Put the ball against a wall or corner, push your bodyweight into it, and find the tight spot. You’ll know it when you find it.

Then, move your arm up towards the ceiling and back down, 10-15x. Be sure to breathe.

Repeat on the other side.

The simple reason this works is the localized pressure from the lacrosse ball makes your muscle send signals to your brain, which in turn send signals back to the muscle saying “relaaaaaaaaxxxxx”. 

It’s the same principle as a deep tissue massage, and you’ll notice you get a lot of range of motion back.

You can think of this step as giving the muscle the opportunity to stretch. Only a relaxed muscle can really stretch.

But we’re not done yet!

Step 2 – Relengthen

Now that the muscle is receptive to a stretch, the next step is to do a stretch!

Continuing with the pecs as an example, do a standard pec stretch.

Elbow on a post of the door frame, shoulders down and back, and push your body weight slightly forward and away. Hold for the 60s and remember to breathe!

Repeat on the other side.

Now, you’ve got a relaxed muscle that’s been stretched.

But as I mentioned before, we need to make the stretch “stick”, otherwise you’ll have to do this 10x/day and that’s no fun.

Which brings us to…

Step 3 – Reteach. 

This is the most important step, and it’s the one almost everyone misses when they are stretching.

For your brain to recognize and utilize this added range of motion, we need to build strength.

In short, your body won’t use a range of motion unless there is appropriate strength in that given range of motion to avoid injury. Otherwise, your nervous system will restrict your range in order to keep you safe.

Unfortunately, this can lead to other areas compensating, so we need to convince your brain that this newfound mobility is good.

So we gotta build a bit of strength. 

(This is also why we do our release and re-lengthen before the workout to help get the most benefit in the least amount of time. Building strength is the most important step to improve mobility.)

The way we do this is to do a simple strength exercise for the opposite muscle group using slow and controlled repetitions.

In this case, the opposite muscle group to your pecs is your upper back (because it’s on the opposite side of your body).

So an upper back exercise like a band pull apart or even a dumbbell row works perfectly.

Do 10-15 reps using perfect form and a slow tempo, such as 3 seconds down, pause, 1 second back up.

All told this takes about 5 minutes. 

And you’ll feel AMAZING.

Next Steps:

It’s not an immediate, permanent fix, but if you do this a few times a week it doesn’t take long before you notice a significant and sustained improvement in your mobility.

My two favorite areas to do this – the two that are tight on EVERYONE – are the pecs as described above, and the hip flexors.

Here’s how you do the hip flexors

Release the hip flexors and quads with a foam roller

Relenthen the hip flexors and quads with a rocking hip flexor stretch

Reteach the opposite muscle – in this case, the glutes – using a hip thrust or deadlift.

Give it a shot and see what aches and pains seem to melt away once you’ve improved your mobility the right way.

Click HERE to book a call to chat about how we can help.

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