Mobility Exercises for Athletes
Want to throw down thunderous dunks? Or juke out defenders? Or throw a 90+ MPH fastball? Well, one attribute that plays a role in all of those feats is mobility. Mobility in the hips and shoulders is critical. And not just to prevent injury, but also for performance.
A prime example would be an MMA fighter. MMA fighters need mobility to get more whip on their punches. They also need mobility for their ground game. If they’re stiff, rigid, and tight, they’re going to tap quicker than someone who is supple, nimble, and limber.
That said, today, I want to share two mobility circuits – one for upper body, one for lower body – that you can perform every day in between rounds of Fortnite, or Call of Duty, or whatever.
Hunchbacks and Donald Ducks
You know who Donald Duck is right? He’s the feathered friend of Mickey whose butt sticks way out.
And how about the Hunchback of Notre Dame? His shoulders are rounded forward, and he walks around hunched over.
Neither of these postures would be optimal for athletes, right?
Right. But many athletes are being forced into these positions from pattern overload and the demands of society.
If you don’t know pattern overload is performing a certain movement over and over until it causes postural distortion or injury. You see this a lot in baseball players who throw and hit for thousands of reps on one side.
You can also see this in student athletes who sit in class all day, are hunched over their phones texting, or drive their cars in slouched positions.
All of this wreaks havoc on the body.
And it facilitates Upper and Lower Crossed Syndromes.
I’ve talked about these before, but essentially Upper and Lower Crossed syndromes are characterized by tightness in certain muscles. And with that tightness in certain muscles comes looseness in other muscles.
All this said, it takes more than a focused effort on mobility to restore function to the body.
Stretching, mobilizing, and strengthening are all necessary.
Below, I’m going to post some of my posts on stretching and mobilizing so you can get a better idea on how to restore balance to the body:
Upper Body Mobility Exercises for Athletes
These upper body mobility exercises can be done back to back circuit style, and should be done at least three times through.
You’ll need a band and a dowel rod for these:
1. Banded Dislocations – 10-15 Reps
For this mobility exercise, you’ll take a band and get a good amount of tension in it. With the arms straight down by your sides, tension on the band, bring your arms overhead. The shoulders should stay down and back, core stays tight. Bring that band to your butt, then back in front. Repeat for desired reps.
2. Dowel Rod Black Burns – 10-15 Reps
For this mobility exercise, lay on your stomach, dowel rod out in front of you. Grab the dowel rod about shoulder width and lift the rod off the ground. Keep the shoulders down and back, chest up, and bring the dowel rod behind your neck, then press out. Repeat for desired reps.
3. Dowel Rod Thoracic Rotations – 10 Reps
For this mobility exercise, lay on your stomach, dowel rod in front of you. Grab the dowel rod outside of shoulder width and push one end of the dowel rod into the ground as you try to bring the other side up toward the ceiling. While doing this, keep both hips pressed into the ground. Repeat for desired reps.
4. Banded External Rotations w/ Press – 10 Reps
For this mobility drill, you’ll need to grab that band again. Step on one side of the band, other side in your hand. Get your elbow level with your shoulder, and bend your elbow 90 degrees. Start with the hand level with your elbow and rotate up, then press up by the ear. Lower back down, and rotate your shoulder back down so your hand is level with your elbow again. Repeat for desired reps.
Lower Body Mobility Exercises for Athletes
Just like the mobility exercises for athletes above, these will be done circuit style as well. Again, they should be done at least three times through.
Here we go:
1. Seated Hip Rotations – 10 Reps
For this mobility exercise, you’re going to start seated, knees bent about 90 degrees, heels on the ground. From this position, you’re going to rotate your right hip so that the outside of your right knee touches the ground. At the same time, you’re going to rotate the left hip, so the inside of your left knee touches the ground. Then, flip sides. Repeat this for desired reps.
2. Scorpions – 10 Reps
For this drill, start on your stomach, arms straight out to your sides. Bring your right heel to your left hand, then switch sides. Repeat for desired reps.
3. Roll Over and Reach – 10 Reps
For this exercise, you’re going to start on your butt, legs spread as wide as possible. Roll onto your upper back (not your neck) and bring your feet to the ground behind you (if possible). Then, roll forward, spread the legs as far as you can, and touch the ground in front of you. Repeat for desired reps.
4. Fire Hydrant Hip Circles – 5 Each Way
For this mobility drill, start on your hands and knees, chest up. Keep your knee bent 90 degrees and bring your knee out to the side until it’s level with the hips. Repeat this five times each side.
Next, kick your foot straight back, then bring the knee around the side. Repeat this five times each side.
Finally, get your knee straight up to the side, then kick back.
Mobility Every Day
Unlike stretching, mobility doesn’t have potential side effects. This means there’s only positives to be had – more power, lower chance of injury, higher performance, even reduced soreness.
There’s not much else you can ask for.
So, I challenge you to perform these mobility exercises for athletes every day. Then, get back to me and let me know how it helped.
And before you go, check out my top athletic blog posts below: