Here are some great mobility tips from one of our awesome Doctor’s of Physical Therapy, Matt Hinsey!
Having the necessary mobility of muscles and joints allows us to function through our body’s full range of motion to move (and EXERCISE!) more efficiently decreasing undue stress to our muscles and joints. Limited mobility also leads to potential compensations that could also lead to injury.
So what’s the best way to improve mobility? Static stretching? Foam roller? Both? There are pro’s and con’s to both, but the bottom line is both techniques will improve flexibility/mobility of muscles and joints. Static stretching feels good and is quick; however, it does not reduce post-workout muscle soreness. Foam rollers can target specific areas of tension within the muscle, increase mobility, and decrease post-workout soreness allowing for quicker recovery.
The best areas to typically address prior to running include: glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves, avoiding rolling over any bony areas. Focus on tender spots or “knots” within the muscle 30-60 seconds per muscle group before and after running, totaling four to eight minutes pre-and post-workout.
Don’t have a foam roller? The use of a lacrosse ball, tennis ball, massage stick, or rolling pin can perform the same function.
As tempting as it is to pop out of bed and run or head to the gym and begin your workout, a dynamic warm-up is key for injury prevention. Dynamic warm-ups increase your body’s core temperature and increase blood flow to your muscles better preparing your body for running and exercise. Dynamic warm-ups also prepare the muscles in a more specific way that they’re used during physical activity.
Examples of dynamic warm-ups include: Inch worms, leg swings, Frankenstein’s, butt kickers, high knees, or walking lunges.
Follow your foam roller program with a 5-10-minute light dynamic warm-up to get your heart rate up and your muscles primed for your workout!
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