The latest exercise craze promises to make you stronger, more flexible and agile, and prevent injury—all without pushing your body to its limits. If it sounds too good to be true, then welcome to mobility training, a gentle, gentle workout that’s taking the fitness world by storm.
Mobility-focused workouts are so popular that the #mobilityTikTok has garnered over 38 million TikTok views. But don’t let the hashtag fool you. “Mobility training has been around for decades,” says Araceli DeLeon, MS, ACE CPT, an ACE-certified health coach, personal trainer and yoga instructor. “I wouldn’t and wouldn’t consider it a fad.” It’s so beneficial, he says, it should be part of everyone’s exercise routine.
So, what is mobility training, and what can it do for you? Here’s what you need to know, along with a quick workout to help you get started.
What is mobility training?
Mobility training aims to help your body move more freely and easily. In a world where most of us are glued to our computers all day, who can’t benefit from this? On the surface, it’s easy to assume that mobility training is the same as stretching, but mobility and flexibility are not the same thing. “Flexibility is the ability to stretch or lengthen a muscle or muscle group,” explains DeLeon. “Mobility is a person’s range of motion, mainly in the joints.”
“While flexibility is important, mobility helps strengthen the joint and surrounding muscles, allowing the joint to move properly and effectively,” he adds. At the same time, because flexible muscles put pressure on your joints, flexibility is a key component of mobility.
It’s easy to see how moving more fluidly can prevent pain and injury. But how does mobility create energy? Think about how challenging squats can be if your hips are tight. On the other hand, when your hips are nice and loose, you can really sink in and work those glutes!
Start with mobility training
Even if you’ve never heard of mobility training before, you may already be doing some mobility work without knowing it. For example, yoga poses like cat-cow and child’s pose are great for increasing range of motion. Same for planks, lunges and bridges. If you’re already doing this, great! But don’t stop there.
These three mobility exercises can loosen things up even more:
Kneeling hip flexor stretch. Start in a kneeling position. Keeping your left knee on the floor directly under your left hip, step your right leg in front of the right hip into a mini lunge so that your right knee is bent at a right angle directly over your ankle. With both hands on your right thigh, tighten your abs and lean into your right hip while squeezing and contracting your left glutes. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat two to 5 times and switch to the opposite side.
Stretching 90 years. Stand roughly arm’s length in front of a table or desk. Contract your abs and bend your knees slightly. Slowly bend forward at the hips and place your arms straight on the table. Lean back into your hips. While touching the table, straighten your legs and draw your torso toward the ground. Keep your back flat and tuck your chin to avoid tilting your head to the floor. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat two to four times.
Leg crossover stretches. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your hands extended outwards with your palms facing up. Lift your right leg slightly and bend your right knee so that it faces outward. Then rest your right ankle on your left knee to form a triangle. Without moving your ankle, slowly press your right knee away from you. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat two to four times before switching to the other side.
As much as trainers love mobility training, one workout isn’t enough to accomplish that all You need fitness. Instead, think of it as the icing on your fitness cake. Ideally, DeLeon recommends incorporating mobility techniques into your workout at least two to three times a week for 15 to 30 minutes. However, he’s also a big fan of 30-to-60-minute sessions on rest days. Either way, you’ll be moving more smoothly in no time!
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, changing your sleeping habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.