I'm intentionally using the word mobility over flexibility here. This is where the teacher in me would look you straight in the eyes and ask what you think the difference between the two are. This might also be where you realize how much of a geek I am.
Please rest assured my nerd comes from an honest place of passion to help people move better. And we can't move well unless we have mobility. So, let's start with the definition of mobility.
Mobility is active control over movement.
This means it's a movement that incorporates stability, strength and flexibility. If our muscles are locked up we don't have access to full range of motion, therefore our movement is likely to be a bit faulty. Or, on the flip side, our muscles could have a ton of flexibility but lack the strength to effectively travel that range of motion.
I often tell my clients our muscles and joints are like a group project. In a group project you often have the overachieving control freak/the leader, you have a few middle of the road people and then you might have one or two slackers that just let everyone else do it all for them. This is like our body when we lack mobility. In a certain exercise you might have a really tight muscle that's always working, a few muscles that help out a little and then the slackers that don't do anything but they should be helping out a ton. This is where mobility training comes into play because we have to re-program our body on how to work if it's lacking in the "group project" department.
If you are still with me here, thank you for indulging me! I sure do love a geek out moment attached with a cheesy analogy.
Here's those 5 mobility exercises:
1. Knee Drops (with feet on the floor or elevated)
3. Hip Hinge to Low Lunge
4. Hip Opener Low Lunge
5. Supine Banded Over and Backs
Check out the video too!
The reason I chose these 5 is because over the years these are the areas of limited mobility I have seen on with a high number of people.
My only recommendation is to "own the movement" when you are trying these. That means more is not more. Listen to your body and feel what's happening. Also, complete and slow inhale and exhalations will help you get the most out of these stretches.
Lastly, relax, have fun and enjoy the benefit you have of moving your body.