Mobility is earned through challenging, active work, not just passive stretching and foam rolling. When you can take your muscles through various ranges of motion while properly breathing, the nervous system grants greater access to strength and power.
Perform four reps of these four exercises. Do each rep slowly, taking 30 seconds to complete. Hold the end ranges for three seconds.
1. Wave Unload
- Start in a downward dog position with your heels up.
- Tuck the pelvis and shift the body forward, keeping your arms straight.
- Articulate the spine like a wave moving one vertebra at a time. As your shoulders travel past the hands, drop your hips and pull the chest through the arms.
- Squeeze the shoulder blades together as you look to the sky.
- Return to downward dog and repeat.
2. Shin Box Bridge (pictured above)
- Start seated, with your knees bent 90 degrees and your soles on the floor.
- Straighten your arms, placing your palms on the floor and your fingers facing behind you.
- Using a windshield-wiper motion, shift your legs to the left, bringing both knees to the ground.
- Next, push off your left hand and reach your right arm over your body toward your left hand.
- Repeat on the other side.
3. Twisted Crescent Lunge
- Start in a high lunge, with your right knee over your right ankle and the left heel over the ball of the foot.
- Reach your arms overhead.
- Twist to the right and open your arms to a T position.
- Hold, continuing to drive to the right.
- Reverse and repeat on the other side.
4. Crab Reach
- Start seated with the soles of your feet and your palms flat on the floor.
- Keep your arms straight, with your shoulders over your palms and your legs shoulder-width apart and knees over ankles.
- Lift your butt off the ground and bring your right hand in front of your eyes, with the fingers in prayer position.
- Lift your hips to the sky, open the left shoulder, and reach the right hand over your body toward the left hand.
- Return and repeat on the other side.
—Venus Lau, N.A.S.M.-C.P.T., Los Angeles-based trainer and movement expert.