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The Top 4 Mobility Exercises for Enhanced Health and Movement


When most people first pick up a dumbbell, they often gravitate toward losing fat, building muscle, and looking buff—what we might call ‘vanity goals.” And rightfully so, these goals can also contribute to improved health. But, for a moment, let’s set these goals aside and delve into the exercises that can enhance your health and mobility. That’s wild, right? But bear with me for a moment.

In my vast experience training clients and working out myself, I’ve learned that specific exercises should be done only for your health’s sake. So, you can do everything you want to do in the gym without getting hurt. Plus, you can get after it daily with the confidence that you have done everything possible to keep yourself injury-free.

Have you got it? Good, now let’s dive in.

Middle age muscular man performing mobility training session to stay in shape and keep his joints healthy

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Why These 4 Mobility Exercises?

The choice of these four exercises is based on what your body needs to function optimally and minimize the risk of pain and injury. Using scientific research and personal experience, I’ll show you how to easily incorporate these mobility exercises into your routine.

Mobility is a “use-it-or-lose-it” deal. When you lack mobility in the load-bearing joints of your ankles, hips, and shoulders, your body will find ways to move, often in ways that can lead to pain and injury. For instance, a lack of overhead shoulder mobility can force your lower back to compensate, potentially leading to lower back pain.

Lower back compensations equals lower back pain. The bar hang is a simple but challenging way to maintain or improve shoulder mobility and prevent lower back issues when lifting overhead.

While strength exercises performed correctly and in a full range of motion can enhance mobility, the exercises I will share offer a unique advantage. They promote mobility without the constant strain of the barbell, ensuring they don’t exhaust your nervous system. This means you can perform them regularly without any negative effects, providing a reliable way to improve mobility.

Keeps Your Glutes Going

Strong glutes are the key to avoiding hip and lower back issues.

Focused To Reduce Knee Pain

Although there is a weak link between knee pain and strong glutes, having strong and mobile glutes will reduce the chances of knee pain that comes with excessive knee buckling.

Its All In The Hips

A cause of lower back pain and hip impingements is the loss of internal and external hip rotation.

Amazing, the monster/lateral walk combo and the hip flexor stretch go a long way in solidifying the health of your lower back and hips. Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty.


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The Top 4 Mobility Exercises for Enhanced Health

It’s go time. Here are four exercises to keep you rocking and rolling as you negotiate life’s bumpy hills.

Band Pull-Aparts


Before describing why band pull-aparts are on this list, first, a story. During the pain in my right A/C shoulder joint, which led to physical therapy and cortisone shots, no exercise helped me more than band pull-aparts. I still do anywhere from 200 too 300 reps a week, and I have for over a decade.

Now, back to regularly scheduled programming,

The band pull-apart stands out as a simple yet effective exercise for health and mobility. Band pull-aparts strengthen the all-important upper back muscles, helping counteract the rounded shoulder posture that comes with sitting too much. Plus, they solidify shoulder health and mobility by strengthening the rotator cuffs, upper back, and posterior delts, ensuring the shoulders can move freely and confidently.

Sets & Reps: 2 to 4 sets of 15 to 25 reps daily

Monster/Lateral Walk Combo

The lateral band walk is an excellent exercise for targeting the glutes, particularly the smaller lateral muscles of the gluteus medius and minimus. These muscles are crucial for overall lower body function and balance. The mini-band monster walk trains hip extension on one leg and hip abduction on the other, strengthening the internal and external hip rotators essential for hip and lower back health. Put them together, and you have a match made in hip heaven.

Set & Reps: One to three sets of 25 reps on the monster walk and 25 reps per side with the lateral walk.

Bar Hang

Holding onto the bar for dear life is the name of the game here, which is great to practice if you ever find yourself hanging from a cliff. It trains supporting grip strength, which is crucial in ( all exercises involving grip) and outside the gym (pickle jar). But wait, that’s not all. It works wonders for overall shoulder health by engaging and stabilizing the shoulder joints.

The weight and gravity stretch your spine, alleviating pressure and promoting improved spinal health. It also provides excellent stretch for the upper body, targeting your lats, chest, and shoulders. It’s a simple way to increase flexibility and improve the shoulder’s overhead range of motion.

Sets & Reps: One set of 30-60 seconds daily.

Proper Hip Flexor Stretch

The bottom line is we sit more and move less, and we sit for long periods, and then the muscles that connect our thighs to our hips get tight. What muscles are those? The hip flexors, of course. The hip flexor muscles are a primary lower back stabilizer and a connector between the lower and upper body. A tight hip flexor can pull the lower back into further lordosis (increased curve), making you more prone to lower-back issues. This stretch will mobilize your hips, strengthen them, improve posture, and help an achy back.

Sets & Reps: 1 to 2 sets of 60 seconds to two minutes per side.

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