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Movements That Could Replace Your Mobility Work

Movements That Could Replace Your Mobility Work
Movements That Could Replace Your Mobility Work

Shoulders and Upperbody Mobility Movements

Movement #1 - Shoulder Dislocates

This is a great movement for guys who aren't able to do behind the neck movements, or low bar squats without discomfort. You can use a broomstick or bands to perform these. If you use a broomstick, then grab it very wide, bring it up over head, and down behind you as far as possible.

A band works really well for these because it will allow your joints to move a little more naturally and not be in a "fixed" position throughout the movement.

Do 4 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions of these before you do your overhead work. After a few weeks, you can move on to doing the next movement...

Movement #2 - Barbell Press Behind the Neck

The key here is to grab the bar wide, just like with the broom stick. You don't have to actually lower the bar all the way down to the base of the neck mind you. I generally touch the middle of my neck. Of course, start light on these and then add weight over the coming weeks until all the muscles involved in that movement are strong enough to have stability while performing it.

As you can see now, we have accomplished two things. First, we became mobile in the range of movement. Then we added stability by getting stronger in that ROM. Again, adhering to the principles laid out above.

My suggestion is to start with 4 sets of 12 and go very light. Slowly add weight each week until you can use heavier weights in a full ROM without discomfort. How heavy? I've done 365 pounds on this movement with no issue, and I have a permanently separated shoulder. Klokov has performed snatch grip press behind the neck with 275 pounds for triples. If your have good shoulder mobility, and you have stability in them by strengthening them correctly, these movements are not dangerous.

Movement #3 - Dumbbell Flyes

This is another movement that lots of strength athletes have avoided over the years for various reasons. I guess they figure that because bodybuilders do them, they should be avoided. Nonsense.

The primary function of the pectorals are to move the shoulder joint. Namely, the flexion, adduction, and medial rotation of the humerus. The primary function of the pectoral major is to essentially bring the humerus across the chest, i.e. a flye motion.

With dumbbell flyes we are in fact strengthening the pectorals by asking it to perform its primary function against resistance, with a stretch. You don't have to go heavy on these at all to get the benefits from this movement. Concentrate on the stretch portion and making the pectorals contract to actually move the weight. 4 sets of 12-15 reps here will work great.

Another alternative here is the "fancy boy" cable cross-over machine. Again, don't demonize a movement because too many skinny runts are using it. Use it for a purpose that benefits you. Not because too many dudes that should be squatting, rowing, and pressing are using it for the wrong reasons.

Read More: Finding the Perfect Workout Shoes

Lower Body Mobility Movements

Doing single leg work isn't something that is a big emphasis. Your rarely see a lot of strength athletes and bodybuilders these days using them. Why this is, I am not sure.

Single leg work helps to create balance across the lower body. This is especially important on closed chain movements like squats, where most lifters tend to shift to their dominant side, whether they realize it or not.

Lifters will sometimes attribute things like their IT band being tight or painful because a lack of mobility or flexibility. But often times it’s because they are simply shifting to their dominant side.

One program I learned from a very smart physical therapist was something called the "lunge matrix". Here is how it is performed.

Movement #1 - The Lunge Matrix

Pretend you are standing on a clock face. Now perform 5 reps of lunges per leg at the following positions on the clock.

5 reps straight ahead at 12 o'clock
5 reps at 1:30 and 10:30
5 reps doing side to side lunges at 3 and 9 o'clock
5 reps at 5:30 and 7:30
5 reps at 6 o'clock (reverse lunges)

You can repeat this matrix 3 or 4 times at the end of a training session, or 2 times before you perform the big compound movements on leg day. This will get the hips warmed up.

This is a great program. It will let you know immediately where you are lacking in terms of mobility and flexibility, and if you have lower body strength imbalances. Keep it in your program as pre-hab work, or at least some type of lunge to keep your hips healthy.

Movement #2 - Barefoot Walking Lunges in the Grass

I wasn't sure what to call these to be honest. So I just named them how I perform them.

I take my shoes off, and lunge up and down my back yard. The reason for this is not only because it is good hypertrophy work, but also to strengthen the ankle and some of the smaller stabilizing muscles in the hips.

My yard, like most, isn't perfectly even. It makes me stabilize more than on an even surface. If you don't think so, try it out (not in my backyard though). You will notice that you wobble more, and generally feel more "off balance".

Before you compare it to some goofy shit you see in the gym like some dude trying to squat on a bosu ball, this actually has real merit to it. It will help to build up all the small stabilizing muscles in the lower body, and if you are taking big strides in the lunge, will also aid in increasing flexibility. Make sure you open up your hip by getting the knee out on the plant foot. This external rotation in the hip joint will bring the glutes more into play.

Movement #3 - Deficit Stiff Legged Deadlift

These have been a staple of mine for a long time. They build the posterior chain like no other movement, including conventional deadlifts, and because of the extended range of motion will really stretch out the hamstrings.

I use a 4" deficit to do these on. However, if you're too stiff to perform them that way you can simple start by standing on a 45 pound plate.

Now when I write "stiff-legged" you aren't actually in a "straight-legged" position. So it's a bit of a misnomer. You want a soft knee, meaning it's slightly bent, when you perform these. The knee stays locked in that position throughout the movement. Don't turn it into a partial conventional deadlift by bending at the knee more as you get fatigued, or the weight gets heavier.

Bend at the hips to get into position, and hold the soft knee position to start the movement. Keep the low back neutral or just slightly arched.

I actually go quite heavy on these. Sometimes up to over 600 pounds for reps. Generally, I stay around 500 and do several sets of 5-8. If you find yourself losing that neutral spine or bending too much at the knee, then lower the weight and the deficit height, and build back up from there.


This isn't a "mobility" workout, per say. This is a way to incorporate movements so that a lack of mobility doesn't become a factor, or if it is, to get mobile enough to train in a productive way again.

If you need mobility work because of the reasons I outlined above, then do it. Then try to incorporate movements such as these into your training so that your joints and your new mass from them, thank you for it.