In this third article in my four-part series on mobility, I am focusing on dynamic movements to help loosen up joints to increase your range of motion. We already discussed stretching, which helps with flexibility for the tendons and muscles, and tools that help go beyond what we can do on our own. Now we focus on range of motion for your joints.
The best part about doing dynamic mobility is that you can do the exercises as a warmup, cool down, or at any point throughout your day. Pay attention to how your body is responding and don’t over stretch.
The rules are similar to static stretching. Posture is the most important! We are doing all this work so you can achieve good posture and movement, so don’t cheap out on the work.
The other rule is to ease into it. Start your dynamic mobility gently, then work your way into a bigger range. You can only do what your joints are happy with and ready for. You may find an improvement in one session, or a few sessions over time.
The last rule for static stretching is to be supported, however, for dynamic work you can be standing and moving around. You want to keep your torso mostly still, but it can move a little. Being dynamic means avoiding having a rigid body.
This leads into the anti-rule. Allow flow, movement, and some momentum with these exercises. If you are to keep your knees together, it’s OK if they come apart a little. If you can’t quite touch the floor, that’s OK too.
The idea behind the mobility work is just that, to create movement. So while I don’t want you to swing out of control, I don’t want you to be controlling every small movement. Allow your body to relax and enjoy it.
Dynamic warmups have really become popular in sports and exercise. You can incorporate some dynamic work before you lift weights, go for a run or walk, or before practice or a game. These routines are designed to activate working muscles, provide more range of motion around the joint, and reduce your risk for injury.
The exercises are very global movements that are not targeting one particular muscle group. If you need more specific activation, you would do your dynamic warmup first, then do your supplement or activation exercises.
When dynamic movements are done as a cool down, they help to move fluid around the body and help to reduce waste products in your bloodstream. It can be such a nice recovery method to return to basics and move your body freely.
In the video, I demonstrate some basic dynamic exercises for the whole body. But you can be creative and improvise, making almost any movement a bit more dynamic. You can tweak some of these movements as well to make them work best for you.
If you want to learn more about mobility or need guidance putting a routine together, let me know! I would love to help.
Jen Mark is a Registered Kinesiologist, Certified Athletic Therapist, and Registered Yoga Teacher at Matrix of Motion Fitness Studios and Sports Medicine Centre of Excellence in Newmarket. Jen is currently the athletic therapist with the Markham Majors Bantams. Jen is also the head therapist and holistic director for the Junior Development Squad with the Men’s program under Field Hockey Canada. Jen uses her athletic therapy for exercise and manual treatments including soft tissue massage, joint mobilizations, and muscle energy.