10 Mobility Lessons I Wish I Knew Sooner

10 Mobility Lessons I Wish I Knew Sooner

I’ve made a TON of mistakes.

Made excuses to skip my warm ups that lead to overload and injury.

Slacked on my mobility work, which led to improper recruitment patterns and pain.

Ignored aches and pains until it was too late and I couldn’t train the way I wanted…

I’ve learned far too many lessons the hard way…

But I want to help you avoid the same frustrations and pain…

That’s why I’m going to share 10 key mobility lessons I’ve learned to help you avoid making the same mistakes and move and feel your best no matter your age!

Because so often what we even blame on our age is simply previous aches and pains and training practices coming back to bite us in the butt!

Sooo the first mobility lesson I wish I’d known sooner was…

#1: It’s Not Just About Form.

I’d always prided myself on having good form. 

But good form doesn’t mean you’re always using the correct muscles.

Actually mimicking proper form may be leading to you overusing muscles not meant to carry the load and seeking out mobility from joints that aren’t really meant to provide that range of motion.

The more advanced we are too, the more we know how a move SHOULD look so we force that movement pattern, using whatever is needed.

And this can result in overload and injury just as much, if not sometimes even MORE than improper form. 

Because we’re forcing a movement we can’t actually perform properly!

So focus not just on form and how the movement looks but your recruitment pattern and what you feel working!

If you can’t feel the correct muscles working, you haven’t earned that movement.

Instead you need to regress to then build up or you need to swap to a different variation you can perform properly as you address the underlying mobility restrictions and muscle weakness! 

#2: The Point Of “Pain” Isn’t Always Where The Problem Started.

When we end up with a shoulder injury, we blame our shoulder. 

Back pain, we blame our back. Often we even think, “Oh this area is injured because it was weak.” And then we overwork the muscle further trying to rehab it. 

But this only perpetuates the issue.

Because often injury occurs due to overload.

Our back becomes overworked because our glutes or abs are weak or not being used efficiently during movements.

Or a lack of thoracic extension leads to us seeking out mobility and stability from our shoulder during the overhead press that it isn’t meant or able to provide. 

Issues elsewhere lead to the injuries.

Often where the pain is isn’t where the problem started.

And this is why, when we are addressing aches and pains we can’t get so focused on the aches and pains only.

We need to assess movements and how joints and muscles are working together.

Because limitations in mobility or instability at one joint, say your ankles, can impact your movements all the way up your body, resulting in overload and injury.

That ankle injury from years ago, may now be why you have knee pain! 

This is also why resting a previous injury isn’t enough.

Which is actually the next big lesson I learned…

#3: Resting An Injury Doesn’t Make It Go Away.

When we have aches and pains or injuries, we first turn to rest to help the pain go away.

While resting an area can be a key first step in recovery, it doesn’t change why the overload occurred in the first place. 

So if you just take time off till something feels better then go back to training as you were, you may just end up injured again. 

You haven’t taken time to address where the mobility restriction was. Or what muscle was weak and led to overload.

You haven’t changed your form or your recruitment patterns. 

And if you don’t address what led to the injury and overload, often you’re just going to end up injured again from doing the same things.

Now you may be thinking, “But I’ll just avoid those movements.”

But this isn’t really a long-term solution.

So many of those movements we do in everyday life.

And at some point, that weakness or mobility issue is going to pop back up.

Instead of just resting, we need to take things back to basics and include the prehab work needed to truly address what added up in the first place.

This can help us from falling prey to this injury becoming chronic so we can consistently train the way we want to see results!

Which is why you need to see prehab as a 3-part process.

And this is lesson #4, which has been the biggest game changer for me so that I haven’t had another injury sideline me and I’ve been able to nip aches and pains before they add up…

#4: Prehab is a 3-Part process.

Addressing an ache or pain means not only relaxing overactive muscles, but improving your joint mobility and even activating underactive muscles to improve stability.

There are multiple components to making sure muscles are working as they should be and joints have the proper range of motion.

Not to mention, the longer we’ve potentially ignored an issue, the more that has built up as we’ve compensated.

It’s why the process of foam rolling, stretching and activation was the biggest game changer for me and I’ve seen it have the biggest impact on my clients functional fitness as well.

It’s why I even had a client say to me “I’m moving better now than I did in my 20s and 30s!”

None of these components alone have the same impact.

The system as a whole is what makes each part so effective.

The foam rolling helps relax overactive muscles we may even tend to overuse. 

The stretching, especially dynamic stretching used prior to a workout, helps mobilize our joints and return muscles to their proper length-tension relationships. 

The activation then continues to help mobilize joints, stretching muscles through a process called reciprocal inhibition as it works to activate underactive muscles. This activation helps improve our mind-body connection to better use these muscles to carry the loads they should when we train and move. 

This process works together to help address all components needed to avoid us perpetuating the overuse, overload and injury!

But even as game changing as this process really was for me and as much as I credit this with even helping me be able to lift more…

You can’t out mobility work your other movements.

Your workouts have to complement the mobility work you’re doing.

Lesson #5: Strengthen Through A Full Range Of Motion.

You’ve done that prehab work to be able to move through a full range of motion and use the correct muscles…

But if you don’t now do the work to actually strengthen the muscles through the range of motion you’ve prepped your body to be able to handle, you won’t maintain it.

If you lift and do half squats after working on your hip mobility, you’re going to only have stability and strength through that smaller range of motion. And you’re going to tighten things back up. 

So basically it’s going to feel like all of your mobility work isn’t adding up and is a waste.

But it isn’t.

Instead, you have to check your ego, and use lighter weights to move through the full range of motion you’ve established with the 3-part prehab process. 

But it’s key that we do adjust the range of motion of exercises to build strength through the range of motion we want!

Now…The next big lesson I learned was oddly a mindset shift….and something I think we too often just ignore…

And it has to do with IMBALANCES.

Every notice one side is weaker? Or that you have stronger muscles around a joint causing restrictions? 

#6: Well, Those Imbalances Are Worse Than Inflexibility.

Feel like the tin man over gumbi? 

Honestly just being inflexible, while something you may want to work on isn’t as bad as we often make it out to be.

If everything is tight, you’re at least EVEN in how you can move.

It’s less of an issue if you can’t touch your toes than if you can’t touch your toes but you can do the side splits. 

This imbalance of muscle flexibility around a joint can lead to overload and injury as you have more movement and potentially less stability in one plane of motion.

It’s why you may need to do imbalance prehab work to address the issues, relaxing only specific muscles while activating others.

It’s why you may need to pay attention to including movements in specific planes of motion and even working specific muscles more! 

And it’s not just discrepancies around a single joint that we need to pay attention to but imbalances between sides.

If one side is mobile and the other isn’t? If one side is stronger?

This can lead to overload of the stronger side when the weaker side can’t keep up. 

Or it can lead to the weaker side becoming overworked and muscles compensating as it tries to keep up with your dominant side.

Imbalances need to be addressed.

Whether it is holding back our stronger side, doing more reps using rest pause technique on the weaker side or even ONLY including unilateral moves so the stronger side can’t take over, we need to make sure we’re addressing those imbalances. 

#7: Flexibility And Mobility Depend On Stability.

Ever move a joint through a bigger range of motion and then go to lift and find you can’t really move through even half of what you had been able to do with your own bodyweight? 

This may be an issue with stability!

Far too often the emphasis is put on flexibility and mobility…

We talk about stretching and mobilizing joints to improve our range of motion and squat deeper or press overhead properly. 

But part of what allows a joint to move through that full range of motion as we correctly recruit muscles to power the movement is STABILITY.

If a joint doesn’t feel stable, your mind is going to restrict the range of motion you can work through.

So if muscles aren’t strong enough, the joint movement may be limited or your active flexibility may seem a lot smaller than what you’re able to do in a static or passive position.

And too often we ignore this signal and push through with heavier loads anyway.

This is then what leads to aches and pains and us seeking out strength from muscles not meant to carry the load or a range of motion from a joint not meant to provide it.

This is why that activation component or even some lighter load work and isometrics…the stuff that doesn’t seem as sexy or hard, may be so key! 

We also don’t want to ignore this instability because it may hint that we actually aren’t properly addressing muscle tightness as well…

#8: A Tight Muscle Doesn’t Always Need To Be Stretch.

Pull a rubber band and stretch it out and it’s going to feel tight.

Decide to stretch it further because it feels tight and you’re going to snap it.

Muscles don’t just feel tight when they’re shorten.

They can also feel tight because they are overstretched.

This is why paying attention to joint stability and even lesson number 2 (that the point of pain isn’t always where the problem is) is so key.

Everything is connected.

So we need to assess overall postures and movements to really see what is going on over just honing in and looking at a muscle in isolation at times.

Our hamstrings are a prime example of this.

Too often they are tight from being overstretched due to tight hip flexors from sitting so much. 

This daily posture can make us feel like we need to stretch our hamstrings, when actually it is our hip flexors that are shortened and in need of stretching.

And due to them being overly lengthened and this overall posture, our hamstrings may also be overworked.

This can create instability at our hip and even our knee, leading to more issues and not just putting our hamstrings at risk for being pulled.

And if we were to just say “My hamstrings feel tight” and stretch them more?

We may even be making matters worse.

It’s why we need to truly look at how muscles and joints function together and our overall movement and recruitment patterns.

Too often we don’t ask ourselves, “What do I feel working?” 

Because if we did, we may notice our hamstrings compensating in moves for our glutes only further perpetuating the feeling of tightness!

And if you’re thinking, “But I don’t have time to address all these things…”

#9: 5-Minutes Is All You Need.

So often we don’t do anything because we feel we can’t do enough.

But if we can just commit to 5 minutes a day of mobility work and do that daily, that time will not only add up but the daily consistency will help results build. 

This is why you need to stop skipping your warm up! 

Which is actually what I was originally going to call this lesson.

But even when it relates to your warm up, you don’t need 15 minutes or a ton of time to prep your body.

That prehab process can be used efficiently to mobilize and activate what you plan to work that day!

Doing a little each day to grease the wheel pays off over letting things add up so you have to peel back each layer that’s built up.

So stop stressing about doing full recovery sessions more frequently even. Just focus on 5 minutes, even if that 5 minutes is an intentional warm up that you don’t skip! 

You’ll be surprised by how even that warm up helps you move better in your workouts to get more out of each session and strengthen through that full range of motion to actually make your mobility work add up even more! 

Which leads me to biggest and most important lesson of all…

#10: Rehab becomes Prehab.

Let’s face it…many of us have had aches and pains and injuries in the past.

Things that are “better” now…

So we get lazy about continuing to work on our areas of weakness. And then when we least expect it, aches and pains rear their ugly heads. 

This leads to us feeling frustrated that we can’t ever fully seem to get momentum with things.

But this is why rehab becomes prehab.

What we did to make things “better” needs to be done proactively to keep things working well.

Otherwise we default back into old recruitment and movement patterns. 

So instead of having to spend a ton of time being reactive or not training the way we want, keep in that mobility work as part of your warm up.

And if you do notice things popping up, don’t be afraid to step back and address those weak links.

Honestly, with all of these lessons, it’s really about being aware and being intentional in our training so we can address things before they really add up!

The more aware we are of how our body is feeling and our movements, the more we can modify and progress as we need to keep training consistently while feeling and moving our best!

Ready for workouts that have the prehab work done for you?

–> Check out Dynamic Strength


5 Mistakes That Got Me INJURED (Avoid These!)

5 Mistakes That Got Me INJURED (Avoid These!)

Injuries suck.

No one likes them. No one wants them.

And they only seem to add up more and more the older we get.

I’ve personally suffered from far too many of them because of ego and stupid mistakes.

Mistakes I want to help you avoid.

That’s why in this video I’m going to go over 5 training mistakes I made that lead to injury to help you avoid making the same mistakes and even come back stronger than ever no matter your age!

By learning from my own mistakes, I now feel stronger and move better than ever before and have helped many of my clients overcome chronic aches and pains to move and feel their best as well!

So let’s jump right in with mistake #1….

Mistake #1: Just resting an injury.

Rest can be a key component of recovery. 

But far too often we just rest it then go right back to what we were doing that lead to the injury in the first place.

We never actually correct the underlying cause or problem.

We never address the movement compensation causing overload.

And then we wonder why a few months later we are sidelined with the same issue or another injury even on that same side of our body. 

Resting it doesn’t fix the problem!

If you have an injury, you need to assess what lead to the overload of that area in the first place.

Because often the point of pain, the place that got injured, isn’t even where the problem started. 

Even previous injuries may have resulted in changes to our movement patterns leading to the issues we now have.

Like that ankle sprain you got years ago you never rehabbed may be why you have hip or lower back aches and pains now. 

So instead of just resting an area, or even if you do need to rest to recover to start, focus on taking things back to basics and doing that rehab work to improve your mind-body connection and make sure you are performing exercises correctly. 

You want to come back to training and work on improving and retraining proper movements over just going back to what you were doing.

And regress to progress. Start back slowly to make sure you’re building up using the correct muscles to power moves! 

Which brings me to Mistake #2: Focusing only on proper form.

The more advanced an exerciser you are, the more you know what proper form should be…

And the more you can also CHEAT and compensate.

So picture perfect form doesn’t always mean we’re using the correct muscles. 

And this ability to mimic proper form is also why you can get injured while saying, “I have great form with moves! I know what I’m doing!”

Too often we force a movement pattern we can’t fully control, which leads to us overusing muscles not meant to handle the load or seeking out mobility from joints that aren’t meant to help us get that range of motion and movement. 

It’s why we may feel our lower backs as we try to extend our spine to perform the bent over row with a straight back. 

If we have limited thoracic mobility, due to hunching over a computer, we may end up overarching our lower back to compensate.

This can then lead to us overusing our lower back and ending up with back pain while our row form looks good.

We also have to remember that proper form isn’t a one size fits all thing. There are variations to what is perfect.

Like with the squat….

Social media may show you this one version of a picture perfect squat with super upright torso, feet hip width and completely straight ahead as the person squats ass to grass… 

But if you have a shorter torso and longer femurs or a different hip socket shape and depth, you may need a different stance or have more of a forward lean.

We don’t want to just ignore the importance of form, but we do want to recognize that there are acceptable variations we may each need based on build or even previous injuries or even mobility restrictions. 

If we try to force our body into a form mold that doesn’t fit, if we try to do a move we can’t control using the correct muscles, we are going to end up injured.

So focus not only on the movement pattern itself, but what you actually feel working to power the move.

And don’t be afraid to use variations or tweaks to movements to fit what you need!

Next Mistake #3: Not keeping in rehab as prehab.

You can NEVER stop doing what makes you better. 

And so often future injuries are a result of PREVIOUS aches and pains we didn’t fully address or keep addressing. 

How many of us have had an injury, done some rehab, had it go away, stopped the rehab then been frustrated when it seems like the injury keeps flaring back up?

It’s because we stopped doing the rehab that improved our mobility and built up strength in underactive and weak muscles! 

And the second we stop doing what made us better, we start to fall back into old postures, movements and recruitment patterns, overusing muscles not meant to carry the load.

Often we want to default back into movement patterns we did for a long time that have become natural. 

Movement patterns and postures we constantly have to fight against to ingrain new ones that will become natural only with time.

Time we don’t often truly dedicate to the changes!

So once you finish up rehab and start feeling good, you need to turn that rehab into prehab. 

You can’t just stop it at the first sign of feeling better and go back to what you were doing!

Include that prehab as part of your warm up or on recovery days BEFORE anything adds up! 

This helps ensure you’re using the correct muscles in movements and have mobilized joints to work through a full range of motion.

And if you do feel any aches starting to slightly reappear, whether you’ve spent longer hours at your desk or have been traveling and got a bit lax on your prehab, step up that mobility and stability work and assess what other moves in your workouts you may need to modify to address what is going on! 

But don’t think just because you did some physio or rehab for a bit the issue is magically solved forever!

We get good at what we consistently do and we need to keep doing those boring basics to maintain the foundation we built!

And while prehab and mobility work is key…

We can’t out rehab our daily movements and the way we then train in our workouts… 

This is why you have to be conscious of Mistake #4: Not checking your ego at the gym door.

Trust me…I want to push hard in my training sessions. 

And I know ego can push me to want to eek out an extra rep or use a heavier weight even as my form breaks down. 

There are definitely those workouts where I finish a set and know I wasn’t engaging the correct muscles as I got tired…yet I pushed through anyway.

This happens because we want to see results and we want to see them now.

But there is a fine line we have to tread when it comes to pushing hard and pushing to a point where we are ultimately creating overload and pain. 

We need to focus on being intentional with our workouts and making each rep quality.

We need to realize when our ego needs to be put in check.

We also need to embrace MODIFYING at times to get more out of moves. 

Sometimes we advance to a movement we haven’t earned, thinking if the exercise is technically harder it will help us see better results faster.

But since we haven’t earned the move, we compensate. We don’t actually work the muscles fully that we want to target. 

Not only does this not get us the full benefit of the move, so we’re wasting effort and time, but it can lead to injury.

If we instead had modified and regressed to progress, we could have made the move harder for ourselves because we were actually able to use the correct muscles. 

So as much as you may want to do that push up from your toes, check your ego. 

If your hips are sagging, your head is jutting forward or your form is just fugly, modify it to make it picture perfect.

That tweak can actually make the move HARDER because you’re able to use the correct muscles. And you’ll see better results because of it. 

Modifying doesn’t mean making a move easier. It means making a move match what you need.

And this can help you train harder without creating aches and pains!

And this final mistake is one we so often make and think we could “get away with” when we were younger…Only to now realize “getting away with it” may be why we have more aches and pains…

Mistake #5: Not doing a proper warm up.

Ever go into a workout without doing a warm up because you’re short on time and feel like it takes multiple rounds of your training session or even half your workout before you’re feeling warm and squatting as low as you’d like? 

Well not only did you end up wasting half your workout time by not “wasting time” warming up, but you also put yourself at greater risk for overload and injury.

We have to recognize that our bodies aren’t primed for the movements we are about to do because we’ve spent our day driving in a car or hunched over a computer or doing other repetitive movements and suboptimal postures. 

So that heavy overhead press you want to perform that keeps hurting your shoulder or neck or back, may be because you aren’t addressing your hunched over desk posture and first working on your thoracic extension.

You aren’t doing the mobility work to properly press overhead and engage your upper back while having proper scapular control. 

But all you need to do to fix this is include foam rolling, stretching and activation in your warm up prior! And do so CONSISTENTLY!

Your warm up is the time you address daily postures and ready your body for the movements you are going to do. 

It is the time you can address past aches and pains to make sure you’re not creating the same overload that can lead to injury.

This prehab work done just even for 5-10 minutes in your warm up CONSISTENTLY can add up more than a once a week recovery session. 

So in your warm up…

Foam roll to relax tight and overactive muscles… 

Perform dynamic stretches to warm up your body and mobilize your joints… 

Then include activation moves to engage those underactive muscles while improving your mobility and stability. 

Through this 3-part prehab process, you can ready your body to put in some quality work during your workout. 

You can help prevent your desk job posture and lack of activity during the day from impacting how you train!

If you want to avoid aches and pains from getting worse and adding up more and more over the decades, focus on truly addressing what caused the pain in the first place. 

Don’t push through it. Don’t skip your prehab.

Focus on what you feel working in movements and never stop doing what made you feel better! 

For more injury resources, CLICK HERE.

How to Unlock TIGHT HIPS (With 6 Exercises)

How to Unlock TIGHT HIPS (With 6 Exercises)

Are you one of the many people out there struggling with tight hips or hip pain? 

Whether it’s caused by a previous injury, sitting for long periods, or a sedentary lifestyle, hip pain and tight hips can be a major roadblock to your daily routine. 

Rehab work can help improve our movements, BUT we have to KEEP doing it to see those results maintained.

Rehab must become prehab. 

That’s why I want to share 6 moves to help you keep those hips, and even your lower back and knees, healthy and happy. 

And at the end I’ll share a quick series you can do combining these moves to use daily!

Exercise #1: Rectus Femoris Foam Rolling

Especially if you spend a ton of time seated, you want to spend some time relaxing tight and overactive hip flexors.

One key hip flexor muscle to focus on is the rectus femoris. This quad muscle is the only one to impact both the knee and the hip so tightness can not only perpetuate your hip pain, but also your knee and even lower back aches and pains.   

To roll out this muscle, a ball works best but will apply more pressure so if needed modify with a roller. 

Lie face down with the ball in the middle front of your thigh. Relax over the ball, propping yourself up on your forearms.

Extend your leg out flexing that quad then relax. Repeat as you hold on the ball, breathing to help the muscle relax and release.

If you find you’re only tensing against the pressure, start with a softer trigger point tool.

Repeat for a few extensions then move the ball slightly up or down your thigh.

Exercise #2: Adductor Foam Rolling

Tightness of our adductors or inner thighs can perpetuate hip pain as well, causing hip alignment issues and even knee tracking issues. 

 If you find your knees tend to cave in and you struggle to feel your glute medius or side butt working, you may want to address any adductor tightness. 

The adductors are also a hip flexor, so tightness there may be limiting your hip extension as well. 

To roll out your adductors, a roller works best.

Place the roller to the side fo you and bend your knee to about 90 degrees placing the inside of your thigh by your knee on the roller. You can roll up toward your groin and work all along your inner thigh. 

When you find a spot that is tight, lift your lower leg and then relax it back down and even push down into the roller then slightly release.

Don’t just roll up and down quickly but instead focus on holding on any tight spots to help the muscle relax and release.

Then you want to include stretching. If you are doing this as part of your warm up series, stretches that get your joints moving through a full range of motion is key. 

Exercise #3: Bench Hip And Quad Stretch 

This stretch will help improve your hip extension and stretch out any short and tight hip flexors. The key with this move is to focus on that back glute engaging to drive that back hip forward.

This stretch will isolate each side independently and really start to warm up your legs as well as it is basically a balance lunge!

To do this stretch, set up with a bench behind you. As long as your knee allows, set up at the bottom of the stretch kneeling on the ground. If you need to reduce the range of motion, put a block or even a pillow or cushion down on the ground to kneel on.

Place your back foot up on the bench and make sure your front foot is firmly pressed into the ground. Engage that back glute to help you kneel up nice and tall and drive your hip into extension from the bottom.

Then pressing off your front and back foot, lift up.

Squeeze that back glute the entire time and lower back down. Pause at the bottom on the ground for a breath and repeat.

If you find balancing a challenge, you can use a suspension trainer, chair or foam roller to hold on to just make sure you aren’t leaning forward but instead staying upright.

Leaning forward would put your hip back into flexion! 

Exercise #4: Alternating Pigeon Pose

The pigeon pose stretch is an amazing stretch to improve your hip mobility, especially if you’ve ever had sciatic pain, lower back pain or even IT band and knee issues.

However, the static version isn’t a great way to warm up your body for work. 

With this variation, moving through that range of motion, you can implement this stretch while really mobilizing those hips.

To do this stretch, start on your hands and knees. Then begin to walk your hands to one sides on the ground as you swing the leg on the side you’re walking toward back behind you and across your other leg.

Your body will rotate as you move into that pigeon pose, sitting into the glute of that front leg with your shin perpendicular to your body. Flex your foot if you do feel any pressure in that front knee.

Focus on squaring your hips up toward the ground as much as possible as you reach that one leg straight back. Engage that back glute to drive that back hip into extension as you feel the outside of your front glute stretching.

Pause for a breath then move back onto your hands and knees before rotating into pigeon on the other side.

If this feels like too much, or you can’t put pressure on your knees, try a seated bench variation, alternating pigeon pose on each side, pressing the knee gentle open as you hinge forward and sit back up before switching sides.

Next you want to include focused activation exercises.

While with the stretching you want to focus on what you feel even working to drive the stretch and begin that activation process, these moves are really key to get those underactive muscles working and improve your hip and even pelvic stability.

This first activation exercise focuses on activating those glutes. 

Exercise #5: The Wall Side Lying Lateral Raise 

Too often, especially if we’ve had previous lower back, hip or knee injuries, our glutes aren’t working as effectively as they should be and we need to work to improve that mind-body connection.

Isolation moves like this to create a slight pump and burn, but not fatigue the muscle, prior to our training are key.

The Wall Side Lying Lateral Raise is an amazing glute activation move to include because it targets both the glute medius and glute max to improve your hip stability.

The one thing we have to remember is the “right” moves only benefit us if the correct muscles are working.

And often we will allow our TFL or piriformis to compensate during lateral raise movements. 

That’s why this variation of the lateral raise is so helpful.

Turning your toe down toward the ground even just slightly vs letting it rotate open can really help you avoid that hip flexor or piriformis from taking over and the slight kick back helps also engage your glute max and avoid any hip flexor engagement to better activate that glute medius.

To do this exercise, set up lying on your side with the bottom leg bent and your butt a few inches from the wall.

You can fully lie on your side with your bottom arm straight out on the ground or you can prop yourself up to rest your head in your hand.

Lift your top leg up a few inches off your bottom leg and even slightly turn that top toe down toward the ground.

Drive your heel back into the wall behind you and feel your glute engage pushing into the wall.

Slide your heel up the wall lifting your leg and focus on the side of your butt lifting as you drive hard back into the wall. 

Do not let your body rotate or your toe turn open just to try to lift higher. 

Perform this lateral raise but do not rotate your hip open to raise up higher.

To advance this move, add a mini band around your legs above your knee.

The final exercise in this series will work on pelvic stability, engaging your core, glutes and even your hamstrings.

Exercise #6: Is Alternating Pelvic Tilt Leg Glides 

Often our hamstrings feel tight and we turn to stretching. 

But in many cases they are weak.

And even being weak they may want to take over for underactive glutes. 

That’s why exercises like this that work on core bracing as you strengthen your hamstrings can help improve your hip stability while also helping you avoid hamstring strains and injuries!

To do this move, lie on your back with a slider or towel under each heel and your heels a few inches from your butt. Feel the space between your lower back and the ground.

Engage your abs to get rid of the space as you press your lower back into the ground. Taking a deep breath and then exhaling as you draw your hip bones up toward your ribs can help you engage those abs.

Keeping your abs engaged, slowly slide one heel out, straightening your leg out.

Then curl that heel back in, pulling the heel in with your hamstring almost as if you are trying to drive the slider into the ground as you curl it back in.

Feel your hamstring work to pull it back in and avoid your pelvis shifting.

Move slowly and alternate sides, extending the other leg out. 

If you feel your hips shifting, stay on one side versus alternating.

Really focus on feeling your hamstring with that pull back in. Drive your heel down hard into that sliders to engage it and even your glute. 

If you don’t create that tension you won’t get the benefit of this move.

To combine these 6 moves, try this series below.

I like using intervals as it really allows us to focus on maximizing the movement over counting reps. While you can do each move up to 1 minute per move or side, even 30 seconds is a great place to start!

30-60 seconds per side Rectus Femoris Foam Rolling
30-60 seconds per side Adductor Foam Rolling
30-60 seconds per side Bench Hip And Quad Stretch
30-60 seconds Alternating Pigeon Pose
30-60 seconds per side The Wall Side Lying Lateral Raise
30-60 seconds Alternating Pelvic Tilt Leg Glides

Ready to improve your mobility EVERYWHERE?!

Check out my RStoration!

9 BEST Exercises for AMAZING Mobility

9 BEST Exercises for AMAZING Mobility

Aches and pains add up as we get older. But it’s not our age we should blame.

We instead need to assess our previous injuries and the rehab we did.

As well as the PREHAB we are currently doing. 

Because we can never stop doing what makes us better.

Use it or lose it. 

Hey guys, it’s Cori from Redefining Strength where we help you move, feel and look your best at any and every age.

Maintaining our mobility means constantly working on our mobility. 

But it doesn’t have to mean stretching for hours or full recovery sessions each and every day. 

Even 10 minutes as our warm up can really add up AND even help us get more out of our training sessions.

That’s why I want to share 9 moves that address not only commonly tight muscles but also help improve your joint mobility and stability. 

These moves cover the full 3-part prehab process of foam rolling, stretching and activation.

This process is so key because the foam rolling helps start to relax tight and overactive muscles so you can then stretch to restore muscles to their proper length tension relationships while mobilizing those joints before you include activation exercises to engage underactive muscles and improve your mind-body connection. 

And at the end of this video I’ll share a quick mobility series combining all 9 moves!

So let’s start with 3 amazing foam rolling moves.

First up is Peroneal Foam Rolling.

Your feet and ankles are your foundation. Immobility there can lead to movement compensations up your body. 

And that ankle-butt connection is so key.

It’s why we need to address any previous ankle injuries or we may end up with hip, lower back or SI joint aches and pains. 

That is why Peroneal Foam Rolling is often an important move to include.

To do this move, a ball works best. Place it on the ground and then relax your leg open so that the outside of your shin is pressed into the ball. Press down into your leg as you start the ball in the top part of the outside of your lower leg.

Circle your foot to create tension and relax it as you press into the ball and breathe.

Then move the ball down to another spot along the outside of your leg and repeat.

Move #2: TFL Foam Rolling

Hip pain, lower back pain, IT Band and even knee issues seem to add up more and more as we get older.

That’s why often we want to focus on our hip mobility and foam rolling our TFL or tensor fasciae latae.

This hip flexor muscle can not only hinder our glute medius from firing correctly, which can lead to hip stability issues, but it can create tension through our IT Band which can even create ankle aches and pains.

To roll out your TFL, a ball works best. The larger or softer the ball, the less it will dig in and if a ball is too much pressure you can start with a roller. 

To locate your TFL, lie on your back and place your hands at the side of your pelvis toward your hip bones and then rotate your foot inward. You should feel your TFL flex (this also shows you the far reaching connection this muscle has). 

Then move to your side, placing a ball below that muscle and relax over the ball. 

Breathe as you hold. You can lift and lower your leg to tense and relax the muscle to help it release. 

Move #3: Chest Foam Rolling 

Finding after years of hunching over your computer, your posture has become more slouched? 

Upper back, neck or shoulders tight and achy? 

Then you don’t want to ignore relaxing those pecs!

Tight chest muscles can perpetuate that rounded posture and even restrict your scapular movement, or the movement of your shoulder blades, which not only perpetuates the hunched look but also can lead to neck, shoulder and upper back aches and pains.

While we may feel like there are always trigger points in our upper back, part of that may be due to muscles being overstretched because of our pecs being tight!

To roll out your chest, a ball in a doorway is often most comfortable and easiest to control. 

Stand with the ball right inside that shoulder joint under your collarbone and press your chest into the ball in the doors edge. Using a doorway allows you to reach that same arm up in front of you as you hold and apply pressure. 

Reach your arm up overhead as you breathe and hold on the spot. You can also move your arm open to the side to stretch and relax. 

Then adjust the ball, working down toward your armpit or even toward your sternum.

BUT be careful as you move away from the meatier part of the muscle.

You do want to be gentle as you work along the pec toward your sternum.

You can spend 90% of your focus around that shoulder joint where you will even hit that pec minor! 

After foam rolling, you will want to include some stretching.

Especially if you are stretching prior to your workout, you want to include moves that will help you warm up and begin to mobilize those joints, working to improve your range of motion.

The next move we’ll look at is the Ankle Mobility And Groin Stretch.

This is a great move to start working on your ankle dorsiflexion of the ability to draw your toes up toward your shin.

Especially if you’ve worn heels for decades or been an endurance athlete, you don’t want to ignore this amazing ankle stretch! 

This is key if you want an efficient running gait or to be able to squat lower without hip or knee pain!

This move will also address your adductor flexibility and help you start to engage those glutes to stabilize your hips.

To do this stretch, set up half kneeling on the ground and move that front foot so it is in line with your back knee and facing perpendicular to that back leg, pointing out.

You want your knee to be in front of your ankle, although you can adjust the position based on your ankle mobility. 

Squeeze that front glute to pull the knee open and in line. Then shift your weight to drive that knee forward over that toe without letting your heel lift. Then press back. 

Do not rotate toward that leg as you shift laterally. 

If this is too much pressure, move your knee back to be in line with your ankle. 

Or if you can’t kneel, try standing instead while still focusing on that shift to drive the knee past your toe. 

Move #5: Bench Hip Stretch

Lower back, hip and knee pain is something so many of us will experience in life and it is often due to hip flexor tightness and a lack of glute activation. 

This hip flexor stretch allows you to focus on activating your glutes to stretch your hips while addressing each side independently. 

And by lying on the bench, you help yourself avoid arching your lower back to compensate instead of actually stretching out and mobilizing those hips! 

If you don’t have a bench you can do this off a couch, coffee table or even your bed!

To do this stretch, lie back on a bench with the bottom of your butt right at the edge and one leg hanging down toward the ground. This knee will be bent to about 90 degrees.

Bend the other knee and hug it in slightly toward your chest. 

Holding that knee in, tuck the other knee up toward your chest, then focus on engaging your glutes to drive that heel back down toward the ground as you extend the leg back down. Feel your butt even kind of lift you a bit on the bench as you extend that hip and feel the stretch.

Pause then tuck the knee back in and repeat.

Move #6: Active Foam Roller Star Stretch

A lack of thoracic mobility as we get older can lead to that humped back posture that non of us want. 

And it can also lead to neck, shoulder, upper back and even LOWER back aches and pains.

For instance, a lack of proper thoracic extension can lead to shoulder pain when overhead pressing or us even arching our lower backs to compensate and seek out mobility since we can’t properly extend our mid and upper backs!

This star stretch variation is a great way to really isolate and mobilize our thoracic spine as it is even easy to cheat in other spinal stretches and get mobility from other areas. 

To do this stretch, a roller works best although you can put a yoga block or even books to hold your knee on to help isolate your thoracic spine. 

Bend your hip to about 90 degrees and place your bent knee on the foam roller to the other side of your body. Pull your knee across your body and press your opposite hand down into your knee to help stabilize.

Put your other hand behind your head. Touch that elbow in front of your face, across your body. 

Then, pulling with your back, open that elbow up and open and down toward the ground, opening your chest up toward the ceiling.

Make sure you aren’t just flapping your arm but twisting through your spine. Exhale as you try to relax the back of your shoulder toward the ground then rotate closed and repeat.

Move slowly and really focus on your chest stretching as you engage your back to twist open. Don’t let your knee come up off the roller or block.

After you’ve done your stretching, you then want to focus on activation exercises to establish that mind-body connection and really engage those muscles to feel them working.

Move #7: Single Arm Scapular Push Ups

Scapular control is key if we want to avoid neck, shoulder, upper back and even elbow aches and pains.

It is also key if we want to lift more or achieve that first full pull up! 

And being able to truly isolate and control each shoulder blade is key, especially if we’ve had previous injuries that may make us compensate and end up overusing the other side.

This move will really help you focus on that scapular retraction with a very isolated exercise that takes out elbow flexion. 

To do this activation move, set up facing a wall and place one hand on the wall at about shoulder height.  Your arm will be straight and make sure you aren’t shrugging.

Then keeping your shoulders down and arm straight, but elbow not locked out, pinch your shoulder blade toward your spine.

Do not try to make the move bigger than it is and bend your elbows. 

Draw the shoulder blade toward the spine, then push the wall away to draw the shoulder blade back forward. 

Focus on this move being small and your upper back working. 

Move #7: Side Plank Clams

Core work is key. Most of us even seek out ways to include more. Because our core is the link between our upper and lower bodies, it is key we keep it strong to properly transfer force and react quickly in every day life. 

And moves like the side plank clam not only help us avoid spinal issues and back pain but also help improve our shoulder and hip stability.

This move will really target and activate your lats, obliques and glute medius.

To do this activation move, set up in a side plank position with your elbow under your shoulder and your knees bent and legs stacked. 

Turn your top foot down in front of your bottom foot. 

This internal rotation of your lower leg will help you better target that glute medius without your TFL taking over.

Then as you lift up into the side plank, open that top knee up toward the ceiling. Press your hips forward as you lift and feel your obliques also working to drive that bottom hip up. 

Make sure to engage your upper back to support your shoulder. 

Do not rotate open with this move, but almost try to stop the leg opening up wider with the side of your butt. Feel your bottom glute medius also working to lift you into the side plank. 

Then lower the top leg down as you come back close to the ground and repeat. You can fully lower down but try not to just slump out of the move but maintain some tension. 

To modify, you can put your elbow up on a stair or block for a slight incline.

Because the clam itself is an often misused move, I will below to a video with more tips to optimize this exercise, especially if you struggle to activate your glute medius!

Overrated Glute Move: https://youtu.be/6xx-H057YY4 

Move #9: Single Leg Reverse Hypers

So many of us struggle to properly engage our glutes, which results in lower back, hip and knee pain…not to mention even ankle issues and injures.

And often, because we aren’t able to engage our glutes optimally, we compensate and rely on our hamstrings. 

When our hamstrings start to take over, we can end up with hamstring pulls and strains not to mention perpetuate our back and knee pain.

That’s why moves like the reverse hyper, where we can isolate our glutes and learn to engage them FIRST, are key to include. And doing a single leg version helps you address both side independently. 

To do this activation move, lie face down on the ground and relax your chin or forehead into your hands. Bend one knee to about 90 degrees with the heel up toward the ceiling.

Drive that heel up as you press your pelvis down into the ground. Feel your glute lift your quad up as you hyperextend your hip. 

Do not arch your lower back or use it to lift and keep your hamstring relaxed, even relaxing your foot if needed. 

Focus on your glute lifting and then stopping the move. Pause at the top and lower down.

This isn’t a big move so don’t try to cheat and make it bigger. 

Because this move is deceptively challenging if your hamstrings want to compensate, I will link to a video below with more tips and common mistakes.

Underrated Glute Move: https://youtu.be/oiECA2118GI 

Bonus Tip:

Now….How can you include these 9 moves in a quick series?

Set a timer for 30 seconds and perform one round through the series. If you’re really focusing on doing this as a warm up, you may consider two rounds through the last 3 activation moves only.

30 seconds per side Peroneal Foam Rolling
30 seconds per side TFL Foam Rolling
30 seconds per side Chest Foam Rolling
30 seconds per side Ankle Mobility And Groin Stretch
30 seconds per side Bench Hip Stretch
30 seconds per side Active Foam Roller Star Stretch
30 seconds per side Side Plank Clams
30 seconds per side Single Arm Scapular Push Ups
30 seconds per side Single Leg Reverse Hypers

For more mobility moves and more on the full 3-part prehab process, check out this video with a full body fix next…

–> The Perfect Mobility Routine (FULL BODY)


Flexibility Secrets To Make You Feel Younger

Flexibility Secrets To Make You Feel Younger

Ever feel like you wake up and everything is more sore tired and achy than it used to be after your hardest workout?

Like you aged even a decade overnight?

Feel like your flexibility just POOF, disappeared?

What if I told you that to get it back there was one simple solution….

Stop just stretching more.

Because while most of us think we want to be more flexible, what we actually want is more than that.

We want to improve not only our flexibility but also our mobility and stability.

We don’t want to get up out of bed and feel like everything is in need of oil.

We don’t want to struggling with aches and pains going up and down stairs or getting up and down off the ground.

We want to feel like we can take on any hiking, biking or fitness challenge that comes our way.

That’s why I want to share 4 common reasons why our flexibility work isn’t often paying off the way we’d like and how we can get better results faster.


But first I want to clarify what the heck these three terms – flexibility, mobility and stability really mean.

Flexibility is really the ability of a muscle, or muscle group, to lengthen and stretch.

Mobility is the ability of joints to move through a full range of motion.

Stability is the ability to control and maintain joint movement and position.

All three of these things are linked. If you don’t work on all three components ultimately you won’t see the results you’re really after.

Without proper muscle flexibility, you will have restricted joint range of motion and stability.

Without proper joint range of motion, you’ll have restricted muscle flexibility and joint stability.

Without proper joint stability, you’ll have restriction joint mobility and muscle flexibility.

When we realize how much each component impacts the other, we can adjust our training to address all three components together to see better results faster.

And often not seeing these 3 components as linked is why our flexibility training is getting us the benefits we’d like.

Now how can you make changes that don’t waste your time and have you feeling like you’re moving better than you did a decade ago?

#1: We’re spending time stretching muscles we shouldn’t.

If a muscle feels tight, we often think we need to stretch it.

And while many muscles that feel tight can actually be shortened and in need of stretching, we have to realize that this isn’t always the case.

When this isn’t the case, stretching can actually make matters worse.

So it’s key we are able to determine the underlying cause of tightness first.

A muscle can become tight because of a lack of joint stability or even improper joint mobility or alignment.

Our body wants to protect itself.

If a joint is unstable, it will do what it can to create stability, which means potentially creating muscular tension.

It may mean we create tension in a muscle that really shouldn’t be working that hard to provide that stability.

Until you actually address the muscle that is weak and underactive not supporting the joint the way it should, this muscle will keep becoming tight no matter how much you stretch it.

And even stretching it may perpetuate the instability already there or make it harder to activate the underactive muscle.

Stretching may also make matters worse if a muscle becomes tight because of joint alignment or restricted joint mobility.

Muscles can feel tight because they are actually overstretched.

Take for instance our hamstrings.

They are actually a great example often of a lack of joint stability and joint alignment or positioning causing tightness over a muscle actually being shortened.

So many of us have thought to ourselves “I need to stretch my hamstrings more. They feel so tight!”

But often in the case of our hamstrings, they are actually overstretched due to tight hip flexors from sitting far too long at our computers or traveling in our car.

They may also be tight because of underactive glutes not doing their part to help with pelvic alignment and hip stability so tension is created to help provide stability where it is lacking.

Because of this, while it may feel like you should stretch your hamstrings, stretching actually makes matters worse.

Instead you’d be better served by doing activation work for your glutes and stretching of your hip flexors to restore proper joint mobility and stability.

This correction of postural distortions will ultimately actually HELP your hamstring flexibility without stretching them!

Which leads me to reason #2 we often aren’t seeing the results we’d like from our flexibility work…

#2: We’re not focusing on engaging the opposing muscle group during stretches.

How many times have you done a stretch and just tried to feel the muscle stretching?

Most of us have done this.

And sometimes you even do a stretch and think, “I don’t really feel this that much.” Priding yourself on how flexible you even are in that position.


“I stretch this all of the time, why isn’t it helping!?”

I see this often with hip stretches.

People supposed stretch their hip flexors a ton, but they never see improvements in their hip mobility.

But it’s because they actually aren’t really stretching the muscles they think they are in the movements.

Too often with moves we go through the motions, mimicking the movements.

And our body takes the path of least resistance, often finding mobility or flexibility from the easiest areas…often the areas that aren’t even tight.

So we end up doing a hip flexor stretch to arch our lower backs or not engage our glutes.

Instead of just mimicking a movement pattern or even thinking about the muscle we want to stretch, we need to focus on engaging the opposing muscle group.

The muscle driving the stretch.

If you want to stretch your hips, focus on squeezing your glutes to drive the hip extension.

If you want to stretch your chest to prevent those rounded shoulders, focus on engaging your upper back to open up your chest.

Not only does engaging the opposing muscle group stretch what you’re trying to stretch, but it can also improve your mind-body connection to activate underactive muscle groups which will also improve your joint mobility and stability as well!

If you’re looking to learn more about specifically improving your hip stretches, check out the video HERE.

#3: We’re sabotaging our flexibility gains with our strength workouts.

Strength work is essential if you want to maintain your flexibility, mobility and stability.

However, too often we do our strength training only working in one plane of motion or not through the fullest range of motion we truly can.

If we want to be more flexible, more mobile and more stabile, we need to build strength through a full range of motion.

This takes what we may passively be able to move through and makes it an active movement we can control.

Only when you do your strength work through a bigger range of motion do you keep the flexibility of muscles you worked hard to create.

If you do your strength work in a small range of motion, you will keep just tightening muscles back up!

So if you’ve worked to improve your hip flexor flexibility and hip mobility, make sure your strength workouts do include movements to go through this full range of motion even if it means going lighter to start.

Lunge lowering your knee to the ground.

Perform step ups from a higher box.

But strength through that full range of motion to maintain it!

Otherwise your flexibility and mobility work will constantly be negated by your other training and you won’t then improve your joint stability through that full range of movement!

#4: Stop just including a “recovery” or flexibility workout.

While having a day set aside each week to specifically and solely work on your flexibility, mobility and even stability is amazing, you need to address these components every single workout to see the best results as fast as possible.

We get good at what we consistently do.

And most of us aren’t truly patient enough for a single weekly session to add up over time.

Not to mention so much of the postures and positions we put ourselves in on a daily basis work against what we’re trying to accomplish.

So if we want the best results possible, every warm up should include this flexibility, mobility and stability work.

And this is why that 3-Part Prehab Process is so key!

By including foam rolling, stretching and activation exercises every single warm up, we can consistently be doing small amounts of the mobility work we need more often, especially to reverse our daily postures.

And not only that, we can prep our body to move better during our training so we can strengthen through that fuller range of motion, maintaining the muscle flexibility we’ve worked hard to create.

Doing this mobility, flexibility and stability work in our warm up also allows us to make sure the correct muscles are working so we don’t perpetuate muscles being overused and becoming tight due to improper joint alignment or instability.

Instead of stressing a super long flexibility workout, try just even 10 minutes as a warm up before every workout! Those small consistent sessions done to help you get more out of your workouts will add up more than you realize!

For my full podcast on the 3-Step Prehab process, click HERE.

Just remember if you want to improve your flexibility, you can’t ignore the importance of also working on your joint mobility and stability.

Be intentional with your training and realize that you want to always include things with a purpose while you focus on what you truly feel working!

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How To Fix Rounded Shoulders (4 EXERCISES)

How To Fix Rounded Shoulders (4 EXERCISES)

So many postural distortions or movement pattern compensations get blamed on a single joint or even muscle.

But often it is overload from multiple different areas adding up.

And that means we not only have to address many different muscles and joints at time to truly alleviate the aches and pains, but it also means we need that full 3-Step Prehab Process of Foam Rolling, Stretching and Activation.

This is especially the case when it comes to our shoulders and that rounded shoulder posture many of us have developed, leading to neck, shoulder and upper back, and even lower back, aches and pains.

This posture, and these aches and pains, stem not only from restricted shoulder range of motion, but also a lack of proper spinal and scapular mobility and stability.

Working not only on the mobility of our shoulder joint but also our spinal extension and scapular mobility and stability are key!

That’s why I wanted to share 4 moves that will help you work through the layers of this postural distortion to move and feel your best!

But before I do, I just want to mention that postural isn’t simply good or bad. We each have different builds and different movement and recruitment patterns.

However, we need to recognize the mobility restrictions and imbalances we personally have that our perpetuating our aches and pains to constantly be addressing them to move and feel our best.

And as we include the mobility and stability work to improve, we can’t simply stop doing these moves when things are “better.”

You can NEVER stop doing what made you better. If you’ve done rehab for a specific injury, that rehab simply needs to become PREHAB, included in your recovery routines and warm ups!

Now what are the 4 moves to fix that rounded shoulder posture?

EXERCISE #1: Lat Foam Rolling

Our lats have a direct impact on our shoulder health and that rounded shoulder posture, contributing to shoulder internal rotation as well as restricted shoulder flexion, or your ability to reach overhead.

Tight, overactive lats can restrict proper shoulder mobility, negatively impact your shoulder stability, and even impact your scapular mobility as well, which is why it is key we include a move to relax this muscle like Lat Foam Rolling.

To roll out your lats you can use a ball or roller. If you’re using a roller, lie on your side with the roller behind your armpit.

Reach your hand overhead with your palm facing up to stretch your lat as you roll.

Roll slightly up and down your side to find a tight spot and then hold. As you hold, reach your arm up overhead then sweep it down in front of your chest.

Move slowly breathing as you go to help the muscle relax and release.

You can even slightly rock forward and backward as you hold on a spot.

Then move the roller to another spot, working down the side of your back and shoulder blade. Then switch sides.

You can also use a ball if you know your exact trigger points and want to apply more pressure or even need to roll out against a wall because you can’t get down on the ground.

EXERCISE #2: Suspension Trainer Snow Angels

This is an amazing multipurpose move that not only mobilizes your shoulders, but stretches your chest, helps improve your thoracic extension and your scapular mobility and stability.

The key is not just going through the movement, letting it all come from your shoulders, but actually engaging your upper back to stretch out your chest and improve that scapular control!

Stretches should also help us ACTIVATE underactive muscles and restore proper flexibility and joint range of motion.

To do the Suspension Trainer Snow Angels, you will need a suspension trainer, rings or even towels or resistance bands anchored behind you. If you use bands, you want something that doesn’t really stretch much with the movement.

Using a Suspension Trainer, hold a handle in each hand and walk away from the anchor point with your back to the anchor point.

Extend your arms straight out to your sides at shoulder height so that you feel a stretch in your chest. You may have to adjust slightly backward or forward as you begin to do the wave, depending on your mobility.

Then, standing still with your arms starting out at shoulder height, engage your back and brace your abs. You want to think about really extending through your mid and upper back without arching your lower back.

Raise your arms up overhead. Keep your arms straight as you extend overhead and even lean slightly forward to increase the stretch.

Hold for a second or two and then bring your arms out and down to the side, lowering them all the way back and down toward the ground.

Keep your arms straight as you bring them down.

Feel the muscles of your chest and even around your shoulder stretching as you lower your arms down.

Then bring them back up out to the side and back overhead. Move in a fluid, smooth “wave” as you lift and lower.

When you do the Suspension Trainer Snow Angels, you want to make sure you’re engaging your upper back to open your chest up as you raise your arms up overhead.

Feel your shoulder blades move as you raise your arms overhead and then lower them back down to your sides.

EXERCISE #3: Dip Hold Shrugs

So often we ignore the stability of our shoulder blades and don’t work to control every movement they do. We may include some retraction exercises to improve our posture, pinching our shoulder blades together, but we also have to remember that they elevate and depress.

Too often when we round forward, our shoulders end up shrugged up by our ears. This is why it’s key we also work on that ability to depress our shoulder blades and drawn our shoulders down.

A super popular move, and one I personally love to work on this movement, is the Mini Pull Up. However, this simple looking move is more challenging than we realize. It takes a lot more scapular control and strength than it seems like it would for such a small movement.

It also can’t be done at your desk.

Whereas the dip hold shrug can!

And an added bonus of this move is that it will remind us not to hunch and round forward while at our desk!

It’s key we also realize that this scapular movement is not only done when pulling but can be utilized during a press!

To do Dip Hold Shrugs, you can do these off a bench or chair. Place your hands over the edge of the bench, finger tips pointing back toward your butt as you extend your legs out and lift yourself off the bench and slightly in front.

Allow your shoulders to shrug up as you hold. Then press the bench away and draw your shoulders down, lifting and opening your chest slightly up toward the ceiling.

As you do this, don’t let your butt drift super far out in front of the bench or let your hips raise up. Often to try to make it feel like a bigger move we start moving other parts of our body instead of just focusing on the small unshrug.

Pause then relax back down, allowing your shoulders to shrug.

Again draw your shoulder blades down. Focus on really feeling those shoulder blades move as you unshrug and open your chest up slightly toward the ceiling.

If it helps, I like to think of this as a turtle popping its head out of the shell!

To progress this move, you can even do it off of dip bars. Or to modify, bend your knees and walk your heels back in toward the bench or chair!

EXERCISE #4: Extended ROM Scapular Push Ups

Along with learning to control elevation and depression of our shoulder blades, we want to be able to control protraction and retraction.

And I think it’s key we can do this through the full range of motion.

Moves like this too not only help improve our posture by allowing us to learn how to retract our shoulder blades, or pinch them together, but moves like this also allow us to learn how to engage our backs to properly row when not starting from a set position.

This exercise also strengthens the Serratus Anterior, which is a muscle often overlooked as being key to strength for our shoulder health!

To do the Extended ROM Scapular Push Ups, start from a forearm plank position off the ground.

You can also do these from your hands or a high plank position, however, that can allow you more room to move your hips. It can though be used to reduce the resistance on your core if needed.

With your elbows under your shoulders and your feet no wider than hip-width apart, make Sure your abs are engaged and your quads are flexed. Unshrug your shoulders to feel your back engaged.

Then round your mid and upper back up toward the ceiling, tucking your hips even to perform a slight posterior pelvic tilt. But do not just round through your lower back.

Really think about the rounding of your spine coming from pushing the ground away with your elbows and forearms.

Feel your shoulder blades draw as far apart as possible coming forward around your ribs.

Then slowly lower back down into the plank and, from here, pinch your shoulder blades together.

Make sure you aren’t shrugging as you pinch your shoulder blades together.

And do not let your hips sag as you perform the small retraction movement. We can often let our hips drop because we’re trying to make the move feel bigger.

Move back into the plank position then and repeat the round up.

If you can’t control this movement yet, reduce the resistance and modify the movement off an incline.

Using a bench or incline reduces the resistance on your upper body and core.

Really focus on feeling the movement of your shoulder blades. As you round, feel the muscles around your ribs and abs.

As you retract, focus on feeling the muscles of your upper back engaging.

Just make sure you do not shrug as you pinch those shoulder blades together!


The best rehab is prehab.

Include these 4 moves as a quick mobility routine in your day, just even 30 seconds per move or side, or add them into your warm up before an upper body workout.

But make sure to keep using the things that help you stay mobile and strong!

Foam Roll+ Stretch + Activate to prevent injuries and improve your mobility…

–> The RStoration Method