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General Mobility Exercises

Brian Mackenzie provides some examples of general static and dynamic mobility exercises.

Shoulder Circles

Stand tall with good posture. Raise your right shoulder towards your right ear, take it backwards, down and then up again with a smooth rhythm. Perform this shoulder circling movement eight times and then repeat with the other shoulder. Breathe easily throughout.

Arm Circles

Stand tall with good posture. Lift one arm forward then take it backwards in a continuous circling motion, keeping your spine long throughout. Perform this arm circling movement eight times, before repeating with the other arm. Avoid the tendency to arch your spin whilst carrying out the circling movement. Breathe easily throughout.

Side Bends

Stand tall with good posture, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and hands resting on hips. Lift your trunk up and away from your hips and bend smoothly first to one side, then the other, avoiding the tendency to lean either forwards or backwards. Repeat the whole sequence sixteen times with a slow rhythm, breathing out as you bend to the side, and in as you return to the centre.

Trunk Twists

Stand tall with good posture. Have your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, hands resting on hips, keep your spine long and hips facing forward. Turn smoothly and slowly round to one side, then the other. Repeat the sequence sixteen times, breathing easily throughout the movement.

Half Squat

Stand tall with good posture holding your hands out in front of you for balance. Now bend at the knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Keep your back long throughout the movement and look straight ahead. Make sure that your knees always point in the same direction as your toes. Once at your lowest point, fully straighten your legs to return to your starting position. Repeat the exercise sixteen times with a smooth, controlled rhythm. Breathe in as you descend, and out as you rise.

Standing Calf Stretch

Stand tall with one leg in front of the other, hands flat and at shoulder height against a wall or suitable immovable object. Ease your back leg further away from the wall, keeping it straight and press the heel firmly into the floor. Keep your hips facing the wall. You will feel the stretch in the calf of the rear leg. Repeat on the other side. Breathe easily throughout the exercise. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Lower Calf Stretch

Position yourself as for the standing calf stretch exercise. This time, however, flex the knee of the rear leg, whilst still keeping the heel pressed firmly on to the floor. The sensation of stretch should now be experienced lower down in the calf. Repeat on the other side, breathing easily throughout. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Seated Hamstring and Groin Stretch

Sit tall with both legs fully outstretched. Flex your right knee so that the right foot rests comfortably along your left inner thigh, with the right knee as close as possible to the floor. Keeping your spine long and your shoulders down away from your ears, hinge forward from the hips to reach towards your flexed left foot. Go as far forward as possible, then relax your spine to reach even further forward, holding this stretch position. You will feel the stretch along the back of the outstretched leg and along the inside and rear of the flexed leg. Repeat with the other leg, breathing easily throughout. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Lying Quadriceps Stretch

Lie face down on the floor, resting your forehead on your right hand. Press your hips firmly into the floor and bring your left foot up towards your buttocks, easing it closer to them with your right hand. You will feel the stretch along the front of the thigh. Repeat on the other side, breathing easily throughout the exercise. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Lying Hamstring Stretch

Lie flat on the floor with your knees flexed to approximately ninety degrees Raise your left leg, grasping it loosely behind the thigh with both hands. Now ease this leg as close to your chest as possible. You will feel the stretch along the back of the flexed thigh. Repeat this exercise with the other leg. Breathe easily throughout. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Standing Hip and Thigh Stretch

Stand tall with good posture in front of a firm chair or stool. Raise one foot up on to the chair back easing your body towards this foot so that chest and thigh come closer together. Rest your hands loosely on the raised knee and keep your spine and back leg straight and your shoulders down away from your ears. Ease as far forward as possible and hold your position. You will feel the stretch along the front of the thigh of the extended leg and along the back of the thigh of the raised leg. Repeat on the other side, breathing easily throughout. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Seated Groin Stretch

Sit tall with good posture. Ease your legs up towards your body and place the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to ease out down towards the floor. Make sure that your back stays long and that your shoulders are down away from your ears. Rest your hands on your lower legs or ankles, or keep them by your sides for support. You will feel the stretch along the inside of your thighs and groin. Breathe easily throughout the exercise. If you wish to stretch the hamstrings and hip extensors at the same time, from the position above ease forward by hinging at the hip, still keeping the spine long. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneel on a mat or towel with one leg flexed in front of you. Your weight should be evenly distributed so that your position is stable, although you can use your hands at either side of your body for extra support. Note that the knee at the front leg is positioned directly over the front foot. From this position and keeping your spine long and shoulders down, push your hips forward. You may find that you have to take your rear knee further back before you can feel the stretch along the front of this thigh. Repeat on the other side, breathing easily throughout the exercise. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Lying Hip Abductor Stretch

Lie flat on the floor, on your back, with both legs flexed at the knee. Now cross your legs and use the weight of the top leg to bring the lower leg down towards the floor. Keep your back, shoulders and the foot of the lower leg in contact with the floor throughout the movement. You will feel the stretch along the outside of the hip and thigh. Repeat this exercise with the other leg. Breathe easily throughout the exercise. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Front of Trunk Stretch

Lie face down on the floor, fully outstretched. Slide your arms to the sides of your body for support, and ease your chest off the floor, keeping your spine long and your hips firmly pressed into the ground. You will feel the stretch in the front of the trunk. Breathe easily throughout the exercise. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Seated Trunk Twist

Sit tall with good posture, legs stretched out in front of you, spine long and shoulders down away from your ears. Place your right foot over your left leg by the left knee and rotate your trunk, using your left arm against your right knee to help ease you further round. Use your right arm on the floor for support. You will feel the stretch along the length of the spine as well as in the muscles around the right hip. Repeat on the opposite side, breathing easily throughout. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Upper Back Stretch

Stand or sit tall with good posture. If standing, bend your knees slightly and tilt your pelvis under. Interlock your fingers and push your hands as far away from your chest as possible, allowing your upper back to relax, whilst at the same time looking down. You will feel the stretch between your shoulder blades. Breathe easily throughout. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Chest Stretch

Standing, bend your knees slightly and tilt your pelvis under. Place your hands, loosely clasped, on the small of your back and keep your spine long and shoulders back and down away from your ears. Without arching your spine, ease your elbows towards each other as far as possible, feeling the stretch in the front of the chest Breathe easily throughout the exercise. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Sideways Neck Stretch

Stand or sit tall with good posture, keeping your spine and neck long and your shoulders down away from your ears. Keeping your neck long, tilt your head to the side. Repeat on the other side. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Front of Shoulder Stretch

Sit on a stool or stand tall with good posture. If standing, bend your knees slightly and tilt your pelvis under. Place your hands behind you, interlock your fingers and then straighten your arms and try and lift them upwards and backwards as far as possible. Keep your spine long throughout and make sure that your shoulders are back and down away from your ears. You will feel the stretch in the front of the chest. Breathe easily throughout the exercise. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.

Shoulder and Side Stretch

Sit on a stool or stand tall with good posture, bend your knees slightly and tilt your pelvis under. Place both hands above your head and then place your right hand behind your head and as far down the spine as possible. Use your left hand to ease the right elbow closer towards your head, taking the elbow behind the head if possible. Keep your spine long and your shoulders down away from your ears throughout the exercise. You will feel the stretch along the side of the trunk and shoulder. Repeat on the opposite side, breathing easily throughout. Perform 3 to 6 stretches and hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.


Article Reference

This article first appeared in:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2004) General Mobility Exercises. Brian Mackenzie's Successful Coaching, (ISSN 1745-7513/ 9 / February), p. 4-5

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2004) General Mobility Exercises [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/articles/scni9a4.htm [Accessed

About the Author

Brian Mackenzie is a British Athletics level 4 performance coach and a coach tutor/assessor. He has been coaching sprint, middle distance and combined event athletes for the past 30+ years and has 45+ years' experience as an endurance athlete.

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