Helpful Mobility Suggestions

Here is a post by Brent that he wrote for his training blog. You can find his site HERE. Everyone here at 70’s Big loves Kelly Starrett, and Brent probably wishes Kelly was his dad. Go to for a daily mobility video.

I started out with a shitty overhead position and 0 degrees internal rotation. Couldn’t get the bar behind my ears without hyperextending my lumbar spine. Couldn’t keep the bar close in the snatch because I had 0 internal rotation. Benching often hurt.

I’ve always leaned on a lacrosse ball to roll on sore spots on the anterior capsule of my shoulder joint, but the 3 mobs that I did early on that helped like, 30-40% were:

1.) Drive humerus towards back of socket, lateral distraction, external rotation. This is the least painful of what I did. I still do this for bench prep and sometimes front rack prep.

2.) Restoring rib/scap/external rotator movement, lacrosse ball between t-spine and scap, reach overhead, then freestyle to whatever hurt and roll on them until they hurt less. This caused spasming in places I wasn’t touching early on, was really tight apparently. See also this informed free-styling.

3.) Internal rotation stretching. Buddy stretch was super legit early on, these days I rely on band around shoulder with extension/adduction as a mainstay.

Some other things that helped me pretty significantly were:

Double lacrosse ball to t-spine, this was one of the last pieces to legitimizing my overhead position.

– Rolling on the external rotators that wrapped around the humerus, i.e. lateral part of the shoulder and then towards the front. Had to get in creative positions, but I think this helped with some generic shoulder tightness that affected my benching and overhead position. See informed free-styling video regarding periscapular regional death above.

Rolling on pec minor/pec insertion. Made going overhead easier. May have helped with internal rotation?

Hip flexor/quad stretch. Couldn’t go completely upright until my 3rd or 4th exposure, but this definitely legitimized my hip extension in the snatch and clean.

– Anything involving external rotation of the femur with hip flexion. My deadlift feels a lot different now, in a good way, feels like I’m utilizing more musculature in the movement. Squat bottom position feels more legit. I used to feel tight before but weak coming out of the hole, now I feel looser but stronger driving out of the hole. Improving end range function means greater force production?

– Most recent addition has been banding the elbows together, get a wide-as-possible supinated grip on a pull up bar, then slowly load the movement with a neutral spine. Absolutely noticed a difference snatching today. Gonna try it before a heavy jerk/overhead press day and see how it feels.

Submitted by Chris W.

Something that Kstar and other sources/people have mentioned is you can’t address mobility in isolation; i.e. if your shoulder function sucks, you can’t just do shoulder mobs and expect to get a lot better. Have to address movement as a whole, shoulders and hips are analogs to each other, I don’t fucking know, I just do every mob ok? My life fucking sucks and I am taking it one step at a time to try to make it better. Sometimes that means laying on a lacrosse ball every night. Other times it may mean wrapping a band around a limb or perhaps asphyxiating yourself while masturbating, while injecting nandralone.

Another guideline is, “you have to find where you are tight.” The mobs that helped me may not help you that much, but you may discover shit that really hurts to do that might be related. Do the shit that really hurts to do.

There’s probably shit that I don’t even know that I need to address. Basically I check the site and do the mwod and if it hurts or is difficult for me to do, I incorporate it on a regular basis.

[edit 9:13pm 4.23.11] – I was asked to link the mobs that I like to do. Really the best thing to do if you are looking for shit to do is test/re-test, which Kstar generously has for each mob that he posts a day. If your shit sucks for a certain test, do the mob. I’ve provided my history and how I approached my particular problems. In all honesty, I’d probably see a lot more benefit if I could see a PT of Kelly Starrett’s breed and get guidance from there. I move better now, but there are still some gaping holes in how “healthy” I should be.

16 thoughts on “Helpful Mobility Suggestions

  1. I don’t really believe in mobility. I did it for a while and my lifts didn’t go up any faster and it was hard to play starcraft at the same time.

  2. The MWOD rocks. Lots of low back/sacrum pain for me, finally fixed it with hip flexor/exterior bits stretching with pvc pipe (rolling on pvc is much more useful than snatching it) and lacross ball. Some parts are just impossible to “stretch” without aggravating the problem, but they can be dug-into and loosened up.

  3. I want to point out that a lot of people that I’ve seen in CrossFit, regular fitness gyms, or strength gyms typically need some kind of mobility work. It’s not an epidemic, but pay close attention to stuff like this.

    Also, Brent is the type of dude that when he is interested in something, or buys into it, then he reads/views everything he can on it and almost obsesses over it. Rest assured, he is mobbing in his fucking underwear every night.

  4. Johnny Pain likes to say that he does his mobility work on the dance floor.

    I like that.

    Personally good lifting and musculature balance will do well enough for most lifters, but issues can develop. Mobility is merely finding where you are defunct and working on it. Everyone won’t need the work in this post, but Brent pointed that out anyway.


  5. Thank you for this.

    How long should it take to get results from doing these things? Like if I’m doing the couch stretch and the calf stretch each for a solid 2 minutes, should I notice an improvement when I do it again the next day?
    It’s more of a chronic training effect. The longer you are fucked up, the longer it will take to unglue your joints or structures

    If I’m having some regular hip and ankle aches and pains, should I be doing these mobility workouts every single day, just after lifting, or just on off days? I’ve been having some real shitty plantar fasciitis that’s making me walk around like an old man.
    Every day for you. You’re in your late 20s I think, and you shouldn’t feel like an old man. Don’t do the stressful ones pre-workout.

    Does everyone have the potential to get as flexible/mobile as Mobility WOD dude if they remain dedicated? Or are some people just always going to be a lot tighter?
    Barring pathology or injury, you could get as flexible as Kelly. If you are glued up, it will take a long time.


  6. I’ve been doing a lot of work on my T spine and shoulders/pecs recently, trying to work out some aches and pains, I think its starting to have some effect. I’m also doing hip mobility and hamstring work religeously now as I was far too lazy about that for far too long. Sitting at a desk all day doesn’t help.

  7. I dont know if its a sin to deadlift on a Monday – but I took the long weekend off and was fresh – so I wanted to hit a PR!!!!!

    Got 385 x 3
    and 400 x 1!!!!!! My first 400# pull!!! Yes!!!

    Also, KStarr and his MWOD stuff is freaking magic! Episode 9 is one I revisit almost daily.

  8. I don’t know about mobility, lacrosse ball massages feel good for the sake of it. The only thing better is having yo woman walk on your back.

  9. Justin,

    Any suggestions for a father of two young children with virtually no time to dedicate to training? It’s frustrating.

    Find out when you can train and do what you can’t. There are 96 blocks of 15 minute periods in a day and 672 of them in a week. Can you take 6 to 12 of those blocks a week to train? One lift a day, do burpees in the living room in front of the kids. Thoughts?


  10. @corey, as a father of 3 I sympathize. I spent my 30’s doing nothing but work and family. It gets easier the older they get. If you’re not a single parent, talk to you s.o. and let them know it is important to you and work out a schedule. Mine varies. In the summer I’m at the gym at 6:30, during school it’s usually at lunch and sometimes it’s whenever I can make it that month.

  11. corey,
    check out the Greyskull LP. I also have two young kids so I modified the program slightly. I bench/squat or press/deadlift in one session with the GSLP rep scheme. Doesn’t take too long, you could get it done in an hour easy. I try and do some assistance work or conditioning the next day, but if I have to I adjust the workouts around so I don’t miss any big lifts.

  12. Thanks everyone. I really like the 15 minute block suggestion since that is about the extent of my free time at any one time right now…so I more or less could do the lifts piecemeal style through the week…not ideal but probably better than not lifting. It would be easy for me to go for a run a noon while I’m at work, but I really can’t stand running anymore and fel I get so much more ‘bang for the buck’ with barbell I’ll continue to work on fitting the barbell work into my day somehow and I’ll check out the GSLP…but I’m kind of a Ripp devotee.

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