Underrated Stretch

How much mobility have you done today? In the last few days? Last week? Mobility is but one of the helpful and necessary aspects of recovering and training well. After seeing the mobility capabilities of my new friends in Chicago, I realized that they suck. Badly.

I hope that regularly bringing up the topic will a) remind you to do mobility, b) influence you to do if if you don’t, c) simplify the complicated realm of mobility, and d) show you some alternate techniques to improve your ‘mobility’. It’s important to include this kind of stuff regularly because they can help prevent some common injuries or tweaks that are associated with bad posture, lifting technique, or general tightness over time. Everyone has individual body dimensions, muscular structure, and tightness, so each stretch may not effect the same tissues on you as your friend.

As always, visit MobilityWOD.com for hundreds of quality mobility videos.
Here are some other videos that you may have missed:
3 Stretches For Lifters
Making Mobility Easier
Mobbin’ With Brent

Post mobility questions to comments. What stretches have helped the most? Which do you hate?

26 thoughts on “Underrated Stretch

  1. Justin,
    Per my ART question last week, I saw the chiropractor on Monday and he said my back pain is being caused by my right femur being rotated partially forward in the hip socket, sometimes called “femoral glide syndrome” on the interwebz. Looks fairly common and not serious, he said 4 weeks he could get it back to normal. Has anyone else dealt with this issue/ have any input on treatment and mobility for it? Doing Kstar’s band distraction of the hip to the back of the socket helps but the musculature around the hip is so messed up its basically pulling the femur forward so I think the ART can help a lot. The chiropractor seemed to know exactly the issue and know how to treat it.

    Sounds good to me. Bone related manipulation isn’t worth much if it lacks soft tissue manipulation since the tissue can yank it back to how it was before the adjustment. Sounds like a better than average chiro to me.


  2. I am in desperate need to fix some weird internal rotation in my right shoulder. Basically I sit at a desk at work clicking on the right side of a keyboard and mouse all day so I got this crappy positioning for roughly 7 hours a day. Lower body wise I am fucking solid now that I do the three stretches. Couch stretch cures everything. Granted I am no supple leopard who can hold the real stretch for 2 minutes without looking like I am about to explode.

  3. I know this was already said regarding tight calves and hamstrings, but mine get really really tight after almost every squat and lifting session. I have found that doing the ball of the foot against a wall mwod helps to relieve the tension in my calves and hamstrings, lower part of my knees, but it never fully goes away. Do any of you (particularly those who go very low on squats or do oly) have experience with this tightness and do you have any suggestions on how to get rid of it more permanently?

    You’ll have to stretch both the gastroc and the soleus. Let me know in the comments if you don’t know how to do this. You also may be sliding into your knees too much. If you’re going hams to calves, why? You may want to alternate going to right below parallel and hams to calves each workout or so. The lower positioning is clearly more problematic to you, but in general as well.


  4. My baseball coach used to have us do that stretch. He called it the “Marilyn Monroe.”

    I find the one where you put your foot on the couch and knee on the ground, then use a pole to help stretch your front hips to be the most useful. I’m also a desk jockey 8-10 hours/day. Really hard, slow foam rolling of my entire legs and upper back is also invaluable. Painful, but worth it.

    Internet find of the day: We all know that exercise is one of the best anti-depressants out there… But I’ll bet you didn’t know about this little cure-all! http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12049024 So…drink up!

  5. Thanks for the reminder. Today is a rest day so I did a 40 minute fasted walk this morning and then foam rolled & mobed (mobbed?). +1 for couch stretch and pigeon.

  6. Jake:

    Sometimes I use a bedpost or desk leg. If that doesn’t work, i’ll use a railing on my staircase or porch. If you don’t have one of those, try a street sign. Mobbing in public.

  7. Damn man, you’re really on a mobility kick right now.

    When are you gonna Squat 500 for a set of 5?

    I know you do the women-focused post on mondays. You ever think about dividing up the week even more? Maybe doing a health/diet/mob thing on Wednesdays and leaving at least one day for posts that are more of a kick in the ass?

    That DO’s and DON’Ts post you did at the beginning
    I really got a kick out of. The post you made about volitional violence was kinda in the same vein, but without the humor.

    Of the last 9 posts, one was on mobility (today’s). In case you haven’t noticed, a majority of readers on this site have limiting ROMs or incur problems from a lack of ROM given their consistent lifting. The other day, I asked “what are you deficient in” and pretty much everyone said “mobility”. It’s obviously important enough that they self diagnose it, and whenever I coach people or do a workshop (including this last weekend), I see how much mobility restricts movement. So mobility has a premium since it is easy to do and has a very high ROI regarding improving training.

    I don’t currently train to actively have the heaviest squat possible, nor is the facility set up to do it very well, especially when trying to film it. Not to mention I had a pretty serious hip injury that prevented me from squatting for 2 to 3 months. I also travel quite frequently and in one recent month trained less in that month than you probably do in two weeks. Infrequent training doesn’t lend itself well to a consistent weekly strength program. On a related note, I had a guy who was smith machine squatting emphatically compliment me on high bar squatting 405 for reps last night. Oh, and the fact that I’ve been running the site for two years and posting on the same shit over and over won’t be entertaining to me or the reader. So I guess what I’m saying is get off my back, bro.


  8. @strongerthanyesterday: My hammies get pretty tight. I’m too lazy to look for the appropriate vid on mwod. But I sit on a hard chair or my coffee table, feet on the ground, park a lacrosse ball under one of my hamstrings, bend forward at the waist with a flat back and tack-and-stretch the fuck out of that shit. Does wonders for the proximal hammies. I also find that the stretching involved in doing RDLs regularly helps a lot over time, even though the initial soreness is pretty crippling. My plates touch the floor now; I was nowhere close to that just a few months ago.

    Stretches that have helped me the most: tabletop stretch, super couch (with band), towel stretch for shoulders. Super couch for 4 minutes at a time makes me want to fucking kill myself.

  9. Jake, you don’t even need a foam roller. Just closing the door on the band should hold it in place. You can also hook to leg on a piece of furniture.

  10. In an unrelated topic
    (Not sure where else to post this as I haven’t found a lot of info googling about it)

    How do I include some MILD cycling / running into the Texas Method Setup… without fucking up my recovery..???

    I’ve got the ebook but the guidelines are kind of vague as to how to structure this kind of thing, other than staying “north of vag”…

    I’ve been on the TM for about ~4 weeks now and am progressing nicely. Prior to consistent heavy training I had been an endurance whore…. But have laid off of pretty much all running and biking for over ~2 years. Now I’m ~205 lbs (barely over the mark!!) and would like to be involved with some activities I enjoy like biking with my wife while she trains for a sprint triathlon and going out with her running occasionally….

    There isn’t a local resource like you guys that I can tap into, or that sees the world in a similar light… only through the lens of bosu ball ankle breakers.

    I’d put running/cycling work on Tuesday (assistance day, day after Volume Day) or Saturday (day after Intensity Day). Cycling is easy to do easily, unless your wife is training real fast that day, but you should be able to keep up no problem (since your strength should be significantly higher to propel the pedals). Running is a structural thing. Recently I like using 30/30 on/off on a treadmill going faster in subsequent rounds and lasting anywhere between 6 to 10 minutes. Don’t increase more than .5 mph so you don’t bite off more than you can chew.

    If you can, cycle with her rather than run until your running improves.


  11. Answer to my own question ?

    “On adding bike riding and leg extensions to the program:
    The program in [Starting Strength] is not designed to be supplemented with anything. Neither of you — old guy or young kid — are in a position to recover optimally, as would be a 21 year-old genetic freak. Just stick with the program and let it work for you unsullied by the trappings of muscle magazine silliness or a desire to gild the lily. If you want to ride your bikes, don’t be gone too long. In fact, be back before supper.”


    He’s not talking about TM here. See my previous comment on you rpost.


  12. I usually stretch my hamstrings with bands and do some shoulder dislocations with a small PVC bar. These two have helped me immensely on the two lifts that have given me the most discomfort (the squat and the bench press).

    Also I just tried your underrated stretch. Felt good but I ended up crushing my nuts. Gotta work on it.

  13. The three from your mobility video:
    the lower back stretch, and the two couch stretches.

    Pigeon and fire hydrants have been really good.

    Been significantly looser, limber(er) since starting mobility a couple months ago.

  14. Styrofoam or polystyrene has guided many bodybuilder and athletes to become physically fit. Foam rollers are highly effective tools in building up physique and form. What else would you suggest?

  15. Pingback: Seated Spinal Twist Stretch - All Things Gym

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