Mobility – The Stick

In my seminars I teach principles of mobility to help keep lifters/trainees/athletes healthy and soldiers operational. What we call “mobility” is just a general term to mean “maintaining or improving mobility to achieve proper positioning to perform well and prevent injury”. Overall, it’s a means to an end of not eradicate static and dynamic positional inhibition. Mobility is necessary for efficient and productive lifting. Mobility has several areas of emphasis:

– Soft tissue work
– Positional stretching
– Joint approximation

These areas can be effective by themselves, yet are best used to augment one another. One way to think of the results of mobility training is that it reduces tension on muscle systems. For example, a trainee’s neck hurts from a car wreck. They like to compete in Olympic weightlifting, yet when the volume of their lifting goes up, their neck hurts more. Without soft tissue work, they feel helpless and hopeless about their condition. This is a real world example because it happened to me (minus the hopeless/helpless part). Mobility training reduces that tension to alleviate pain at the neck, and could even improve existing anatomical assymetry (in this case, a temporarily rotated cervical vertebrae).

“The Stick” is a useful tool to work on soft tissue: muscle bellies, tendons, and fascia. When soft tissue is tight, it can cause dysfunction in the muscle or apply tension and subsequently pain at a joint (like the knee, hip, or shoulder). The stick is most effective when a friend uses it on you because they can reach areas you cannot and apply more force than you can solo. Be sure to purchase the “stiff” version of the stick, and not just for the laughs; I’ve put my whole body weight on it and it didn’t deform or break. The following video shows some general tips on using the stick as well as one specific example of how to use it on the upper shoulder and neck area. This would be excellent for Olympic lifters, anyone doing any overhead lifting, soldiers or back packers who carry a heavy pack/ruck, and anyone with a tight or painful neck.

“The Stick” can be found on Amazon or at Rogue Fitness. A future video will include calf, hamstring, lat/teres major, serratus anterior, triceps, and forearm work. The Stick is best used on any segment and has a much different (i.e. better) effect than just using a lacrosse ball, PVC pipe, or rumble roller. I highly recommend it.

19 thoughts on “Mobility – The Stick

  1. Excited to see you covering more specific mobility stuff. I find working my way through MobilityWOD to be daunting enough for me to just not do it, whereas when you isolate specific stuff I’m more likely to try it out. Hoping to incorporate more mob work during the summer.

  2. Justin, while having someone there to help is optimal you can hit that area by yourself too. I could make a hair filled video if you’re interested.

  3. I do approximately 20 minutes of mobility before touching a weight each training session and it is the number one reason my numbers are starting to climb. The importance of this stuff cannot be over emphasized.

    QUESTION: I recently purchased the Rogue Voodoo bands that Kelly Starrett has used a few times on mobilitywod. (I’d highly recommend to anyone looking to add another tool to their mobility arsenal.) Before using the compression bands I was experiencing some minor right knee pain. Using the bands directly above and below the knee and going through body weight squats with them on helps a ton. Is it okay to do this before I squat? It helps so much allowing me to shove my knees out that I think it could beneficial, but I was concerned about doing that type of soft tissue/compression before squatting.

  4. Could you address mobility work and flexible trainees sometime? I am hyper mobile and when I roll/stretch before lifting it seems to have a negative impact. Thanks!

  5. I know several endurance athletes who swear by The Stick, and have recommended it to me.

    Could you address in a future post, or point me to some reputable information on foam rolling/mobility BEFORE lifting Vs. AFTER lifting? Which is better, or does it depend on the individual?

    It’s not based on a person, it’s based on the issue with the person. It also depends on how aggressive the work is. It can typically occur before training, particularly if it improves positioning.


  6. @meangene – I do both. Before lifting I will just do some lighter, less intensive stuff to get loosened up a bit for training, and after I will do some more intense rolling spending time in areas based on what I just did in training (i.e. – after deads roll the lower back for a good bit of time).

  7. Thanks to Eric for the mention. Don’t mean to hijack comments but we are a new kid on the block and willing to offer 10% off for 70’s Big readers who want to give us a try. Use discount code “70sBIG” at checkout on our website.

    Justin – If you or your team would like to try a sample, pls let me know – I’d be glad to ship one out for y’all to test.

    The Myorope Store

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