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Test Your Mobility With These 10 Exercises From Kelly MacDonald

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Test Your Mobility With These 10 Exercises From Kelly MacDonald
mobility exercises kelly macdonald

With Kelly MacDonald’s new Mobility & Strength in Motion program now available exclusively in the Sweat app, alongside her individual mobility sessions available in the On Demand section, you might be wondering - wait, how on earth do I know if I have good mobility or not? 

Luckily, Kelly’s got your back with 10 mobility exercises to test yourself at home or in the gym. From Commonwealth Games gymnast to sought-after personal trainer, Kelly knows a thing or two about the importance of mobility and why it’s an essential part of any workout schedule

“Mobility training prevents injuries, enhances performance, improves posture and alignment, and is great for recovery. Without mobility training, you increase your chances of injuring yourself, reduce your body’s ability to perform, limit your functional movement and you increase your risk of living in chronic pain or discomfort, either now or in years to come,” she explains.

These mobility exercises are perfect for anyone to try, but if you’re about to start Kelly’s program, you may also want to take photos so you can visibly track your progress at the end of the six weeks! Let’s get started.

Forward fold

From a standing position, hinge at your hips to fold your torso over your legs, aiming to touch your toes or the floor. 

Kelly’s takeaway: If you can touch your feet or the floor, you are very mobile through your hips, hamstrings and posterior chain.

Banded dislocate

  1. From a standing position, hold a recovery band or stick with both hands just further than shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in your elbows. 
  2. Raise your arms overhead, then continue to rotate them until the band or stick passes over your head and ends up by your lower back or glutes. 
  3. Rotate your arms up and forwards over your head again to return to the starting position. 

Kelly’s takeaway: If you can perform this entire movement and keep your elbows straight as you rotate your shoulders, your range of motion through your shoulders and your flexibility through your chest is great.

Couch, wall or bench stretch

This movement is a great way to check the tightness of your quadriceps or quads.

  1. Kneeling in front of a couch, bench or wall with your hands on the floor, lift your right foot off the floor and position it on the surface behind you with the sole of your foot pointing upwards and your heel near your glute. 
  2. Step forward with your left foot, then slowly lift your torso up. 
  3. Repeat on the other side.

Kelly’s takeaway: If you can get your knee close to the wall, bench or chair (or whatever you are using at home) and get your back close to the wall or in line with your knee, you have flexible quad muscles.

Wall-facing overhead squat

This is harder than it looks! 

  1. Stand facing a wall with your feet a few inches away and your hands reaching above you, touching the wall. 
  2. While keeping your hands in contact with the wall, try to lower into a squat, aiming for your thighs to be parallel with the floor or deeper! 

Kelly’s takeaway: If you can’t achieve a full squat position, this exercise reveals limitations in your mobility and flexibility. You can also try this exercise with your hands on the wall directly in front of you rather than outstretched above your head. 

If you can’t complete this exercise with your arms overhead but you can complete it with your hands in front, your mobility may be more limited around your shoulders, torso and spine. If you can’t complete either variation of this exercise, your lower body and trunk mobility may also need some work!

Butterfly 

Sitting on the floor, bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall open. 

Kelly’s takeaway: If your knees are less than a fist away from the floor, you have great groin flexibility and external rotation of the hip joint.

Prone Shoulder CARS

  1. Lie on your stomach with your arms outstretched above your head with straight elbows and your hands in fists. 
  2. Lift your hands off the ground, keeping your forehead on the floor, then circle your arms behind you to meet by your lower back. 
  3. Bend your elbows to join your knuckles together behind your back, then extend your elbows and circle your arms back to the start position. 

Kelly’s takeaway: If you can keep your hands off the floor throughout this exercise, you have great shoulder mobility and can safely press weights overhead with less likelihood of injuries.

Rainbows

  1. Lying on your back, bring your left knee into your chest, then rotate your body towards the right, letting your left knee come down towards the floor with your leg bent at 90 degrees and your right hand holding your knee. 
  2. Extend your left arm straight out in front of you with your hand in a “thumbs down” position and your thumb touching the floor.
  3. Circle that arm up above your head and around to the other side of your body as far as you can manage comfortably, as if you’re drawing a rainbow on the floor with your thumb!

Kelly’s takeaway: If your thumb traces the floor and doesn’t lift off the entire way around, you have great spine rotation and shoulder mobility.

Frog

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, and keeping your knees bent at 90 degrees, open your knees as wide as possible with your feet pointing outwards like a frog. 
  2. Drop down to your elbows to help keep a neutral spine. 

Kelly’s takeaway: If you can't open your knees more than 90 degrees, you have very tight groin and adductor muscles.

Hip internal rotation

  1. Sit resting on your shins with your glutes resting on your heels and your knees together.
  2. From this position, are you able to move your feet slightly outwards while keeping your knees together so your glutes are resting on the floor with your heels just beside your glutes? 
  3. For an added challenge, try to move your feet further away from your glutes. 

Kelly’s takeaway: If you can sit comfortably like this, you have good internal rotation of your hip joints. If you can keep your knees together in this seated position and then pull your heels away from your hips to a 45-degree angle, you have excellent internal rotation of hip joints.

Hypermobility tests for hinge joints 

Knowing if you have hypermobile joints is just as important as working on your mobility, as hypermobility can increase your risk of injury. Try these two tests to find out!

  • Standing with your arms by your sides, straighten your elbows as much as you can. If they extend over 180 degrees, you get a point (one for each side, left and right). 
  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, before straightening your legs as hard as you can. If your heels come off the floor, you get a point for each leg. 

If you have tallied up 4/4 points, you have hypermobile hinge joints, which means you have more space around your joints than most people. Hypermobility might sound like a superhero quality, but this actually means you have a responsibility to stabilise and strengthen these joints before heavy weight training as you are more susceptible to injury. Taking good care of a hypermobile body is paramount.

So… How did you go? If you’re anything like us, these exercises made you realise your mobility needs a little more work than you thought. No matter where you are in your fitness journey, Kelly’s full-body workouts in her Mobility & Strength in Motion program are the perfect place to start. If you don't want to commit to a full program, you can also find individual mobility workouts from Kelly in her Mobility Series, simply scroll down to the bottom of the On Demand tab and you'll find them there!

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.

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