Pre-Workout Mobilizations


Mobilizing your joints and preparing for your workout is a fairly important process. If you’re like most modern Americans then you sit too much, hunch too much and stay in these positions for hours. The result is stiff, immobile tissue and bad positioning of your parts such as your shoulders, hips, neck, etc. Further, It’s a good idea to get into the positions required of your workout without any weight before you get into those positions with weight so as to prepare those joints and tissues for the work to come.

Several areas of the body need to be mobilized: ankles, hips, spine (especially the thoracic spine) shoulders, and possibly wrists. Here’s a mobilization process that I use with myself and virtually all my clients. I may vary it some from person to person and workout to workout but this is the basic template. I’ve borrowed (okay, stolen directly from Eric Cobb and Z-Health and Kelly Starrett at MobilityWOD.)  Remember: STOP IF YOU FEEL PAIN.

Feet & Ankles

I tend to work from the ground up, so feet and ankles come first. I think a lot of people walk into the gym with no mind toward their feet and ankles. It’s only every single step that we need those things to work correctly. The first video covers ankle tilts and toe pulls. The second video looks at a improving dorsiflexion (very important that dorsiflexion) by way of a 3-way calf stretch.



As I’ve said before, you sit too much. This is a repeat of the hip drills found in that previous post, plus another general mobility drill–all 4s rocking–that I think is very valuable. The last video is specifically for the hip flexors. It’s very easy to go right into the hip flexor drill as part of the other hip drills.

Thoracic spine

Now we get into the spine and shoulders. The first video looks at mobilizing the thoracic spine. The t-spine is very often stiff and tight as a result of sitting behind desks, steering wheels, over bike handlebars, etc. The consequence is that the the neck, shoulders and low back may have to make up for the t-spine’s lack of movement. This will be a problem at some point. Here you can see a saggital plane mobilization. Look here for mobilizations in two other planes of movement.



The shoulders are the most mobile part of the body. They can move in many directions and thus there are many drills available for the shoulders. Here are a few:

Remember, there are a lot of other joint mobility methods and drills out there. These are just a few that I like. I’ll probably refine and add to this list soon.

4 thoughts on “Pre-Workout Mobilizations

  1. Karin Simon

    I am finding this to be very inspiring. ie awareness of your body which one is apt to take for granted. I am so often in my mind, reading, thinking, writing, studying, etc, that in this, I forget completely where I am and in a place of timelessness. mindfulness is a gift. in all things, thanks for sending this!

    • Kyle

      Thanks for the comments. Mindfulness and awareness are as important in exercise as in any other pursuit. There really is no difference in whether we think we’re doing a “mind” activity or a “body” activity.

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