Did the chicken or the egg come first?

Who cares? Both the chicken and the egg are delicious.

You’re probably wondering what in the heck this has got to do with fitness. Please stay with me for a moment.

In the fitness universe, experts have often debated which quality is more important to train, stability or mobility.

Stability is the ability to maintain or control joint movement or position. Stability is achieved by the coordinating actions of surrounding tissues and the neuromuscular system.

Examples of stable joints are the low back and knees.

Mobility is the degree to which an articulation (where two bones meet) can move before being restricted by surrounding tissues. Examples of mobile joints are the ankle, hips and shoulders.

Which one is more important? Mobility (chicken) or stability(egg)?

Both are essential qualities to have in the quest to look, feel and move great. However, when push comes to shove, I’m a mobility guy because the human body is made to move.

Mobility allows you to squat, deadlift, push and pull like a champ, so you can build a strong and resilient body that allows you to do more stuff and do it more often .

However, there a few other reasons why mobility is important.

  • Mobility- it’s one of the original foundations of youth along with hypertrophy
  • Injury prevention- an unrestricted joint that can go through its full range of motion is a happy joint.
  • Becoming stronger- if your hip mobility is limiting your squat or deadlift then you’re not strengthening all parts of the movement.

You can certainly skip mobility work, load a few plates on the bar and crush your training without repercussions when you’re first starting out. However, injury and age will eventually catch up with you.

Instead, start incorporating some simple mobility moves for your ankles, hips and shoulders into your training for happier and better-performing body.

1. Ankle mobility

Ankles require a certain amount of dorsiflexion for squatting and deadlifting. You can certainly get away with a lack of dorsiflexion by wearing certain shoes and by putting weight plates underneath your heels while squatting, but if don’t have good ankle mobility, it may catch up with you in terms of an injury or sore knees and hips.

Use this simple test below to see if your ankle mobility is up to snuff.

Did you pass or fail? Either way, start including some of these exercises for better performing ankles.

Knee break ankle mobilization – 8 reps

Rocking ankle mobilization- 8 reps on both legs

Leg swings- 10 reps on both legs

How to include these in your training

You can add these exercises to your warm up as a circuit before you crush your leg training.

For example

1A. Rocking ankle mob

1B. Knee break ankle mob

1C. Leg swings

Or you can add them to your strength training movement for the day.

For example

1A.  Squat or deadlift variation 3-6 reps

1B.  Rocking ankle mobilization 8-10 reps

Or if you’re in the middle of a muscle building phase, you can add a mobilization as a filler exercise.

For example

1A. Lower body exercise 8-12 reps

1B. Upper body exercise 8-12 reps

1C. Knee break ankle mob 8- 10 reps.

2. Hip mobility

 Have you ever heard of the saying ‘it’s all in the hips?’  This applies to exercise as well, especially to all squat and deadlift variations. Having adequate hip mobility means a happier low back and a better-looking butt.

To test your hip mobility, perform the Thomas test.

Whether not you pass or failed the Thomas test, you will benefit from improved hip mobility in the bedroom and in the gym. Consider adding these exercises before your leg training.

Hip flexor stretch- 30 sec each side

Half kneeling hip flexor mob- 10 reps each side

Bulgarian split squat iso hold – 30 sec each side

How to include these in your training

Consider sprinkling these exercises into your warm-up before training your legs.  Adding them as filler exercise when training heavy helps put you in better position while exercising and aids in recovery between sets.

For example

1A. Deadlift variation 3- 6 reps

1B. Half kneeling hip flexor mob 8-10 reps

Or super setting them with a core exercise will improve mobility and stability simultaneously.

For example

1A. Half kneeling hip flexor -left side 30 sec

1B. Half kneeling Pallof Press– left side 8-10 reps

1C. Half kneeling hip flexor- right side 30 sec

1D. Half kneeling Pallof Press -right side 8- 10 reps.

3. Shoulder mobility

The shoulder is a shallow ball and socket joint which allows freedom of movement, but this comes at a cost because it doesn’t provide a lot of support.

The muscles surrounding the shoulder pick up the slack in this regard. Making sure the muscles of the upper back and deltoids are strong combined with balancing your push/pull ratio will go a long way to keeping your shoulders healthy.

The test for the shoulder mobility is an easy one. Can you get your biceps by or behind your ears without flaring the rib cage or extending your lower back.  Try this now.  I’ll wait.

No matter whether you passed or failed, shoulder mobility exercises should always be in your routine for good shoulder health.

There are millions of drills out in cyberspace to improve shoulder mobility. However, after working with dozens of clients with shoulder issues, I’ve found the following exercises work well.

Weighted deadbugs – 8 reps

Back to the wall shoulder flexion- 10 reps

Resistance band pull a parts-100 reps per day

How to include these in your training

Putting these into your warm up whether your training lower or upper body is imperative because good shoulder mobility is required for both.  These exercises can be used as filler exercise when training your big strength movement for the day.

For example

1A. Bench press/Overhead press variations

1B. Band pull a parts – 15-25 reps


1A. Squat or deadlift variation

1B. Weighted deadbugs 8 reps

I remember Joe DeFranco suggesting to do 100 pull a parts a day for good shoulder health and it has worked well for my clients. It’s also an easy way to get some upper back/pulling volume into your training.

Wrapping up

Mobility is a use it or lose it proposition, especially for the older or injured lifter. Working on your mobility doesn’t require a lot of time or effort but the payoffs will be huge for your body and lifting numbers.

Do you need help with your mobility? Hit me up here for help.



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