Mobility and flexibility are crucial for maintaining a healthy body.
Both will improve and stabilise the range of motion of your joints and muscles. They will also improve your posture and body awareness, reducing pains and imbalances at the same time.
In Calisthenics being mobile and able to move freely, will allow you to maximise your progress in anything you do. Whether it is increasing the size of your muscles, your strength or developing skills like the handstand, planche, front lever, back lever, dragon flag or human flag.
How much mobility do you actually need?
Well, that depends on your specific goals and preconditions.
A person who just wants to stay healthy and aim for good posture, doesn’t need to achieve a split or other advanced mobility and flexibility skills.
However, there are some fundamental movements every person should be able to do, as everyone will benefit from them.
In this article we are going to cite 7 of these fundamental mobility exercises:
1. Shoulder Extension
We spend most of our everyday lives rounded forward, or pressing into flexion, not working the mobility of opening up the shoulders and going into shoulder extension.
The shoulder extension exercise will help roll your shoulders back, stretch your bicep and also some of your pecs.
Start siting with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Keep your hands behind your butt, with your fingers pointed outward and elbows locked.
Then, proceed on scooting your feet out, while lowering your shoulders towards the ground.
Go as far as possible, without causing pain.
2. Jefferson Curl
3. Pigeon Stretch
The pigeon stretch is an incredible movement, as it involves both external rotation and extension of the hip.
The external rotation is going to help you open up your hips for things like the pancake and middle split, while the hip extension targets the hip flexor.
To perform it, get down on the ground in a quadruped position.
Then, take one leg back and bring up the leg you want to stretch, bending your knee up and across the body.
Relax your body down towards the ground, like when you are sitting, until you feel a stretch in your buttocks area.
The pancake is an advanced flexibility skill, commonly used in Calisthenics.
The flexibility provided by this movement, is necessary for skills like the handstand press.
In order to perform the pancake, you need to sit with your leg straight and wide apart. And then relax your body down towards the ground, until your chest touches the ground.
If you are a beginner you can add weights on top of you, or ask someone to push your back towards the ground.
5. Front Split
This is another advanced flexibility skill, which few athletes have truly mastered.
The front split is performed by extending one leg straight forward in front of the body and the other behind.
The goal is to achieve an 180 degrees angle or more!
In order to achieve the front split, you will require excellent flexibility and strength of the hip joint, as well as the surrounding hip, pelvis and trunk muscles.
6. Midle Split
The middle split is an advanced flexibility skill, commonly used in Calisthenics, and one of the most impressive skills you can learn.
Although, it takes time and dedication to master it, consistency, as usually, is the key in order to achieve it!
The middle split is going to greatly improve the flexibility in your legs. Especially your adductors, hamstrings and inner thighs.
7. Back Bridge
The back bridge is a whole body movement which targets your posterior muscle chain, as well as your anterior muscle chain too.
When you do a back bridge you use your shoulders, traps, erector spine, glutes and hamstrings, while you stretch your pecs, abdominal muscles, hip flexors and quads.
To get into a full back bridge, you need a good mobility and flexibility in your shoulders or in your lower spine and hip flexors.
But when it comes to the perfect back bridge you should focus on a mix of all three!
In order to perform it, press your arms and legs into the ground and push your chest forward.
When you start, you won’t be able to reach a full range of motion. But that’s okay for the beginning. When you progress you will increase your range of motion.
However, keep in mind that most people need an additional mobility and flexibility training, in order to reach the maximum range of motion.
You can also use a back bridge for strength and mobility training without reaching the biggest amount of flexibility and mobility. But try to achieve a balanced proportion.
Been flexible and mobile is highly underrated, especially among male athletes, who usually focus more on their strength and skills training.
What they are truly missing is the fact that mobility will help them achieve their goals faster, avoiding injuries along the way.