T Nation

Can't Gain Mobility

Hi guys, for the past 2 years, I’ve been following this mobility protocol every day. And I mean pretty much EVERY single day (workout day or not). In the past 2 years, I’ve probably missed about 2 sessions;

5 reps quad foam rolls [per side]
5 reps obliques, quadratus lumborum and IT band foam rolls [per side]
12 reps weight plate hip flexor release [per side]
30 secs tennis ball piriformis release [per side]
12 reps groiners [per side]
12 reps mountain-climbers
12 reps forwards and backwards fire hydrants [per side]
12 reps roll-overs to v-sits
10 reps thoracic extensions

3 sets of 12 reps band-resisted hip internal rotation
1 set of 120 secs band traction knee-to-chest hold [per side]

1 set of 120 secs sprinter hamstring stretch [per side]
3 sets of 30 secs child’s pose erector spinae stretch
3 sets of 30 secs sideways child’s pose quadratus lumborum stretch [per side]
1 set of 120 secs kneeling hip flexor stretch [per side]

3 sets of 5 reps body saws or 3 sets of 60 secs RKC plank holds
1 set of 180 secs glute-bridge hold

1 set of 10 reps wall-supported arm-raise

(The stuff grouped together is done together - and the groups of stuff are done throughout the day).

However - despite doing all of this mobility and stability work very consistently for a long period of time, I’ve experienced almost no mobility increase whatsoever. My hips are still incredibly stiff and I’ve got almost no hip internal rotation. Also I’m still in anterior pelvic tilt as well, despite doing all of this and trying to make my training more p-chain dominant.

My goals are to increase hip mobility (as a bonus it would be cool to be able to do the splits as well) and to lose the anterior pelvic tilt because I think it is giving me slight sacro-iliac issues.

How would you modify my existing routine in order to make it actually work for these goals?

Thanks very much for responses…

EDIT: I should mention that over the past 2 years I have worked at a desk job and doing a physical job - neither made a difference to my problems…

Wow, you are dedicated. Like you, I have also found that foam rolling and stretching did not do much for my mobility. I have seen the best improvements from doing frequent repetitions of active range-of-motion in the movement I want to gain mobility in.

For example, I could not get below parallel in my squat, so I did frequent squatting to a box at parallel and progressed by lowering the height of the box as my mobility increased. I was not using any additional weight. I was doing about 100 total reps per day, daily, spread out throughout the day. Now I can squat a couple inches below parallel. However, even if my squat mobility has increased, my hamstring flexibility has actually decreased, since I stopped stretching them. Hamstring flexibility does not imply squat mobility, and vice versa.

I have just started working on my hip hinging mobility, using Romanian deadlifts with just the bar. I will do the same procedure (about 100 reps a day) and see what happens.

Instead of focusing on “general flexibility”, I would focus on specific movements you want to perform and work on those with active range-of-motion exercises. The basic ones I can think of are the squat, hip hinge, and lunge with back foot elevated on a bench.

Since training seems so specific, if you want to be able to hold a certain position, like a split, then I’d advise holding that position for time frequently throughout the day, rather than moving through range-of-motion.

As far as posture, I don’t have any great insights, except that training my abs and glutes a lot did seem to decrease my anterior pelvic tilt a little bit. If your posture isn’t causing pain or dysfunction, then I wouldn’t worry about it though. I’d figure out your specific problems (is it really an SI issue?) and go from there.

get a book called Athletic Body in Balance by Grey Cook. Assess yourself doing the functional movement screens (you’ll fail), then work through the progressions until you pass.

I just changed your life for the better. You’re welcome.

Smallmike and rds63799 have both touched on what I was going to say, so here is my input too.

For your pelvic tilt:-

Stretch your hip flexor’s 30 sec’s each side (i.e. gain length)
Single (or double) leg glute bridge (form must be spot on here), now your stabilizing the new range of motion.
Half kneeling chop 3x6 on each side (applying/using the new ROM)

My advice gain length in the muscle, stabilize the new ROM and then apply/use the new ROM in that order. If you follow this methodology you should seem some improvement.

rds63799 is right about the Gray Cook book - great shout.

Now can you help me out with my AC joint please;)

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
get a book called Athletic Body in Balance by Grey Cook. Assess yourself doing the functional movement screens (you’ll fail), then work through the progressions until you pass.

I just changed your life for the better. You’re welcome.[/quote]

rds, cheers, yeah I got that book.

Didn’t even bother ‘testing’ myself on any of the screens as I’m guessing I’d fail all of them - so I started straight onto the progressions (or the ‘training’).

The squat one is raping my sides (the rib discomfort I was complaining about) and the back of my knees, which is weird as I don’t usually have anything wrong with my knees.

I’ve got a question - can one work on just one of the movements at a time? For example, I want to work on the squat. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for me to train the squat and the hurdle step and the inline lunge and the seated rotation…etc… - but can you only work on one at a time, or you can only get better if you train ALL of them every day?

is there something similar to that which i can get for free rds?

[quote]lunk wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
get a book called Athletic Body in Balance by Grey Cook. Assess yourself doing the functional movement screens (you’ll fail), then work through the progressions until you pass.

I just changed your life for the better. You’re welcome.[/quote]

rds, cheers, yeah I got that book.

Didn’t even bother ‘testing’ myself on any of the screens as I’m guessing I’d fail all of them - so I started straight onto the progressions (or the ‘training’).

The squat one is raping my sides (the rib discomfort I was complaining about) and the back of my knees, which is weird as I don’t usually have anything wrong with my knees.

I’ve got a question - can one work on just one of the movements at a time? For example, I want to work on the squat. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for me to train the squat and the hurdle step and the inline lunge and the seated rotation…etc… - but can you only work on one at a time, or you can only get better if you train ALL of them every day?[/quote]

you can work on them one at a time. Prioritise the ones that show an imbalance between your sides. If you don’t have an imbalance then you should prioritise the active straight leg raise and the toe-touch progression

If it’s hurting though man you really need to get seen by a professional. Grey is pretty explicit on that one.

[quote]andrewk369 wrote:
is there something similar to that which i can get for free rds?[/quote]

you can find most of the stuff online. The book is worth having though as he goes into loads of detail.

yeh, andrew, I’d imagine a search for;

1). toe touch/deep squat progression
2). hurdle step
3). inline lunge
4). active straight leg raise
5). seated rotation

would be fruitful. These are the 5 movement ‘screens’ discussed in the book.

[quote]andrewk369 wrote:
is there something similar to that which i can get for free rds?[/quote]

Check out you tube search Gray Cook.

[quote]lunk wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
get a book called Athletic Body in Balance by Grey Cook. Assess yourself doing the functional movement screens (you’ll fail), then work through the progressions until you pass.

I just changed your life for the better. You’re welcome.[/quote]

rds, cheers, yeah I got that book.

Didn’t even bother ‘testing’ myself on any of the screens as I’m guessing I’d fail all of them - so I started straight onto the progressions (or the ‘training’).

The squat one is raping my sides (the rib discomfort I was complaining about) and the back of my knees, which is weird as I don’t usually have anything wrong with my knees.

I’ve got a question - can one work on just one of the movements at a time? For example, I want to work on the squat. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for me to train the squat and the hurdle step and the inline lunge and the seated rotation…etc… - but can you only work on one at a time, or you can only get better if you train ALL of them every day?[/quote]

Got to agree with RDS again on this, start of on the active leg raise as this is the most basic pattern and the easiest to fix, then onto the squat and so on.

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
get a book called Athletic Body in Balance by Grey Cook. Assess yourself doing the functional movement screens (you’ll fail), then work through the progressions until you pass.

I just changed your life for the better. You’re welcome.[/quote]

Bought the book this week based on your recommendation. Can’t wait to start digging into it, looks like a ton of great info.

I’ve been at the book since this thread. Been working on deep squat and active straight leg raise.

So far it’s only made my knees hurt when they didn’t before - but I’ll follow it for a solid 2 years to see if it helps.

Will keep you posted.

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
get a book called Athletic Body in Balance by Grey Cook. Assess yourself doing the functional movement screens (you’ll fail), then work through the progressions until you pass.

I just changed your life for the better. You’re welcome.[/quote]

Bought the book this week based on your recommendation. Can’t wait to start digging into it, looks like a ton of great info.
[/quote]

good lad, you won’t be disappointed. Prioritise the FMS

[quote]lunk wrote:
I’ve been at the book since this thread. Been working on deep squat and active straight leg raise.

So far it’s only made my knees hurt when they didn’t before - but I’ll follow it for a solid 2 years to see if it helps.

Will keep you posted.[/quote]

you should actually notice a difference fairly quickly. I’m talking weeks, not even months

[quote]rds63799 wrote:

[quote]lunk wrote:
I’ve been at the book since this thread. Been working on deep squat and active straight leg raise.

So far it’s only made my knees hurt when they didn’t before - but I’ll follow it for a solid 2 years to see if it helps.

Will keep you posted.[/quote]

you should actually notice a difference fairly quickly. I’m talking weeks, not even months[/quote]

lol, results in weeks - what is this Gray Cook guy, a physio or a magician?

Increases in mobility surely take years, if not decades?

I’ve listed all the stuff I’ve been doing in the OP (which includes strengthening work as well as foam rolling, static stretching, and dynamic mobility drills) and my mobility has remained absolutely static.

until now you haven’t been addressing a major piece of the puzzle: how your body actually MOVES. All the flexibility work won’t do dick if your body doesn’t want to move properly. Your mobility sucks because your body is essentially putting on the brakes to protect itself. What you’re doing by going through the FMS progressions is teaching your body it’s ok to move.

you’ll see…

here’s something you can try to illustrate my point:

get on your hands and knees, keep your back arched and sit back onto your calves. Notice the angle of your back, knees and hips? You are in a perfect deep squat position. But how come you can do it on your knees and not when standing? Surely ROM is ROM?

No. Your body has no problem getting into that position on your hands and knees because it feels stable and safe. You need to teach it that it is stable and safe when you do shit like that standing.

BOOM - that’s the sound of your mind blowing.

Increases in mobility can happen instantaneously.

Take a look at the video in this article: the woman instantly gains hip internal rotation once she learns to stabilize her core.

Read the article too. Good stuff in there.

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
here’s something you can try to illustrate my point:

get on your hands and knees, keep your back arched and sit back onto your calves. Notice the angle of your back, knees and hips? You are in a perfect deep squat position. But how come you can do it on your knees and not when standing? Surely ROM is ROM?

No. Your body has no problem getting into that position on your hands and knees because it feels stable and safe. You need to teach it that it is stable and safe when you do shit like that standing.

BOOM - that’s the sound of your mind blowing.[/quote]

Never thought of that:o