If your average workout is an ice cream sundae — fully customizable to suit your specific cravings and tastes — then mobility training is the bowl. It's often overlooked, but without that strong, consistent support, your training (and dessert) would fall apart.
Mobility exercises — which help your joints to move through their full ranges of motion — help improve your balance and strengthen your entire body. Devoting time each week to less-flashy-but-still-crucial mobility workouts can help you avoid injuries now and stay active as you get older.
And working mobility training into your regular exercise routine doesn't require a ton of extra time or gear. In fact, this equipment-free workout from Ingrid Clay, certified personal trainer and founder of ISC Wellness, only takes 10 minutes. You'll combine lower-body exercises to build stability and strength for better, more controlled movement on and off the mat.
"It may feel like a heavy leg workout, but actually, it's really, really focusing on the balance and mobility, which we use across all areas of our workout life," Clay says.
No matter how quick your workout is, always devote some time to a proper dynamic warm-up, including exercises like clamshells and inchworms to prime your muscles.
You'll perform eight exercises for one minute each and top things off with a two-minute sumo squat series. If you start to feel wobbly partway through, hit pause and shake out your legs until you're ready to jump back in.
- Side Kick to Squat: Squeeze your glutes with each kick, Clay says.
- Forward Lunge to Squat: Roll your shoulders down and away from your ears and keep your chest up.
- Chair Squat to Back Lunge: "You should almost feel like you're falling back," she says.
- Squat to Curtsy Squat: Remember to keep your core tight. "A lot of times when we do legs, we kind of relax the abs," Clay says.
- Squat to Wide Lunge: If you're struggling with the lunge, shorten the range of motion. Instead of bending your knees to 90 degrees, only go as low as feels comfortable.
- Squat to Knee Up: Keep this motion slow and controlled, Clay says.
- Low Walk: Stay low in your squat as you step side to side.
- Squat to Side Squat: Hover as low as possible throughout this movement, Clay says. Try not to stand fully between each squat variation.
- Sumo Squat Series: If you want an extra challenge, add a mini resistance band around your thighs for the final 30 seconds. "But let me tell you, you don't need it!" Clay says.
When the 10 minutes are up, take some time to cool down, even if it's just for a few minutes.