5 Mobility Moves to Release Your Shoulders, Hips and Knees

Twisting mobility moves help you target multiple joints at once.
Image Credit: Lore McSpadden-Walker/LIVESTRONG.com

Getting on the floor can help you exercise your muscles and joints in some unique ways. Plus, with more contact with the ground — hands, knees, toes and perhaps shins and tops of the feet — comes greater stability and a feeling of strength and groundedness.

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These five moves from Lore McSpadden-Walker, CPT, founder of Positive Force Movement and host of our 4-Week Mobility Challenge, mix common stretches with variations you may not be used to. But they'll help you release tension from your shoulders, hips and knees.

Tip

Below are instructions to walk through one rep of each move. Repeat as many times as feels good and at a pace that works with your body.

If you're especially tight in a specific area, you may want to slow down or not stretch as deeply. Or if something feels really good and you're in the flow, repeat or hold for as long as you'd like. This is your practice!

1. Quadruped Shoulder Circle

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Activity Mobility Workout
  1. Start on all fours — hips under knees and hands under shoulders.
  2. Starting with your right arm, roll your shoulder in circles forward. You'll likely need to bend your right elbow a bit to accommodate this.
  3. Then roll your right shoulder in circles backward.
  4. Repeat on your left shoulder, making sure each side gets as much attention as it needs.
  5. Then, if you'd like, roll both shoulders together — first forward, then backward.

Tip

"These can be done slower if that feels better for you, and the range of motion is different for each person," McSpadden-Walker says. Play around with what feels best for your body.

2. 90/90 Hip Stretch

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Activity Mobility Workout
  1. Sit on the ground with your knees bent and pointing straight up, feet several inches apart.
  2. Drop both knees to left so that they both form 90-degree angles.
  3. Lift both knees up and drop them to the other side, keeping your heels planted on the ground.
  4. Keep switching back and forth.

Tip

"You can do this with more or less knee flexion, depending on your body's needs," McSpadden-Walker says. Always decrease your range of motion if you feel any pain or anything beyond mild discomfort while doing the 90/90 hip stretch.

3. Half-Kneeling Lunge

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Activity Mobility Workout
  1. Begin kneeling with your knees directly under your hips.
  2. Bring your right leg out in front of you so that your knee is at a 90-degree angle and directly above your ankle.
  3. Square your hips to the front and make sure they're level.
  4. Pull forward with your front foot to rock forward. Only go as far as feels comfortable.
  5. Pull back as you straighten your right leg, then repeat as needed.
  6. Switch legs and repeat.

Tip

"Elevating the lower knee onto a yoga block, bolster or pillow not only helps this be a bit gentler on the kneecap, but it also helps the iliac crests [tops of your hip bones] be more level with each other," McSpadden-Walker says. "I then 'zip up' my belly before actively pulling myself forward with the foot of the leg in front."

4. Thread the Needle

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Activity Mobility Workout
  1. Start on all fours, knees below hips and hands below shoulders.
  2. Bring your right arm across your body and underneath your left arm as far as you can without feeling discomfort or pain.
  3. Press your hips back slightly to accommodate this stretch.
  4. Relax here for as long as you'd like.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

5. Child's Pose

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Activity Mobility Workout
  1. Start on all fours, knees below hips and hands below shoulders.
  2. Sit back on your heels and stretch your arms forward, relaxing your forehead on the floor.
  3. Feel your lower back, hips and waist lengthening, as you let your body sink into the post.
  4. Stay here as long as you'd like.

Tip

As McSpadden-Walker demonstrates above, you can also cross your arms above your head, place your forehead on your hands or rest your hands on the back of your neck. Use whichever variation feels best for you.

Follow along with the challenge calendar below or head back to the 4-Week Mobility Challenge for more details.

Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

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