Reduce Nagging Hip, Shoulder, and Back Pain With These 33 Mobility Exercises!

February 15, 2018

What’s up and welcome back to Down With the Fitness!

How is your habit of doing 10 squats and drinking a glass of water every morning when you wake up going??

Now that I’ve shown you a decent amount of bodyweight exercises to get your lower body, upper body, and core stronger, I think it’s high time to introduce a new category of exercise to incorporate into your daily routine: Mobility.

Maybe you’ve heard of this important concept, maybe you haven’t. Being in the fitness industry, I’ve heard many definitions over the years.

For the purposes of this blog we’ll define mobility as: Exercises that help you feel better, but don’t directly get you stronger or leaner.

These exercises can have immediate impacts in reducing pain and tightness in common problem areas like the hips, shoulders, and low back. They also go a long way in reducing long-term injury risk.

Now, usually I focus on one exercise per blog post. Today though, we’re gonna shake things up a little...

I’m going to give you 33(!!!) different exercises to experiment with, on your own terms, to get acquainted with the wonderful world of mobility! I’ll highlight my top 4 in more depth below:



These exercises come courtesy of Coach Luka at Vigor Ground Fitness and Performance in Renton. I try to hit one of their Charity Boot Camps per month. The $10 minimum donation goes towards a program for inner city youth Vigor is putting together. They’re every Saturday morning at 9.  I’ll be there this weekend!

(Follow the gym’s page on FB and Luka’s personal IG for more fitness tips!)

NOTE: Regardless of which exercises you decide to try first, focus on using a slow, smooth pace for all of these. Control is the goal here... Not speed or a set number of reps. Once you’re comfortable with them, focus on breathing throughout the movement.

Squat to Stand w/ Extension (:22 mark)  I actually call these Orbs because Orb by The Mothership (now known as Ten Miles Wide) is one of my favorite songs in the world. Also, I like to conserve syllables. It is great if you have tight hips and/or desk posture.

Shin Box Switch w/ Extension (2:30) The great Max Shank is fond of saying that your joints like circles. This is a great way to move your hips (which are circular joints) through some circles. As an added bonus, this works your core too. As an added bonus to the added bonus, working your core allows your hips to move better... BONUS-CEPTION!! Squeeze your glutes and abs hard at the top and use your hands as needed.

Side Lying Windmill (1:52)  More circles! This will open up your mid-back, chest, and shoulders. Make sure you’re getting some rotation through your mid-back by trying to get your top shoulder on the ground, not just flailing your arm around. You can use just about anything in place of the foam roller. Helpful before or after long periods of sitting, including flights. I’ve been known to do these in airports.

The Lizard (2:20) This one pretty much torches your whole body (in a good way!) and is the most physically demanding here. Keep your spine/neck long, drive your back heel backwards and REACH like there’s a hundred dollar bill just beyond your fingertips as your rotate.

Those are the four my clients and I use the most, but you’ve got 29 other drills to play around with. Have fun with the process of experimenting and find the most beneficial ones for you!

Recommended Listening: I think mobility work is best accompanied by some more chill music than I usually share here. Honestly, a lot of times I listen to Immortal Technique, but this is a big corporate rock station, so I won’t feature anti-establishment hardcore underground rap here. You can YouTube “Crossing The Boundary” yourself ;)

Sticking to something that falls under the broad ROCK umbrella, the soothing sludgy tones of Pepper Keenan and Kirk Windstein, over an ENORMOUS beat laid “down” by Rex Brown and Jimmy Bower is the perfect soundtrack for your slow, controlled movements.

When we’re talking about Down, it doesn’t get any better than “Bury Me in Smoke” if you ask me (Dog Tired comes close). When we’re talking about “Bury Me in Smoke”, it doesn’t get any better than their performance at Download in 2009:

The original supergroup lineup is still intact with Rex and Kirk in tow, AND you’ve got a giant insane overseas festival crowd losing their collective sh**; thanks to encouragement from an apparently-sober Phil, who is firing on all cylinders of insanity!!

It’s f**king beautiful. Going to one of those festivals is definitely one of the few items remaining on my bucket list.

Next Up: The Side Lunge

As always, have fun and do your best! If you've got any questions/comments/success stories/struggles, feel free to come join the Down With The Fitness Facebook Group

Take Great Care!

-Matt Koch