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Importance of Mobility Work Between Sets

By Shelby Young.

Mobility and flexibility are very important aspects of health and fitness but unfortunately they are often neglected because of a few reasons:

1. They’re uncomfortable

2. They’re time consuming

3. They’re not the most exciting thing to do in the gym

While we can’t do much about them being uncomfortable (in order to really make progress on your mobility a certain amount of discomfort is necessary) the other 2 can be addressed by altering how you approach your mobility work. First, we’ll maximize your efficiency by performing your mobility work between your sets of your primary exercises. Second, we’ll add some variety by giving you different ways to address your mobility needs.

If you’re performing 10 exercises for 3 sets each and resting 30-60 seconds between each set that’s 15-30 minutes of free time where you could be making your body move and feel better. The majority of gym goers tend to leave their mobility work to the very end of their workout, using it as a cool down period. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, if you find yourself pressed for time or simply mentally tired and ready to leave then you are far more likely to skip out ten minutes early than stick around do something you weren’t really enthusiastic about in the first place. By shifting the mobility work to the time between your working sets, when you would normally just be walking around, getting water, or checking your phone, you’ll get more done in the same or less time and address some issues that you know you should be working on.

This method is often called using “Filler” exercises and it’s a great way to get the work in that you know you should be doing without taking extra time or compromising your recovery. If your goal for your working sets involves building maximal strength then it is best to stretch muscles other than those being worked by that specific exercise since static stretching has been shown to reduce the peak amount of force a muscle can produce in the short term. Here’s a few examples with the targeted muscles in parentheses:

Strength Exercise: Barbell Bench Press (pecs, triceps, anterior deltoids) Mobility Filler: Pigeon Stretch (glutes, piriformis)

Strength Exercise: Goblet Split Squat (quads, hamstrings, glutes) Mobility Filler: Oscillating Latissimus Dorsii Stretch (lats, triceps)

Strength Exercise: Chin Up (lats, biceps, forearms) Mobility Filler: Inchworm Stretch Crawl (hamstrings, calves, glutes, lower back)

Strength Exercise: Lying Leg Raise (abdominals) Mobility Filler: Quadruped T-Spine Rotation (thoracic spine, pecs)

There are limitless combinations of exercises and movements that you can do to improve your range of motion, reduce joint pain, and improve your quality of life. If you would like more help in putting together a program to meet your needs please contact the Fitness Center at Hampshire Hills Athletic Club to set up an assessment with one of our excellent trainers.

603-673-7123 extension 215

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