Articles  >  Mobility, Prep, Recovery & Injury
Mobility for People Who Hate Doing Mobility
Mike Gray
April 28 2014

Let me start this pile of words off with two things...

1. I hate mobility work. When I get to the gym, I want to lift, not roll around on a bunch of over priced dog toys for 30 minutes. I don’t read books about it or pore over videos of people strapping themselves up with rubber bands. The thought of lying on top of what looks likes a $50 sea anemone is something that just doesn’t interest me.

2.NOTHING in this article is ground breaking or anything you couldn’t find if your read the articles posted on either the Catalyst Athletics or Performance Menu. By no means is anything in here new, it’s just something I would want to read due to my hatred of the topic.

Let’s be honest, in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting, being more mobile is something that will help out about 95% of the people who participate in the sport. Yes, there are some people who are hypermobile. I have only seen a few of these people in my time, but obviously if you are one of them, you just don’t need to read this. (You, however, probably need to do some curls to tighten up those arms.) I have personally watched guys in their 20s who are already very mobile spend 45 minutes doing mobility work, then spend about 20 minutes on actual hard lifting. Please read this article from Greg about a warm up being just that…

There are hundreds of ways to skin this cat—just Google “mobility for weightlifting” and you will get about 6,940,000 hits in under a half second. What I am not going to do is waste your time with a set plan on what to do. The reasons I won’t do this is that the odds are you won’t follow it and why do something that works for me that might not work for you? We all have different areas of concern, and what I need to address is something that might not bother you. What I am going to do is give you some ideas or things to try to help you out that have worked for me and the guys that I train with.

All I ever wanted to do was get loose and mobile and not look like a complete clown shoe while I was doing it. These are some things I have found that helped:

1. Get loose for your session hours before you actually train. Greg wrote an article about this very topic and it can be found here…

2. This is crazy, but actually use some light movements to get you loose and mobile for the lifts you are going to do. For example, if you’re training snatches today, a great warm up for that would be Muscle Snatch + Pressing Snatch Balance + Sots press, with something very light and nothing that would tax you for your actual session. Oddly enough, Greg wrote an article about this as well here…

3. Stretch in between sets. This to me is the best thing ever. Doing Russian baby makers, ankle mobility work or whatever you need in between lifts will only help you as you move along with your session. Besides, it will keep you from looking like a tool checking Facebook every two minutes.

4. Sit in the snatch. That sounds awful, so let me explain. The snatch is without a doubt one of the more difficult position to maintain for new or tight lifters, so a way to alleviate this is to actually sit in the receiving position of the snatch for a 3-count. This will not only help your mobility, but it will also make you feel more comfortable in that position so you are less likely to come flying out of it prematurely and either lose a lift or kill a older center judge who doesn’t quite have the reflexes he once did. I, however, don’t recommend this in the clean.

5. Try to fit it into your daily activities. We all do crap everyday we hate doing, whether it be unloading the dishwasher or sitting in meetings for hours on end. I guarantee there is some kind of goofy stretch you can somehow fit into these activities while you do it. The other day I was cleaning my tile floor by hand while doing Spiderman lunges the entire way. Why not do two miserable activities at once?

Like I said in the beginning, there isn’t anything new here, and this has been covered before numerous times. I am just trying to reach out to the last few standouts, and trust me, I am one of them who just hate doing any kind of mobility work because of the insanity this has become over the past few years. A couple of the guys I train with who started stretching in between lifts for just a few weeks can already see a huge improvement. Just buy into the fact this is something we have to do, like paying taxes and changing the oil on your car, and I can almost guarantee you it will make you a better lifter.
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April 28 2014
Mobility or flexibility? When I think of people with mobility issues, I picture someone in a wheelchair or an old person using a mobility scooter...
April 29 2014
PatG the term is mobility as Kelly Starrett put it...
Greg Everett
April 29 2014
PatG/Nacho -

The term isn't attributable to Kelly Starrett - it was in use long before he came around.

In this context, mobility refers to the ability of a joint to move through its potential range of motion; flexibility refers more to the ability of a muscle to extend. Related, but not the same thing.
April 29 2014
Greg, I'm glad you clarified mobility vs. flexibility because I had been incorrectly using mobility. Thank you!
May 1 2014
Can you sit in a full squat without tipping over backwards? I can after my leg workout but not before it. This is my first clue that I am not as mobile at the start of my workout.

A HUGE help for me (bodybuilding type lifter, 45 years old, desk job) is using trigger point tools on the quads and ITB in between the first few sets of squats. I start with 3 sets with just the bar to warm up.

Good article. Most folks I see walking around in gyms have severe mobility issues and can not execute even simple moves like squats properly.
Matt Foreman
May 2 2014
Great article.

#5 is a huge point. Believe it or not, I actually have a reputation among people who know me because I will randomly drop into my bottom position repeatedly throughout the day. It's not uncommon to see me coaching, looking at something in the grocery store, or having a conversation with somebody while sitting down into a full bottom position. Been doing it my whole life, never lost my bottom position.