How To Fix Tight Muscles With Mobility & Stretching

When you’re a teenager you know everything. I did.

I was fit and had so much energy that no one could ever keep up with me.

I’d ride my bike to school as fast as I could cos I wanted to beat my time almost every day. I’d play basketball before, during and after school. If there was sport on that day I was going full on the whole time.

After school I was racing home again and would often have basketball training, a game or I’d be shooting around in my driveway.

I never warmed up. I never stretched unless I was told to at training which was rare.

I never saw a physio when I was injured. I just waited for the pain to go away. I was a stubborn kid and I was unbreakable.

how-to-fix-tight-muscles-with-mobility-stretching-Fat-TravI was playing basketball and lifting weights and kayaking and riding my bike and anything else I could do, I was doing. My pace didn’t stop until a shoulder injury put me out of action when I was 26. This is when I got fat. —–>

I had ignored the shoulder pain as long as possible until my shoulder was referring to other areas including my spine and causing my breathing to be so shallow I could barely get any air in. It was not long after that I was referred to Jacque Beros at Langer Chiropractic and she’s had her work cut out for her ever since.

I don’t know about you but I’ve spent too many months of my life out of sport or fitness due to injury. Sometimes its pain. Sometimes its tight muscles. Sometimes it’s a tear, strain or break, but there’s always something.

When I was 25, I got to the point where I couldn’t run or jump without pulling a muscle. When I did I was limping around in pain for days and sometimes weeks until I got deep tissue massage and manipulation to fix the issue.

This led me on a path to fix myself and learn to live pain free. It’s been a long and rough journey, but one I’ll never regret as I use many of these techniques daily when training others and myself.

The following exercises are not a replacement for physio. If you are in pain you must go and see a physio for their professional opinion and rehab program as that’s what they do. If you need a referral to a good one, I can help you out.

Here’s some of the best mobility exercises I’ve used along the way. You can repeat them daily if you have time.

Tight Shoulders? Try This

Overhead Broomstick Dislocations

Grab the broomhandle with both hands, palms facing down and extend overhead in an arc. You may get it all the way over to your butt and you may not. Repeat for a total of 10 reps.

Do whatever your body dictates and progress gradually. You can move your hands wider or closer as needed. A band is a great alternative to a broomstick and allows for more movement throughout.

Please dont literally disclocate your shoulder doing this. It’s just a name.

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Tight Chest? Try This

Broomstick Chest Extension

Grab the broomstick as in the picture with one hand over the end. Push with the bottom hand and extend the arm up toward the covered end on a 45 degree angle until the chest pulls tight in a stretch. Keep good posture throughout with glutes and abs tight. Repeat for a total of 10 times on each side.

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Tight Hips? Try This

Hip Flexor Stretch & Glute Stretch

 

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Foam Rolling Quads & ITB

Grab a foam roller and roll your quads (first picture) from the bottom of your hips to the top of your knee for 30-60 seconds. If it’s getting too easy cross one leg over the other and spend 30-60 seconds on each side.

Once you’ve done the quads, move onto the iliotibial band or ITB. This won’t be comfortable. But if it’s that tight and sore, this’ll help ease the pain and loosen it up.

Prop yourself up as in the second picture. Roll your ITB from the bottom of your hips to the top of your knee for 30-60 seconds stopping on the tender spots. Use your front foot to take away some of the load. If you want to increase the load, stack one foot on the other.

WARNING Don’t use a foam roller or tennis ball if you have fibromyalgia or other circulatory issues and don’t roll over bones or bony prominences.

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If you have a desk job make sure you get up and walk or stretch every 30 minutes or less as your muscles will adapt to the seated position and start tightening up. This leads to a rounded posture, tight chest a sore lower back and tight hips.

Tight Hamstring? Try This

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Towel Hamstring Stretches

Grab a towel or band and wrap it around your foot. With a straight leg pull your foot forward and keep the leg locked out.

To increase the stretch, you can use a PNF technique while doing this. Once your leg is straight, push back with the knee and hold tight for 5 seconds, then relax. You should be able to pull your leg in a little further. Repeat for a total of 3-4 times on each leg.

Don’t pull so hard you injure yourself and same goes for pushing your knee backwards. Increasing range of movement through stretching takes a consistent effort.

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Tight Calves? Try This

Roll Your Calf Over a Tennis Ball

Spend 30-60 seconds on each calf while pushing down agains the tennis ball. You may find a tennis ball is not hard enough but an indoor cricket ball or baseball will be.

Make sure you cover the whole calf and rotate your foot to find other tight spots. Spend longer around those tight areas.

What Else?

To get your muscles to relax as much as possible, you need to make sure you are fueling it right. Plenty of fresh vegetables, lean meats and fish, good fats and some fresh fruit is all your body wants.

Sugar and artificial additives will upset body chemistry and cause the muscles to tighten up too. Reducing stress can also help but this is never easy. And limiting alcohol consumption is also a big help.

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