We're proud to see fitness bands cropping up in a variety of forms of fitness. Band believer Kelly Starrett has been using bands to help his top tier athlete clientele reach their full potential. Some of the athletes in his program include kayaker Brad Ludden, pro cyclist Levi Leipheimer, and Olympic rower Erin Cafaro. Starrett focuses on using bands during physical therapy sessions in order to promote joint mobility. Instead of just improving mobility to prevent or recover from injuries, Starrett urges athletes to improve mobility as part of training. He argues that the real benefit comes from the mechanical advantage, as finding ideal positioning allows for optimal power output. By achieving maximum range, you'll find your body's true potential.
Starrett has shared a few of his top maximizing mobility moves. Check them out below if you're interested in helping to increase range in your joints.
1. Posterior hip mobilization
GOOD FOR: Loosening up a stiff hip capsule or making you more efficient on a bike, in a kayak, or whenever you are in hip flexion.
1) Position yourself on all fours
2) Place a stretching band around one quad
3) Place that foot in front of the opposite knee
4) Oscillate your hip against the band’s pull.
2. Shoulder extension, external rotation
GOOD FOR: Opening up shoulder joints, which are particularly tight among swimmers and climbers.
1) Place your hand through a stretching band
2) Rotate your palm up
3) Grip the band and lean back
4) Stretch your arm above your head to engage the lat muscle.
3. Anterior hip mobilization
GOOD FOR: Loosening up tight hip flexors, common among runners, cyclists, and rowers.
1) Place the stretching band around one quad’s hip crease
2) Stretch that leg back
3) Placing the knee on the ground and slowly rotate the hip forward.
4. Ankle dorsiflexion
GOOD FOR: Ankle flexibility, which helps save runners tremendous energy.
1) In a standing position, place stretching band just above the ankle
2) Step forward with that leg
3) Move knee forward and oscillate outward.
4) Repeat facing the other direction.
5. 10-minute deep-squat test
GOOD FOR: Increasing mobility in the ankles, knees, and hips.
1) Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
2) Lower your hips to your ankles, making sure to keep your feet flat on the ground.
3) Remain in that position for 10 minutes, moving slightly to stimulate circulation.
6. Couch stretch
GOOD FOR: Opening up the entire anterior muscle chain, allowing you to fully extend your hips, knees, and ankles.
1) Start on all fours with your feet against the wall.
2) Raise one leg so the shin and foot lie flat against the wall
3) Then step the other leg forward, foot beneath you.
4) Engage glutes, quads, and hip flexors by arching and relaxing your back.
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