I’ve got bad news and good news. The bad news is our lives are hurting our bodies. We sit too much, we stare hunched at tiny glowing screens, and we don’t move enough. All this decreases our mobility, and what’s worse is when we do start moving, we often injure ourselves because of it. To function better we need to move better.
The good news is that this can be accomplished with relatively small changes, when done daily. Even better, one of the best tools to quickly and easily improve your mobility and function is the thing you keep in the closet to sweep the floor. Below are three simple exercises that can be done with a broomstick to wake up your body, alleviate muscle stiffness and soreness, boost your energy, and improve your mobility long term.
Stand up straight and comfortable, holding the stick in front of you with hands on either end as wide as possible. With straight arms lift the stick overhead and extend as far back as possible, then reverse the motion back to front. If your shoulders are mobile enough, the stick will travel all the way over your body to reach your backside. If your shoulders are too tight for this, stop well before it becomes uncomfortable, never force your body to reach a certain position. It may take several repetitions before the stick travels all the way, it may also take several weeks, listen to your body and take your time. As your shoulders improve, continue with hands slightly closer together.
Benefits of shoulder passthrough:
Stand with your feet at squat stance, or just outside of shoulder width. Your feet should be as parallel as possible although turned slightly out is still ok. Hold the stick similar to the shoulder pass through drill and raise until it is directly overhead. While in this position squat down, breaking at the hips first, and then return up. If your knees cave in while rising, consciously push them out. Imagine the stick is very heavy, so don’t let it lean forward or backward, keep an upright torso and straight arms. The depth of your squat is to the point just before your flat back begins to round, so a mirror could be helpful at first. Prioritize a neutral spine, and keeping the stick overhead, then work on depth. Squatting to where your hips are parallel with the floor is a good goal.
Benefits of Overhead Squat:
The good morning. Amazing exercise, terrible name. Stand up straight with feet shoulder width apart. Hold the stick vertically across the middle of your back so it contacts three points: the back of the head, the upper back (thoracic spine), and tailbone. Hinge by bending at the waist and sending the hips back with a slight knee bend, as if you were closing a car door with your butt. Try to avoid simply dipping the torso forward and really focus on sending the glutes back. Once you have gone as far back as your hamstrings will allow, squeeze your glutes and return to standing. The purpose of the stick is to help maintain a neutral spine and to prevent rounding your back. If the stick stays on all three points through the movement, the spine is in position, if the stick comes off, the spine is out of position.
Benefits of Good Morning:
Aim to do these warm ups first thing in the morning. Doing each three movements as a circuit, aim to complete 3 rounds of 10-20 repetitions. All this should take a grand total of 5 minutes, maybe less. Take mental notes of how you feel and your ease of movements throughout the day and compare it to how you normally feel.