This article was originally written for STACK.
Mobility work is a key component of any well-rounded workout routine. Good mobility can prevent injuries, increase longevity and improve lifting mechanics. Unfortunately, mobility is severely overlooked by most of the population.
When it comes to the gym, most people want to get in and get out. They walk in, full of motivation (and caffeine) and immediately begin to knock out reps of their first exercise. They load up the bar before doing a single mobility drill. They don't have the time to spend 20 minutes flopping around on a foam roller and touching their toes, and I don't blame them.
Mobility drills don't have to be a half-hour precursor to every workout. That's overkill. Instead, find a few key movements that effectively warm up and open up trouble areas.
Here's an awesome catch-all mobility complex that combines 3 stretches—Inchworm, The World's Greatest Stretch, and Deep Squat to Hamstring Stretch—into one fluid movement.
This super effective combo unlocks the hips, hamstrings, and thoracic spine while also warming up the glutes and quads. It's the perfect start to your lower body day, and drastically improves positioning on the Squat and Deadlift. This mobility drill is also great after a long day of sitting behind a desk, driving in a car or traveling on a plane.
Here's how to do it:
With legs straight, bend over to touch your toes, and walk your hands out in front of you as far as possible.
Bring one foot forward to the outside of your hand, and drop the opposite knee to the floor.
Lift your hand off of the ground and rotate inward, then outward, until your hand is pointing to the ceiling.
Bring your hand back to the inside of your front foot, and rock backward to stretch the hamstring.
Bring the other foot forward, grab your toes, and sit into a deep squat.
Straighten out the legs, hold, then repeat Step 1.
Find a stretch of open floor and shoot for 10 reps on each leg.