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Stay Limber With This Home Mobility Workout

home-workouts
(Image credit: Unknown)

Mobility work is something most of us could stand to do more of. That’s especially true if you’re currently stuck at home with a little less to do than normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, or working hunched over a laptop at the kitchen table. Both scenarios mean now is a better time than ever to work on your weaknesses by tackling this mobility session created by Starks Fitness (opens in new tab) trainer Tommy Owen.

If you enjoy it, tune in to the Starks Fitness Instagram channel (opens in new tab) at 8am each morning, because its trainers are running daily workouts to help keep you moving during the lockdown. If any of the moves below aren’t clear, watch the video tasters of each workout and you’ll find most if not all of the moves below demonstrated at some point.

Warm-Up

The warm-up lasts around ten minutes and begins with upper-body moves before focusing on the lower body. Work through the exercises without pausing to rest.

As well as doing a great job of warming you up for the workout, the exercises count as useful mobility work too.

1 Pulse raiser

Time 2min

Start with your preferred method of increasing your heart rate, whether that’s jumping jacks, high knees or just jogging on the spot.

2 Bear crawl

Time 30sec

“Start on all fours, with your knees under your hips and wrists under your shoulders,” says Owen. “Raise your knees just off the floor and hold them there throughout. Using small steps, crawl forwards and backwards moving opposite limbs together. Imagine you’re on train tracks to minimise twisting your hips.”

3 Frog squat

Time 30sec

“Start in a deep squat with your elbows pressed to the insides of your thighs and your palms together,” says Owen. “Straighten your legs until you feel tension, then lower back into a deep squat. Your hands should stay together and your elbows fixed to your thighs throughout.”

4 Bear crawl

Time 30sec

5 Frog squat

Time 30sec

6 Lying pec rotation

Time 30sec

“Start face down on the floor with one arm out to the side,” says Owen. “Rotate your torso away from the arm out to the side until you feel a stretch through your pec. Hold for two seconds, then release and stretch on the other side.”

7 Thoracic rotation

Time 30sec each side

“Start on all fours, then sit back,” says Owen. “Put your hand on the side of your head, and raise your elbow as high as possible. Lower your elbow as far down as possible towards your opposite hip. Push your other hand firmly into the floor for support.”

Downward-facing dog/upward-facing dog

Reps 5

“Start in a high plank position with straight arms,” says Owen. “Move your hips back and up. Drive your heels down and move your chest towards your feet. Pause for a second, then lower your hips towards the floor – put your knees down if this is more comfortable. Lift your chest and head up pushing your hands down firmly, and hold for a second. Reverse the moves and repeat five times.”

9 Shoulder complex

Reps 10

The final section of the upper-body block involves doing three shoulder exercises without pausing.

“Stand with your glutes braced,” says Owen. “Raise your hands to shoulder height, arms extended. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and then move them forwards. Repeat ten times forwards and back.

“Next raise your hands overhead, arms extended. Pull your shoulder blades together and down firmly and then drive your hands up high, moving your shoulders up towards your ears. Repeat ten times up and down.

“Finally, with your arms extended to the sides, perform five exaggerated circles forwards and five back.”

10 Calf raise/toe raise

Reps 20

“Standing tall, push up on to your toes and pause for a moment at the top of the range,” says Owen. “Control your weight back down till your feet are flat, then rock back on to your heels, lifting your toes as high as you can.”

11 Lunge with rotation

Reps 5 each side

Get into a forward lunge position, holding your back knee off the floor if comfortable, and place your hands on the floor either side of your front foot.

“Take the same hand as the forward foot and rotate it towards the ceiling, twisting your trunk,” says Owen. “Press your other hand firmly into the ground to stabilise.”

12 Bear squat

Time 30sec

“Start in a high plank position with your hands in front of you,” says Owen. “Move back, bending your knees, into a squat position so your glutes almost touch your heels. Your palms should stay in contact with the floor so you feel a stretch through your shoulders and lats. Move back to the high plank position.”

13 Couch stretch

Time 30sec each side

Get on your knees and back up against your sofa. Step one leg out in front of you with your knee bent at 90°. Position your other knee at the base of the couch with your shin against it so your foot is near your glutes. You should feel the stretch in your hips and rear quad.

Workout

Take a one-minute break after the warm-up before starting on the workout proper, which consists of two blocks.

Block 1

In this block you’ll be doing three rounds of four exercises, working for 45 seconds and then taking a 15-second break before moving on to the next move.

1 Persian press-up

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

“Start in a high plank position,” says Owen. “Bend at your elbows to drop down until your chin, chest and hips are all touching the floor. Push back up to a high plank, then move your hips up and back into a downward-facing dog position. Return to the high plank.”

2 Squat hold shoulder press

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

“Get into a squat position with your feet hip-width apart and your toes turned out. Hold your squat as you raise your hands to just outside your shoulders with palms facing and fists clenched. Press your arms fully overhead, keeping them just outside shoulder-width apart, then bring them back down to your shoulders.”

3 Bridge thruster

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

Sit with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hands behind you. “Your fingers should be pointing towards your heels,” says Owen. “Push through your heels and squeeze your glutes to drive your hips towards the ceiling. Brace your abs at the top of the move, then slowly lower until your glutes are a few centimetres above the floor.”

4 Travelling ape

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

“Start in a squat position,” says Owen. “Reach both hands to place one in front of one foot and one to the outside of it. Put your weight on your hands, lifting your feet off the ground and driving your hips towards the ceiling. Move your feet sideways to land to the outside of your hands and go back into a squat. Repeat for a few reps, then change direction.”

Block 2

Take a one-minute break, then go into three rounds of the following exercises, again working for 45 seconds and resting for 15 seconds.

1 Pancakes

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

“Lie on your back, with your knees tucked in to your chest,” says Owen. “Look down your body so your abs are braced. Shoot both legs out to the sides, tensing your thighs, and roll with the momentum of your legs to reach your hands forwards, feeling a stretch through the back of your legs. Maintain a tall posture in your torso. Slowly pull back and roll gently back to the start position.”

2 McGill aeroplane

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

“Stand on one foot with your arms out to the sides with thumbs up,” says Owen. “Hinge forwards at the hips and lift your other leg backwards, keeping your spine neutral and hips level. When you reach a comfortable stretch, squeeze the glutes of the standing leg and rotate at the hips. Come back to a neutral position and then back up to standing.”

Hand walkout shoulder tap

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

“From standing, bend over, keeping your legs as straight as you can and put both hands on the floor,” says Owen. “Walk your hands forwards until you reach a high plank position. Tap each shoulder with the opposite hand. Walk your hands back until they’re close to your feet and stand back up. Keep your abs braced throughout and try not to rotate your hips.”

4 Copenhagen plank

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

In simple terms, this is a side plank with your top leg elevated on a platform. “Lie on your side with your top foot placed on a chair or box,” says Owen. “Your bottom hand should be pressing firmly down on the floor. Squeeze the underside of your obliques to drive your hips up towards the ceiling. Place your other hand on your chest or reach up towards the ceiling. Hold for ten seconds, then switch sides.”

Warm-Down

1 Pigeon stretch

Time 60sec each side

“Start in a high plank position,” says Owen. “Bring one leg up and move your lower leg so it sits perpendicular to your torso. Drop your back knee down and lower your body over your front leg to feel the stretch in your hip.”

2 Forward bend

Time 90sec

“Sit on the floor with your legs together,” says Owen. “Lower your upper body forwards, stretching your hands forwards as far as you can. Tuck your chin in and hold.”

3 Straddle stretch

Time 60sec each side

“Sit on the floor with your legs as far apart as you can comfortably manage,” says Owen. “Reach your left hand overhead and lean over to the right leg – you should feel the stretch in your left side and right leg. Hold here, maintaining contact between the back of your legs and the floor throughout.”

Nick Harris-Fry
Nick Harris-Fry

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.