Our workouts are so often segmented and separated: There are stretch sessions, strength workouts, mobility routines, and cardio days. But really, these components are all part of the same system that keeps our body strong and healthy. Why don’t we combine them more often?
Strength training and mobility go particularly well together, and for good reason. Mobility, which is a joint’s ability to move through its full range of motion, is crucial for fully extending through a given exercise. Think about it: If you have tight hips or shoulders, you won’t be able to generate as much power when you’re doing something like a dead lift or shoulder press. According to Tim Landicho, CSCS, a coach for the at-home fitness platform Tonal, a shorter range of motion results in less force.
“Better range of motion [yields] better force production—that is, more strength!—during your lifts,” Landicho previously told Well+Good.
This connection is evident in a new 19-minute strength and mobility workout led by Kat Atienza, a trainer and the co-owner of Session in Brooklyn. For example, during a single-leg deadlift with a reach, Atienza instructs us to reach our hands towards the ground as a sort of guide post for how far to hinge forward (which should be parallel to the floor). Once the hand reaches to just above the foot, you’ll know you’ve hinged forward enough.
“We’re not tapping the ground, but it’s going to help be a reference for our range of motion,” Atienza says.
That allows you to engage your glute and hamstrings fully through the move as you return back to standing, which results in the maximum amount of muscle activation.
Other moves, such as alternating cossack squats and 90/90 hip extensions, will work your joints and your muscles at the same time, which means you’re doing double duty for your health. Looser hips and shoulders, stronger upper body, lower body, and core? Sounds like a classic combo in the making.