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Volume 6: Minimalist Mobility Training

Updated: Apr 8

Minimalist Conditioning


Volume 6:

Minimalist Mobility Training






© Copyright 2023 by Minimalist Conditioning. All Rights Reserved Any unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Please obtain a physician’s approval before engaging in any exercise program. Please get checked out from a doctor, and be safe. Exercise common sense more than anything.









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Minimalist Conditioning

Volume 6:

Minimalist Mobility Training


“Sometimes carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.”—Albert Camus

Equipment needed:

Mat

Water bottle

Notebook

An iron will to succeed


Recently, I had the experience of moving. It ended up being a seven-week long blitz from the moment we got a letter from the landlord that she was selling the house to being moved into our new house that we were able to be in a position to buy. I am super grateful for how it all worked out.

Moving is one of the more stressful experiences in life. I think it taps into that natural primal instinct of seeking shelter, and moving is seen as a threat to that.

As life likes to do for me, times of stress expose both areas of strength as well as areas that I need to improve on.

In this case, my body showed me how far I have come as far as physical strength and endurance. Moving boxes and furniture for days on end during every spare moment in addition to working a full-time job can be physically taxing. My body was able to step up and get it done.

The weak area that was exposed was my back. As I was going through the process, my back was usually tight. It wasn’t an injury, but it was a different kind of discomfort. The muscles that ran along my spine were in knots. They were in a constant state of contraction.

Keep in mind during this whole process, I was keeping to my morning training routine regularly. A huge part of that routine is flexibility training.

I have been following a regular static stretching routine for a long time. Being on my feet constantly in my other career, I have always been prone to lower back and ankle pain. To offset that, I have always practiced daily stretching. Out-of-shape or in-shape, I have always made it a point to stretch, while giving special attention to my hamstrings and lower back.

As I got in better condition, I started timing my stretches to do a minimum of 90 seconds in each position.

Given all of this focused effort on a traditionally challenging area for me, why did my back and body still feel like it was in knots?

I had to be missing something because I shouldn’t be in constant pain from the daily physical activity of life with all that I do on a regular basis to improve my physical condition.

I began to question the merit of static stretching. Is it really that effective? Is there a better way to get flexible, but to make that flexibility more functional to daily life? To me, what is the point of being strong, having endurance, and holding stretching positions for long periods of time, if when the chips are actually down, and I need functional fitness that my body decides to be in pain?

I decided to try an “experiment”. I stopped practicing static stretching for a time, and put the effort into more mobility and active stretching exercises. I would focus on stretching during movements. I used some traditional yoga poses and developed a routine very similar to what I saw in Tai Chi.

I will be very clear: I know next to nothing about Tai Chi. What I do know is that it is a fluid movement routine. When I was younger, I would see a group of seniors practicing it every day. Some of these folks were easily in their 90’s, and they were “going with the flow.” I have always had that in my mind that there is something really special about that.

Back to my experiment; I developed a movement routine of a dozen or so exercises that flowed one into the other that wouldn’t be too physically taxing that I could practice every day when I woke up that wouldn’t “over-train” me with all the resistance and endurance training that I do regularly.

The routine looked something like this:

Standing cat stretch

Standing twists

Arms overhead stretching side to side

Good-mornings, leaning forward and backwards

Hands on the hips, rotating “around the world” in both directions

Arm, neck, shoulder and leg circles in both directions

Standing kicks with both legs

Spider lunges with overhead reaches

Hindu push-ups

Cossack squats

Goblet squats

Downward dog into cobra stretch

Child’s pose

Floor bridges

Floor L-holds

I did all these exercises when I wake up in the morning while my coffee was brewing. I perform the movements for a minimum of ten repetitions. Any of the movements that have a holding position, I hold them for a minimum of 5 deep breaths.

I have kept doing this routine every morning. I have seen tremendous improvements in my mobility and a reduction in my back pain.

For me, fitness has to be functional. I need to be able to crush anything physically and mentally that comes my way. Physical training is one of my tools to put myself in a position to succeed.

As I discovered, mobility training is a huge piece of that puzzle. I need to be able to MOVE about through life without abnormal levels of pain and discomfort. What’s the point of being able to swim for an hour straight, or do one-arm pushups if moving a couch will put my body in knots for days?

The end game for me, is being able to go about my daily activities of life into my 90’s. The way I see it is that as long as I keep moving, I will be able to accomplish that.

I don’t know what the future holds, but today, I choose to make haste while the sun in still shining. The more I improve my strength, endurance, and mobility while my body feels good, the better position I will be in later down the road as the decades go by.

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