Prep for the Reps: 8 Mobility & Muscle Activation Exercises

Woman mobilizes adductor muscles

When it comes to training, the movements performed before and after a workout are just as important as the workout itself. Foam-rolling is a popular go-to that can be great for your range of motion. But having a more versatile, thorough pre- and post-workout routine of mobility and muscle activation exercises will prime your body to perform your core movements with efficiency.

This will help to ensure that we optimize each movement, making the most of your training and reducing the likelihood of injury. Mobility exercises can be done before and after a workout, while activation exercises should be performed before each workout.

Women sits in 90/90 position1. 90/90 – hip mobility
Before and after

While sitting on the floor with your hands behind you, have both knees touching the ground, each at a 90 degree angle. While keeping both glutes and feet in contact with the floor, bring your knees up towards the sky and over, so they are touching the ground again but on the opposite side. Take your time and repeat this 8-10 times. Try to get the knees to touch the ground each time.




2. 90/90 Progression – glute and adductor activationWoman activates glutes in 90/90 position

Starting again in the 90/90 position, press your knees into the ground to raise your hips up. Try to achieve this without using momentum, and instead by using your glutes and the muscles on the inside of your thighs. Squeeze your glutes at the top of this movement. 




Woman mobilizes adductor muscles3. Adductor Sit Backs adductor mobility
Before and after

Go into a table-top position on the ground, with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Extend one leg out to the side so that your leg is straight and your foot is flat on the ground. Send your hips back so that you touch the heel of your bent leg to your bum. Return back to the starting position. Be sure to brace your core to avoid any movement of the low back and pelvis. You should feel this on the inside of the extended leg. Repeat this 8-10 times on each side.



Woman does camel portion of cat-camel exerciseWoman does cat portion of cat-camel exercise4. Cat/Camel – spinal mobility
Before and after

Tuck your tailbone underneath your hips and allow your spine to move up towards the sky. Focus on rounding through your low back. Slowly bring your belly button down towards the ground, bringing your shoulder blades together and look forward, making a “U” shape with the spine. Repeat this cycle 6-8 times. Take your time and try to go a little bit deeper with each rep.



Woman mobilizes upper backWoman mobilizes upper back5. T-Spine Rotation – spinal mobility
Before and after

While on your hands and knees, bring one hand to your ear, leading the elbow of the same side towards your opposite wrist. Bring the elbow back up towards the sky, trying to rotate through the upper back. Make sure you don’t collapse your core or round your low back at the bottom part of this movement. Repeat this 8-10 times on each side. 



Woman mobilizes ankle joint6. Banded Dorsiflexion ankle mobility
Before and after

Start by putting a small band around the front ankle. Use the back foot to step on the band to anchor it. Take a small step forward with the front foot so that the band is pulling on the ankle. You’ll be in a slight lunge stance. Bend your front knee over your toes as far as you can go, and straighten back out again. Do this 8-10 times on each side. Try to go a little bit deeper with each rep. 




Woman mobilizes chest and upper back while on the floor7. Chest Openers – chest and t-spine mobility
Before and after

Lay on your back with one foot flat on the floor, knee bent at 90 degrees. Turn your body so that your bent knee touches the ground. Stack your shoulders, with arms straight in front and hands on top of each other. While keeping your knee on the ground, make a semi-circle with the top hand up overhead until it reaches the other side of you. Making sure to follow your gaze with the hand as it moves. Return to the starting position. Repeat this 6-8 times per side. You’ll feel a stretch in your chest. Try to maintain contact between your hand and the ground at all phases. 



Woman walks laterally with resistance band8. Banded Monster Walk – glute activation

With a small band around your knees, lower your hips into a squat position. Take a step to the side, keeping your feet parallel with toes pointed forward. Ensuring your knees do not collapse inward. Take 5 steps one way and then 5 steps back, repeating 3-5 times. You should feel this in the side of your glute. 



Getting to Work.

Developing a solid pre- and post-workout routine can be imperative in ensuring that you’re getting the most out of your workouts. These 8 mobility and activation exercises can be a great place to start come a little early for your next class and try some of them out! 

Be mindful about your movements. If you feel as though you’re not getting as much out of your training as you’d like, then come by the Front Desk or visit us online to book a chiropractic assessment with Dr. Julia. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for all the latest clinic updates


By Dr. Julia Marshall