Hello everyone, nice to see you around and welcome to today’s mobility workshop! We’ll have some time to analyze your squatting technique. Our first goal will be to improve your squat performance. I’ll show you some procedures how to improve your squats within just a few minutes. We’ll analyze each other individually, I’ll observe your squat, I’ll also test your joints.. ..ankle joint, knee joint, hip joint and spine. You’ll improve your own squat for sure. First of all, all of you are wearing different shoes.. take them off for now, you won’t need them. That’s how we are getting started. We’ll exclusively focus on mobility today. It’s not about flexibility or stretching but active mobility. So, some of you might be flexible enough to do the splits but that’s not of use for your daily routine. Instead, we’re talking about the active mobility you’re effectively using for your sport. Since squats has certain demands for your muscles and joints, we’ll be taking a closer look on that. Therefore, talking while standing is easy, so let’s get into a deep squat and keep talking. Consider it a little contest! Squat now. I can already see how deep you get and how comfortable you are.. ..how your heels act and how your upper body positions. Hold that position for the next minutes. Anyone got sore leg muscles? You must’ve been working out yesterday then. -Yes! -Good, well keep going anyway! I can already observe different squat positions. Especially your feet placement differs from each other. I’ll take a closer look on all of you. At first, why are we doing a mobility workshop? Mainly it’s about.. wait, you already got problems or do you need more room? Whatever! In the end increasing mobility results in improved performance. That means, if a random person has issues taking a glass out of a cupboard because of shoulders issues.. ..that person needs to improve on his mobility first of all to perform that certain move. Basically speaking, that person needs to improve performance. If you have issues performing a deep squat because you can’t squat ‘ass to grass’.. ..it’s again about increasing mobility to improve your performance. Performance is key. It’s a means to an end. Once you do a solid deep squat ‘ass to grass’, you’ve done your part on mobility for squats. Now, stability would be your next step. That means, enhancing your muscles takes place. At first, securing that mobility is your highest priority. Let me show you how deeply connected mobility and stability are with each other: So, two of you get close to my side please. You’re smiling so much, I’ll definitely take you. And.. Nick, you as well. That’s on purpose. Get over here and perform a deep squat. Keep a distance of one meter. So, I took the two of you on purpose. For you, you are comfortable with your squat. For Nick though, he has issues connecting his heels with the ground. He lacks mobility for a deep squat. I’ll now demonstrate how your stability depends on your mobility by trying to make you lose balance. Very easy though, I’ll push you a bit and you try to keep your balance. Be safe, don’t let me push you. He stabilizes himself nicely and keeps the balance. I do the same pushes, but it’s much harder for him because he can’t connect his heels to the ground. That’s why he needs his hands to balance himself but it’s tough for him. Good, thanks. It’s only to show how hard it can be to keep stability. Thanks, you can take your places again. That means, mobility first – stability after. We’ll be taking an individual look upon you. If it’s about your ankle joint.. ..are you exhausted already?! -Yep. -Get into your deep squat again. So, we’ll be having a closer look on your joints to see what works and what doesn’t. That’s first. I just said mobility is your key to performance. Now let me ask you this. Does anyone of you go jogging? Nice, so we got some runners in here. Before you start running, would you warm up your wrist joints? You’d do it, really? -I do an overall warmup, yes. -Sounds good. Who would not do it? Ok, you wouldn’t. Sure, generally why would you warm up your wrists when you’re mainly training your legs? So, for now I want to demonstrate you that warming up your wrists can be of importance for squats. Can you come in front and lay down on your back? You said you wouldn’t warm up your wrists. Feet here and lay on your back. Stretch your legs. Relax yourself now. Well, wrists shouldn’t be of importance for squats right? Usually you’d warm up ankle, knee and hip joint because they’re directly involved in a squat. I will do a muscle functionality test right now. I want to test your hip flexor. You don’t have any issues with your hip, right? -No. -Good. I will simply test his strength now. I’ll position your leg and you keep it like this, please. His quadriceps and hip flexor keep that position for him. What I’ll do now, is to grab your leg and push it to the ground. What you’ll do, is to make use of your hip flexor and prevent my attempt. Just hold your position. Good, ready? -Yes. -I’ll try now. Ok, relax again. Worked for him, right? His power was present. As you saw, I really tried though! In the end, it’s his huge hip flexor against my gentle hands. Lay down and relax. I’ll need your foot now and tell you guys later what I did. Just lay down and relax for now, think of something else. Does that hurt? -No. -I’ll tell you soon what I am doing right now, it’s not uncomfortable. Good, bring your leg in position once again. Does your ankle joint hurt? -No. Try to keep your position. And once more. Come on, try a third time! He can’t keep the balance! Ok, relax yourself. Was it harder this time? -Definitely.. -I know. Is your foot alright? -Yes. We’ll repeat the process once again! Keep your position. And relax, easier this time? -Yes, for sure. First time, worked very well. Second time it was way worse and for the third time it worked again! So, I obviously did something with his ankle joint to reduce his performance and power. I had no chance to activate my strength at all. Even though I tried very hard I simply couldn’t withstand. So somehow his ankle joint is connected in that process. If your ankle joint isn’t mobile enough, your hip and overall performance might suffer. Your leg and hip is well again, right? -Yes. So earlier I’ve asked you, if you’d warm up your wrists before running or doing squats. Give me your thumb please. I could do the same with your jawbone, but.. nevermind! If it hurts, just yell. You alright? -Yes. And again, keep your position. And again. And once more. It’s even worse now, isn’t it? His thumb actually has a huge influence on his hip flexor. Ok, I’ll loosen your thumb now. Ready? Hold position. And loosen once again! That was totally different again. -You feel it, right? -I sure do. So, again, would you warm up and mobilize your wrists before squats? Yes, in theory you should. I’ll explain now what I did.. you can stay here if you want. -Sure. I basically compressed his ankle joint. At the moment I compress his ankle joint, his central nervous system (CNS) gets on alert that something’s wrong. A compression could always mean an injury. If I have an injury somewhere, my muscularity will always adapt and lower the power output. That means my performance gets into a ‘stand by’ mode. So that’s basically what just happened. A compression at his ankle joint resulted in an alert to your CNS to decrease performance of your whole body. Not only ankle joint and hip flexor, but also thumb and hip flexor are connected. By compressing thumb or ankle joint I decreased his hip flexor strength by a huge amount. That’s mean because if you’d have an hand, neck or any injury, there’s a risk your whole performance suffers. Again, improving mobility results in enhanced performance. If I have an injury or compression, I need to activate that joint to recover my mobility and functionality. That’s the main reason and topic for today. I’ll show you how to effectively activate your joints and make you improve your individual performance. Thanks for helping out, you may go back. Good, assessments next. First of all we’ll observe each other’s technique. For now, I need someone to perform a deep squat for us. Arms in front, do a squat and get up – simple. After that, I’ll tell you what it’s about. I need to get up first.. -No problem! The others can have a more relaxed seat now. Whatever you want. You told us to sit in a deep squat! -Yea, you held out. Need to spread my blood. -I’ll observe from above. Good, one more please. Very good. At first, I want to point out his neck position. He had a neutral neck position, is that good or bad for squats? What do people do when deadlifting? Some usually overstretch their cervical spine and keep the head very high. -Exactly, is that good or bad? If it’s bad, why is it bad? The question is, can our overall performance suffer from overstretching? For example, when doing a back squat and you keep your chin very high and overstretch.. ..does that improve or decrease my performance? Or does it not matter at all? -Decreases.. Yes, it most likely decreases. I’ll show you an example to see for yourself if it decreases or not. It’s good you’re next to me already since you’re very strong and got decent neck muscles. I’ll also try this with another one later. It’s basically a strength test, a competition! In the end, it’s both my biceps against your triceps. Your arms are stronger than mine so let’s see. First of all, do you think an extensor or a flexor is the superior of both muscles? Think of your arms or your legs. Extensor or flexor? -Extensor.. -Correct, mostly the extensor. I’d have thought different about your legs.. -The extensor is the stronger one. -Yes? -Yea it is. I mean, there can be a minus development or heavy disbalance but that is very unlikely. Because the triceps is bigger naturally? -Yes but it’s also easier for your CNS for to push than to pull. Okay we’ll do this small game now: Your triceps against my two biceps. You’ll just stand straight and fixate a certain spot on the other side. Keep your head neutral. Apply a hip wide stand. Not that wide, you don’t have that hip! -Who knows..?! Now, stretch your right arm in front of you and spread your fingers. Elbow is stretched, too. Good thing is, he has very muscular arms. Maybe I won’t achieve what I want to demonstrate.. You’re looking for excuses! -Yes, before we even started! Good, by spreading his fingers and stretching his elbow, he additionally activates his triceps. His cervical spine is neutral, chin slightly inward. Now, this is the most stable position you can have from a power perspective. I’ll grab around and try to flex your arm. You’ll try to keep your arm stretched. Ready? -Yes. Did you hear my elbow clicking? -Yes I repositioned it. Good, relax now. That was demanding and it didn’t even work. He hold his position. You alright? -Let’s see! -At the end of they day.. Now, let’s imagine a bad technique. You’re doing a back squat and overstretch your head touching your neck. Sadly, that’s common. People who are out of power tend to raise their chin and create an upward movement that way. -Yes.. Once I tell you to put your head behind touching your neck, you’ll start fixating the top. Same arm? -Yes, stretch it. Don’t tell me you’re exhausted! -No, it’s fine. Stretch arm and fingers, look in front at first. I’ll grab now. Head to your neck, now. What the hell just happened..? -It’s all right! -Amazing. -It’s like I turned you off instantly! -Exactly. My tension was gone completely. What’s the reason for that, my spine position? -That’s it, exactly! For those who are interested, it’s called the ‘arthrokinetic reflex’. So, once you put your head behind to touch your neck, you create a strain within in your cervical spine. That means your vertebra collide and your CNS gets alerted that your cervical spine isn’t fully protected. As a result, your performance heavily decreases. Sorry for interrupting.. but isn’t that the opposite to how many weightlifters actually lift weights? Since most of them get their heads behind and look to the top.. -You’re right. So if they’d get rid of that, could they increase their performance? -Yes, in theory.. ..but there are exceptions. There was a chance your stability wouldn’t care about your head position. For example, people with extreme neck muscles are more resistent to an insecure head position. It really depends upon your individual athlete. Still, I’d test that with every single one of you. Anyway, thank you. -Thank you, too! So first of all, it’s about how to ideally position your cervical spine. When athletes do an upward movement at squats or deadlift and raise their head to the top.. ..it’s actually not the head itself that determines the movement but his eyes. I got another small test for you.. but wait until I’m done talking please. Try to get your chin on your chest while you try to look at the top – simultaneously. Try it. Feels awkward, right? It doesn’t work properly because your eyes determine your movement. So when you do squats or deadlift and raise your chin and head, it’s because your eyes fixate the top. In conclusion, your eye movement makes the upward movement easier, not your head movement. These are the basics of why mobility and stabilizing our spine is of importance. Next, we’ll be doing an assessment of your individual joints to see how they behave. Patrick describes technique from a totally different point of view. He does an in depth analysis you yourself didn’t think of yet. Also, he demonstrates his knowledge directly via any athlete. I’m surprised and didn’t expect that. I told you earlier that you will be able to improve performance within minutes, let’s continue. Performance is strength and mobility. To produce strength with its full range of movement you’ll need mobility. Now, I’ll show you how to improve your mobility and range of motion within 30 seconds. I need one volunteer that’s not too mobile with his legs. So if you’re able to do the splits, you’re not eligible for this now! Rather someone with the mobility of a soccer player, that would be ideal. Who wants? All right, good. Come here and lay down on your back. We’ll do a muscle functionality test right now and check his ‘before and after’ results. Stretch your legs. I want to check your current range of motion first. Then, I’ll show you a manual method. After that, we’ll check his range of motion again and compare results. At first, I’ll try and raise his leg. You guys have a look yourself. See if you can observe a mobility improvement for him during the test. Keep your right leg relaxed. Lay down relaxed. Relax, relax, relax.. He’s blocking right now, you notice the leg position, right? A bit higher but that’s it, good. His muscles exhaust and block so that’s why he can’t move any further. Let’s check his abduction next. Make the leg rotate outwards, knee is stretched.. Now it’s blocking once again and that’s basically it. You see the leg position? Remember the angle. Good, have your legs relaxed. Now, I’ll get to your jawbone. You’ve most likely been to the orthodontist or dentist already, right? My physical therapist noticed that loosening my musculature around the jawbone improves my back performance. Sounds good, let’s see if I can improve your range of motion that way as well! Usually I’d use some massage oil, but.. let’s abandon that idea. Might be a bit rough now, though. If it hurts, just yell. Is it ok? Hurts a bit right? -Yes.. I also have an issue with grinding my teeth. Maybe I’ll solve that issue as well! -I need to survive first.. We’re almost done, as I said, a very fast improvement! We don’t want to spend 10 minutes doing this. That’s almost 20 seconds now, right? -Feels like have an hour to me.. -We’re done, that’s it! Let’s check your range of motion again. You tell me now, if he has improved. See it? It got better, right? Let’s check his abduction. Improved as well, right? Is your jawbone fine again? -Yes. That was a demonstration of instant performance. Took me 20 seconds to improve his range of motion. So what did I actually do? Might surprise you but, why it worked was because I inflicted pain onto him. You might think there is a deeper connection with his jawbone and his leg muscles, his adductor.. But the moment I inflict pain onto his jawbone, the jawbone is a very sensitive area by the way, his brain enters a fight of flight mode. He fights the pain or he flees from it, either or. If you choose to fight, your body will release testosterone, enhance your mobility and range of motion. As soon as I inflict pain onto him he either deals with it or runs away. It’s not like he had a choice this time. -Well.. -Sure, you could have in theory. Also, he focussed on the pain inflicted. What did you think of when I treated your jawbone? I thought about surviving.. -Surviving! He had no choice other than dealing with the pain inflicted. That means he was focussed and concentrated. So his pain helped him focus. It’s about focus on what you’re doing, especially when we want to improve our mobility and range of motion. If I train exercises and movements without focussing on them, I won’t improve but increase risk of an injury. So it’s about focus, and pain can make you focus, too. That doesn’t mean to train painfully.. but pain itself forces you to focus and concentrate. Good, thanks. -Does that mean we should hurt each other while warming up? -No! It was a demonstration only. I’ve always had interest in increasing mobility.. ..since I mostly did strength workouts only and I also play rugby professionally. It’s amazing what our body is capable of doing, right? One small thing can improve your whole performance! Next we’ll be dealing with your individual joints directly. We’ll use those strength bands therefor. All of you get in front and do a deep squat. What’s the most common reason why people can’t perform an ‘ass to grass’ deep squat? Shortened hip.. ankle joint.. what else? Back issues.. Ok, mostly it really is about their ankle joints. Especially the direction of your dorsal flexion, the upward movement of your foot towards your shinbone. That’s the main reason, the hip is less likely of an issue for most. Do the following. All of you have a different deep squat position, your width especially. Your feet angle differs, some have a heavy outward rotation. Many variations around. Check your hip angle now. Check the distance between your knees. Now, sit down and stretch your legs with the same knee position as you just had for your deep squat. That’s the hip angle you need to perform a squat. If you look at it now.. does it look demanding or not? -No.. -Not really right? Looks easy. So everyone that’s able to stretch his legs like this has the required hip mobility for a deep squat. The abduction of your legs is key here. Now, many people have issues flexing their knee joint properly. If I perform a deep squat, my knee joint is heavily flexed. The knee joint is flexible until an angle of 150 degree. Most people flex to 90 degree only, because they think going below is damaging and causing injury. People claiming a deep squat is harmful get to do the following.. you do it as well, please. Sit down and stretch your legs, now grab your foot and move its heel to your hip as far as possible. What happened to your knee? A flexion of around 150 degree. -Oh well, I feel the pain already. -You do? You should only flex to 90 degree then, like this. So everyone claiming a deep squat is harmful should place their knees only in this angle. This heavy flexion should not be doable for them. So, if you’re able to pull both your heels to your hip you got the knee flexibility needed for a deep squat. If you’re able to spread your legs in an angle of 75-90 degree, you also got the hip flexibility needed. If you do a deep squat and have your knees behind, you won’t be able to straighten up. Because once you get your knees behind, your upper body instantly moves in front. Only if you get your knees slightly ahead, you will be able to straighten up yourself. So it’s not really about your spine flexibility. Knees back, round back. But knees ahead, straight back. It’s about the dorsal flexion of your ankle joint. In the end, you need to learn to position your joints correctly. We need mobility exercises to do so. Because if I tell you to get your knees in front and you can’t do it.. ..how are you going to solve the issue? I’ll demonstrate you an example. Do a translative, sideways movement of your head. If you don’t understand, that’s what I mean: Head neutral and move sideways. Some only rotate their head or do another movement. Some of you can do it, some can’t. Those of you who can’t do it, you either think you’re doing it correct or don’t know which muscles to use. So if you don’t know how to move your head sideways, you don’t know which muscles to activate therefor. As an athlete though, you should be able to make use of every muscle of your body. The best way to learn new movements is via impulses. In the past and also at common group fitness, you were told to always squat with your knees behind somehow. To learn that, you’re shown the movement and get a barrier like a bench ahead of your knees. You’d also do wall squats to learn that but those squats actually heavily prevent correct movement. How do you want to squat ‘ass to grass’ in front of a wall? Your knees are automatically behind. Wall squats can be very counter-productive. So, I need an impulse. If I have one, I’ll learn the movement more easily. Those of you who could not do the previous head movement, do the following. Place your hand like this and push your head into your hand for 5 seconds. Now you feel muscles on the side working, right? Loosen again, those muscles are needed for a sideways movement of your head. Did you feel the necessary muscles? In that case yes. You have an impulse because of your hand pressure. If there is an impulse, your body instantly knows which muscles are required and needed to activate. Now we want to use these strength bands. They’ll help to align ourselves by giving an impulse to adjust our joints. You’ll do the following exercise, Dori can you come here and demonstrate? Stand within the band and look at our athletes. Do a deep squat ‘ass to grass’ now. If I want to analyze his squat, I’ll look from 3 different perspectives: in front, sidewise and from behind. I can’t really judge his ankle joints from the side, but from behind I do. Now, I’d lay down, observe his ankle joints and how they’re positioned related to his heels. And he has a very good position. That means, his ankle and his heel build a straight line. Most people tend to collapse inwards by raising the outer edge of their feet. Avoid that. His ankle joints are really good in that sense. It’s about the topic of inversion and eversion basically. If I have an athlete who collapses inwards with his feet at squats, he tends to do the same with his knees. In this case, I have to stabilize his ankle joints outwards. Therefore you can make use of the strength band.. you really do a deep squat.. Now, I positioned the strength band at his left ankle joint, even though it’s not necessary in his case. If he would collapse inwards, he’d need an outward impulse. That’s why I sit next to him and apply decent pressure. You feel the resistance, right? -Yes. And now, simply do 5 squats on your own. During his squats he needs to apply resistance. His left ankle joint works against the pressure. He feels the resistance and is forced to adjust his left ankle joint into the correct position. Do this in a group of two now. Observe the ankle and the heel, do they work properly with each other.. ..or can you observe an inward collapse? Yes? Shouldn’t shorter bands be more useful? Because they can work on their own. -I know, like loops, right? Yes, that should be better right? -Well, not really. Your athlete might have a disbalance, like his ankle joints could be differently good or bad. In that case you’d have to focus on one specific joint. Also, some athletes might have issues concentrating on both joints simultaneously. Let’s say you tell someone to pressure both knees outside, it might work but also fail. This exercise really helps to focus on an individual ankle joint. Your idea works as well, but for a specific joint treatment this variation is preferable. Alright so you do 3-4 sets and then switch to the other ankle joint? -Exactly. Basically it’s enough to pressure your ankle joints for one minute in each case. It’s purpose is to adjust your mobility. So you start with squats and observe your ankle joints. Next you’ll work with the strength band. After that you do squats again and see if you’ve improved. Maybe you don’t experience a difference, like Dori for example because his ankle joints are accurate. Now, practice in a group of two and see if you’re able to improve yourself after you’ve worked with the band. 5 reps, decent pressure with the band, compare before and after – that’s all. Good, thank you. Take one of these bands. It doesn’t matter if you take red or blue. Observe your ankle joints at first, see if your ankle collapses inwards. Don’t mind your heels at first. Anything stands out to you? -His heels do well on the bottom but have a look at his upward movement. Can you move down? I’ll observe. -It rotates slightly.. -Yes but his ankle and heel keep a straight line. Ankle and heel work together nicely. He has a very good position and doesn’t collapse inwards. Check his ankle again. Move upwards please. Once he moves down his ankle move slightly outward and at the bottom his ankle moves slightly inward. That’s natural and common. From an inversion & eversion perspective his ankle joints do very well – nice! Patrick could you come here? I think we have a special case here, his ankle joints collapse inwards. His knees adjust as well. Do one more. Let’s observe from behind. Yes, keep the bottom position please. Once he moves down you can observe the outer edge of his feet raises. Check his left ankle now. Move up again please. Move down slowly.. You see? The outer edge raises and therefor the ankle collapses inwards. Same for the right foot, move up again please. Position the band slightly lower so you directly touch the ankle joint. Now he is forced to work on it, it’s very good in his case because you can work on both joints individually. We’ll first focus on the right ankle joint. He is forced to keep the outer edge of his foot on the ground. He applies resistance against the strength band. Move down again and observe the right ankle joint. And up. Put more emphasis on the outer edge. Yes! Okay two more. Slightly increase the tension with the band now. Nice, last rep. And loosen again. It’s getting better, right? -It should definitely improve, yes. Remove the band now. Now do 2-3 squats on your own and compare to the squats you did earlier. Describe your feeling. I have more control of my foot, I don’t raise the outer edge. -More control? -Exactly. The same procedure applies to the left ankle joint as well. His left one is even worse. It can have different reasons.. a muscular disbalance because of an improved anklebone for example.. ..an injury as well. -I have flat feet. -Could be another reason, sure. Many possibilities. So much to the feet. Also, I can activate the dorsal flexion by moving the knees in front. Those are the two options to improve your issue. Now, let’s focus on the knees and the hip. Instead of putting the band around the ankle joint, we put it around the knee joint. Turn sides? -Yes. We’ll take this one, move over here please. At first we’ll look at your squat, do a deep one and we observe your knee position. Shall I pressure my knees outwards? -That’s good, do a movement that’s comfortable for you. Many people think that their hip is the issue. Usually it’s their feet though. So when your feet collapse inwards you won’t be able to keep your knees outwards anyway. Ankle joint moves inwards results in the knees usually following with an inward movement as well. There’s always a counteracting strength. If he tries to keep his knees outwards, he’ll have an easier time positioning his feet, too. Therefore he needs to activate his abductors though: gluteus maximus & gluteus medius. People collapsing inwards usually have an issue making use of their abductors. Imagine people who jump and how they land, like people who do box jumps. Exactly, their knees rotate inwards. Often their hip extensor muscles are simply too weak, that’s why they collapse inwards. This movement really hurts their feet and joints. Their issue is that the knee always needs to balance out mistakes by their feet or hip, right? -Yes Their knees often hint towards an issue with the hip or their feet. -True. I consider the knee as a stupid joint. It’s main purpose is flexion and extension plus a slight rotation. In the end it’s a very simple hinge joint. Hip and ankle joint on the other hand are very complex though. Anyway, we want to improve our hip now. Therefore we position the strength band slightly above the knee. Keep it on the pants, otherwise it might hurt a bit. Now, apply a slightly weaker pressure with the band than before since we are closer to your balance point. I pull decently, you resist. Do 3 squats. You resist the pressure and you feel your right hip has to work harder, right? -Definitely. Keep the position and stand up. If I had an athlete now that would do the movement properly but I want to challenge him somehow.. ..there’d be the possibility to train this exercise reactively. It’s purpose is still mobility. When he squats he’d need to stabilize no matter what position he is in. So in this case.. do some more squats, I’m going to be mean now. I pull the band reactively and he is forced to adjust his stability depending on my pulls. Good. This exercise again improves his mobility because he increases his adaptability. Try this out now. Only one minute. Put the band around your knee. Check before and after. Observe your knee position, if someone tends to rotate inwards he’ll most likely see a difference. People who have their knees outwards already, like you, you won’t see a big difference. Try it out! Very interesting, very informative. Amazing, simple exercises and movements can result in huge results. He shares a new and different view on many things. Especially the discussion about head & chin movement during squats and deadlift was insightful to me. For me, I usually train with weightlifter shoes. Since we had to take them off today.. ..I realized a lack of mobility within my feet. A very cool and open-minded group of people. A huge gap between squat performance in terms of technique. Everyone is willing to learn and improve individually. I’m sure everyone will benefit from my hints today, even though we have very advanced athletes as well! For example, some squat 2 times their bodyweight for sure. That’s huge. Still, everyone can improve. We are done with the bands for now. I think you understood the basics, they can be applied to every joint. Next you’ll try yourself to get your joints into proper position. The so called ‘drills’ are coming up. For mobility drills we’ll work on most joints: ankle joint, knee joint, hip joint and spine as well. We’ll start from a deep squat position. Therefore, get to your beloved position once again. Our knees rotate outwards right now, for most of you that’s no problem. As we know now, it’s mostly the feet. Concerning your hip, it does an outward rotation as well as an inward rotation. Stretch your arms in front and let one knee rotate inwards, and back. It stresses you already, right? And the other side, do it in turns now. Start out easy. It’s important to stay on your inner edge of your feet during this exercise, don’t raise your heels. The whole inner edge stays connected to the ground? -Yes, please. Only go as deep as you can. Try to increase your range of motion slowly with this exercise now. Your goal would be to touch the ground with your knee. That’s how you test your limits! Without holding with my hands.. no way. -Do what’s possible, no worries! Very good. -Feet stay on the ground right? -Yes! -Well… Why do I get down with one knee but not with the other? -Your inward mobility is bigger on one side. This doesn’t work.. -Then you have a limitation there. Who had no issues? Good. Yes, you use your hands. Since some of you had an easy time, this would be next: one leg inwards, sit down and knee outwards. Could you repeat it? -Sure. Knee up, hold this position. Again: this knee rotates inwards, sit down and the other knee rotates outwards. And up again. I get down on one side, and get up again. -Well how do I get up? -You really look relaxed! Awesome. So, inward and outward rotation. Let’s keep it simple, only apply the final position. That means: sit down, angle the leg in front first, then the other leg. So, this foot touches your thigh, while the heel behind touches your buttocks. When you lay down to this side it should be easy, right? Most of you will feel a blockade in this area, that has to do with our inward rotation. Now, face the open side and stretch a bit. The blockade will loosen up slowly. Get down on your elbows now. You should feel a slight stretch right now. Get down with both arms now. If possible, lay down your whole upper boddy. Get up again, be very slow and don’t rush it. Turn to the blocked side now and try to touch your ankle joint. -Both hands? -Yes, if possible. Either touch your knee, shinbone, ankle joint or get even further. Try to rotate. -With upper body? -Sure. Rotate from one side… Just keep your position, that works as well! Rotate from one side to the other. You’ll realize, you slowly improve. With time, the pain becomes less. Keep a straight upper body, that’s important. Just do a small movement then, that’s okay, too. And stop. We got another side, let’s try a transition now, swap sides basically. Make your leg behind move forward and your leg in front move backward. Swap sides. Well some of you look really stressed doing this.. but whatever! Now, we got the open side over here. -Both feet stay on the ground? -They should, yes. When sitting down, on this side you have a contortion in here otherwise, could be difficult. If your buttocks may raise a bit, no worries. You should be very relaxed though. Inner meniscus is free of pain at all times. Once again, turn to the open side. Position both your forearms on the ground and try to lay down with your upper body. Feel the stretch now, feel your hip open up. It’s rather my back that stretches.. -At the side? -Yes! -Means that your spinal erector is blocked. Happens when you do squats and deadlift only. It would be worse if someone of you wouldn’t feel anything! Ok, get up again. Now, rotate to the other side and touch your shinbone. Rest for a moment and rotate back. You basically swap from the closed to the open side. Keep your upper body straight. Additionally, we have a slight rotation of our thoracic spine. Good, look in front again. Now, swap your legs only. That means, your leg in front moves back and your leg behind moves in front. As good as possible and don’t make use of your arms. Your legs move on their own. Only if possible, do it again. Swap. That’s the difference between flexibility and mobility. We do an active movement. Stick to one side now. Let’s activate our hip with an upward movement. Stand on your knees and raise your buttocks. That’s easy, it’s basically about activating your gluteus maximus. Get down slowly again. And sit down, don’t fall down. Swap your legs, activate your buttocks and move up. Very good, do some repetitions now. Works? -Yes. Excellent. Both sides one more time. You feel it the most in your hip, right? -Yes. Sit down again in this position. Now I definitely know what mobility is about. I got to know my limits today, for sure. I guess everyone in here now feels what being mobile is about. Also, my mobility has already improved heavily. It seems very demanding to train mobility on your own.. ..and I’d probably not do it if I didn’t know its usefulness. Also, random people in the gym might disapprove what you’re doing. I think, especially as an athlete with bigger musculature you should pay even more attention to mobility. The good thing is, you don’t have to do it daily for 20-30 minutes. You add those exercises and drills to your 5-10 minute warm-up and that’s it. After that, you can focus on your main workout again. Don’t stress yourself too much. It’s just a few exercises and doesn’t consume much time. Do you have like your ‘3 favourite warm-up exercises’ for mobility? -Yes, we’ll get there shortly. What we’ve done so far is an important part already. Sadly, it won’t be easy! Good, we add additional content again. It’s a buildup basically. Get your leg behind in front and take this position, it’s a relaxed seat. Your ankle joints? -Everything, I’m getting more flexible overall. -Good, you’ll get flexible with time. From that position, move your arms in front and raise your buttocks in front above your heel. So most of you have issues with that movement. -Doesn’t work. -I’m glad I’m not the only one! Do the following since you’re not the only ones having issues with that. Get in a group of two and try that movement with your partner. It’ll look like this, get into position please. Sit down, legs are opened. Now one helps the other. That means you hold me now. I don’t hold you. You move up. Then you move down on your own again. From that position, I’ll reflect you in this case, you swap your legs. Good, hold me again and pull up yourself. Pull, pull, pull. Why don’t I pull him up? He pulls up himself because he decides on his own how much help he needs. If I’d pull him up, I’d decide for him. But in practice he needs to decide for himself. In a group of two, he grabs my hands and I slighlty lay backwards. He pulls on his own. He moves down on his own, eccentric movement. Get down. Try not to drop. Swap your legs. Grab my arms and move up your leg. And pull up, pull, pull, pull. Good. Do it with your partner. Takes only one minute. This side is way harder.. -That’s because of your hip flexor. Pull up, come on. Good. Again. -When moving up the foot stays on the ground, right? -It should, yes. Good, activate your buttocks. You see? Your hip flexor is stressed. In relation to your gluteus maximus your hip flexor is too tight. That’s why you can’t develop enough power with your buttocks. Exert your buttocks now. Exert.. Good. Your performance suffers from that issue. That small disbalance is enough to lower your performance. One more and you’re done. Good, loosen again. Could you suggest anything? I do a lot of power lifting & sumo squats. Do and repeat today’s exercises. Over and over again, inward and outward rotation. Add those exercises to your workout and you’ll improve your mobility soon enough. All right, everyone done? Yes both sides, just try in turns. Finish this exercise so we can head to our next. Pull up yourself as much as you need. If you don’t get up, pull up more. My flexibility has improved. -Has it? Good. -My outward knee rotation is easier now. 2-3 minutes of drills increases your flexibility already. My hip flexor isn’t as stressed anymore, too. -Yes, you usually adapt very fast, within minutes really. Let’s keep going. Get into that position, you’ll work on your own now again. Even if you’re alone, use your hands to help out yourself or make use of strength bands. Find a way. Now, from that position try to stand up with your knee. Come on guys, focus. Take that position, then simply move up. Your buttocks is tight. -Didn’t we just do that? -No. Earlier we stood on both knees. Now we only stand on one knee and have a higher position. Get down, open up, close. And up. Can you show again? -Yes, open up, spread your legs. Pull the leg towards you. And stand up. Good, and sit down again. If you have issues getting up, do more of a stomping movement with your foot. You gain momentum this way and have an easier movement overall. Sit down again. Both sides one more time. I guess your usual squat are easier! I could imagine that! Loosen again, nice. Stretch your legs and relax. We combine some movements now. I’ll show you a combination of some drills we just practiced. During that you’ll rotate yourselves for around 180 degree. Let me demonstrate. It’s like the following: one knee down, the other more upright, sit down, swap legs. Now move your leg behind in front, push ahead and rotate. Other side. Knee down, the other more upright, sit down, swap legs. Now move your foot in front and get into the starting position again. Let me describe you once more. I’ll show again. -Sorry, can we number individual movements? -Yes, sure. You’ve already done all necessary movements before. We’re simply combining now. That’s our starting position. 1-knee down, 2-knee down and up, 3-sit down.. .. 4-swap legs, 5-foot in front, we got an open area here now, 6-move up and rotate. That’s it. Now we simply start with the other knee. We just started with the right one, so use the left one now. Left knee down, right knee down and upward movement, sit down, swap legs, leg behind moves in front.. ..buttocks towards your heel, position yourself and move up. You might do it with a partner, no need to be desperate. You could also help out yourself with a bar. If you succeeded with earlier exercises today, you’ll most likely succeed now as well. Our previous exercises were: knee rotation inwards and our very last exercise we just did. These are all elements from a deep squat. If I’m able to get my knees in front for a deep squat, I’ll most likely be able to do those exercises.. .. because your hip joint is opened and you’ve got a dorsal flexion with your feet. I could also perform the ‘pistol position’ right now, that’s no difference at all. It’s the exact same position we just trained. Your hip is exhausted already, right? Good, sit down and relax your legs for a bit. Your ankle joint.. you can all take this seat position. Buttocks on your heel. Yes I sit on my lower leg.. That’s good how you do it, simply help out yourself with your hands. Focus on your left knee now. We want to train the dorsal flexion now, so move the knee in front. Grab your knee, move it in front and let it rotate. Can I raise my heel? -No. Your heel is connected to the ground at all times. There can be different reasons why you can’t move your knee forward. In this exact position.. it’s either your tibialis anterior not working properly or.. .. it might also be your soleus, your calf muscle, pulling too heavy. So it’s either one muscle having a subfunction, tibialis anterior in this case, or.. it’s your soleus that’s not working properly. Now, try to work with some pressure. Your heel stays connected to the bottom still. Might be stupid comment but I just can’t sit down on my whole feet. Does your ankle joint hurt, or your knee? -My ankle joint. Then it’s most likely because of your lacking flexibility of your plantar flexion. That causes issues. -Ok. Let’s pick up that issue and do some exercises while standing. That also relaxes your hip. So everyone stand up. To be honest, in and outward rotation exercises can be very demanding. Let’s make a step backwards and focus on our feet. Take a shoulder-wide stand and do a so called ‘lateral tilt’. That means we focus on putting our ankle outwards. Exactly that direction. Stand again, and move towards the other side. Ankle rotates outwards. Simply swap sides again. Many people have an issue collapsing inwards. Therefore, we make our ankle joints rotate outwards to improve on that certain movement. So if you tend to collapse inwards, do this exact movement. Well, talking about my clients.. Most of them use their hip joint only as a hinge joint. Meaning that they don’t use the in and outward rotation of the hip. They have huge mobility issues. So my conclusion would be, that mobility training is even more important for people who lack movement. Their lack of mobility often results in back pain, too. -Definitely, yes. You need to consider your client’s mobility level at first, though. The feet exercise right now really is a basic mobility exercise. Don’t make the mistake and think by performing these exercises your make your joints and bands wear off. We are not stretching. We use our whole weight upon our feet. If I put both my feet on the outer edge.. let me demonstrate you a jump with that position. As I said, it’s not only about mobility but also about strength. So, that means my bands are not only stretched, but also very strong. I’ll only achieve that by continuous work on my mobility. Good, now you! Just kidding, don’t do it. That was important, now let’s do a small exercise for our ankle joint. Take your foot behind, take a neutral position and now pull towards the ground with your toes. So your knee moves in front and you feel the stretch in your ankle joint. You shouldn’t feel your shinbone. You basically stretch your toes, like snapping your fingers. You feel it? -I feel my shinbone though. -Position your foot more in front then. Even further. Better? -Well.. -Then go even further. Now make your knee rotate inwards, so your small toes do more work now. Good, pull. Outwards rotation now and pull your big toe. You remember the thumb thing earlier? It’s basically the same. We loosen up our toes. We warm up our feet before we squat. Good, loosen up. Other foot now. Pull. Rotate inwards with your knee. Good, rotate outwards next. Well done. Everyone do a deep squat again. Focus on your ankle joint now, we switch from dorsal flexion to plantar flexion. From that position, drop your knees in front. Should be easy. Position your feet flat on the ground. Move up your feet. Raise your knees. -Like this? -Stand on your feet. Our sole of foot and our shinbone musculature is pressured. Sit down now. That’s a deep squat, you may also widen your knees if it’s more relaxing for you. Raise yourself, drop your knees, flat feet and sit down. Line up feet, raise knees, sit down. In the end, we are only switching between 2 positions. This way, we train the flexibility of our ankle joints to perform a proper deep squat. Sit down relaxed again. You feel your shinbones? -Yes.. You feel them because your shins didn’t work properly in the past. That’s why you feel them right now, they’re rebelling against you basically. Your don’t really feel your soleous probably but your tibialis anterior isn’t active enough. Is that the reason why I have issues with my shin musculature while running? -It’s most likely your feet. Most likely a combination of issues, it depends. Your ankle joints might not be flexible enough which results in pain in your shins. The most common reason for why your shins hurt while running, is lacking flexibility in your ankle joints. So, increase the flexibility of your ankle joints and get rid of your issue. So what about bodyweight when running, is that an issue for heavier people? Since for me, I also got issues and muscle soreness in my shins after running. You have more pressure on your shins but that doesn’t have to be related to your bodyweight. You always need to be able to have control over your body. Compare: If I start squat 2-3 times my bodyweight, I’ll need to adapt at first. Same for you and running. Anyway, you can’t generalize that heavier people shouldn’t go running. They can. -Ok. -Good. So, we had one muscle in a subfunction while the other muscle may have a hyperfunction. Can you demonstrate a deep squat one more time? Do you still feel your hip flexor being stressed? -No, it’s less now. I get deeper and am more relaxed. But you still feel your hip flexor slightly? -Yes, left side. -I see, all right. Lay down, feet in my direction. Lay down on your back. Just a quick thing, if you feel a compression.. Many people feel a stressed hip flexor in this position. Those athletes tend to lean their upper body forward during squats. It usually looks like this. That would be their squat technique. You probably saw that already. They get in position like a skier. They won’t get lower but their upper body is heavily bent forward. But you should keep the straight upper body. It’s because their hip flexor pulls the upper body in front. That’s the case for you, even though you are good at squats anyway. Your hip flexor has a hyperfunction while your buttocks doesn’t work good enough. That’s why he leans forward. His hip flexor pulls too much. You should loosen your hip flexor and activate your gluteal muscle. So, since your hip flexor is very stressed, I’ll try to loosen it up now. What I’ll do now can be done with trigger or lacrosse balls as well since you will be on your own often. Focus on the muscle you want to loosen up. In your case it’s your hip flexor. You don’t really need to know which muscle has an issue, but you need to find the spot that hurts. I’ll find the problematic spot and try to work on it. I’ll try to get between the muscles. I know, looks a bit awkward but whatever. For him it’s very demanding right now though, I’m aware of that. I go between muscles and try to get deeper. His hip flexor even affects his lower rib. I already feel his problem, that exact muscle has a hyperfunction and reveals it to me. Again, you don’t have to spend 10 mins every day with backrolls or exercises on that issue. 2-3 minutes are enough and you are good to go. You also had an issue with your inner leg, where was it? -Left side. -Left, ok. Done with the top. Does that hurt? -No. Nothing. -Let’s see here. There we go! He has an blockade here as well, he can’t rotate his left leg outwards good enough. So if he can’t get his leg outwards, you need to rethink the other direction. Abductors let your leg rotate outwards, on the opposite your adductor. His issue is that the adductor pulls his leg too much inwards. Therefore: loosen up your adductor and activate your abductor. What I do right now is simply opening his stressed adductor. If you can’t do that, focus on activating muscles. That means, train gluteus medius and gluteus maximus to prevent inward knee rotation. You’re almost done, no more pain soon. Excellent, relax your muscles. Do a slow deep squat again. See if you’re more comfortable now.. Well, I feel my right side now since my left side is so relaxed. -Left is good and right is improvable? Good. So it’s about activating both sides obviously. Now, how do I activate my gluteus maximus without stressing my ischiocrural muscles too much? Because you might have an issue with activating those two muscle groups. Let me show you something. Lay down with your face to the ground. Do the following. Left knee is stretched, now simply raise the left leg. And lower again. So the leg raises through which joint? The hip. That means.. lower your leg again. That means if he raises the leg through the hip, which muscle should works first? Reverse side of his thighs or gluteal muscle? -His buttocks. -It should be his gluteus, yes. His gluteal muscle should activate at first. The muscle closest to the joint should be the first to activate. Now, let’s test this. Stay relaxed. I’ll put one fist on his gluteus and one on his thighs. Raise the leg again. And loosen up. Relax, relax. And raise again. And relax. His issue is, that he activates the reverse side of his thighs at first when it should be his gluteus. In his case, his femoral head is pressured by his thigh at first. That means his gluteal muscle hasn’t got enough strength. He should work on that exclusively. We could do the same with the other leg to see what’s up. Try it yourselves now. Just be sensitive with your fists. Don’t go for a brawl! Try to feel what’s up. You put one fist on the gluteal muscle and one on the thigh. The athlete then raises his leg. Be intuitive about it. Don’t focus too much on activating exact muscles. Normally raise the leg. You’ll notice with your fists if it’s his gluteal muscle or his thigh who activates first. If he bends his leg, his leg flexor should activate at first, right? -Yes, but.. You’re right. In this case he works through his hip so his gluteal muscle needs to work at first. The hip joint needs to be centered at first, that’s a gluteus maximus task. You exemplify that by the pressure on your fists? -By the contraction of his muscles. When I put my fists on here I feel.. -What contracts at first, yes. -Exactly. You simply observe with your fists what contracts at first – thigh or gluteal muscle? Everyone can test that, doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or not. Try it out. Get in a group of two and check the raising leg with your fists. Concerning squats, what happens if his buttocks are too weak, his upper body leans forward? If your reverse thighs work too much it pressures its bone into the femoral head. That’s an issue and reduces performance of your gluteus maximus heavily. If you want to squat properly, you need to activate and work with your hip at first. You might get injured as well but at the very least you’re facing a decrease in performance for sure. In the end it’s about performance and you can increase it this way. Try it yourselves. Sure you can swap, just try yourselves. You’re done already? Get in a group of two. I’ll observe you. Be very easy with your fists, don’t pressure your partner. Apply a loose pressure. You feel something? -For me his thigh moves up at first. Well, now it’s the opposite I’d say. He focusses on it now. The more he focusses the more he’ll influence the movement. That’s positive though because he himself learns to control what moves at first. He moved the thigh at first, now he does good. -All right. Swap now. Doesn’t matter which leg you use at first. Do an intuitive movement. If you focus on it, you’ll make sure your buttocks activate at first with ease. Your thigh moves at first? Many people have that. -I noticed myself, yes. -Oh you do? All right. Yes I felt my thigh moving up at first, is it good or bad now? -It’s bad. Basically it means that if you’re able to improve activating your gluteus muscle, you’ll improve on squats. That sounds good. -That’s the main thing about it. Mobility is always about muscular effort. If I can’t move properly or my muscles don’t activate good enough, I’ll have a weaker performance. As an athlete though I always want to make sure my muscles activate accordingly. In our case that means, gluteus first, reverse thigh next. Everyone done? -Yes! Now, why the combination of gluteus and reverse thigh? Why’s that important? Think of a back squat. Is it hip or knee joint that do the main movement? Hip joint obviously! The back squat is a hip-dominant exercise, while the front squat is a knee-dominant exercise. In the end it’s about generating strength via my hip, therefore my gluteus needs to work before my thigh. If I want to improve on that now, meaning activating my gluteus for squats.. ..I need to work within the lower area of my range of motion. That means that my gluteus muscles start working propely at 90 degree onwards. Focus on the lower area. So let’s say you want to improve on your gluteus, you could add partial repetitions in the lower area. Think of partial squats below 90 degree, that’ll activate your gluteus. Up until 70 degree it’s mainly your reverse thigh that’s activated. See what I mean? Let me show you from the side. If I do a squat.. up until 70 degree, like this, it’s my reverse thigh working. From 90 degree up until the deep squat it’s my gluteus working. From the deep squat up until 90 degree it’s my gluteus working again. From 70 degree onwards it’s an increased activity within my reverse thigh again. This way you can determine if you got to activate reverse thigh or gluteus. Bodybuilders who aim for a bigger gluteus name that ‘partial squats within the lower third’. They do it. You’re right! So everyone knows what’s up for tomorrow, partial squats within the lower third! That’ll help increase your buttocks! Good, let me find closing words. I hope you enjoyed it, I’m very glad all of you participated. Thanks for your time and see you soon! Thanks for coming. Very well done, thank you! -Thanks. Deep squats tomorrow! I definitely enjoyed it. I learned a lot, especially about my ankle joints which are an issue. I couldn’t do a deep squat because of them. I know now that I need to work on my ankle joints. Amazing, you learn a lot of new stuff. I noticed that improving on small things is of importance. That really helps your squat performance. In the end we only covered a small area, mobility itself is a huge topic. We did some small but effective exercises that are doable for everyone. Mobility is a big topic where you need to adapt individually.