Fit Body Secrets: Hip/Knee Mobility
First ankles, now hips: Master trainer Josh Stolz shows you how focusing on forgotten areas unlocks a fitter physique.
The fittest bodies pay attention to detail. Their routines don’t eschew necessary work with a myopic fixation on their next quantifiable goal. So if you’re setting out to train smarter in 2015, you must make room for mobility work. In fact, for holistic, total-body fitness, mobility is just as important as all of the other facets of your regimen, says New York City-based master trainer Josh Stolz.
Last week, we began our mobility work at a critical part of the chain: the ankles. Due to the sheer number of bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments in your feet and ankles, it stands to reason that any immobility there will throw your body off-balance.
In the second installment of our series, Stolz shifts his focus a bit higher, but again, the body's connectivity is at work. "Think about the synergy between the hip, knee and ankle," he says. "The knee is stuck in the middle of these super-mobile joints, so if either the ankle or the hip is not moving correctly, it has a direct impact on the knee. Many fitness professionals call the knee a 'dumb' joint because it's stuck in the middle with no place to go."
And as critical as mobility is to effective movements—and thus results—it's equally necessary for injury prevention. Ankle and hip mobility play a particularly important role in knee issues. "Think about all of the injuries you hear of and what percentage of those involve the knee," says Stolz. "You have runner's knee, patella tendonitis, chondromalacia, just to name a few. The knee always takes the brunt for the hip and ankle. Joints and connective tissue can affect each other and cause pain without being the actual problem."
While doing this kind of work daily would be best, Stolz advocates all exercisers, and especially those who have increased their training frequency, set aside at least one day dedicated to (active) regeneration. And the key word is active: "Regeneration and recovery doesn't mean just lying around," says Stolz. "Doing these movements will increase circulation, blood flow, and improve recovery. You may even sweat a little and increase your heart rate. But overall, in the grand scheme, doing a little bit of this work every day will help to minimize tissue dysfunction."
Click on the slideshow for gif demonstrations of Stolz's hip and knee mobility exercises.
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Photographed by Mike Rosenthal; Gromming by Marina Gravini; Art Direction + Styled by Ashley Martin