The One Mobility Exercise You Should be Adding to Your Warm Up

The Exercise:

Elbow to Instep with Thoracic (T) Spine Rotation


This is one of my favorite movements to include in any active dynamic warmup. This may be performed in place or as part of a walking series.


There are a few variations to this, but this is the basic movement broken down into two parts:


1. Elbow to Instep (Pictured Left)


-Take a big step out and sink down into a deep lunge position. -Keep the back leg extended through the hip and knee, you should feel a nice stretch through the hip flexor.

-If you step out with the left leg, the left elbow will come down until it touches the instep of the forward (left) foot - hence the name, "Elbow to Instep." -The front foot should remain flat on the ground- don’t let that heel raise up. If it does, that could be an indicator that you have limited ankle mobility in dorsiflexion.**

-Allow the knee to come forward over the tie to stretch out the Achilles tendon. -Keep the hips square.


**This is especially an important movement for endurance and tactical athletes. Endurance athletes (especially runners, cyclists, and triathletes) are going to be prone to calf tightness through the volume of your sport(s). Tactical athletes are at risk because tactical boots keep the ankle splinted in place. While the boots increase ankle stability for working conditions, they limit range of motion (ROM) in the ankle, and if not trained on a regular basis, it can limit long-term mobility which often leads to movement dysfunction, compensation patterns, and eventual injury.**


2. Thoracic (T) Spine Rotation (Pictured Right) -Make sure you body is in proper alignment, there should be a straight line from hand to hand. -Don’t hyper-rotate or force the rotation. -Take it slow and allow the body to open into this position naturally.

-Stop if you feel any pain (not to be confused with slight discomfort). -You may choose to hold the final position or complete reps alternating between the two. I usually perform reps of 5/side with my athletes as a part of their active dynamic warm-up.


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