The Minimalist Guide to Mobility: Moving Like a Ninja in 5 Minutes or Less

Courtesy of N1NJ4

9-5 desk jobs.

Epic back and forth commutes that are longer than a Lord of the Rings movie.

A never-ending stream of emails and messages.

Keeping up with the relationships that matter most to us.

With all that’s going on, we’re all busier than a one-armed man in a 5-on-1 boxing match – I totally get it

BUT! *waves finger in the air with much zest and vigor* that doesn’t mean we should sacrifice our health in the process.

Just a few years ago I was “that guy.” My days consisted of sitting in class for several hours, sitting at the library desk where I worked for several more hours, walking to the gym and doing a light jog on the treadmill before hammering my body, all before heading home to sit around more until bed time.

It’s no wonder that I moved like a tin man, my form on some exercises suffered, and I had the random aches to go along with it.

If this story sounds familiar and you’re finding yourself moving down the same path of movement lameness, consider this your intervention.

Movement Intervention

Below you’ll find a series of mobility drills to do at the beginning and end of each day. Simply pick one exercise from each category and perform 5-10 reps, cycling through them for 5 minutes.

If that seems overwhelming at first, just start by picking one of those times and a few less exercises. Set an alarm, turn on a movie/music, write yourself a note, or have a friend come by and slap you in the face as a reminder, whatever you need to do to make sure it gets done.

Many of these are mobility drills that I’ve added into my clients pre-workout warm up, and their experiences have been fantastic. Their form has improved, they’re moving better throughout the day and they’ve drop kicked nagging pains in the chest, all from doing them a few times a week – imagine what you’d gain from just 5-10 minutes a day (or more awesomely put, 35-70 minutes a week). The cumulative effect is oh so sweet.

 

Ankles

Rocking Ankle Mobilization (1:11)

Upper Back/Shoulders

Quadruped Thoracic Rotation (beginning of video)
Foam roller extension (1:47)
Wall Slides (2:13)
Band Pullaparts (2:28)
Sleeper Stretch (2:43) – 15 to 30 second hold earh arm
X-Band Walk (2:52)
Scap Pushups (3:50)
Band Shoulder Dislocations (4:05)

Hips

Spidermans  (0:11)
Hip Flexor Mobilization (0:22)
Rear Foot Elevated Hip Mobilization (0:35)
Reverse Lunge (0:49)
Knee to Knee Stretch (1:35) – this can also be a 15-30 second hold if necessary
Quadruped Hip Extension (1:04 – targets the glutes very well)

Full Body

Squat to Stand (1:22)
Bodyweight/Assisted Squats (3:25)

Bonus: Static Stretching

*Hip Hinge Hold (3:06)
*Hip Flexor Stretch (3:17)
*Quad Stretch (3:21)

* 30-60 second holds

You can also order the red resistance band (and others) here.

Did I miss anything? Want more mobility drills?
Let me know in the comment section or  e-mail and I’ll film some more exercises, because I love you more than a unicorn loves rainbows.

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Comments

  1. says

    Wow. I love the comprehensiveness. Activation work, mobility, and in different planes — awesome stuff. Being more ninja-like is the dream. What else do you use in your client warmups? And how long does it take for them to warmup?

    • says

      Hey Anthony,

      A ton of stuff actually – it all depends on how much some areas need work vs others, current limitations, etc. Foam rolling and all, I’d say the warm up takes about 5-7 minutes max, or 10 if they really want to get involved with the foam roller.

  2. Matthew Paladino says

    Awesome variety! This is a great list to keep handy, and thanks for the video demo’s

  3. Sean says

    As a current client of Roger’s, and I’d like to give a personal testimonial to just how well this works. I’m a 9-5 desk jockey myself, and I have suffered from many of the flexibility issues that go along with that. My most notable issues have always been in the shoulder/chest/scapular area. Prior to working with Roger, I had only worked with shoulder dislocations and doorway pec stretches, and I was seeing enough improvement to (mistakenly) believe that was enough.

    Since I began Roger’s protocol, I have followed his mobility work to the letter, and I’ve seen a marked improvement in my flexibility. Not only do my lifts feel more natural, but my strength has increased as well. More importantly, this newfound limberness is carrying over into my everyday activities and has improved my overall quality of life.

    Almost every movement I go through is on this list, although I do not do all of the above. Including the pre-mobility foam rolling that Roger described, I usually allow for 15 minutes to complete my warm up, making sure not to cheat myself by rushing through. I tend to err on the side of a longer warm up period since I’m an early morning lifter and try to factor in the effects any lingering grogginess before I start lifting, but I can usually finish in less time unless it’s a really rough morning.

  4. says

    This right here is exactly what I’ve been looking for! Everything (well, mostly everything) in one video! Good stuff Rog.

    By the way, call me weird, but for some reason I found it funny how you kept the part where your glasses fell off. Took me by surprise haha

  5. Kujo says

    Great stuff. I do many of these mobility drills pre-wo, and on off days . I see some new ones to try. Thx for this.

  6. Nancy C. says

    I’m adding this to my Summer of Sexification Challenge (that’s me challenging myself to maximize the sexy this summer). Two sessions of mobility drills every day to get me past the hip and shoulder problems. Can you post some more drills, especially for the hips and ankles? I want to move like an agile ninja-ette and I got work to do!

  7. Dexter Morgan says

    Thanks for sharing this! I do mobility work pre-workout only but I should probably incorporate this into my off days as well, just 10 min. each morning. Great list!

  8. Krista Julienne says

    Thanks for this, Rog! I will definitely be adding many of these in throughout the week. My favourite part of the video is when his glasses fell off, because this happens to me all the time. And because us nerds are hot. :p :) :D

    • says

      Nerds unite!

      The glasses blooper was a little easter egg for those awesome enough to make it to the end of the video haha. I also hate water fountains for this very reason.

  9. Blurple says

    you think you could come up with one of these for people in wheelchairs who have no other option but to sit all day?

  10. Ryan says

    I noticed a lot of knee movement when doing these exercises. Would these be tough on the knees at all?

    • says

      Hey Ryan,

      Not if done correctly (as shown in the video). If you have some pre-existing knee pains then it might be best to avoid the lunge and squat exercises shown or find a variation that doesn’t cause you any pain.

  11. Lando says

    Found this via Lifehacker story. Great idea! I’ve always had horrible mobility, flexibility, balance, rhythm, endurance, posture… I could go on.

    I’ll be adding that 5 minutes in the morning and evening!

  12. says

    Thanks for these exercises; am desk bound for at least 10 hrs a day, so these are really good. Could not do the lunges and unassisted squat because of ankle / knee injuries (doc says should be able to do those too in about a couple of weeks). Do you have any exercises for the wrists, would really appreciate some tips for those.

  13. Lobomobo says

    Do you have to wear shoes when doing this or can you also do it barefoot?

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  2. [...] Baixe o nível e comece com o simples. A primeira vez que comecei a treinar, decidi me exercitar todos os dias, por meia hora. Parece bom, certo? Bem, começando do zero para treinos todos os dias, bom por um tempo, mas quando tive que faltar um dia por estar doente e mudei meu esquema, me senti muito mal. Eventualmente, desisti. E lutei contra isso até me sentir apto a tentar de novo. Não cometa o mesmo erro — se você está tendo problemas com o “todo dia”, comece com o “duas vezes por semana” ou uma. Que seja. Comece com alguma coisa que você faça sem nenhum esforço extra. É aqui que dicas como, parar longe do seu destino e ir a pé e subir de escada entram. Tente esses exercícios mínimos. [...]

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