This is a blog about the best mobility tools that I personally use and love. BUT before we get started, there are a couple of things you need to know.
Mobility does not just include flexibility. It also includes your joints, muscle activation, and addressing restricted muscle tissue.
Yoga is a fantastic way to improve flexibility and muscle activation, but it does not address every aspect of mobility. Combining yoga with mobility practices that focus on mobility as it pertains to your joints, muscle activation, and the release of restricted muscle tissue will make your yoga practice MUCH more effective. You’ll see results much more quickly as well!
The primary method of removing restricted muscle tissue is called “self-myofasical release“. Self-myofasical release (or SMR, for short) techniques are mobility exercises that utilize mobility tools to release muscle knots.
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1. The Medium Firm KnotOut
The Medium Firm KnotOut is hands down my favorite mobility tool. The KnotOuts in general are very extremely effective at releasing restricted muscle tissue (self-myofasical release) and increasing the amount of muscle that can be recruited by your body to perform movement. The Medium Firm KnotOut is extremely versatile, and makes mobility work as efficient as possible. Use it on either side of your spine to help with back mobility, on your calves to help relieve ankle or knee tightness, and on your hips to help reduce back pain and hip tightness. The possibilities with this are endless. I travel with it everywhere. Because of its versatility, effectiveness, efficiency, and transportability, the Medium Firm KnotOut is #1 on my list of mobility tools.Click here to get the Medium KnotOut from the KnotOut online store. Use the code “ManFlowYoga” for a full 25% savings on your order! (You can also order from Amazon by clicking here.)
2. Foam roller or Maxx Firm KnotOut
The foam roller is a great mobility tool for activating dormant muscles, and to some extent, to address restricted muscle tissue. On the mobility tool intensity chart, it is on the lower-end, but it is still effective. It’s great if your muscles are sore and a KnotOut or lacrosse ball is too intense for you at the time. A better alternative to the foam roller is the Maxx Firm Knotout, which is a extra-large version of the KnotOut featuring 4 interconnected softball-sized rubber balls. It is extremely effective on large muscles found in the hips and chest, and can also be used on the soles of the feet to help with self-myofasical release there as well.
The strap is fantastic for restorative lower body stretches on your back, which are critical if you want to reduce muscle soreness and recover more quickly from your leg-focused workouts. It is also a fantastic tool for improving your shoulder mobility. I use a strap (or variation of a strap, such as a dog leash or a belt) on a daily basis to keep my shoulders healthy enough for handstands and inversion work.Click here to get my preferred strap, or just use a belt!
4. Lacrosse Ball
The lacrosse ball is another very versatile mobility tool, and its small size allows you to bring it with you just about anywhere. The hardness of the lacrosse ball due its rubber composition makes it great for self-myofasical release, and you can use it most places on your body. However, because it is a ball it sometimes makes it difficult to focus on a particular target. It also makes it difficult (and even downright dangerous) when rolling around areas close to your spine. The lacrosse ball is a must-have as far as mobility tools go, but I would make sure to use it secondary to the Medium Firm KnotOut.I recommend getting one from a sports store in person. If you want the convenience of online shopping, here’s my recommendation.
5. Cork Block
The block is important because of its effectiveness in facilitating muscle engagement. Inner thigh and core engagement are some of the trickiest aspects of full-body exercises to remember, and having a block between your legs helps you to train your body to utilize this muscle engagement for more stability in your lower body and more power through your core. You can also use it for (1) self-myofasical release techniques that focus on the torso to make the exercises easier, (2) overhead arm movements to help with upper-back and shoulder mobility and muscle engagement, and (3) as a prop to bring the ground up to you in forward folds if you don’t have the mobility to do a forward fold and touch the ground while maintaining spinal integrity through core engagement.I’d recommend getting 2 of them, since you’ll need them both for some exercises. Click here to get a special Man Flow Yoga set!
If you’ve read this blog and you’re interested in getting started with mobility, I know that it can seem like a daunting task. You mean I have to do mobility work ON TOP of all of my other workouts? Who has time for that?
Instead of thinking about it like another physical fitness discipline to add to your training routine, start with just 5 minutes per day. Do it at the beginning or end of your workouts (I’d recommend the beginning), or just do it for a few minutes before you’re about to go to bed (it helps you sleep better!). Mobility is the MOST important aspect of your fitness – more important than your strength, your endurance, and your cardio.
If you neglect mobility, your body will eventually notice. Lack of mobility results in angry joints, tight muscles, slower recovery, and pain or discomfort in movements that didn’t use to bother you. The more you increase your mobility, the more the other aspects of your fitness improve.
If you don’t have any of these tools yet, I recommend that you start with Medium Firm KnotOut. This is the most effective and versatile mobility tool in existence. Use the code “ManFlowYoga” when you check out at shop.theknotout.com to redeem 25% savings. (Note: You enter the promotional code on the very last page of checkout.) If you want to MacGyver it, you can buy two lacrosse balls and tape them together.
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About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
Dean Pohlman is an E-RYT 200 certified yoga instructor and the founder of Man Flow Yoga. Dean is widely considered to be an authority on Yoga for Men. He has worked with physical therapists to create yoga programs for back health and spinal recovery. His workouts and programs have been used by professional and collegiate athletes, athletic trainers, and personal trainers; and have been recommended by physical therapists, doctors, chiropractors, and other medical professionals.
Dean is a successfully published author through DK Publishing (Yoga Fitness for Men), selling 35,000 copies worldwide in English, French, and German; in addition to being a co-producer of the Body by Yoga DVD Series, which has sold over 40,000 copies on Amazon since its release in 2016.
Man Flow Yoga has been featured in Muscle & Fitness Magazine, Mens’ Health, The Chicago Sun, New York Magazine, and many more major news media outlets.
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