Monday 17 June 2019

Siobhan Byrne: Move it, improve your posture and stay pain-free in 2019

Modern life is hazardous for many reasons, not least its impact on our mobility and flexibility. During our four-part 'How to Thrive' series, our fitness expert Siobhan Byrne will help you get moving, improve your posture and stay pain-free in 2019

Fitness expert Siobhan Byrne photographed at Loft53. Picture: Marc O'Sullivan
Fitness expert Siobhan Byrne photographed at Loft53. Picture: Marc O'Sullivan
Reclined twist 1
Reclined twist 2
Reclined twist 3
Warrior lunge 1
Warrior lunge 2
Lunge 1
Lunge 1
Abductors 1
Abductors 2
Lying Superman 1
Lying Superman 2

This week we will be looking at six different mobility movements for you to try at home. Eventually you can develop a programme of movements that you find will benefit you, but you should try to complete all of the exercises to see where your restrictions lie.

In our gym environment the use of mirrors is crucial to see how we perform exercise. From the form, to range of movement, to ability to completing the exercise as it's meant to be. It's very easy to think you are executing an exercise correctly - until you see it being performed in a mirror. For example, you will notice in the simple squat that you may not be able to get as deep as you would like, or perhaps you are leaning forward too much.

This can be down to a number of different factors, including lack of mobility from the ankle to the hip mobility, right up to mid back and into the (thoracic region). You may even find all of these areas are compromised. I often refer to the analogy of a toddler easily squatting down when picking something up from the floor. This is mobility at its best and there is no doubt our day-to-day lives - especially sitting - can cause tightness and restriction in the hip area, which in turn restricts mobility.

Ask yourself could you comfortably sit for a period of time in this squat position like a toddler does?

I would imagine you may find quite a few restrictions. I mentioned last week in the basic squat, that the heel may come up or you may not be able to get down very far. However, the good news is, you don't need to be a trainer to start looking at how to improve these areas, you just need to follow a plan and be aware of what is more restricted. But you can improve the mobility in your body.

There are no magic bullets when training, but being consistent with mobility drills can greatly improve the ability to move the body and you will see benefits and better movement over time.

Start by looking at these six mobility and movement exercises and add them into your daily routine along with last weeks. You don't need to spend a very long time just a few minutes each day to help develop better mobility. Complete each movement gently and controlled approx 10 times allowing the body to feel the stretch and release. You may notice some cross over between core and stretching as well as mobility, but I want you to focus on holding the position briefly in each movement.


ABDUCTORS → Start in a semi squat position with your feet wide apart with your hands on your knees then simply squat lower making sure your hips go back and down with your elbows guiding your knees outwards with a bit of pressure. Hold for a few breaths.

GLUTES → Start by sitting on the floor with one leg bent in front and the opposite leg straight behind you with your hands placed on the floor beside your front leg. Lean your upper body forward pushing your hip gently into the ground, hold for a few breaths before repeating on the opposite side.

RECLINED TWIST→ Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat and arms stretched out. Bring your knees into chest slowly before lowering the knees to one side, placing the same side hand on top of the knees, while extending the opposite arm up and out. Turn your head facing in the opposite direction of the knees. Hold for a few breaths before repeating on other side.

LUNGE → Step the leg back into a lunge with hands down by your feet to help you balance. Make sure your front knee is directly over the ankle and the knee is not pushing forward over the toes. You should be looking forward keeping the body and spine neutral. Hold for a few breaths before repeating on other side.

LYING SUPERMAN→ Lie face down on the floor with your legs straight and your arms stretched out overhead. Raise your right arm with your left leg, at the same time as you are lowering the leg and arm, swap to the opposite leg and arm raising them in a swimming motion.

Complete 10-12 movements on each side.

WARRIOR LUNGE→ Stand upright with arms stretched out overhead. Split legs front to back then lower yourself to the ground, bending at hips and knees. Your weight should be on the front foot. Face forward and keep upright, then push off the front foot to return to start position. Hold lunge for a few breaths before repeating on other side.

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