Lesser Known Mobility Exercises Every CrossFit Athlete Should Take Advantage Of

What if there was a mobility sequence that challenged your end range strength and was something you could measure progress in? Sound more interesting than that 5 min hip flexor stretch as you stare at your calluses and the timer wishing you were eating?

Let’s get one thing straight, mobility is not stretching or increasing flexibility. Mobility is measured by the amount of control you have throughout a full range of motion.

Then how come it seems like when we do our mobility we are holding long stretches? This may give us the feeling of being more open for a short time but ultimately we revert right back and have to open ourselves up all over again.

Break the Mobility Routine

Strengthen your End Range of Motion

End Range Strength will help alleviate feelings of tightness, improve squat depth or maybe that over head positioning that you’re struggling with.

The following ‘Mobility Workout’ can be used in isolation or together. Focusing on the rotational components of the hips and shoulders which is often sorely lacking. You will be pleasantly surprised by how active and engaged you will feel, even after your first time! Great for before or after your workout, first thing in the morning or right before bed. Just focus on your breathing and going SLOW!!!!!!!


This version of the scorpion is passive and leaves out some much needed muscle activation at the end range of motion to truly get your feet, hips, glutes, lumbar spine, thoracic spine, chest, and shoulders working.

Activating and strengthening your muscles at their end range of motion is what helps you improve your mobility over time.


The correct version of the scorpion is active, slow, and controlled where the muscles in the body are activating to work into the end range of motion. Use the following cues:

  • Start lying down prone with your arms extended to your sides (palms facing down, shoulders pulled down away from the ears, and shoulder blades engaged)
  • Lift one foot/leg using the glutes and hamstrings and bring it across your body using the outer hips (try to keep both shoulders and arms in contact with the ground as long as possible)
  • Let the hips and lumbar spine rotate slowly as you place the foot to the ground
  • With the foot flat on the ground, drive the knee outward (activating the foot & outer hip muscles)
  • Reach the arm up towards the ceiling as you rotate the thoracic spine (activating the rear shoulder and mid-back muscles)
  • Slowly unwind back into the starting position and repeat on the other side

Aim for each rep to take about 15 seconds.


Taking this exercise in a very slow and controlled manner allows you to really focus in on challenging your shoulder and thoracic spine to create the motion. Use the following cues:

  • Start lying on your side and knees at 90 degrees and arms extended straight in front of the shoulders
  • Reach forward with the top hand to where the palm of the top hand is beyond the fingertips of the bottom hand
  • Begin to move the arm overhead, maintaining contact with the ground with the fingertips
  • When the arm is directly overhead, externally rotate the shoulder so that the fingernails are touching the ground and continue the movement behind the body (allow the thoracic spine to rotate)
  • Slowly reverse the motion back into the starting position and repeat on the other side


Moving through this exercise too quickly allows for other areas of the body to compensate (such as the lumbar spine) if shoulder mobility and thoracic mobility aren’t your strengths.


Place a foam roller in between your legs to help give your lats slack and allow you to achieve a greater range of motion.


This exercise is going to challenge the hip muscles responsible for flexion, abduction, and extension of the hips. Stand next to a post (or doorway) where you can hold onto it with one hand to eliminate the need for balance in this exercise. Use the following cues:

  • While holding on with one arm, lift the opposite knee using the hip flexors and keep those hips level.
  • Rotate the hip into abduction and move the leg slowly out and around into extension of the hip before returning the foot to the floor

Be sure to maintain core engagement and keep contact with the post as best as possible to keep the work being done by the hips.

  • Slowly reverse the motion back into the starting position and repeat on the other side

Use a small foam roller or other object to create more of a challenge to move the foot over as the leg is directly to your side.


Moving quickly through the motion will make it easier for the body to compensate, such as leaning the hip away from the post and letting the core disengage. This takes the work being done away from the hip and into other compensating muscles.


This is a great strength & mobility exercise to help work deeper into your squat by challenging the entire body at your end range of motion. For the active deep squat, use the following cues:

Grab a kettlebell (or dumbbell) and get into a deep squat in a stance that is comfortable for you

  • Have those arches and glutes/hips engaged to help keep the knees driving out over the middle of the toes
  • Maintain a neutral pelvis position with the ribs tucked down and core engaged
  • Engage the shoulder blades, activate the mid-back, and tuck the chin

For a passive squat, relax the glute and hips to allow the body to sink deeper into the squat and use your elbows to drive the knees out over the toes. Maintain the muscle engagement in the arches, core, shoulder blades, and neck. The glutes and hips will still be gently engaged along with your core to prevent the pelvis from tilting into a posterior position.

Alternating 5 second active holds & 5 second passive holds


If you struggle maintaining an upright posture you can use a band to help assist you by pulling against it.


This exercise will target the muscles in the mid & upper back to help improve thoracic extension and challenge the control that you have over your shoulder blades. Use the following cues:

  • Get into child’s pose with your arms extended overhead and your palms facing down
  • Slowly lift one arm off the ground, externally rotate the shoulder, and extend the arm over your head.

Be sure the keep your shoulders square and not let that upper body rotate. Hold the end range of each rep for 3-5 seconds.

  • Slowly bring the arm back down to the ground and repeat on the other side


As you do these, do your best to limit rotating coming from the thoracic spine and/or hips. This takes the emphasis away from those mid to upper back muscles and allows other areas to help out.


This exercise will target the muscles in the back that support the spine, the muscles used to extend the thoracic spine, and those used to rotate the shoulder blades into good position. Use the following cues:

  • Get into a comfortable OHS stance with a PVC pipe or other stick overhead
  • Have the arches of the feet and the core engaged around a neutral pelvis
  • Rotate the shoulder blades down, out, and around the rib cage into a strong position

Start going into the OHS maintaining these positions

Be sure to keep the knees out and tracking over the middle of the toes

Activate the mid-back muscles to extend the thoracic spine and keep the chest up and arms extending overhead without them touching the wall.


Letting the shoulders shrug upwards and roll forwards places the shoulder into a less stable position. Having the chest fall forward with the arms extended behind the head is also a less stable position for the body.

The MoveU Program is designed to strengthen your body into alignment and get you back to living a fearless life. The program does this through sequential exercise training videos, safe and challenging workouts, community and expert support, video analysis, motivational coaching calls, and downloadable guides.

At your own pace, you are guided through over 200 exercise training videos and over 100 progressive workouts. This allows you to gain body awareness, strength, flexibility, balance, and symmetry.

This content was originally published here.

Can't Get enough Freebie, Subscribe

We will send you the latest digital Marketing technology and methods that should help you grow your business.

More Articles