Springtime is tom turkey time. With just a few simple exercises, you can increase stamina in the woods and fields this year. Come along on this blog (and view the video portion) to learn how. They're simple...I promise!
With regards to our bodies, mobility is simply the ability of our body to move freely or be moved freely at all joints. Over time, activities occurring in our daily lives tend to result in a lack of mobility in our major joints which, over time, may lead to further health drawbacks down the road. For instance, my full-time job often times involves extended periods of sitting and being on a computer Perhaps much like yours.
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This can lead to a tightening of muscles involved with movement of hips, shoulders and neck. This lack of mobility in these major joints is often times the root cause of common issues like back pain. Let’s bring this full-circle back to hunting: if I am suffering from nagging back pain issues for example, how might that affect my ability to sit patiently in the woods calling on a nice tom for several hours straight? More so, how might this impact my ability to efficiently steady a shotgun while being forced to sit in a slightly awkward position to get a good shot off on a nice bird?
Luckily, mobility is something that we can all work on daily and it not only benefits us in the field, but also in maintaining a healthy lifestyle in general! The list of mobility drills/exercises can be as simple or as extended and complex as you want. For starters, I’d love to share with you some staples I have learned to use and incorporate daily for some time now.
Drill 1: Foam rolling the muscles of our backs.
I always begin mornings at the gym by foam rolling the long muscles that run along my spine (think of the back straps of a deer!). Slowly work from the lower back up towards the base of the neck and back down. I usually do this for a few minutes depending on how sore or tight my back is feeling.
Drill 2: Using foam roll to work on upper spine.
Work on moving the upper portion of the spine. Start with the foam roller towards the middle/upper portion of the back with hands resting across the abdomen. Begin by slightly contracting your abs, and then gently moving your shoulders down towards the floor in a sense letting your spine bend over the foam roll. By slightly using your abs, we are trying to avoid bending too much in the lower back while we focus on moving the upper back only! I usually do 10-15 reps with a 1-3 second hold each time!
Drill 3: Using foam roll to work on upper back rotation.
In this video, I am working on loosening up my hips, upper back muscles, and upper spine. The foam roller is placed under my knee to help stop me from moving excessively in the lower back. Improving mobility with this drill will really help in cases of having to steady a shotgun in an awkward shooting position. I usually do 10 reps on each side.
Drill 4: Cat-Cow exercise.
In this video, I continue working on my upper back with the cat-cow drill. Focus on strictly bending in the upper back and not using your hands to “push” yourself up. Drills like these help with mobility in the upper spine – an area that often becomes neglected over time. I typically perform anywhere from 10 to 15 reps.
Drill 5: Foam rolling my IT band.
The IT band is a long piece of tissue that runs down the length of the outside of our leg and is easy to foam roll although sometimes it can be rather uncomfortable to do! You want to keep your back foot off of the ground so pressure is applied to the area you are foam rolling. If you hit a tender spot spend some extra time in that area. I typically perform 10-15 reps of this.