Creating Mobility for Taller Trainees

Screen any basketball team and the first thing you'll notice is that more often than not, they have the mobility of the tin man. Yet, prescribing static stretching and traditional mobility drills yields very little results. This is because their lack of mobility is often a protective mechanism. What is being protected? Their joints.

Due to the long lever arms of most of their joints, a high amount of stability is required from the surrounding myofascial tissue. When the body senses that it does not have enough stability to safely use a range of motion out of a particular joint, it will lock those tissues down. Therefore the key to getting a taller individual more mobile, is to actually get them more stable first. 

Below are my favorite drills to help with this process, ordered from most to least important. Keep in mind that since these exercises are supposed to focus on the CONTROL of fiber length and tension, they should be kept within a low-threshold and should be done very slowly. 

90/90 Abdominal Wall Activation

There's nowhere more important to have stability than in the deep spinal stabilizers. This drill helps to activate and sequence the intrinsic core subsystem. If the individual has tight hips and a tight T-spine this is stop number one. Not to mention the tremendous benefit it has for cleaning up anterior pelvic tilts. 

Deadbugs and Single Leg Lowerings

Riding off of the Abdominal Wall Activations, these drills are very similar, but focus more on creating hip separation which is extremely important in gait. The deadbug requires less hamstring length than the leg lowering, thus should be the first progression. Pairing this along with a hinge movement is a sure fire way to expedite the progression. The variations shown are core-engaged versions that provide external cues to keep the correct core stability. 

Lateral Lunge On Sliders

Adductor lengthening is very underrated for what it can do to someone's movements. I personally have noticed that most taller individuals tend to be adductor dominant and are more likely for groin pulls. If the previous drills have been addressed, then progressing a Slider lateral lunge may be a wise training investment. Brandon LaVack also showcased one of his favorite drills for this not to long ago, you an find it here. 

Hands Elevated PUPP With T-Spine Rotation

I decided to use this video so that I could embarrass one of are athletes who snuck into the shot. Sorry Erin!

This drill helps teach the correct tension to for t-spine rotation. The objectives are to keep the hips still, drive the supporting hand into the bench and get the opposite hand as far from it as possible. This can also be done on the floor, but for newer trainees, this may result in a high threshold pattern, which is no bueno. On that note, it's also important to KEEP BREATHING as locking down for a brace will make it harder to rotate. 

Dowel Rod Trap Raise

This drill helps to engage the upward rotators of the scap and can improve shoulder flexion bilaterally. The cues are to focus on pulling the dowel apart as you raise it overhead., slowly. Another exercise that I like for a similar affect, but with more t-spine engagement are SFMA Rolls with a dowel rod.

Remember not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Some lanky individuals can still benefit from classic mobility work, I just find these drills to have more bang for your buck. Especially when complimented with a sound strength program.