For his latest 30-day challenge, lifestyle YouTuber Matt D’Avella committed to working on his mobility, after realizing just how sedentary his lifestyle had become. While initially he thought that this would just consist of doing some light stretching, he soon learned that pushing the body’s range of motion is important not just for athletic performance or strength training, but all aspects of everyday life.
“It’s really about joint-specific strength training,” mobility coach Amir Zandinejad tells D’Avella. “Conventional strength training is primarily about strengthening muscles and movement patterns, and the muscles are typically being trained at mid ranges of motion. In mobility, it’s more about those end ranges: the joints and connective tissue. These are areas where we often run into pain, disfunction, limitations, imbalances, so we can really develop a more well-rounded and resilient body if we strengthen our areas of weakness.”
For 30 days, D’Avella followed a program put together by Zandinejad which focused on problem areas like his knees and ankles, as well as encompassing his hips, shoulders, and spine.
This began with starting each day with a controlled articular rotations (CARS) warmup of the joints, maintaining an awareness of each movement pattern while extending to a range of motion beyond what is probably called for in everyday activities. “The immediate impact of this routine was clear,” says D’Avella. “It started to give me greater awareness over the areas of weakness within my body. I noticed the imbalance of flexibility between my left and right shoulder, as well as my ankles.”
D’Avella then incorporated 15-minute mobility workouts into his routine, and found that these had a positive impact on the range of motion he was able to achieve in his CARS. However, even this low-impact activity resulted in some pain. “It’s not the worst soreness in the world, but it’s definitely an indication that I haven’t actually worked out those muscles in a long time, if ever,” he says.
He continued with these sessions, and with each week he added more tension as he targeted everything from his shoulders and spine to his hips and neck. At the end of the 30 days, he notices that his range of motion has improved on his CARS workouts, and that he is better able to isolate each individual movement.
“This isn’t an insane transformation,” he says, “but it’s realistic.”
Interested in challenging your own mobility, easing tight muscles, and improving your range of motion? Try our 30-day mobility training challenge, with sessions of just three minutes each day.
Philip Ellis is News Editor at Men’s Health, covering fitness, pop culture, sex and relationships, and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV, and he is the author of Love & Other Scams.