Daisy Peck, Wonder Woman Workshops UK’s resident blogger came along to our movement workshop on Saturday, read about her experience below!
In the wonderful sunshine of Saturday morning, Wonder Woman Workshops UK hosted their very first Mobility Workshop.
The aim of the two hour session was to focus on functional movement, what most people (who train or just in everyday life) ignore. Therefore, we were looking at some primal moves, dedicating the first hour to knees, hips and ankles; and the second to our backs, necks, arms and shoulders. I, like most people, have some niggles which I try and ignore whilst I train. I know I need to deal with them and do more work, but I always seem to end up shifting heavy weight instead, I can argue that I’m relatively flexible but flexibility and mobility are two different things. So after a competitive and cardio filled pressing bonanza in the Saturday morning session, I was really looking forward to having a couple of hours to fully focus on getting mobile.
The session started with a photo-op, with Kirsty taking photos of everyone’s regular body weight squat and their overhead squat using a broomstick. This gave everyone a starting point, being able to see how low they were getting and how they were sticking to the technicalities of an open chest and a keeping your knees out.
With a warm-up run that became our staple for shaking off our legs, we came back in to begin the first of the functional moves. This essentially became a mirror game of ‘Suz Says’, following a series of movements like rolls from one side of the other, into crawls into putting your feet behind your head. The we all went into our crab and bear crawls, the aim of the game being to touch five people on the head – you can’t afford to be self-conscious in these sessions!
We then got into the nitty-gritty, straight into a stretch which I cannot stand (and by extension, means I should do a lot more of!), working on our hip flexors. The premise is quite simple, inch-worming yourself out to press up position then bringing one foot up to the outside of the corresponding hand, bouncing around and trying to get your hip close to the ground. Then it’s a question of holding yourself there from between 90 seconds up to 3 minutes. We stuck with the minimum but I still found it extremely challenging and my legs were on fire. The stretch then got slightly more complex, rolling the ankle of the front leg out and including some pulses by walking our hands out to the sides. We then finished the hip flexor stretch by adding in some rotation and, however much I may have disliked the stretch, I begrudgingly recognized that on our run out to the tree, my legs felt slightly freer and less tight.
After the run it was straight back down into a deep squat position, making sure our feet stayed flat on the ground. Then, creating a building with our fists and thumbs up, the aim was to touch your forehead to your thumb, taking away the thumbs into two fists if you succeeded. This was followed up by some bell work, holding a light kettlebell in the goblet squat position and working on some squat variations – seeing how where your feet were place and what direction they pointed in affected your range of movement. We then finished the lower body section of the workshop with some lunge movements, changing the position of your front leg in ‘one o’clock, two o’clock’ etc. all the way round in a full circle.
When it came to the second photo, everyone’s squats felt easier (if slightly sore from muscles being worked), squats were deeper with a more upright chest; showing the clear benefits of just one hour of close work.
Then the focus turned to the upper body, taking the broomsticks and pressing them in order to examine everyone’s full range of movement and whether they were extending fully. Everybody then partnered up with one person doing some shoulder dislocations, both forward and backwards, whilst the other, lying in a crucifix position, aimed to get their foot to the opposite hand.
We continued the inchworm trend but this time carried on ‘inching’ past a comfortable point when you simply collapse to the ground (this was welcome at this point), before moving your hands back under your shoulders and pushing yourself back up. Then, lying back down it was time to work the shoulders, holding the broomstick out in front in a reverse grip, chin towards your chest and toes dug into the grass. In a similar way to the hip-flexor stretch, it was pretty uncomfortable and only needed to be held for 5 seconds. But, again, like the hip-flexor, my upper body felt a lot better afterwards, especially after repeating the exercises.
The final functional movement was to focus on press-ups and burpees, not for speed or cardio but correct form. Whilst Kirsty helped outline the correct press-up form, Suz took us through three sets of press-ups and burpees, based on how wide our feet were placed. Showing how a wide stance may be easier, but for the best form, to keep your feet ‘superglued’ together.
Then came the final photo, showing the clear progression over the last couple of hours. After watching everyone in their squats it was clear to see how much straighter they were and how much better everyone’s form was and, in some cases, that some soreness and niggles had become a lot less painful.
At the end of the session, Suz highlighted the importance of movement and not just the functional stretches we’d spent the past two hours doing. In today’s society, so many people spend the majority of their day sitting at desks hunched over, or driving in cars; very few people spend their time moving and being active. With people of all ages (including Liz’s daughter Jess who put us all to shame), there were things we could all benefit and take away from the event; the most important thing being: ‘I must move MORE!!’.
Lots of thanks to everyone who came for making it a fun event, having a giggle during our crab crawls; and to Kirsty and Suz for organising it – I’m already looking forward to the next one!