As a full-time office worker, I’m always on the lookout for ways to counteract the effects of sitting for long periods of time. As a part-time fitness seeker, I’m also on the lookout for ways to improve my ability to move and train. The best options are the ones that do both at the same time. I came across Stick Mobility on Instagram and I was immediately intrigued by what I saw. I thought it might have potential as an option for office dwellers and fitness fanatics alike, so I decided to check it out. Read on to learn more about my experience with Stick Mobility.
First, the basics. Stick Mobility is a movement system designed to help increase your functional range of motion by combining certain aspects of strength training with mobility training. This is done with the use of specially designed sticks. These sticks serve as tools that provide leverage for extending your range of motion beyond what would ordinarily be accessible.
The specially developed sticks used in the Stick Mobility system allow for the application of force in multiple directions while in an extended range of motion. Applying force through the sticks while extended recruits more muscles to counteract those forces than in a pure stretch. Most of the engagement comes from muscles that typically don’t get used on a day-to-day basis, especially for those of us who work at a desk. The increased muscle engagement helps improve overall strength and stability, which in turn improves flexibility.
I’m not an athlete either. I’m a software engineer and I spend most of my time at a desk working on a computer or in meetings. I’ve found that using the system on a regular basis has helped counteract some of the long-term effects of extended computer work. Sitting all day at a computer makes me tight in the shoulders, back, and hips. I’ve been using the sticks to strengthen my torso, unroll my shoulders, and open my hip joints. I feel much better at the end of the day as a result and have seen an improvement in my sleep as well.
This isn’t to say that Stick Mobility won’t improve your athleticism. Far from it! Kettlebells are my favorite exercise tools and using the sticks is helping me improve my lifts. I could easily see this system helping with any sport that involves rotation, which is pretty much all of them. If you golf, play tennis, or softball/baseball, Stick Mobility strikes me as a way to help improve your swing in addition to helping you move better.
Without a doubt, stretching and foam rolling are awesome. But they only go so far. Flexibility by itself is good, but flexibility with strength behind it is better. Have you ever twisted your ankle? Pulled a muscle? Or just “hurt your back” somehow? I’ve done all three, multiple times. In almost every instance I injured myself by flexing just beyond my range of motion without having the strength to safely maintain the extension. I’m finding that Stick Mobility is helping me build that strength in addition to improving my flexibility.
Strength, flexibility, and stability are the pillars of good mobility and key to injury prevention, regardless of whether you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior.
I’ve used wooden dowels as mobility tools for years and there’s definitely a lot that can be done with a plain old rod.
However, the flexibility of the Stick Mobility sticks coupled with the textured grip on both ends allows for a whole other level of mobility training. The flex allows force to be applied in multiple directions at the same time, which produces an effect that just isn’t possible with a wooden dowel.
Plus, I’ve learned from experience that trying to lean into a hard wooden dowel hurts. The flex in the stick allows a deeper relaxation into a stretch than what’s possible with a wooden rod. The rubber grip on the ends keep the stick in place while applying force to the ground, which engages more muscles than I even knew I had.
I was tempted to try a length of PVC pipe to see if I could reproduce the same results. However, I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. Ordinary PVC is flexible, but it isn’t intended to be bent at extreme angles. PVC pipes are meant for plumbing, not fitness. I wouldn’t trust a PVC pipe to hold my weight without snapping under the strain. The Stick Mobility sticks are made of a special formulation of PVC that is specifically designed to be strong and flexible.
Each bundle includes access to an online library of videos demonstrating the fundamentals of the movement system. There’s also a subscription available that gives access to an online library of more advanced movement and training. The content library is continuously being updated and there’s a lot of good stuff in there. I’ve got both the bundle and the subscription and I’ve yet to work my way through through all the available content.
What I like the most about Stick Mobility is the versatility of the sticks. Although they’re designed to be used primarily with the Stick Mobility movement system, they work just as well with other disciplines. Personally, I like using the sticks with my Foundation Training work, which adds a whole new dimension to the movements.
The biggest con I’ve come across so far is a general lack of organization of the online content. For example, if you want to specifically focus on opening your hips you’ll have to hunt down the relevant videos yourself. There is no categorization or ability to search built into the library yet.
However, Stick Mobility customer service tells me that this is a work in progress. The system is still relatively new, the team is small, and the response has been so overwhelming that they’ve apparently not had time to organize the content as well as they would like. This is obviously a high quality problem for them, but a bummer for you and I. However, I expect this to be temporary. They will eventually get caught up and organize the content in a more accessible format.
In case you haven’t been able to tell by now, I really like Stick Mobility. I don’t always find options that help counteract computer work while simultaneously improving my ability to train. Stick Mobility is just such a system, and I’m glad I came across it. I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad as well.
I'm a software product manager with a full-time job, family, and a desire to stay strong, mobile, and fit. I separate fact from fiction to find the most effective and affordable options for home fitness. If you'd like to build your own home gym, start here.
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