For me, stretching was always the token ten seconds on each leg and then arms to the sky before my monotonous half hour of cardio and the obligatory circuit of low-load resistance machines...and that was fine because it got me where I wanted to be at the time - drop the weight and keep my body safe while exercising. However, and here’s the point of this article, the regime I had before didn't EVER give me the definition or tone I now have in my body! It never made me feel strong and I was never that 'fit'. As much as I enjoyed it and, yes, it helped to keep my mind and body healthy - it was just routine. My stretching was routine was the same four or five basic stretches and it was only when I began training in earnest last year I came to realise how important mobility work is (especially as you get older and you start to feel those niggles…I'm 42 this year! Eeeeeek!). Enter ROMWOD!
What is ROMWOD?
"Range of Movement Workout of the Day".
The ROMWOD website provides "Daily online yin stretching routines for athletes". STOP RIGHT THERE!!! DON'T HIT THE CLOSE BUTTON! lol I know exactly what you're thinking,
"Yin... eeeuuugghh new age yoga and Thai Chi nonsense" Don’t worry, soothing music and terminology such as 'pose position' is the basic similarity.
"For Athletes? I'm no athlete, it's not for me... see ya later" If you train, then you probably are – here’s the definition of an athlete:
"Athlete - a person who is trained in or good at sports, games, or exercises that require physical strength and skill"
Why should I do it?
Wherever you are in your journey I guarantee you that there is one sport or exercise that you will enjoy and are good at, even if you don't know how good you are at it yet, or haven't reached your potential. Athleticism can be measured on a scale and, believe me, if you exercise at all then I'd say you are somewhere on the scale. You may not aspire to be an Olympian but my point is that you don't need to!
ROMWOD is, "Based on ancient Kung Fu techniques that strengthen and open joints resulting in optimal range of motion", which, in layman’s terms means loosening the muscles and joints in a stretch routine that usually lasts between 10 and 15 minutes. Who hasn't got 10 or 15 minutes to make their body feel better, move better and feel more relaxed?
It’s perfect if you're not sure what you're doing because you can search for areas of the body that you need to mobilise, based on the workout you're going to do, and target the relevant parts of the body. You can also use it after training to stretch and reset your body.
On the shots below I managed to get from up on my elbows to lying on my back in the half saddle position (one leg underneath you) within the couple of minutes allowed for this pose.
Is it any good?
I'm sure there are lots of other online options for mobility work that you can stream. Google 'online mobility work' or similar and I’m sure there will be loads that pop up but this is the best I’ve seen so far and I've seen a fair few YouTube yoga and mobility vids. The info on the ROMWOD website is well organised and easy to understand. The videos talk you through at a steady pace and there is even a beginner’s pathway to help you get used to the various moves. You’re not expected to get to the perfect 'pose position' first time and the guys talk you through the movement so that you can find the level you're at and make it easier if needed.
How can I get it?
ROMWOD is available on desktop or mobile and you can do this anywhere. I completed yesterday's ROMWOD in Dan’s (@therealfitnesscoach introduced me to ROMWOD a couple of months ago) living room floor watching the laptop perched on the sofa.
ROMWOD is US based and is available with a free 7 day trial, after which you can choose to sign up for around £12 (look at the exchange rate) a month for individuals - take a peek here.
Whatever kind of ‘athlete’ you are there should be sufficient mobility work included before your workout and a good five or ten minutes stretching afterwards (you could even @stretch it to twenty minutes if you like). So make sure you're giving your body the best mobility work out to optimise your performance in whatever it is you’re doing. It could be the difference between getting that PB and hitting your goals or not. It may also ensure you don't injure yourself. If you want to improve performance then mobility is critical and if working out is a priority then mobility should be too! 10 minutes…#noexcuses.