Why Your Mobility Isn’t Improving — Dr. Roop Sihota — 173


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This week on Barbell Shrugged, we talk mobility and performance with Roop Sihota from MobilityWOD and San Francisco Crossfit.

This is an important question. What are you doing right now to prepare for your next training session?

You probably know the WOD well. Time, place, wardrobe, warm-up, etc. – That’s somewhat routine, right? But what about everything else? You know, the majority of your life. How do you spend all that time? As an athlete, how much time are you devoting daily to mobility and restoration?

The troubling answer for just about everyone is – Not nearly enough!

    As Dr. Roop describes on the show, we are all very good at racing from 0 to 60 in the gym, but we are TERRIBLE at cooling our engines down after. When the WOD is done we usually grab our crap and rush home immediately, through traffic, to bedtime TV and work email exchanges.  It’s no wonder we sometimes fail to reach our performance goals. We aren’t very kind to our bodies. Worse still, we typically do not spend the balance of our time outside the gym as well as we might think. We move very little, instead of all the time as nature intends. We cast ourselves within domesticated environments, mostly hunched over tiny little HD screens for hours on end.Sure, you go to the gym in the afternoon or whatever, but you also spend those other 23 hours a day slouched, stressed, or distracted in some way.    When we get clever, we still make obvious mistakes. For example, if you’ve ever traded in your chair for a standing desk you should be aware that the act of standing is itself sedentary. There’s no magic here, but there’s also no overt danger to sitting down. There are also no secrets to improving your shape, apart from this… If your mobility still sucks after all those banded stretches and what not, you have to consider that you are not moving NEARLY enough in your everyday life. If the balance of your time really is still spent folded, tight, and stressed with shallow chest breaths, that’s the shape you will automatically take when you get fatigued.  That’s probably what’s fucking up your performance. Once you understand that your best posture is your next posture – that the only secret is moving well, more often –  that’s when you’ll start to find a better shape.  The balance will be in your favor.     Watch Dr. Roop and Kelly smash some tight lats.              Start with time.  At a minimum, you should be working on your mobility for 15-20 minutes a day, every day. This should be doubled for every hard training session you perform.  Don’t focus on everything that’s lacking from your day. Instead, think of positive things you can add. Sit in the squat position for 5 minutes. Swim more often. Go for short walks throughout the day. Spend some time rolling around on the floor, it’s one of the easiest ways to find tight tissues.  If you feel pain while flopping around then you need to spend a lot more time working on your soft-tissues. Get some massage, use mobility tools to dig deep. Rumble roll your thighs into submission, whatever you want. Just make sure that you reach the deep tissues, which means it should definitely not be fun.  But that said, just rolling around casually on a nice, soft foam roller isn’t going to do much. A lack of cumulative time, focus and intensity in your mobility work might explain your lack of progress.


Our supreme goal in the gym, regardless of training goal, is to improve economy of motion. It doesn’t matter if you’re squatting 800 pounds, tossing wall-balls, or walking down the street, the less you work against yourself, the better.

Carve out time DAILY to working tight tissues, then immediately work no strengthening the opposite musculature to stabilize your new position. That’s a much more effective strategy. But you also have to consider your timing.

It’s a big mistake to lay around on the floor and roll before your train, but why?

The obvious answer is that a dynamic series of warm-up drills is superior to lounging around under the Rogue rig for a half-hour. The less obvious thing is stimulus this represents.

When you work the soft tissues you trigger your parasympathetic nervous system into action. This leads to nesting and rest, digestion, sexual arousal, all of which are amazing, but not before you take on Fran.

OHS-insta-lead-2Check out our FREE guide showing you exactly how to mobilize to squat deeper for the OHS.  Click the image above to download now.

Spend more time searching for your next best posture, and carve out time every day, after training, to work on those tight areas. If you can do that you’re almost sure to see some dramatic increases in performance and your quality of life.

Roop, we had a great time at Invictus. And let me say, you are one of the few people who can give Mike Bledsoe beard envy. Let’s do it again soon in San Fran.




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26 Responses to “Why Your Mobility Isn’t Improving — Dr. Roop Sihota — 173”

    • Chris

      You gotta fix that. This is more important that even diet and training. Air is your critical, primary fuel. And the skill of breathing well is pretty much central to everything.

  1. Duran

    What was the name of that sleep app he mentioned? I mentioned it at my gym and a lot of people were interested in more than just a tracker, but rather one that offered some insight.

    • Chris

      I don’t recall either. But that said, there are a TON on iTunes. Sort by popularity, then check out features. I’m guessing there are 3-5 that would do all you need.

  2. Cody Johnson

    Hey guys, I just wanted to say thank you for all you guys do. The content you provide is awesome and extremely eye-opening. I am a college student struggling with understanding the significance of formal education systems, other than meeting requirements to say one is “qualified” to be in some position. Since discovering Barbell Shrugged, watching your videos, and reading articles you put out, I feel I have learned more valuable knowledge and lessons from you and your guests alone than so far in college. Now thats saying something. You guys have encouraged me to seek out self knowledge that I dont think I would have sought after without finding Barbell Shrugged. Thank you guys again for what you do and I truly appreciate it. Sorry for the long post haha.
    You guys are hilarious!

    Best Regards,

    • Chris

      Cody, that’s more than we could ever ask for. Best to you. Cheers,

  3. Jai

    I listen to this podcast because of great guests. But I wish the hosts would let him talk without interupting him with nonsense. It’s really annoying guys. I still listen but only in small doses. Too bad because the guests are great.

    • Chris

      Jai, sorry, but I suppose you don’t understand the mission of our show. We share, we entertain. If you want a one-side lecture, you will have to go elsewhere. We don’t interrupt. We have natural discussions, as we would have in the gym…a bar. That required engagement and back and forth. And when it’s 4 people, it’s not always perfect. But that’s not what we’re after. So, hope that makes sense. Best to you.

      • Jonathan

        The natural back and forth makes it feel very fluid. There are many places to go for lectures online, but this is a much more enjoyable experience – like being allowed into the lounge of a group of experts and sitting, soaking up the information as it comes out naturally.

  4. Christiy Lynch

    Another great Podcast! You guys are awesome. I just discovered your podcasts 6months ago and I’m obsessed. I have been watching archived ones as well. The Eliko one may be my favorite so far! Thanks for all you do !!! :)

  5. Brent Solheim

    Great show! I’ve gotten more self help ideas from your podcasts (especially the Lindy Barber episode) than I have from any doctor or physical therapist that I have ever seen. Keep up the great work.

  6. Dan Butler

    Hey dudes,

    Only just discovered this podcast…bloody fantastic!!

    I’m a chest breather and want to fix it. One of you guys were talking about practicing breathing techniques in the shower etc.

    Where can I find more info on the techniques??

    Loved the show guys!!


  7. Jonathan

    Great episode! Really enjoy the discussions on this channel.

    I have a mobility question that I haven’t found the answer to yet but seems important. When rolling, stretching, lacrosse ball massaging, what is the time frame you need to work-out or relax the tight spots. 1-2 minutes, 5 minutes? I guess I am thinking more the after workout mobility work where you are digging a bit deeper. Thanks.

  8. Brian Walker

    Really enjoy the podcast guys! Great content. As someone who has had some front hip pain pretty consistently when squatting (and trouble reaching depth) for probably 15 some years, I’ve always figured that it was a mobility issue. So I have done the foam rollers, the hip stretches, couch stretches, yoga and other mobility work. I’m not sure if you guys are familiar with Dr.Quinn Henoch, but I just happened to click on a link that was posted on Mike Israetal’s FB page that went to one of Dr. Henoch’s videos. It was a video about what issues relating to what is thought to be a mobility problem, when in reality it is a different problem all together.

    He demonstrated what happens to hip flexion when you draw your rib cage down (it increases). He then said the words that peaked my interest, which I had never heard or read about before any anything I have come across in relation to the execution of the squat, which were “experiencing front hip pain.” He described exactly the pain that I felt when squatting. He said that is not caused by a problem with mobility, but rather it is an impingement problem, that the femur has no more room to travel at a certain point in the squat because of forced lumbar extension. This causes soft tissue to pinch in between the femur and the hip. He said you just need to draw your rib cage down and get your ass more underneath your shoulders and your range of motion will increase. My initial reaction was, yeah right, that won’t work with me (I figured I was destined to hip pain while squatting because of my extremely long legs and short torso). So I attempted to do what he suggested and holy shit. I squatted below parallel AND no hip pain! It does feel a little bit awkward as I put more weight on the bar, but I think it’s because I’ve been squatting a certain way for so long that I’m not use to squatting this way.

    Just wanted share that what might be thought of as a mobility problem, may not be after all. Anyways, keep kickin ass guys and I appreciate the content you guys put out.


    • Chris

      That’s a great breakthrough. Yeah, mechanics are everything. And well done on learning to stack your shoulders and hips. That’s the key to producing force in any vertical pulling or squatting movement. You’ll get depth, but also, your overall training results and strength will improve quickly.

  9. Jim

    I love these podcasts. Have learned so much. This Roop guy is most excellent. And he talks so fast it’s like getting two or three podcasts in one.

    Thx for everything, guys.

    • Chris

      You need some kinesiology basics. Pick your joint, then understand what primary muscles flex and extend that joint. Study time. You can find that online with a simple google search.


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