In my last article, I talked about how to address bodily pains through joint mobility exercises. I gave you a free beginner’s program to get you started. After giving it a whirl, try moving up to the Intermediate Program within 2+ weeks time if you have solid technique and feel minimal discomfort. I also mentioned specialized mobility drills for those with chronic tightness, tonic immobility thanks to their sport or activity, e.g. sitting at your desk. I usually consider this to be the domain of expert coaches when crafting such drills. However, you don’t need to be an expert to perform these drills. The follow-along video I have posted below was designed for military and law enforcement, however, the drills are also great if you sit at a desk all-day long or if you want a nice program to recharge yourself and ‘feel good’.
Our body adapts what we do the most, e.g. if you sit at a desk all day long, you will eventually become chair-shaped (neck forward, curved back, tight hips). We need to compensate our movement (or lack thereof) through mobility exercises. Today, I have included a specialized, free program from Coach Scott Sonnon: Recuper8 – Pain Free Recuperation for Tactical First Responders. Coach Sonnon is physical consultant to several military and law enforcement agencies in the United States. He discovered certain restrictive movement patterns caused by pain or injury in us gun-carrying professionals. The first video is the introductory 7-minute video, which I encourage you to watch. The actual program is further down. Feel free to share this with anyone. Perform the 1-hour program every morning for at least 2-3 weeks. Remember to exhale on the effort.
“I know this for a fact that this will work….You don’t need to live in pain”
“If you were wearing body armor, heavy vest, if you’re in 60 pounds of gear with a backpack and helmet, boots, restrictive clothing, and then are forced to sit for several hours, and then suddenly have to move at a 100 miles an hour. You will become shaped by what you do the most, and when you are needed for fast response.
Then that shape will restrict you from accessing the skills that you have come to rely upon so greatly. So if you are sitting in a car, and you are wearing armor, and you are driving, so that head, which is 1/7 of your bodyweight starts to slant forward, your shoulder start to roll forward, your tailbone start to tuck, your knees start to rotate outward. All of that creates structural dysfunction, which will lead to pains and injuries.” — Coach Sonnon
The Exercises and Critical Performance Tips:
Kneeling Neck Glide: Keep the spine straight. Great for those who wear a helmet or sit at a desk for long periods of time. Addresses tension behind the shoulder blades.
Side-Lying Lateral Neck Glide: Drill for cervical vertebrae herniations. Keep the shoulders packed down away from ears. Most people don’t have the range of motion to go deeply. Move shallowly. Perform for both sides. Don’t tilt upwards.
Base Neck Tilt: 90% weight on your hands, 10% on your head. Work towards the top of the head (crown) and not tucking in your chin.
Angled Bridge Neck Twist: Lead with your ears–bring your ears towards the ground (not mentioned in the video).
Sleeping Warrior Shoulder Twist: Great for those who sit at a desk, car, plane cockpit. One of my favourite, deep release drills.
Prone Double Shoulder Circle: Breaks up shoulder density for those who sling a baton, hold a fire hose, fire at the range, sit behind at a computer; helps with overhead reach.
Elbow Drill Bit: This will help abate tendonitis.
Elbow Screw Pushup: This will teach the elbows to stabilize more.
Mid-Back Cat Cow: Go nice and easy, especially if you’re a bigger person.
Shin Lunge Mid-Back Twist: Restores mid-back mobility from wearing heavy armour, sitting down at a desk or in a seated position for hours.
Kneeling Arm Thread: Great for tight upper-back and shoulders. Try to touch your deltoids towards the ground.
Kneeling Arm Screw: Touch soft tissue to the floor and not the bone
Seated Hip Windshield Wiper: Keep sit bones, heels on the floor. Go at your own range. Good for those who wear heavy duty tactical belts and for those with back pain.
Seated Hip Nutcracker: “Your last repetition should be your best repetition”
Hip Ground Hurdler: A stretch and mobility drill combined to address quadriceps tightness.
Shinbox Twist: Bring stomach to knees thighs and bring your outer hip downwards so both hips are level with each other. Push backwards when sitting up.
Shinbox Extension: Tuck your tail-bone.
Instep Squat Shin Roll: Good drill for those wear boots, have to stand for long hours, squat or run.
Sleeping (Corpse) Position & Tactical Square Breathing
This drill will help calm you down at night when pain is at its greatest.
Without further ado, here’s the complete, follow-along, whole body, 1-hour program:
My Thoughts & Criticisms
The quality of the video is decent and the drills are excellent/something I’ve never seen before. I’m glad to have encountered this free tactical program for first responders. There are many fitness programs out there, but I’m glad this program is specifically geared towards military-types while yet being applicable to others such as, desk workers.
I found that Coach Sonnon did not include drills for the wrists and fingers. If you’re looking for such drills, go to the Intu-Flow beginner and intermediate program. As well, he indirectly addressed the knees via the hips. I did not find enough direct attention was paid to the knees. Again, use the Intu-Flow free program or read about using weighted implements if your knees are really busted up like mine were.
“I don’t have the time to perform this 1-hour program! Waaaahhhh”
If you’re suffering from pain, I’m sure you’ll find a way to perform the program as prescribed for 2-3 weeks. Otherwise, just simply divide up the drills and perform a few at a time throughout the day or at the beginning of your workout as a warm-up. If you’re really, really short on time then don’t worry! Here is the abridged program along that hits all the major body parts with some cool-down stretches you can do after your mobility exercise. Total time for this program is 4:39 minutes.
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