How Caveman Developed – and Then Lost – Mobility

Mobility just sounds scary and daunting, I know. Hell, you just came to the gym to lift things up and put them down. Just like your caveman ancestor, he came to perhaps lift woolly mammoth carcass, and put it down over fire to eat it. Simple stuff. Caveman ancestor didn’t even need to do a mobility WOD before accomplishing this task. So if we’re all about finding our primitive caveman strength, why do we even need to bother?

I too wanted to believe this, badly. Not only do those goofballs look silly, rolling and writhing around on the gym floor with their foam rollers, its eating away at valuable swole time. However that swole time, you can pay up front, or you can pay on the back end. Take the time to do just a LITTLE bit of mobility work prior to the workout, and it may save you a LOT of time on the back end of your years. You will spend less time battling the injuries of repetitive stress that have found their way to your buddies who mocked you from the squat rack, as you rocked your hips and pelvis in all sorts of embarrassing ways (Cavedad isn’t mad at you for this. He’s just…. disappointed)

For the purposes of illustration, here are two mobility routines I will do. One upper body, and one lower body. Both take under 5 minutes. You can add to, or change which movements you do. These are mainly to show that it doesn’t NEED to be a massive investment of time to improve the movement of your joints and muscles. But its a worthwhile investment of your time.

Your caveman ancestors managed to evolve into amazing creatures, who perfected the motor patterns that would become your squat, deadlift and bench press. But cavebro of olden days faced some of the same problems that the modern bro faces. One can’t spend all day getting swole. One day cavegirl talks to caveboy, and they make cavebabies. Suddenly cave life is full of new responsibilities, which eats up time. And on top of that, caveman can no longer be selfish, he must provide.

Providing is hard work, especially whilst dodging saber tooth tiger. Long days would leave your caveman ancestors fatigued and weary, wanting nothing more at the end of the day than a nice sit around the fire, perhaps atop a steady tree stump or log. And this comfortable, relaxing sit was just the first step towards losing mobility. Caveman noticed it was a tad nicer to sit ON something instead of just sitting on the ground. And then caveman wondered, what else could I make even easier?

As such, primitive tools were created. Tools were improved. Life slowly began getting easier. Over the generations, the physically demanding life that led to wondrous motor patterns and muscle functions was starting to become soft. And caveman started showing signs that he would eventually evolve into the wussy, dad bod having modern man.

Modern man tends to sit… a lot. Many of us work sedentary jobs that lend themselves to very poor mobility, stiff joints, and nagging pains and injuries that we associate with “playing basketball” or “lifting a heavy thing up the stairs,” but the culprit isn’t hard work, its bad movement patterns. Fortunately, it is not an irreversible process. And it does not even require 30 minutes of foam rolling and a full mobility WOD per day to correct. Making small changes now is he first step towards reaping the rewards of improved mobility. Five minutes prior to your “real” workout you can start to move the joints and work out some kinks. Ideally this can bring us a little closer back to that ideal caveman status, without the risk of saber tooth tiger, nor the rigors of mammoth hunting

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