Let me start by saying I don’t focus on training muscles specifically but rather focus on training and improving movement patterns. Because of this reason, I love to incorporate “full-body” exercises into sessions such as Turkish get-ups (TGU’s), crawling variations, and jumping drills just to name a few.

That being said, I do separate exercises out based on their muscle-area emphasis. I’m big on “templates” and “categories”…I love to have a menu of movements and then I just “plug & play” so to speak. Meaning, when I’m putting workouts together and creating a program, I will refer to this menu and plug the appropriate movements in to the routine based on the unique needs of the client.

The templates are forever evolving, however, there are main “categories”, or movement patterns, that have been the foundation of my routines for years.

The main categories include:
1. Lower Body
2. Upper Body
3. Torso Training
4. Conditioning
5. Injury Prevention – Pre-hab movements that include activation, mobility, and stability drills

I apologize for the vague terminology. This fifth and final installment in my “Exercise Selection 101” series is an area that comes in many shapes and sizes. It also comes with many titles; pre-hab, corrective exercise, activation, movement prep, stability & mobility protocols, etc.

For this particular piece, I’m going to focus on my favorite stability and mobility movements. We will also focus on 3 major areas of the body. I feel that these are three of the most important areas of the body to focus on in terms of injury prevention.

A. Shoulder Joint & Thoracic Spine
B. Hip Joint & Glutes
C. Ankle Joint & Feet


Injury Prevention Intangibles

Foam Roller T-Spine Extensions
Laying on your back place a foam roller perpendicular to your body and just underneath your shoulder blades (mid-back). Keep your butt on the ground and place your feet against a wall or up on a chair so your knees are bent to 90 degrees. Next, place your hands behind your head, point your up towards the ceiling and “unfold” your upper body and you gently try to touch the back of your head to the ground behind you. (8 reps) 

Quadruped T-Spine Rotations
From your hands and knees, place one hand behind your head and then point the elbow to the ground. Actively rotate your torso open as you attempt to point the elbow up to the ceiling/sky. (8 reps per side)

½ Turkish Get Up
Lying on your back, extend one arm straight up and bend the same-side knee. Your opposite side arm and leg are ~45 degrees out from the body.  Looking up at the extended hand, lead with your chest and “post” up onto your elbow. Slowly lower your upper body back to the ground & repeat. (4 per side)
*The get-up exercise is really a mobility AND stability movement

Shoulder Taps
From pushup position, lift one arm and tap the opposite shoulder minimizing trunk shift from side to side. Return to pushup position and repeat on opposite side. (8 taps per side)


Instep Stretch
From pushup position, take a big step and place your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Keeping the back knee off the ground, attempt to bring the right elbow to the ground next to the instep. Hold for a 5 count and return to pushup position. (4 steps per side) 

Wall Hip Flexor Stretch
Standing in front of a wall, place both hands on the floor in front of you, keep one foot flat on the ground, and place the opposite knee on the ground as close to the wall as you comfortably can (the foot will now be up on the wall). If your flexibility allows, place your hands on the front knee. Try to keep your spine “tall”, squeeze the glute on the ‘down knee’ side, and breath. (15-20 seconds per side)

Start with shoulders on a bench (or ball)Shou, your feet flat, and your knees bent to 90 degrees.  Slowly lower your hips towards the ground and then drive through your feet and fully extend the hips. Pause at the top of the movement and then repeat. (15 reps) 

Bird Dog
From a hands and knees position, extend one arm and the opposite leg straight out. Keep the thumb up and the toes pointed down on the extended limbs. Be sure not to arch your low back and focus on “getting long”. Hold for a 5 count and then return to the starting position. Perform the movement for 10 reps and then repeat on the opposite arm and leg.


Belt Ankle Mob
Using a belt, band, or yoga strap, attach one end to a secure object and the other around your ankle. Face away from the anchor and apply firm pressure into the belt, which is positioned just below the tibia. Then, bend your knee, keep your heel down, and ensure knee tracks directly over toes and avoid pronating your foot. ((20 bends per side)

Leg Swings
Lean into a pole or wall with one leg abducted and the plant leg positioned with toes straight ahead. Swing the abducted leg across the midline of the body and ensure the plant foot does not move. (10 swings per side)

Single Leg 3-Point Balance Reaches
Standing on one leg, keep a slight bend in the stance leg and reach the opposite leg out in front of you as far as possible while maintaining your balance. Return leg to the start position and then reach the leg out to the side as far as possible while maintaining your balance. Return leg to the starting position and then reach the leg behind you as far as possible while maintaining your balance. (3 taps at each position per leg)

Watch the accompanying video clip for further clarification on the movements.

I do provide a number additional movements and exercises on this topic in my “Injury Prevention Report”. To grab your FREE copy, please visit www.DBStrength.com and download yours today.



Sadly, these movements are not flashing and exciting. They are extremely important though and only take 5 minutes to complete. Add a couple of the movements into your warm-up routine to help keep you stable, mobile, flexible, and most importantly, injury free so you can continue to train hard and reach your fitness goals.


About Doug
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is the owner of DB Strength, which provides fitness training, education, and resources. He is also the strength and conditioning coach for Alliance MMA where he works with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, Phil Davis, Brandon Vera, Travis Browne, Ross Pearson, Alexander Gustafsson, and more. Prior to starting his own business, Doug worked at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE).

He has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU and has obtained multiple certifications including ACE, NSCA-CSCS, MMA-CC, TRX instructor training, RIP training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, and FMS training. He has produced his own 2-DVD set on strength training for combat athletes, appeared in many fitness videos and articles, and was recently a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” TV show.

For more information please visit www.dbstrength.com.