6 Easy PVC Movements That Are Crucial To Increase Mobility - Swolverine

Mobility is arguably the most important element of being an athlete. Maybe even more than strength, endurance, and gymnastic ability combined. The reason? Without mobility, you cannot have a functional movement. It’s the foundation of all of the other pillars of movement, in just about any sport, and yes, we understand what a big claim that is. When you call upon your strength, you must be in the most powerful position to engage your muscles. When you call upon your endurance and aerobic capacity, you’re demanding that your muscular movement synchronizes to be as efficient as possible. You get the point, mobility is important. So here are 6 easy PVC movements that are crucial to increase mobility, every single day. 

What Is Mobility?

Mobility is the awesome thing you had as a kid and now you don’t have in your adult body that sits for 8 hours a day at a desk and the same one that you call on to smash weights and times at the gym right when you get off work. Ever watch a toddler squat? If your mobility sucks, it makes you kind of have an envious moment of rage. “Look how perfect that kid squats! Man, I wish I had that kind of mobility”.

Yeah, us too, buddy.

But mobility doesn’t come from wishing it was there, it comes from working on it, every single day. This means creating new patterns of movement and increasing your squatting, crawling, and stretching ability through everyday activities and mobility sessions. In turn, you’ll become a better athlete, and as you can imagine, a healthier one at that.

The Body Loves Movement

While some pieces of your body, like your lumbar spine, are mean to be more stable, many other areas of the body, like your hips and shoulders, and designed to move with fluidity. A lack of mobility, according to the American Council on Exercise, creates imbalances that result in compensated movements and an increased risk of injury.

Imbalances act a red flag for us athletes, and if you’re experiencing either of the ones we just mentioned, they should serve as a red flag for you, too. The goal is being able to move without any pain or stiffness throughout movements to not only avoid injury but gain a competitive edge.

With that being said, we introduce to you (or reintroduce to most of you), the power using a PVC pipe to improve your mobility and exercise performance.

How to Use a PVC Pipe to Boost Mobility

You know, that stack of white pipes in the corner of the gym that your coach occasionally makes you do some unsupervised figure 8’s and pass-throughs with? Well, it does a lot more than just serve as a class-wide warm-up tool. "The PVC pipe is a great tool for loosening your joint like your shoulder joints over time," says Joe Gaines CF-L1 of CrossFit For The People in Albany, New York.

Everyone from Crossfitters to Olympic Lifters, Endurance athletes and the everyday gym go-er can benefit from using a PVC to boost mobility prior to working out. There’s something really cool that happens when you warm up with a consistent PVC routine prior to your workout - you get warm. Sounds stupid? Think again. When you move through the following 6 easy PVC movements to increase mobility, you begin to feel fluidity and connection between your muscles, your mind, and your body.

We recommend doing the following movements consistently, for 15-20 minutes, before every workout. Focus on slow motions through the exercises while synchronizing your breath as you move.

6 Easy PVC Movements That Are Crucial Increase Mobility 

PVC Movement #1: PVC Pipe Lean

Starting us off, the PVC pipe lean is a wonderful warm-up movement that focuses on preparing the entire posterior chain for exercise. The PVC pipe lean is geared towards big movements like deadlifting, power cleans and snatches. In addition to a pre-workout warm-up, this movement is a good go-to for anyone who experiences lower back pain, poor hip mobility, and/or for those who sit through most of their days and don’t engage their glutes/hamstrings outside of working out.

PVC Pipe Lean How-To:

Step 1: Grab a PVC pipe and hold it vertically behind your back, mimicking your spine

Step 2: Align the PVC pipe so that it’s barely touching the back of the head right between the shoulder blades, and down to the tailbone

Step 3: While keeping contact with the back of the head, shoulder blades, and tailbone, begin to hinge at the hips (not squat) pushing the booty back, engaging the glutes and the hamstrings

Step 4: Keep your knees straight (but not locked) through the entire movement

Step 5: Raise the chest, using the power of the hip hinge, rising to a standing position.

Step 6: Take your time and repeat the movement 10-15 times, syncing your breath with your movement and breathing into areas of tightness

PVC Pipe Lean Tips:

  • Only go as far as your mobility will take you – if you fall forward, then stop before you feel the loss of control
  • Drive your hips back and don’t round the back, as this is where we lose control and set ourselves up for injury
  • All of the motion should be coming from your hips with most of your weight being rooted in your heels
  • If this is a weak movement for you, we encourage performing 3 sets of 10-15 reps every day before your workout
  • Aim for quality, not quantity

PVC Movement #2: PVC Pass-Through

This is probably the PVC movement you’re most familiar with and for a good reason. PVC pass-throughs are a great way to awaken your shoulders and chest before a tough workout. The key? Engage your core! When you tighten your core and abdomen, you not only keep the ribs and diaphragm in place, but you reap the most reward from your movement. Focus on the range of motion (ROM) in the shoulders and not the torso to get the most bang for your buck with PVC pass-throughs.

6 Easy PVC Movements That Are Crucial To Increase Mobility - Swolverine

PVC Pass-Through How-To:

Step 1: Hold the PVC pipe in front of you with your hand placement similar to your overhead squat or snatch grip

Step 2: Engage your whole body before you move. This means squeezing the glutes, bracing the core, keeping the tailbone tucked and in line with the spine

Step 3: Keeping the arms straight, bring the pipe up, overhead, and behind you (as low as you can)

Step 4: Repeat bringing the pipe back to the front – this is one full rep 

PVC Pass-Through Tips:

  • Keep the arms locked out through the entire movement
  • As you pass overhead, shrug the shoulders and extend the lats
  • Keep your hands as close as possible without having to bend elbows
  • Widen your grip if you cannot get the pipe overhead

PVC Movement #3: PVC Figure 8

Similar to the PVC Pass-Through, the figure 8 movement is aimed at engaging the shoulders and chest, with more emphasis on engaging the lats as compared to the former warm-up exercise. Figure 8’s also use a circular motion, rather than a strict front and back motion.

PVC Figure 8 How-To:

Step 1: Hold the PVC pipe in front of you with your hand placement similar to your overhead squat or snatch grip

Step 2: Engage your whole body before you move. This means squeezing the glutes, bracing the core, keeping the tailbone tucked and in line with the spine

Step 3: Imagine yourself pulling the PVP pipe apart with both of your hands, as this will engage your lats

Step 4: While keeping your arms straight, pull the left arm over your head, then down behind the hips, pull the right arm over your head, then down behind the hips

Step 5: Repeat bringing the pipe back to the front – this is one full rep 

PVC Figure 8 Tips:

  • Keep the arms locked out through the entire movement
  • As you pass overhead, shrug the shoulders and extend the lats
  • Keep your hands as close as possible without having to bend elbows
  • Widen your grip if you cannot get the pipe overhead 

6 Easy PVC Movements That Are Crucial To Increase Mobility - Swolverine

PVC Movement #4: PVC Pipe Shoulder Flexion Stretch

After warming up the shoulder, chest, and lats with the former, the PVC pipe shoulder flexion stretch will create an end range isometric stretch. By generating tension in the activated muscles on both sides of the shoulder joint, the athlete will be able to target tight hip flexors.

PVC Pipe Shoulder Flexion Stretch How-To:

Step 1: In a half-kneeling position, with right leg forward and left leg back, begin by placing one end of the PVC pipe to the left of the right foot (this can also be done standing, with both arms on the pipe - see image below)

Step 2: Your left hand should be choked up on the PVC pipe at the same level as your eyes

Step 3: Hinging with the hips, press your chest down until you feel the tension and stretching in the left shoulder

Step 4: Imagine that you are pushing the PVC pipe down into the ground with that left arm, holding this position anywhere from 10-30 seconds.

Step 5: Slowly release your stretch and move to the other side 

6 Easy PVC Movements That Are Crucial To Increase Mobility - Swolverine

PVC Pipe Shoulder Flexion Stretch Tips:

  • Not feeling the stretch with your chest forward? Press the pipe into the ground harder
  • Not feeling it in the front of your shoulder? Contract the muscles harder
  • One rep is a 10-30 second interval – repeat on each side 3-5 times per shoulder
  • Have pain? Stop what you’re doing and try not to go as deep in the stretch. You should feel NO PAIN during this movement 

PVC Movement #5: PVC Overhead Squat

With the PVC Overhead, you’re going to engage the whole body and dive deep into your full-body mobility. Using a PVC or an empty barbell to perform the overhead squat is ideal after you work through most of your warm-up. We do not recommend starting with this movement, first. 

PVC Overhead Squat How-To:

Step 1: Grab a PVC pipe and stand in your squat stance (feet slightly wider than hips)

Step 2: Position your hands on the PVC with a wide grip

Step 3: Bring the pipe overhead and lock arms out

Step 4: Engage your whole body before you move. This means squeezing the glutes, bracing the core, keeping the tailbone tucked and in line with the spine

Step 5: Send the hips & booty back while bending the knees, slowly descending while maintaining tightness in the upper back

Step 6: Constantly press the PVC pipe up to the ceiling, away from the body

Step 7: Keep the chest tall and squat until you reach parallel (or as far as you can without compromising form)

Step 8: From the bottom, press through the midfoot, engaging the hips, and stand

PVC Overhead Squat Tips:

  • Only go as low as your form allows
  • Finding your hand placement: grab the PVC, pull your elbows up to a 90-degree angle, adjust hands
  • Maintain an active and engaged core and back so that you can maintain a strong center of gravity and midline, keeping you from tilting forward or back

What's The Best Supplement To Help With Joints And Mobility?

Swolverine's Collagen Protein is made with pure grass-fed, pasture-raised hydrolyzed collagen peptides. Unflavored and virtually tasteless, you can add it to your coffee, smoothies, shakes, and even to your baking recipes to get an added boost of protein whenever you may need it. Collagen can help replenish your body with the vital protein you need to build lean muscle mass, strength, and help support healthy joints and glowing skin.* 

SWOLVERINE is an endurance athlete and active lifestyle brand. Made for the elite athlete, and the strong-willed our products were designed to fuel your athletic performance. We perform when you perform. 

We believe that everyone can optimize not only their athletic performance but their human potential. The way we believe we can optimize performance is through transparency, clinically effective doses, and clinically proven ingredients with evidence-based outcomes. We provide the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle. 

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