Rope Flow Mobility: 6 Movements for Enhanced Fluidity

Follow along with five rope flow mobility exercises to help open up the wrists, shoulders, hips and spine for improved rotational movement and flow.

Rope flow itself can be a great way to improve many aspects of our movement and mobility – as can other tools like clubs, macebells and kettlebells. Just practising the basic rope flow movements will get you a lot of benefits through the wrists, shoulders and spine.

But there are a few separate mobility drills that can potentially be useful if you’re struggling to nail a particular rope flow movement (like the underhand sneak), or if you just want to make sure the main joints involved are warmed up and moving well prior to your session.

And even if you don’t practice rope flow, the following mobility exercises are designed to open up the wrists, shoulders, hips and spine, and support our ability to perform rotational movement patterns like running, throwing, striking, swimming and beyond. So, worth a look perhaps.  

For this routine, you’ll just need a rope and some space. Follow along, let me know how you get on in the comments section.

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Exercise #1 - Wrist Circles

Pinch your index finger and thumb into the wrist gap, make a fist and perform slow, gentle rotations of the wrist in both directions. 

We’re pinning down the tissues around the wrist and introducing some gentle movements to open the area up. a nice one to ease into your rope flow session, and to relieve tension that can build up from typing and grip heavy sports. 

Related: Follow Along Rope Flow Session for Beginners

Exercise #2 - Shoulder Internal & External Rotations

With the elbows bent at 90 degrees and raised in line with the shoulders, gently move between internal shoulder rotation (palms rotate forward towards the ground) and external rotation (palms tip backwards). 

Endeavour to keep the shoulders from rolling too far forward as you internally rotate, and allow the shoulder blades to ‘scoop under’ as you externally rotate. 

You can also play with alternating one side into external rotation and the other into internal rotation. Turn slightly towards the externally rotated side to get a nice ‘wringing out’ sensation through the mid back. 

Exercise #3 - Shoulder Dislocates

Take a shoulder-width or wider grip on your rope and slowly lift the rope overhead in a smooth, controlled motion. Continue until the rope is behind you touching your lower back or glutes, squeezing the chest in this bottom position as if you were pulling the rope through your hips, back to front.

Reverse the motion until the rope is at the front of your hips, squeezing the shoulder blades back as if you’re pulling the rope through your hips in the opposite direction, front to back.

Over time, work to reduce the width of your rope grip as your shoulder mobility improves. 

Exercise #4 - Rope Overhead Side Bend

Gripping the rope shoulder width or wider, raise it up overhead and alternate between slowly side-bending the torso to the left, back to centre, and then to the right. 

Here, where we’re shortening one side of the body while opening up the tissues on the opposite side – something we see in our running stride, throwing and striking patterns. 

You can get a deeper stretch by performing a backside step to the same side that you are bending towards – e.g if you’re side bending to the left, the right leg steps to the left side, behind the standing leg. This gets the lateral line fascia around the outside of the hip involved. 

Exercise #5 - Shoulder Internal Rotation

This is a particularly useful drill for improving shoulder internal rotation – something that comes in handy with the underhand sneak rope flow movement, and many other athletic movement patterns. 

Holding the rope in both hands, one arm goes overhead, while the other is placed behind your back, elbows bent. The rear arm is in shoulder internal rotation and extension, while the overhead arm is in shoulder flexion. Try to take out any slack from the rope, and try not to let the shoulder of the back arm roll forward too much.  

You can then either hang out in this position or add in some gentle movement, ‘flossing’ the rope up and down. 

Exercise #6 - Standing Thoracic Rotation

From a neutral stance, simply rotate the torso to the left side, back to centre, and then to the right. Start small, and then try to see how much of the body you can get involved – allowing the hips to come through, the head and neck to turn, and the arms to flow through. You can also play around with changing the angle of the rotation – from high to low, or low to high. 

Over to You

I hope the rope flow mobility routine serves you well! Let me know how you get on, or if you have any questions, dow in the comments below. 

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Luke Jones

Luke Jones is a Movement Coach, Wellness Enthusiast, Online Content Creator, and Founder of HERO Movement. Through articles, videos, courses, and online coaching, his big goal is to help people discover freedom of movement and create lives filled with well-being & adventure.

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