Why is mobility so important?
The Equinox-Franklin st Tier 4 training staff breaks down why mobility is so important and often overlooked.
Mobility and Flexibility are the basis for our movement. A joint must be mobile before it can be stable. For a joint to be mobile it needs opposing muscles acting on it to be working (ie. pulling on the joint) at the right levels. If we have an overly tight muscle acting on a joint while another muscle acting on that joint is at a normal level of tightness, we get an imbalance there and will lose mobility due to the unequal actions. So, in Jason’s example, the long and weak hamstring, may be being lengthened due to adversely tight hip flexors on the front side of the body. The impact here usually can be felt in the low back, as the QL and spinal erectors begin to do the job of the tight and weak hamstrings.
Mobility needs to be addressed with both strengthening and lengthening, of the appropriate muscles. A solid trainer who knows how to properly assess movement can help you with this.
Flexibility and mobility are important but much like any element of fitness and training, flexibility and mobility work must be applied correctly. Often times, people tend to stretch the wrong muscles because they sense that those muscles are tight. A common example are the hamstrings. More often than not, the hamstrings tend to be long and weak. Stretching them can make this worse.
Joints function best when the force at the joint is balanced. This requires an appropriate ratio of strength and length of all the muscles that act on that joint. Mobility and flexibility are meant to address the short, overactive muscles of the joint. Adding length to these muscles will help restore balance and function at the joint. This requires an understanding of which muscles need lengthening and which muscles need strengthening, which can be determined via a postural assessment in addition to a movement screen. Working on mobility and flexibility without improving strength of the opposing muscles will not create a lasting change.
For information about undergoing a movement screen or postural assessment please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flexibility and mobility is such an integral part of the overall health picture because it primes the machine to operate correctly. Especially when you are preparing to pull off finely tuned movements, such as the main complex movements we reinforce in the gym, events or hobbies. What people tend to forget is that your body reacts to whatever stimulus is reinforced most often; so if you’re seated throughout the day or have poor posture it will wreak havoc on your biomechanics. Now you expect your body to work efficiently which is unlikely. This is where drills and movement prep come in handy. People also tend to believe a 5 minute static stretch is going to drastically change their flexibility right away, IT DOESN’T.
This area of Flexibility and mobility is most often neglected for 2 reasons. 1) They don’t understand how they should feel, what they should feel, or how their body should respond during a movement pattern. 2) It’s lackluster, no one will give you props on how you crushed that warm up, or killed your foam rolling. What I will say is that incorporating the right corrective work will absolutely increase your likelihood of success in your performance. Perform better = improve more.
Because our society has become so sedentary we have lost our ability to move well. Sitting at a desk 8 hours a day then going home to sit and watch television for another few hours has tightened joints and fascia in our bodies. If you start strength training with joints that don’t move well you increase your chances for injury. In order to have stability in those joints they need to be mobile first. As we age it becomes increasingly important. Think of it this way – for every decade that you are old, that’s how many days a week you should be doing flexibility/mobility work.