No one’s saying you need to have the mobility of a Russian contortionist. But putting off your mobility work in favour of getting into your lifts as soon as you hit the gym could have consequences that will creep on you and reduce the longevity of your training life. If you are THAT GAL or THAT GUY who has trouble hitting parallel depth with a bodyweight squat but jumps into a barbell back squat without doing any preparation, we need to have a talk.
WHAT IS MOBILITY?
Mobility = Flexibility + Stability
In order to understand why you need to do mobility work, you should understand what mobility is. Mobility is a combination of having flexibility and stability through a joint’s range of motion.
Flexibility is a joint’s ability to move through a range of motion. This can be done actively or passively.
Stability is a joint’s ability to stabilize through its range of motion.
When a joint is both flexible and stable – having good and adequate mobility, you can develop phenomenal strength while mitigating the risk of injury.
If a joint does not have adequate mobility (flexibility and/or stability) to perform desired movements, this is when you need to start doing some work to figure out which joints are limited in movement.
HOW TO MOBILIZE YOUR JOINTS
The major joints you can look at mobilizing are the:
- spine (lumbar, thoracic, and cervical)
All of these joints are capable of moving through many ranges of motion; you should be able to move them and stabilize them in all of the ranges of motion you train and then some.
People who are tight as a rope would benefit from doing more flexibility work. While people who are comparable to Gumby will benefit from doing more stability work. Most people will need a combination of both flexibility and stability work.
- This could mean working on frog stretch to warm up tight hips prior to squatting.
- This could mean working on cat-cows to move the spine, and then working on deadbugs to stabilize it in neutral, or working on Jefferson curls to get mobile outside of neutral spine.
- This could mean doing dowel shoulder dislocates to open your overhead range of motion prior to pull-ups and presses.
- This could mean doing weighted dislocates to stabilize the shoulders before pull-ups or presses.
The approach will need to vary from person to person, from movement to movement, from joint to joint. Not every person will benefit from the same drills, and that’s okay.
Are you making the same mistake everybody else does when stretching the adductors in a frog stretch? AKA rounding the back and falling into a posterior pelvic tilt. # Sadly, 9/10 people I see working on the frog and half-frog stretch make this mistake, which unfortunately makes the stretch ultimately useless. Whenever the lower back rounds and the pelvis tips backward the adductors move into a shortened position (which means that they can’t be stretched from this position because they are not lengthened.) # To effectively stretch the adductors, you want to make sure that you keep your back flat and pelvis in a neutral position. If you can’t get your lower back flat (neutral) in the frog or half frog stretch you’re probably starting by going to deep for your current flexibility and need to ease off and work on some PNF variations in a less deeply stretched position. # The frog stretch is fantastic for opening the hips before squatting, deadlifting, or doing bent over rows when it is performed correctly (especially for people who tend to round their lower back while training.) So now that you know better, you can do better. May your hips be limber, and may your spine stay neutral when it’s supposed to be. 👊🏼 # # # #StrengthAndSanity #fitness #fitfam #toronto #the6ix #torontofitness #torontofitfam #personaltrainer #personaltraining #onlinecoaching #onlinepersonaltraining #flexibility #mobility #iamagatsu #girlsgonestrong #womenofstrong #girlswholift #womenwholift #strongwomen
IS YOUR MOBILITY WORK ACTUALLY HELPING?
While mobility work is totally awesome and good for you, you want to make sure you are not wasting time and doing the wrong drills. In order to know if your mobility work is actually helping, you will want to test your movement quality and range of motion before you do a mobility drill.
This process could be doing a bodyweight squat to see your depth and if there is any pain throughout the movement. Then going into your mobility drill from there. Test the movement range and quality after your drill. Did your range improve? Is painful movement now pain-free? Yes? Good job, you did a drill that worked.
If you tested a movement, did a mobility drill, and the range stayed the same or there was no qualitative improvement, you will need to do a different drill in order to improve that movement. Mobility work should have an instantaneous response in terms of improving your movement quality – even if it’s small.
HOP TO IT
If ya’ don’t know, now ya’ know – you have every reason now to be doing your mobility work and making sure you are adequately prepared for your workouts. Do your drills. Your body will thank you. The gains will come abounding.
📷 @agatsufitness “I don’t like stretching.” “Well, do you like tearing muscles?” 🤔 # #fbf to the time I took the @agatsufitness Level 1 Movement and Mobility course in Montreal. # While not everyone has to work on achieving a front split, the progressions used to achieve them are fantastic for releasing tension in the hips and hamstrings – which could help people carrying a lot of tension mitigate the risk of injury. # Lifting heavy is fun, but there still needs to be a balance with training flexibility, which would allow us to have optimal mobility. If we trend too far in either direction we risk opening our body up to injury. If you’re someone who lifts a lot, consider adding a regular mobility practice to your routine to help keep your joints and tissues healthy.