May 11, 2018
At some point we've all desired to become more flexible and more
mobile, but do we know why? In short, we really only need as much
mobility as our lifestyle - and maybe our sport or recreational
activities - demand. If you are a gymnast, then you will need a
high degree of mobility. If your goal is simply to be generally
healthy, then trying to attain the mobility of a gymnast is
unnecessary, but also a waste of valuable training resources.
Drawing on his nearly three decades of PT experience, Coach D
breaks down how much mobility you really need, and shows you the
best way to obtain it.
- Flexibility and mobility are not the same thing. Flexibility is
the normal range of motion a joint should move through. Mobility is
the functional use of your flexibility; it is both range of motion
in the joint and strength throughout that range of motion. It is
possible to be flexible but lack the strength to support yourself
in that range of motion. So, strength is a very important
ingredient in mobility.
- Mobility should support function, and be outcomes driven. Too
much mobility is bad, as is too little. Your need for mobility -
and thus your choices when working mobility into your training
program - should be based on the demands of your life and your
- Tissue fibers become less elastic, and more plastic as we age.
So, Masters athletes will be less mobile than younger
- Don't perform static stretching before strength workouts. Use
dynamic movements to warm up.
- The best ways to stretch are dynamic stretches (movements under
load), contract/relax techniques, and isometric stretching under
load. Duration of 30s to 1 minute is the sweet spot. These are more
effective than static stretching.
- Yoga, tai chi, and other practices can be good ways to gain
mobility, but don't neglect your strength.
- Strength trumps mobility.
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