What does mobility mean?
Put simply, mobility refers to the total movement experienced at a joint or during movement. It is influenced by two factors:
1. The range of motion at a joint.
2. The flexibility of the muscles surrounding and impacting on the joint.
Therefore, when working on mobility you must address both the joint and the muscles in order to see improvements.
Why is mobility training important?
Mobility is essential in order for you to move, and the level of mobility directly relates to the degree of movement that can be achieved. If your mobility is reduced this will decrease your total range of movement. For example, during a squat, your body receives the most benefit when a range of 90° is reached. Reduced mobility in the hip or ankle can limit this range, thereby directly reducing the benefit of the movement.
It is important to note reduced mobility can also increase your risk of injury. For example, tight hamstring muscles are more prone to tears compared to more mobile hamstrings. Mobility training should therefore be incorporated into your programme in order to reduce the risk of injury and increase joint health.
How is mobility lost?
Mobility is directly related to activity, keeping fit and active helps to maintain your overall mobility. In periods of inactivity your mobility is more likely to be reduced, therefore it is important to incorporate mobility training.
Some forms of activity can also result in reduced mobility. Following a workout, class, run, or bike ride, you may experience some muscle ache. This ache can cause a temporary reduction in the flexibility of your muscles, and therefore a reduction in your mobility. It is important not to neglect mobility training after exercise.
What should I do in my mobility training and should I stretch?
There is no doubt that stretching does increase your mobility, however this is a very short lived benefit, whereas selecting the right exercises has shown to have a more lasting and beneficial effect on mobility. Follow these 3 steps in planning your mobility sessions….
1. Straight after strenuous exercise use a foam roller to help reduce that post exercise muscle ache before moving on to some more specific exercises.
2. Select exercises that are not too demanding and take a joint through it’s full range, examples of such exercises include squats, wall slides or side leg raises.
3. Use low level eccentric exercises such as Good Mornings to help lengthen a muscle under tension.
If you need some support then click the link below to see our full body mobility video: