‘Mobility’ a huge buzz word in the fitness world now with mobility exercises/warm up drills filling up our newsfeeds and rightly so.
However do we know what it really means and how do you select the best exercises for you…
This blog aims to clear up the confusion around what is meant by ‘mobility’ and help you become more mobile, get the most out of training and enjoy it! Exercise shouldn’t cause you pain and be something to be dreaded, so read on to help free your joints and feel awesome for it 😀
1. Are Mobility & Flexibility the Same Thing?
Mobility/flexibility is a grey area, with the two often getting mistaken for the same thing. In short your flexibility is your stretch ability, for example your ability to prop one leg up on a box and stretch – your muscles are not working to hold you there the box is what is holding you there.
Mobility however would be your ability to then raise your leg off the box and hold it there – your muscles/ligaments/tendons are now responsible for the work.
Mobility = strength + flexibility. True mobility exercises work to increase your range of movement at each joint through muscular contraction, meaning you have strength and control over the movement whatever position your joint may be in.
Stiff/immobile joints don’t just occur when surrounding muscles are too tight but also when the surrounding muscles/structures are weak.
It is your bodies way of protecting you from injury by limiting the amount of movement allowed at the joint until you earn the movement through strengthen surrounding muscles/structures, supporting a greater range of movement.
2. Why is it Key to Your Health & Training?
It is probably pretty obvious to you which now is going to be more important to you and hopefully you are starting to understand why (if this still makes zero sense to you please drop me a message and I’ll clear things up for you).
Injury at any joint occurs when it is pushed beyond the movement it has been trained/earnt movement in, so in having the full range of movement in your joints your chances of injury are decreased. Further to this training joints in their full range is making use of how we are designed to move/function and so stiff/tight/immobile joints become a thing of the past.
Bad backs, tension headaches, achy knees/hips, weak ankles and clunky shoulders can all be symptoms of joints not functioning correctly.
The majority of us will have imbalances and postural defects that can be easily corrected, they may be subtle/unnoticeable to the untrained eye but over time cause niggling injuries and chronic pain (often bad backs). Joint dysfunction can make a huge difference not only to the way you move but the way you feel – if a joint is blocked the lymphatic (drainage system of the body) is also often blocked – but this is a whole other story!
3. So How Do I Improve my Mobility?
10 minutes a day. That’s all you need. Add it on to the start of your training or as active recovery between exercises, set the alarm 10minutes early and get your joints feeling fab first thing!
Set yourself a goal and commit to 10mins every day for a month and notice the improvements not only in your training but in your ease of movement, energy and posture.
One client of mine who spends a lot of time driving and struggles with his sleep/energy, after adding just 10 minutes of mobility exercises into his training program noticed some huge changes. Not only in his energy and sleep but in the simple movement of turning his head to look behind when reversing – within 2 weeks he felt no pain, stiffness his neck felt a whole lot better.
A simple yet effective exercises that we’ve added between sets (no extra time needed) and he performs every morning when he gets up has got rid of pain, increased his energy and improved his sleep.
4. Which Exercises are Right for Me?
With mobility being such a buzz word now there are endless videos (some better than others!) but ultimately it comes down to identifying your weak links/movement and what you wish to achieve.
Identifying the areas that cause you pain/problems or areas you need more mobility for your sport/job or an exercise/movement you wish to perform e.g. handstands/splits/muscle ups etc.
CARs (controlled articular rotations) are a great place to start to find your ‘problem’ areas and are a key part of my own & clients warm up and daily routine – because if you don’t use it, you lose it! (I will happily send you the full CARs video routine available for free – just ping me a message or search online).
I will also be posting more of my favourite mobility exercises for each joint but if you are ever unsure of the setup, how to perform them or if they are right for you – please get in touch and I’d be happy to help 🙂
Hope you are all having a fab week so far and exactly 3 weeks until Christmas!! Hope you’ve all got your trees up 😀