Posted on Leave a comment

The Importance of Mobility

Mobility vs. Flexibility

            When it comes to these two terms it can be confusing to some, but the main difference to remember is that flexibility just means the ability to stretch a muscle. Mobility on the other hand is broad term meaning the ability to have increased range of motion and strength in the joints and muscles. True mobility is the mix between flexibility and strength, most people have the ability to stretch themselves into a position, while few have the ability to actually hold the position without an external load or a closed chain. One example is a person who has the ability to touch their toes while standing with their feet on the floor and someone pushing down on their back slightly. Now have that same person lean against a wall and try to drive their toes up to their head, if they can do that only using the power of their own muscles that that person has good active mobility. The main take away from this is simple: flexibility is good to have but mobility is what you need.

The top 5 reasons why mobility is important for recreational and competitive athletes are as follows:

  1. Improves Range of motion: When trying to increase strength, power, hypertrophy, and speed a factor in all these adaptations is to improve the ability to move through the tissues full range of motion. This allows athletes the opportunity to increase performance and reduce risk of non-contact injuries. When it comes to building muscle one of the keys to increased hypertrophic gain is how well you can contract and stretch your muscles. Without proper range of motion, the ability to produce the three mechanisms required for muscle gain (metabolic stress, mechanical load, and muscle damage) are decreased. Having a tight, stiff, and nonfunctional body ultimately leads to joint problems and muscle tears.
  • Gain control of the body: Having optimal control of all joints during static and dynamic movement can dramatically increase your force production, when you are able to isolate and mentally connect with each joint individually your overall range of movement increases. When you have control of movement you can start to work on higher level movements and exercises for athletic performance. Each position in your sport must be mastered, without mastering each position you do not have the proper prerequisites to do that movement or be in that position under load or resistance.
  • Increase strength: Creating force is a key component to all performance, without the ability to create force throughout a full range of motion you lose strength. Without strength through all joint angles and ranges of motion you will put your body at risk of compensation which can lead to muscle imbalances and injury, The ability to be strong in all planes of motion can be the edge athletes need over competition and have longevity in their sport. Joint strength provides the structure for a stable body which is the basis for allowing you to produce force throughout all directions.
  • Reduces risk of injury: the main reason for most non-contact injury is due to not having proper balance between your joints and muscles, too much muscle can cause joint pain, and too much over joint work will lead to muscle tears. The same thing applies for flexibility and mobility, too much passive flexibility will increase the chances of damaging the muscle due to lack of strength and control, which is why active mobility is a necessity. With mobility comes control, with control comes the ability to move in al directions under load and with force/velocity.
  • Improves performance: performance is the ability to work effectively and efficiently, the only way to improve performance is minimize injury and give the body the ability to adapt to new stresses. What mobility will provide is the ability to do just that, active mobility and range of motion can reduce the stresses on your body giving you the ability to optimize your performance in sport and in your daily life. Decreasing stiffness and tightness throughout the body can leave you more awake and aware of the opportunities around you, providing the opportunity to improve every day.

Leave a Reply