Mobility is a hot topic and is very important for anyone who spends time in the gym. The ability to fully range of motion in muscles and joints is one of the most important aspects of training. Improving mobility can help you exercise better, reduce joint pain and reduce the risk of injury.
Learn more about mobility, what it affects, why you should focus on it regardless of age and how to improve it.
What is mobility and is it just another word for flexibility?
Everywhere you look, there seems to be another program, device, or philosophy of mobility. And for good reason. Mobility is much more important to your performance than you think.
Although they are quite similar, flexibility and mobility are not the same thing. Flexibility is the ability to lengthen muscles. Think about touching your toes – if you increase your flexibility, you can lengthen the muscles of the knee tendon, allowing you to reach further and further towards the ground.
Mobility is a little different though. While flexibility refers to muscle elongation, imagine mobility as the ability to move joints and supporting muscles in the full range of motion without mechanical assistance.
People with great mobility can move their whole body freely and painlessly through the entire range of motion. This involves much more than simple muscle flexibility. Such a move requires range of motion in your joints, stability of the joints and muscles, muscle strength, proper alignment and symmetry of the muscles, and flexibility of the muscles.
Why is mobility important?
1. Mobility problems reduce your strength. Lack of mobility can lead to improper technique, which exhausts your ability to produce maximum strength most efficiently. Therefore, poor mobility can interfere with muscle growth.
2. Mobility problems increase your chances of joint and muscle injuries. If your goal is to progress in the gym, every injury can mean a few steps back – and we don’t want that.
3. Poor mobility increases muscle pain and fatigue. Pain caused by mobility problems can diminish your consistency and frequency of coming to the gym. If you perform a movement with a limited range of motion and do not activate your main muscle groups properly, the smaller muscles will take on the extra load. Because these muscles are smaller and weaker than your primary muscles, you run the risk of increased pain that may cause you to delay training the next day.
How to include mobility training in your schedule?
1. Do a variety of workouts
Exercise improves your mobility, but you need to do different types of exercises that activate different parts of the body in different ways.
2. Include yoga and pilates (or their elements) in your schedule
Pilates and yoga are great because they encourage your body to work in directions it doesn’t normally work, which is important for your mobility.
Stretching helps with both flexibility and mobility, but the specificity of stretching for mobility is that it opens your body beyond the way it moves in training.
See you at your workout,
your Gyms4you team