What Is Mobility? And why it’s so important.
by Jennifer Matthews – Movement Specialist FREERUN
There is a lot of confusion out there about mobility. What does it mean? How should I be doing it? When should I be doing it? Is mobility stretching?
Mobility simply means…the ability to move freely and easily. May sound simple enough, and it can be, but mobility work requires an extreme amount of focus, attention to detail, and a heck of a lot of control and body awareness. It’s learning how to move a joint through its full range of motion, with strength, and control.
Range of motion is the full movement potential of a joint. Some people have a lot of ROM (range of motion), and some have minimal ROM. It’s possible for you to have a lot of ROM in a few joints, and minimal range in others. Bottom line, it’s your ability to control that ROM, through mobility exercises, that dictate the health of a joint, and its surrounding ligaments, tendons, tissues, and muscles.
Mobility work allows you to get into positions with ease. Activities of daily living, such as reaching for something on the top shelf, as well as athletic performance, relies heavily on how well a joint can move. Without ROM, performance can suﬀer. As a weightlifter for example, if you can’t get into a good position to execute a lift, you won’t be able to engage the muscles you’re trying to work.
The deadlift for example requires lengthy hamstrings, a pelvis that will move in two directions, and an innate ability to create full body tension. If the hamstrings are tight, and the pelvis doesn’t move, a neighboring joint will have to pick up the slack… A.K.A. your vulnerable lower back. Lifting like this repetitively, puts you at risk for injury.
Athletes who incorporate mobility work into their training program are at a decreased risk of developing injuries than those who don’t!
Mobility work increases a joint’s overall capacity to handle load, or stress. Every time our foot strikes the floor when we walk, a shock wave is sent up the spine. Without the ability to create tension in the abdominals, a moveable pelvis and ribcage, and an ankle and big toe that will bend, that shock wave will become electric, putting undue strain on the lower back, hips, knees, and ankles.
Can mobility work make you stronger? YES! HOW? You learn how to get into positions, how to create tension in those positions, so you are using your powerhouse muscles for a lift or exercise.
Can mobility work increase the longevity of your joints, decreasing your risk of arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions? YES! HOW? You will increase your production of synovial fluid, which is medicine for your joints, improving their ability to glide over tissues, decreasing the amount of pressure that is put on ligaments, and tendons during movement.
Can mobility decrease pain? YES! HOW? The movements stimulate blood flow, which acts a natural pain reliever, which in turn, frees up tension in the musculature.
Do I have to do lot of mobility work to notice results? NO! Just a few minutes a day can substantially improve your ROM, and your ability to move with greater ease, and control, improving the overall longevity of your joints.
Join me for a Mobility Flow class (check schedule for times) and learn more about the benefits of working on your mobility.
If you have any questions regarding mobility exercises, or are looking for an individualized mobility routine, contact me via email at Jenn@freeruninc.com or 905 812 5240.