In today’s fast-paced environment where we’re all time-poor and searching for the quickest way to lose-weight or increase our fitness, stretching and mobility become quickly overlooked. However, when we’re time poor, our bodies need the most TLC of all. We’re repeatedly told from all corners of the media and health practitioners to eat right, get moving and practice mindfulness if we want to reduce stress, sleep better, etc. Less frequently are we prescribed ‘mobility’ to foster proactive health and wellness, probably because it is largely misunderstood.
So, what is it?
Mobility is the ability to move freely and easily, but it should not be confused with a warm-up stretch. The purpose of a warm-up is usually to prepare the body for the workout ahead, whilst the primary focus of mobility is to improve range of movement, muscle elasticity and improve technique, thereby improving power output and performance.
Mobility exercises address multiple elements that influence performance such as muscles, ligaments and tendons, the joint and the motor control necessary to perform a movement correctly. This is in stark contrast to the traditional static stretches we’re all used to which focus on one muscle and involve holding a stretched pose for several seconds (think splits or toe touches!).
Why should I do it?
1. Reclaim your ability to move freely!
It’s common for people to have general tightness as they age, but as all Pinnacle members know, a week of great gym sessions can increase that tightness ten-fold. The good news is you can reclaim your ability to move better and easier by building mobility into your workouts. The key is to spend time working on the areas of your body that need it most, rather than just doing random stretches and drills.
2. Prevent injury
Working through various planes of motion, the body goes through a state of stress whilst training. The addition of mobility into a regime can ensure the bodies preparedness for these work loads. Mobility and movement sequencing predisposes the body into positions and avoid the risk of injury. Having mobilized not only the specifically targeted muscles, but also the surrounding tendons, ligaments and chain, the body is in a position to perform efficiently.
3. Get the most out of your workout
Improve the depth of your squat, the power in your bench and the strength in your deadlift! Increased mobility aids the body in performing movements as they are designed to be performed. From range of movement, muscle recruitment and activation, right through to injury prevention and efficient form, mobility and prehab should be an essential fixture in all training loads.
Foam rollers, massage balls and Therabands can be used for a range of mobility training methods and are available at all Pinnacle Health Clubs. Ask a Coach to demonstrate appropriate sequencing of these methods and reap the benefits of increased mobility!