Building movement capabilities is something I am seeing even leaking over to the world of bodybuilding. Why would we see people that really only care about aesthetics start to pay attention to their mobility training too? After all, mobility training doesn’t give you bigger muscles or even burn more fat…well not directly.
I believe people from all fitness backgrounds are focusing more on mobility training because there are some common concepts that are essential for any fitness goal to be achieved.
-The best ability is availability: In sports this is an old saying, it doesn’t matter how great an athlete one is if they are constantly hurt and can’t compete. The same can be said of training, you can’t really achieve any strong goal no matter the program, tool, or exercises, if you are constantly banged up.
-You can’t train as hard: It doesn’t matter whenever you are trying to create power, lift more weight, build greater muscle, or lose body fat, if your body can’t move well you can’t train all that intensely. You will be limited by the nervous system in the force you can produce and you can’t get enough range of motion to increase the overload to the body.
-Progression is slooooow: Of course if you can’t move well, building progression is going to go so much slower. We just said it is going to be more difficult to lift more weight, produce more power, but you will also find that your conditioning progress is slow because you are just moving less efficiently. You are also can’t move to more challenging drills that can lead to greater results because your body just isn’t moving well enough in more foundational levels to reward with more advanced training.
It makes sense then that mobility training doesn’t itself relate to many people’s fitness goals of losing body fat, gaining muscle, and so forth, but it allows us to train these qualities at a higher level if we do move better. That is why I wanted to hit on keys that people miss in improving their mobility training.
Stability Can Improve Mobility
Mobility should be thought of as “can the joint actually move?” For example, if you are lying on a table and a therapist can move your joint through a full range of motion, then the issue isn’t the joint itself, it is largely how the nervous controls the joint. Physical therapist, Jessica Bento, explains this concept below…
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A better way to increase your mobility training is to use movement and create stability by integrating tools like our Ultimate Sandbag and super bands to provide the body feedback and knowledge of how to create proper stability as we move the joints and regain our own ability to control the range of motion.
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Integrating Breath, Structure, and Movement
Individually the concepts of breath, structure, and movement are not unique in fitness. However, most people don’t realize they all work actually together best. So many of our mobility training issues can be traced back to our nervous system putting on the brakes because we hold too much tension, we aren’t integrating core stability correctly, and we aren’t moving our bodies in ways that help coordinate more freedom of movement of the joints.
That is why methods like myofascial stretching can be highly effective. This 2012 study found, “These results indicate that stretches aimed at the myofascial components of the upper body, in addition to the hip joint, resulted in dramatic increases in hip ROM in a group of young men with limited hip mobility.”
Good myofascial stretching and movement has us moving in a very integrated manner (lower body, trunk and upper body) focusing on not just moving a joint, but all the connective tissue that is involved with as well!
Dr. Anderson Berrioherrera shows how much connective tissue that just surrounds our knee joint, we can’t think mobility training ONLY involves the joint itself.
A good way of using these ideas come from our upcoming Myofascial Integrated Movement program in series like that below. You can simply aim to do each movement for a minute, slowly, and think about carefully coordinating your body.
If these strategies are so effective, why don’t more people use them? Well, most people miss the complexity of how our body functions and think we are machines when we are far more complex than any machine on the planet. That takes a greater understanding of how our body is designed to move!
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