In your fitness journey you will run across a broad range of coaching styles. However there should be one constant gleaming at you when examining them all; prioritization of your safety. You are probably saying to yourself that this is a no-brainer, and I agree with you. Then I would ask you, why do so many people overlook basic mobilization? If your gym does not write “mobility” into its programming you have to ask yourself if safety is a top priority for them and yourself. I know that’s a pretty bold claim, so let’s examine some evidence.
Mobility is supposed to be prescriptive to prevent issues from arising rather than to fix issues you are having, in other words its injury prevention not injury rehabilitation. Kelly Starrett of San Francisco CrossFit and MobilityWOD says “mobilization is a tool to globally address movement and performance problems.” This alone should be enough to make everyone want to mobilize more often. Simply put, if you cannot move properly to exercise you will get injured. Chief of all injury prevention is midline stabilization. In order to safely transmit energy from your center mass to your extremities you must maintain a neutral spine. When you position yourself poorly and have poor mobility you default to an unstable midline, thus compromising your neutral spine.
Stretching is the same thing as mobility, right? Think again. If you were to take a tube sock and pull at either end as hard as you could what would happen? It should be nice and stretched out. What happens when you do the same with your hamstrings? A pretty common stretch is standing and bending over to touch your toes. Your hamstrings are stretched similarly to the sock, and there is nothing wrong with lengthening the muscle. However if you stretch the muscle to new lengths and go for a one rep max deadlift, without training your body to build strength at that new stretched position, you’re basically signing up for physical therapy.
This is only scratching the surface of what is a very important and neglected topic. If you’re not mobilizing you will get injured, and will plateau when you reach your body’s limit. Your health is counting on your body’s ability to move, so mobilize your life towards being healthy. Grab your coach and ask them how to properly position your body correctly, they may thank you before you can thank them.
Written by Coach Adam