The Importance of Mobility:
By Kristian Martorana
(Linked Videos at the bottom)
What is mobility?
Before we dive into anything else about mobility, we must understand what exactly we are talking about. Mobility is the ability of a joint to move actively through a range of motion, ideally a full range of motion. This is often confused with flexibility, which is the ability to passively move through a range of motion. Mobility is a controlled voluntary movement through its entire functional range of motion.
What is mobility training?
Mobility training is the process in which you work to improve mobility in all or a single joint. In doing so you reduce the potential of imbalances. Imbalances are what lead to functional compensations that teach your body improper movement patterns that develop injury, pain, and dysfunction over time.
Should you train mobility?
Yes! 100% of people benefit from mobility training.
How lack of mobility training will lead to pain, injury, or dysfunction:
Imagine this scenario: you are stranded in the middle of nowhere without food or water but in front of you is a very large pyramid with hundreds of steps and at the top of this endless staircase is refreshing ice-cold water and delicious fruit and other decadent foods that would ensure your survival. As a human being, would you:
1. Sit there and look at the stairs deciding it is too challenging and just give up and die
2. Try your absolute hardest to get to the top of that pyramid
Chances are you chose option 2. It is in our nature to continue forward. When we have a task in front of us, our bodies will figure out a way to accomplish it. Don’t believe me? Tie one of your hands behind your back for a week and I guarantee that you will find adaptations to tasks.
Through our repetitive daily activities, exercise, or lack thereof, our joint range of motion can decrease resulting in what is known as a compromised joint otherwise we known as vulnerable. To protect against this vulnerability your body will make compensations around that joint and every other place in the body that is associated with that part. This compensation will likely increase the chance of injury to occur. A compromised joint can even cause pain in unrelated areas! Joint mobility training stimulates and circulates synovial fluid. Joints do not receive direct blood supply, therefore, they do not receive nourishment. When you stimulate and circulate synovial fluid you increase the turnover rate of the fluid in the joint, which provides nourishment as well as removes waste in the joint.
Now, remember the endless staircase? Imagine you have to climb it and you have compromised joints.
That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
Now I want you to think of this analogy whenever you decide to do your hundred of reps of loaded back squat or your deadlift from the floor and think to yourself, “Do the joints required in this action actually have the proper range of motion for what I am constantly demanding of my body?”
How mobility training will mitigate your risk of injury:
By allowing your joint range of motion to be as close to 100% of your potential, your body will subconsciously have more options to accomplishing a task and naturally, our brain should choose the easiest path with least resistance. The more options we have to do a task, the more efficiently it can be done. On the contrary, if we have limited options to finish a task, we are limited to our approach.
Where does this fit into my workout?
Any given individual should be doing mobility training at least 5 days per week. I would definitely recommend doing it at least every time prior to a workout and potentially before you go to sleep as well. Mobilizing your body before it’s locked into a position for 8 hours is known to help with regular aches and pains. The important thing is to be consistent and intentional with your movements.
What does mobility training look like?
Well, you’ve come to the right place! We have put together an entirely free mobility circuit for you to use. Included are videos, written instructions, and recommended the frequency of each movement.
You can find it here.