You may have a robust fitness plan in place and have previously seen huge progress in both your endurance and your strength but have now hit a plateau. If this is you, you may need to add some mobility sessions to your weekly training.
Often overlooked, but key for long-term fitness success, we take a look at what mobility is and how it can improve your overall progress.
What is Mobility?
Simply, mobility is strength and range of motion in the muscles and joints. It can sometimes cause confusion with flexibility, but the two are different.
There are two types of mobility, the first being mobility of the muscle or isolated body part – this is where some muscle groups have good mobility but others are more restricted. Particularly common in those that train one muscle group more than others, take a boxer for example, or those that sit down a lot during the day.
The issue with this type of mobility is that it doesn’t encourage a good level of mobility in all muscles, which is why the second type of mobility is just as, if not more, important: structural balance.
Structural balance, as the name suggests, impacts how balanced your entire body is, as well as its mobility. For injury prevention, structural balance is an imperative part of your training.
Why is Mobility Important?
Mobility training, particularly structural balance work has huge benefits. The biggest being perhaps how it helps with posture, joint alignment and other chronic injuries that are growing ever more common – we see this a lot with people who have desk jobs.
Having the correct balance in your body alleviates unnecessary strain on joints and therefore restrict the range of movements in your body. This is particularly important if you’re suffer from long-term joint, as well as muscle aches and pains.
If you have poor mobility and balance, and therefore the onset of discomfort and pain, you need to be adding mobility training to your arsenal.
How Often Should I be Working on my Mobility?
You should ideally be adding a session in weekly. If you do regular sessions, consistently, you will see an improvement in your overall mobility as well as a reduction in every day aches and pains.
Slowing your exercises down and taking time to really focus on rehabilitation training will help you get more in touch with your body, too.
If you don’t want to dedicated time to specific mobility training, we recommend doing some mobility movements either at the beginning of a workout or at the end. If you begin your workout with mobility training, you’ll warm the muscles up which will also allow for deeper moves – so you should see an improvement in your overall training, too.
How to Improve Mobility
There are a range of movements that will help improve your mobility:
Isolating certain muscles or body parts will help your target particularly weak areas. We often see that the main muscle groups get used regularly – whether this is because these just happen to be used every day or people are miss-informed about the exercises they think they need to do. For example, gym-goers may go and work on biceps and triceps in the gym, completely overworking these well-known, larger muscles and causing weakness and poor mobility to other arm muscles and ligaments.
Compound movements are also good to add to your mobility training roster. These are multi-joint exercises and will give you a good range of motion to add power to the move and build strength, though it’s important to combine these moves with the isolating moves above – then you’re firing from all cylinders, so to speak.
As well as isolated and compound exercises, you can focus some time on balancing; start by standing on one foot and holding, or, invest in a balance board or bosu ball to really challenge yourself.
In any instance, you need to be performing these moves slowly and controlled – otherwise you’ll risk injury.
If you’re looking to book in for regular sports therapy massages to help with your mobility, then book in today with our expert therapists who are on hand to help you back to being your best.