Flexibility vs Mobility (Differences Explained)
Flexibility vs Mobility And How To Improve Both
It is believed that flexibility and mobility are interchangeable or in fact the same thing. They are not! In this article, we will talk about flexibility vs mobility as well as explain their differences and ways to improve them.
Flexibility vs Mobility
Flexibility – The length of a muscle.
Mobility – The range of motion available at a joint.
These 2 areas are unequivocally, related to one another so it is important to understand that flexibility is a component of mobility. We have all heard the phrase “you need to stretch more” banded around gyms. Time and time again stretching is the go to modality to prevent muscle soreness, flexibility, make you faster or prevent injury.
Stretching has a place in all of these. However, only in a holistic sense where combining stretching with mobility and movement enables us to make improvements to posture, position, motor-control, strength and flexibility in one big super flow so to speak. You can stretch all you want in the areas you are tight and over active. However, if you cannot get into or even maintain the correct position and alignment, then, you are only stretching and promoting a poor and potentially weak position….injuryville!
THE VIDEO: Flexibility vs Mobility (Differences EXPLAINED) + How to Improve BOTH
There are few leading practitioners out there Mel Siff, Eric Cressey and Kelly Starrett to name a few that have almost deleted the outmoded notions of flexibility and stretching and replaced them with more holistic terms like mobility, movement and mobilisation. These concepts have become extremely effective in improving the capacity to move, perform efficiently and maximise training time.
Where do you start?
At Performance Ground we treat all clients and their potential movement imbalances as unique and individualised. Taking a personalised approach our coaches formulate a training programme around our client’s specific requirements. Once the movement screen and analysis has been completed we go after the ‘big fish’ highlighting the area of greatest concern which, will give the best outcome whether it be short/tight muscles, weakness, range of motion restriction, motor-control or neural-dynamic refinement.
There are 3 key areas of flow.
– Soft tissue & myofascial release – getting the tissues soft, malleable and sliding again.
– Distract, manipulate, re-align & stretch – putting the joint back in to a strong position whilst lengthening if required.
– Integration & movement – Allow everything to click, fire and slide in major compound integrative movements like a squat, lunge or chin up.
It is important to understand that the actual mobilising, lengthening and activating takes up a very small aspect of our programming and that once a safe position and/or movement is possible then, we utilise this as the base on which to progress. Allowing the body to reactivate itself, find the correct motor pathways, lengthen what requires lengthening and activate weaknesses in the correct sequence results in the body naturally creating the space to reach optimal movement efficiency.
Once we have some improvement in the desired area we continue to work through full range of motion, vary our movements and manipulate load, time under tension and intensity to establish continued progress and more importantly maintain optimal mobility and flexibility. In a nutshell, we very rarely stretch these days!