Why increasing your mobility and flexibility will make you stronger
That fact that i’m one of the only 5 people I see doing mobility and flexibility work before workout shows how much people.. especially guys skip this important factors of fitness.
What is mobility and flexibility?
Mobility is your ability to move through the full range of motion you should have, look at babies for example they have a full range of mobility. You often see them sitting in a deep squat position that many adults can’t even get close to now, fortunately we can regain this lost freedom of movement.
Flexibility to me goes hand in hand with stretching and is how lose/flexible or pliable your muscles are and this is a major factor in poor mobility and also gaining it back.
Why do we need good mobility?
Increased ROM (range of motion) means you’re less likely to get injured, especially in contact sports. It also means that you will be more effective in the gym when doing exercises like squats, as when your mobility is better you can go deeper into your squat. This will recruit more muscle fibres, think of it as hitting parts of your muscles you haven’t before, all this leads to more strength and performance increases. You’ll be able to strengthen muscle at the end of their range of motion once you achieve full range on movement.
How do I achieve greater mobility?
Greater mobility is achieved by pushing or pulling your body into new ranges of movement, wether than be under load or not. For example someone who regularly does Romanian deadlifts may find their hamstring flexibility improves.
Foam rolling, trigger points, massage and stretching play a very large part in freeing the body from restrictions and tightness.
How & When should I do mobility?
I would split this into two separate sessions.
Before a workout is where mobility drills really come into play along with a small amount of foam rolling and stretching, but nothing to vigorous on these last two.
The ideal of mobility drills are to get you primed for your workout and ultimately to make you more awesome.
Using selected movements you will wake up and engage your central nervous system, promote blood and warmth to muscle you want to use and lubricate joints. All this leads to less change of injury, better quality movements and thus better gains!
By waking up your central nervous system you are priming than link between your brain and your muscles which means when it comes time to lift your muscles will be primed and ready for action.
Post training or separate days
I would personally leave the more in-depth and time consuming stretching until after your session or at a different time in the day and 20 mins should be enough. In these sessions you are trying to increase your flexibility and doing this can leave you sore when pushed, for that reason I tend only to do a few lighter stretches that restore my current optimal range rather than searching for a new range of flexibility before training.
Give me some drills already!
Ok let’s split this into lower and upper body.
Foam roll and myofascial tissue release
1A Split squat hip flexor stretch as seen in video 5 reps each leg with 5s pause at bottom.
1B Crab hip bridge 30s squeeze
1C Posterior core Leg raise variation.
Foam rolling tight areas
1A Banded or dowel rod arm mobility
1B Core rotation
2A Push up and reach
2B Downward dog into cobra
3A Scap pull up’s
3B Anterior core Eg. Hollow body rock
Play the long game if you can get an extra 5% out of your training every session and don’t have to skip sessions because you are too tight or worse injured then working on your mobility and flexibility makes perfect sense!