The Importance of Mobility in your Fitness Journey

What is Mobility?

There are a few misconceptions about mobility. Often, when people think of mobility, they think of flexibility. But flexibility is just a part of the equation:

Mobility = stability + flexibility

Mobility is the ability to maintain stability within a FULL range of motion in body position(s). Just having the ability to touch your toes is simply not enough. Whatever your sport or health optimization, mobility holds the key to success. Most people don’t focus on mobility until its too late and they’re dealing with an injury.

Stretching your back because it hurts doesn’t usually fix low back pain. Usually its something above or below the injury that is referring pain. If we let our lack of mobility to lead to injury it will eventually cost us in emotional, physical, and financial stress. The human body is a great machine that is great at compensating until it can’t. You can drive with a flat tire until you can’t.

Why do we need it? 

The general fitness life cycle for the majority of people consists of:

Highly motivated –>Train hard  + bad mechanics–> get injured –> take time off –> ease yourself back into training, while avoiding certain movements = worsening mobility in trouble spots –> maybe train hard again –> get injured–> repeat!!!

As mentioned in Kelly Starrett’s ground breaking book, “Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance”, Mobility dysfunction is expressed in 4 ways (grouped by occurrence):

Those that account for 2% of movement dysfunction in a typical gym:

  1. Pathology: something serious going on with your internal system that needs a MD to assess and diagnose. For example, an individual with scoliosis of the spine will never be able to attain a proper neutral spine no matter how much “mobility work” is done due to the abnormal changes in their bone structures unless medical intervention occurs.
  2. Catastrophic injury: breaking your arm snowboarding, or getting in a car accident.

Those that account for 98% of all the dysfunction we see in the gym (which we can manage and fix at OCA):

  1. Overtension: in short, is a loss of full range of motion in a joint caused by tight soft tissues.
  2. Moving in a bad position. Ex. Deadlifting with a rounded back, or knees buckling in when squatting. If an athlete is unable to get into good positions after a few coaching ques, chances are that it could be the loss of range of motion in a particular joint, that is not allowing the athlete obtain proper positioning to start or finish. Mobility is 9/10ths of good technique. Whether its one month or 2 years, Bad technique and bad movement WILL lead to injury.

People most likely fall into 2 categories:

  • Those who never work on mobility
  • Those who stretch, and stretch, and stretch without seeing any benefit.

With a mobility screen performed by an OCA professional, you will find your personal sticking points and be given the necessary knowledge to actually fix those problem points so you don’t find yourself aimlessly stretching with no benefit.

Who doesn’t need a mobility assessment?

Babies and small toddlers. Have you’ve ever watched a small toddler bend over and pick something up? you haven’t because they don’t haha. They will drop into a perfect squat to pick something off the floor. Bending over to pick something up is something we learn as adults to compensate for lack of mobility (or laziness haha).

The KEY TAKEHOME:

  • You don’t know what you don’t know.
  • Once you know, every workout that you do at OCA is fully customized to maximize your genetic potential. For example, you might have tight ankles that wont let you squat safely but you can deadlift perfectly. So that’s what you’ll do for your workout that day…until we fix your ankles.

6 important lessons a OCA Mobility Assessment will teach you:

  1. How to customize your own workouts
  2. Where your mobility limitations lie. You will find out exactly how you are compensating for having tight mobile joints and how each restriction is almost guaranteed to get you injured.
  3. Personalized plan to work on the Joints missing range of motion .
  4. How your posture effects your mobility. Your posture is a direct reflection of your mobility and vice versa.
  5. How your restrictions can lead to injury.
  6. The ideal adjustments you need to make to maximize your movement potential.