Movement Training for Sports People: Mobility

Range of motion is king. Athletes need to be able to move through a full range of motion. Sport is chaos. You put your body in varied and extreme positions, usually with speed and under strain. Yet most people train with limited range of motion. This doesn’t mean go to the extreme load yourself as heavy as possible through a full range. You need to be able to handle strain at the end of your range. You need stability with mobility to control your range. Mobility is being able to move through a range. Stability is your ability to control the range. Without that control, the range does not mean much.

Why?

Why do we need mobility? The simple answer …Compromise, well actually not compromising. We want efficiency. Lack of mobility creates a compromise in the system. Compromise creates weakness and inefficiency, this leads to injury and limited performance.

Some background…

Think of the body as a stack of joints. Some joints provide more stability and others more mobility. When the joints that are supposed to provide mobility don’t fulfil their requirements then the stable joints have to make up the deficit.

 Mike Boyle gives a more descriptive and detailed explanation  here.

Mike Boyle gives a more descriptive and detailed explanation here.

If you lack mobility in your shoulders and you need to work overhead your body will have to find the mobility in your spine. So now there strain moves down the chain to the thoracic spine, if there is not enough extra mobility there we have to find it in the lower back. This creates an inefficient system. The lower back needs to stay stable and in the correct position to support the load, but now there is an energy leak and a risk of injury to the lower back.

 To have a good overhead squat you need mobility in the ankle, hip, shoulder and Thoracic spine.

To have a good overhead squat you need mobility in the ankle, hip, shoulder and Thoracic spine.

The same thing happens lower down the chain. Lack of mobility in the ankle has an effect upstream. If the ankle can’t operate through the full range we need to get more range elsewhere. What happens then?

Not enough range in the ankle

Foot arch collapses to get more range

Knee drops inwards and is now in a weaker position where it can’t function optimally.

The risk of injury increases…

What does this all mean????

All you want to do is perform better, you want the thing that is going to make you better. I get it. You don’t want details you want tools. Well tough shit you are going to get both. If you understand why, then you will be able to use the tools more effectively and being effective and efficient is the point of this whole post.

 We covered the why, tomorrow we cover the what and the how.

Stay fast, stay loose and check back tomorrow