Mobility is the ability to actively control the range of motion your body is able to produce. This means, you may have more passive range of motion (ex: sitting in a split), but if you can’t actively lift your leg into a split while standing, then you are lacking full mobility in that range of motion. This is the difference between passively stretching, called flexibility, and actually having control of your body with mobility.
Let’s discuss some of the common myths I hear very often of some techniques and tools that can help mobility.
I need to SMASH into my tissue with barbells, foam rollers, and lacrosse balls to release my muscle tissue or fascia.
False. As research continues to progress, this simply is just not true. It requires nearly 200 TONS of force to truly deform fascia (the overlying connective tissue that covers and connects all our muscles). If it was so easy to lay on something to cause a true “release” we’d have extremely loose butts from sitting all day long and increased pressure from the chair.
Unfortunately, quite the opposite is true. When we roll, or even get a massage, we are actually STIMULATING receptors within the tissue/fascia/body to RELAX through the nervous system. So, it is more about relaxing rather than releasing. I cover this much more, plus the proper techniques on HOW to use a foam roller more effectively in THE MOBILITY METHOD.
I must maintain neutral spine at all time to avoid back pain.
Again, not necessarily true. Believe me, I teach and train how to find neutral spine because I believe it is important. BUT, if we fear movement, we also increase sensitivity to pain just by telling the brain that a certain movement is “bad.”
We move, bend, twist, turn all through life. Even when walking! If we lose our ability to twist the spine during gait, we often increase force through the hips and knees and end up with stiff necks! So learning how to safely and effectively keep that spine young is essential to our health. Check out how to safely increase spinal mobility through THE MOBILITY METHOD.
I need to roll out and stretch my IT Band (iliotibial band) to relieve my knee pain.
Oy. This goes back to Myth #1 a bit. The IT Band is REALLY thick fascia. To think that we’re ever going to be breaking and releasing that up to relieve knee pain is just silly.
What COULD work is rolling along the side of your quad (not directly on the ITB) to try to RELAX that quadriceps tightness. But I generally believe that the knee is the victim to limited hip mobility or ankle mobility. When the joints above or below become stiff or lose mobility, the joint in the middle will often take on more than it can handle to compensate. Hence, knee pain. To see if your hips or ankles could be causing your knee pain, check out THE MOBILITY METHOD.
Stretching will decrease my strength and power for performance.
Mindless stretching will not be beneficial. But stretching with a purpose to increase true mobility will only INCREASE strength and power. Mindless stretching means holding a position for 10-30 seconds one time after a workout and expecting any kind of carry over to the next day. Or stretching areas that are already very open just to stretch them with no specific carry over to what is actually limited in your body.
PURPOSEFUL mobility happens when we find the areas that are tight and restricted within our OWN body, consistently focus on them daily and find strength and control at the end range of motion for carry over into strength training. For videos on purposeful mobility to increase your workouts and performance, check out THE MOBILITY METHOD.