Mobilization of joints is the key to addressing movement and performance issues.
Stretching may be part of your exercise routine - but know that it is not enough. It is important to include mobilization to increase your Range of Motion (ROM) and address movement problems. The article below details the various ways to include mobilization in your routine
Stretching has become a standard pre-workout routine, and if you ask someone why they do it, most will say “to be flexible.” However, physiotherapist, Dr. Kelly Starrett, tells us that stretching is not a full-body approach.
"Stretching only focuses on the lengthening of short and tight muscles. Mobilization, on the other hand, is a movement-based integrated full-body approach that addresses all the elements that limit movement and performance. It includes short and tight muscles, soft tissue restriction, joint capsule restriction, motor control problems, joint range of motion dysfunction, and neural dynamic issues. In short, mobilization is a tool to holistically address movement and performance problems." via: MobilityWOD
While stretching prolongs the muscles, it does not always achieve what we think it can. From a mobility perspective, we address all aspects that could restrict our movements; this improves form, generates greater force in movements and increases ROM.
Say that you are deadlifting today. You plan to hit some PR in front of your mates and you know that hamstrings are the force generator. So, you stretch and warm up, put five plates on each side….wow why am I still so stiff?
Your hamstrings aren't the only thing hindering the ROM with your deadlifts; the relationship between the head of your femur and hip capsule is also key. Improving that association gives you a mechanical advantage by being able to reach lower, as it gives the end range of your hamstrings more torque.
So, how could we improve? See how Kelly guides us through:
The humerus and shoulder capsules work in a similar manner to the hip and femur. Improving the relationship between these two components helps with pressing movements during bench presses, because our shoulder blades are able to stick on the bench and more force is created. Here are some suggestions from Barbell Shredded to improve your shoulder’s joint and capsule relationship:
A healthy joint with the bone head intact reduces the chance of dislocation and helps improve movement efficiency. Improving the connection between the joint and the capsule not only benefits lifters, but also helps athletes.
Bring a resistance band to the gym next time and try this technique out. The improvement will amaze you, and you can start working towards hitting your PR.
This post is part of a 3-part series! Click here for part 2 and learn about how you could help mobilize your soft tissues