Mobility and Stability to Move Better

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I already introduced why you should not stretch areas of tightness or soreness, and mentioned mobility and stability training.

There are specific joints that need to be mobile and others that need to be stable. In the chart below you can take a look at which joints fall into either side.

It is interesting to note that the joints alternate between mobile and stable as you work your way up from the ankles.

This chart is from but I believe it was Mike Boyle that first originated the idea.

Like I mentioned in the previous post, knee injuries should not be treated in the knee. It makes more sense to look at the hip and ankle joints first. Restrictions in these areas can cause pain up or down the kinetic chain.

These joints must work in conjunction or else movement patterns will be compromised. A stable core is needed to have good hip mobility. A mobile thoracic spine will take stress off of the lumbar region. Stable shoulder blades allow for mobility through the glenohumeral joint (arm meeting the shoulder).

There are many common examples of proper exercises that can assist with reducing in particular body regions.

Anterior Shoulder Pain can be reduced by stability work with the scapulae. Neutral shoulder blades would be retracted close together and pulled down.

If your shoulder blades look like this then you are a risk for shoulder problems. Make sure you perform all exercises by squeezing your scapulae together. I do not care if it is a calf raise, get your shoulder blades back to their normal positioning to prevent hunched over posture and pain.

Low Back Pain can be assisted with T spine mobility. The low back needs to be stable but we do our best to make it mobile. Sitting, crunches, and flexing the torso does your back no favors. Birddogs are great for low back stability but let’s look up the chain.

The T spine goes roughly from above the low back arch to the shoulder blades. This is not exact but it gets the idea across. This part of the spine allows for mobility compared to the low back.

Try this exercise from Nick Tumminello to improve T spine mobility.

A stable low back with a mobile upper back is part of the equation for back and shoulder health.

Hip Pain will benefit from core stability work. The hips are forced to stabilize in compensation for a weak core. If we look at the chart, they are supposed to be mobile. Maybe all of those crunches in search of a 6 pack were a bad idea.

Perfect the plank, side plank, and birddog for proper basic core stability.

This video from Tony Gentilcore does a good job of showing the Paloff press, one of my favorite core stability exercises.

These three chronic, non specific injuries can all be helped by looking at the mobility and stability chart. Put some thought into your exercise selection and do not choose poorly designed techniques.

Determine where you lack mobility and stability, address the issue, and be on your way to better movement.

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