The fitness industry today seems to be stuck in a few extremes.
Everyone wants to strictly belong to “x” type of training, dismissing other forms.
It also seems as though everyone is looking for a beat down every time they train. If no one is passed out on the ground, the workout was not hard enough.
There also seem to be other sides of the spectrum where people freak out every time a knee moves out over a toe or a back goes into extension.
Now the only correct way to train is the one that the participant is going to stick with and give everything to, but there are some considerations that must be addressed for success.
One of them is mobility.
Mobility can be defined in a number of ways but I look at is as being able to perform movements without compensation.
There is no exact formula here.
Since mobility is influenced by structure, stability, and soft tissues everyone is going to be different.
Not everyone is going to hit deep squats, conventional deadlift, or overhead press.
Some people are just not set up for it and it could be completely out of their control.
For lower body movements, the pelvis influences foot position and depth of movements.
Those with narrow pelvises will struggle with sumo deadlifts but rock conventional. Those same people are also going to have a tough time with lateral lunges.
Part of mobility is not forcing these people into positions that they cannot structurally get into. You have to work with what each person has.
Do not get caught up in who has what kind of pelvis just realize that if certain movements do not work well with a wide stance, a narrower pelvis may be the cause. Trial and error with exercises is the best way to figure these out.
There are also different types of femur structures that can influence these things.
So I got a little bit off topic discussing different variations individual people can have, but everyone must move well to see progress in the gym.
If someone cannot reach their knee 1 inch above the ground in a lunge, then there is a movement restriction there. This can happen in any exercise.
If you think of your body as a car and movement restrictions as speed bumps, it paints a clearer picture of the relationship.
You can drive a Corvette that can hit 120+ MPH but you are never going to reach that driving through a parking lot of speed bumps.
Simply put, movement restrictions rob you of your ability to train well.
Once we move all of the speed bumps, the body can perform optimally.
3 Ways to Increase Mobiltiy:
1. Self Myofascial Release
This is the fancy term for foam rolling. I used it because I include lacrosse balls and medicine balls in addition to rollers.
This technique rehydrates tissues and relieves tension in the muscles. When the muscles are tense from overuse etc. they become less mobile.
Rolling out before every session has a ton of benefits to training with good mobility.
2. Training through full range of motion
Everyone’s full range may be different but quarter squats do not make the hips more mobile.
Getting into deeper positions requires moving through as much motion as we can and then using different techniques to influence more mobility.
You cannot become any more mobility by sabotaging your efforts with partial movement.
3. Creating stability at adjacent joints
The body relies on a balance of mobility and stability throughout.
The joint by joint approach says that every joint alternates what it was designed for with stability or mobility.
The feet should be stable, ankles mobile, knee stable, hips mobile, etc.
Using the hips as an example, core stability will allow the hips to move through more range of motion.
When the core is weak the hips help to stabilize the pelvis, which does not allow them to perform their mobile functions.
A lot of younger kids, and adults that have not trained their core properly, struggle with squat depth.
Since the muscles of their torso have either not been trained, or trained through motion, the hips have become stabilizers.
Once stability is trained, the hips are free to move and can then move into better depth.
It is really important not to worry about the workouts that are designed to make you exhausted if you still have your speed bumps. Progress will be hard to come by.
On the other end, remember to actually train with weights and effort once the speed bumps are gone. Every little compensation is never going to be corrected and people actually need to train.
Remove the speed bumps and then get after it. You will benefit much more than moving poorly and only making ¼ progress.