We exercise for many different reasons, but the above statement is one of the most prominent undercurrents for most people.
People tend to focus on lifting heavier weights and running faster to feel better when they look in the mirror.
But there’s a whole category that gets neglected, and this holds a lot of influence on whether or not you actually get better at anything – mobility exercises.
Mobility vs. Flexibility
First, we need to understand the difference between flexibility and mobility.
Flexibility is “the ability of a muscle or muscle groups to lengthen passively through a range of motion,” whereas mobility is the “ability of a joint to move actively through a range of motion.”
To put it simply, flexibility is about your muscles stretching, and mobility is about your joints and muscles working together for greater body control.
Keep in mind, just because you are flexible enough to touch your toes, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to run faster.
Mobility exercises are important because the more mobility you have, the better you’ll be able to perform due to your muscles and joints will be better dialed in together. However, a lack of mobility is a recipe for disappointment and pain.
Let me give a real-world example.
Say you lack mobility in your shoulders (guilty!). Well, when you do an overhead press, your lack of mobility may cause the need for overcompensation of other muscles, like your lower back, to help offset the weakness. So, as you press the weight upward, you arch your back more because your shoulders lack the mobility to push straight up. The end result: You get a mediocre shoulder workout, a sore lower back, and a really good chance of hurting yourself.
Here are some of the benefits of mobility training:
- Better posture (*cough* desk workers *cough*)
- Helps prevent knots and injuries
- Relieves tension associated with sedentary lifestyles or over-exercising
- Improves all-round functional fitness performance
- Increases range of movement so you can continue to be active as you age
- Reduces joint deterioration
- Prevents aches and pains
- Helps build stronger, more adaptive muscles and joints
The moral of the story is that if you want to continue to lift heavy weights and run long distances, you need to utilize mobility movement to ensure proper joint and muscle health.
All you need is 5-10 minutes of mobility exercises. It’s one of the easiest ways to BE BETTER.