Dr. Steven Scappaticci, B.Sc. (Hons.), CSCS, DC, FRCms
In the following 3 part series, I will highlight some of the more common forms of exercise that are out there along with their benefits. As you’re reading through, try and see if there’s a particular type of exercise that interests you. Now before someone comments that I forgot to include circuit training or some other combination, remember that this is just highlighting broad categories of training, a starting point, if you will. If any colleagues are reading this, remember that this blog is meant to educate those who have not studied these topics.
Part 1: Mobility
What is mobility training? To answer that question we need to understand what mobility really means. Mobility is one’s ability to actively move and control their body. Mobility and flexibility are often erroneously used interchangeably. Flexibility differs in that it is the amount of passive range of motion a person has. Why is this difference important? Well someone can be flexible but not very mobile.
For example, think of someone lying on their back with their legs straight on the floor. A therapist comes by and lifts the persons’ leg to about 90 degrees then places the leg back down on the ground. The therapist then asks the person to actively lift the same leg. The therapist notices that the person can only lift their own leg to approximately 45 degrees. Here we see the difference between flexibility and mobility. This person is flexible but not mobile.
Now why is this important? Well if the individual in the previous scenario decided to perform some form of activity at the gym, particularly a weighted exercise (i.e. squat, deadlift), they are at a greater risk for injuring themselves. Without the proper “joint-prerequisites”, surrounding joints have to compensate for the lack of mobility, which increases the risk of injury.
The topic of mobility is important for athletes (as we saw above), however mobility is key for everyone! Mobility is what keeps us feeling young and loose. It is important to maintain our mobility as we age since there is overlap between mobility and independence.
The reason Mobility is Part 1 of 3 is because it is the foundation. We often need to relearn how to move before even thinking of adding weight to the equation. Why do we need to relearn how to move? Well picture how an infant moves and how mobile they are (i.e. how they would pick a pencil off the floor). Now think of the average workday for a North American individual – drive to work, sit at a desk for 8 hours, come home to sit and eat dinner and relax on the couch, go to bed and repeat. Our bodies adapt to our environments and when our environments do not require movement or mobility, we lose it!
People often ask me, “mobility work? Is that like yoga and pilates?” Programs such as yoga and pilates are great but mobility programs often involve a higher intensity depending on the phase/goal of training.
A good mobility program is one that hones in on each joint, more so the areas that need greater attention, with the ability to progress to more challenging exercises over time. Find a mobility specialist to help you reach your mobility goals!
Tip: Whether it’s during your warm-up, cool-down, in-between sets, or it is your actual workout, implement mobility work as much as possible, as well as throughout the day.
For more information check out Functional Range Conditioning & www.functionalanatomyseminars.com
Note: Consult with a health care practitioner before starting any new exercise regime. Similarly, if you have any joint pain, get examined/treated before putting that joint through any form of training.