How Much Mobility Do You Need?

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As we get into the next couple weeks of the mobility focus, I feel it’s important that we cover the idea that more mobility isn’t better! Enough mobility is required to achieve proper positions for your sport/activities, but the amount of necessary mobility for each sport may be different. Sports like gymnastics will require much more mobility of certain positions than a weightlifter, and a weightlifter will need much more mobility in a squat than say a runner.

The key here is to develop enough mobility to obtain proper position for your sport and activity. The more range of motion (ROM) a joint has, the more that must be controlled. This leaves more room for error and more of your training time spent on coordination of movement and stability exercises that do not necessarily make you stronger. When we come to a loaded position, we need to create tension like stretching a rubber band to create force. Coming into the bottom of a squat, you should feel “tight” in your hips, and as you hinge over for a pull or deadlift, you should feel “tight” in your hamstrings and back. This is a sign you have created tension and can now create force out of that position. Each muscle has an ideal length at which it can contract (length-tension relationship). With too much mobility it is difficult to create the tension required for maximum force.

If you do lack a required position for your sport, such as depth in the squat or even a front rack position to properly support the bar, have your coach help you to identify the limiting factor(s) from achieving proper position. The tightness that is felt in positions may be ideal and NOT the thing holding you back from achieving proper position.

Next week we will cover some common mobility restrictions and how to improve them.

Mychael Swenning