Master Mobility

Coach Aly Mobility Mastery

Many people know they should include mobility work in their training — but they don’t know exactly why or exactly WHAT to do. As a result, this critical component is often neglected.  In the world of CrossFit, we often hear about strength, endurance, and technique. But what about mobility? It’s the secret sauce that can take your performance to the next level.

First and foremost, mobility work improves flexibility—the ability of a joint to move through a full range of motion without pain. Short, tight muscles restrict the movement of joints, which can cause pain, reduce mobility, and limit athletic performance.  

Think about the overhead squat, which requires many joints to go through a large range of motion with an object held overhead. Tight muscles around the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and wrists can limit joint movement and throw the whole system out of whack. This is why so many people struggle with the overhead squat and other movements that require flexibility.  

Not only can mobility work help preserve or improve flexibility, it also allows you to build strength across a joint’s full range of motion. For example, if very tight muscles prevent you from squatting to depth, you might struggle to rise if you sit in a very low chair. But if increased mobility allows you to train the full range of motion, you’ll have more strength to rise from a low seat. 

In other cases, a lack of mobility can prevent you from getting into “safe” or mechanically sound positions. For example, it’s common for people to hurt their backs when lifting boxes because they can’t get their joints into optimal positions to lift. But if their muscles allowed them to set up properly, their backs would be just fine. 

With these examples in mind, you can imagine how tight muscles will affect balance as the joints struggle to get where they need to go. Going back to the squat, imagine one hip is very tight and the other is not. This imbalance can cause shifting, unequal loading and loss of balance. When pairs of joints have equal and full ranges of motion, the body can work naturally, and balance and coordination improve. 

When you think of tight muscles and restricted joints, you probably think of tension, stress, discomfort, and even injury. All these things are common. For some, short muscles restrict movement and cause significant pain. The situation often becomes worse when the inflexible person moves abruptly by accident and the muscles aren’t prepared for it.  

Imagine what happens when such a person trips and suddenly has to move quickly to break the fall. Or what if that person engages in a fitness or sports activity without warming up and has to react or move into a certain position with speed? 

Finally, mobility work releases tension physically and mentally. Whether you have a regimented mobility routine or just start to include some standard stretching, you’ll definitely feel better afterward. Your body will be more relaxed and your mind will be calmer. Mobility work just feels good physically, and it offers you a chance to turn off your phone, clear your mind, and focus on your body. 

There are several different mobility techniques. A coach can help you figure out what’s perfect for you and your goals and great first step is signing up for Coach Aly’s Mobility Mastery series starting this Saturday! But if you want a quick, general primer, here it is: 

  • Warm up with some light movement before your mobility work.
  • Hold positions for about 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Breathe naturally as you move.
  • Avoid pain. Some tension is normal as you work the muscles, but mobility work shouldn’t hurt.
  • Focus on the large muscles around the major joints: the ankles, knees, hips and shoulders.
  • Do mobility work regularly. Even five to 10 minutes a day can make a difference.
  • Stay consistent to improve or maintain range of motion. If you stop mobility work, your range of motion might decrease.

Recovery tech and supplements are all the rage these days, but don’t neglect one of the most basic ways to feel good. Give regular mobility work a try for a week and see how you feel. Or better yet jump in on Coach Aly’s Mobility Mastery Series! Set an alarm and plan to stretch for 10 minutes every day for seven days. You’ll feel better and you’ll probably want to keep going! 

Register for Coach Aly’s Mobility Mastery series to jump start your mobility routine. Register HERE!


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