Ok, imagine this: You’re in the pool playing volleyball with the kids in the pool club. You’re having a great time, the sun is out, the sky is clear blue and everyone is having a good time. It’s super hot outside, but you don’t feel it because the pool water is the perfect temperature. Ahhh, heaven!
You get to take the next serve set after winning the previous point. You’re winning and feeling a little more than confident. You smile as the ball comes at you again, but it starts falling a little shorter than you anticipated. You thrust off your back foot to lunge for it and *pop!* … You feel a pain in your groin. It gets worse but you keep playing. You finish your gamed think it just needs a little rest so you lounge out the rest of the day. The day passes and as the sun begins to go down the pool starts getting ready to close up. You get up to gather all your loose belongings and *ouch!* … your groin hurts. Really bad. Holy chips. What’s going on? This is more serious that you thought…
Injuries happen to all of us and if left untreated can hang around for a looooong time. But what if there were a way to help prevent these types of injuries? Well, the good news is: There is! Mobility training combines stretching and functional movements to keep muscles loose and to identify fix deficiencies. See this example of mobility training using a sledgehammer.which is kind of fun.
Why Mobility Training? When we are born we have full mobility: flexible joints, full range of motion, no impingement or tightness. But as we age we slowly lose our pliability. Now, I’m not talking about aging as a 40, 50, 60-year-old person and up. I’m talking about 5 years old, 10 years, 15 years and further.
So many things happen over time that cause us to lose mobility. Small injuries and mis-steps cause up scar tissue to build up and may have caused you to walk differently or move differently, favoring one side over the injured side. The effect is we never we train ourselves to move quite the same again. Our bodies are amazing mechanisms that constantly compensate for various deficiencies.
But trauma isn’t the only way to lose mobility. Repetitive movements can cause elongation in one muscle and tightness in the opposing muscle. The two most prominent examples for all of us are:
Repetitive strain injuries of the wrist, fingers and hands as a result of typing, texting, and similar repetitive movements. Typing type of motions use the “flexors” of the fingers, hand, and wrist. More than 95% of us don’t take the time to work the “extensor” muscles. These are the muscles that open the fingers, hands, and draw the wrist backward. Overtime the extensor muscles get weaker and the flexor muscles get stronger. This causes constant tightness in the forearms, elbow, hands, fingers and wrists.
In order to “fix “this in balance it is recommended for different types of massage, rolling, and strengthening of the extensor muscles. A quick and easy way to exercise the extensors is to wrap a rubber band around The fingers and Open your hand and spread out your fingers as far as you can. Do this repeatedly and I guarantee you will feel the burn. Those little guys really good worked and they’ll be protesting at first.
A second example is the computer and electronics usage syndrome. Slight rounding of the shoulders forward slight pitching forward of the head. The chest muscles and shoulder muscles get very tight from the slouching we do over our electronic devices and computer keyboards. At the same time The upper back and neck muscles get very weak from not holding your posture correctly.
So how do we fix these issues? In part, mobility training. Here a few example of what you can do to increase flexibility and mobility in your hips. The movements below are mainly for hip mobility. They can be held for 10-30 seconds or you can slowly work through the range of motion for 10-30 reps.
Now, a word of caution: if you’re already suffering from an injury you should NOT engage in any physical activity program without consulting your doctor. You might make it worse by further injuring the body part or you might be further weakening a deficient part of your body that might seem unrelated… but it is really the root cause of the problem.
I’ll explain more in my next article and include pics and videos to demonstrate various mobility training movements.
Leave a comment below to let me know which body parts you’d like to see me address first.
Until Next time…