Flexibility vs Mobility: Why You Need Both

Flexibility vs Mobility: Why You Need Both

As a Personal Trainer I always hear athletes and fitness “Pros” debating the difference (and importance) between flexibility and mobility. Flexibility relates to muscles, mobility relates to joints.They are NOT interchangeable.
In a nutshell: Flexibility refers to the ability of a muscle to lengthen, while Mobility refers to the ability of a joint to move through its full range of motion without restriction or discomfort.

Flexibility

This could be during static movements or dynamic movements. The more flexibility someone has, the easier it is for their muscles to lengthen. Some people may not be able to get a lot of range from a static stretch but under dynamic forces they might have good movement. For example, touching the toes versus swinging the leg up towards the head when standing. It’s important to train a bit of both but dynamic stretching will have better carry over to every day life and training.
Quadricep (Thigh) stretch

First, stand with your side to the wall, placing a hand on the wall for balance. Hold your outside foot with your outside hand and lift the foot up toward your rear end, keeping your thighs and knees together. You should feel a gentle to moderate stretch in the front of the thigh. Hold for a cycle of relaxation breathing, then do the same for the other foot.

Reclining Pigeon Pose

Pigeon pose is a common yoga pose. It works to open the hips. There are multiple versions of this stretch. The first is a starting version known as the reclining pigeon pose. If you’re just starting your treatment, you should try the reclining pose first.

While on your back, bring your right leg up to a right angle. Next, clasp both hands behind the thigh, locking your fingers. Then, lift your left leg and place your right ankle on top of the left knee.Hold the position for a moment. This helps stretch the tiny piriformis muscle, which sometimes becomes inflamed and presses against the sciatic nerve, causing pain. Repeat exercise with the other leg.

Mobility

Mobility is the joint’s ability to move fluidly with stability through a certain range of movement. The more mobility you have, the better you will move when performing different movements. ‘Mobilizing’ should refer to getting a joint moving better, rather than a muscle. Unlike flexibility work, mobility training can be performed prior to engaging in activity.

The “world’s greatest stretch”

Take an extended lunge forward with your right foot. In lunge position, lean forward and put both hands on the ground. Twist and reach your left hand straight up into the sky, looking at your fingers. Take four deep breaths, and then put your hand back on the ground. Return to standing position, and then repeat on the opposite side by leading with your left foot forward. Do once with each foot forward, breathing deeply for each side.

Inchworms

Stand at the back of the mat with your feet hip-width apart and flat on the floor. Reach your hands to the floor and push your hips back, trying to keep your knees as straight as you can. Walk your hands forward until you are in a full plank position. At this point, you should be in a plank with your hands under your shoulders, core tight. From here, walk your hands back to your toes, keeping your knees as straight as possible as you lift your hips in the air. Stand up completely and repeat as directed. Do three rounds of 5–10 reps, depending on your fitness level.

Caution!

NEVER and I mean NEVER stretch a cold muscle. That means you should NOT stretch before a run nor before any other workout UNLESS you are properly warmed up first. Getting ready to run your first 5k? Check out this article.
Why? Stretching a “cold” muscle can cause more injury due to the fact that the muscles are not yet as pliable as they could be. Think of a ball of modeling clay or silly putty. When you take the clay out of its package it’s pretty much a hard brick. You have to massage or knead it to make it more pliable so that you can mold it into your desired shape. Your body works the same way. In order to make your muscles and joints more pliable and limber you need to warm them up. Walking, jogging, and other light movements over the course of 5-10 minutes should be enough to raise your body temperature slightly and increase your muscles’ pliability. See this article (coming soon) on Dynamic Warmups for more options.
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Does it hurt to move around? That’s mobility.
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Unable to touch your toes or sit comfortably in a crouched position? That’s flexibility.
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You need both. And that’s what we train for: both.
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If you’d like to move more freely without experiencing pain, then we can help.
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Click here to get more information on cost and availability. https://bit.ly/3kY1BoX

Need More Help?

If you’re a little unsure about what to do or simply want some extra help, then we here at Out Run Your Fork can do just that. Let our personal trainers customize the exact program that’s right for you. Ccontact us to learn more about our programs, pricing and availability.

Yours in health,

Tony Bianchino
Headshot_Tony GWACC
Out Run Your Fork Personal Training and Nutrition
| t. 973-348-9898 | f. 908-756-9213
| web: www.outrunyourfork.com | e. tony@outrunyourfork.com
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