Would You Fix Your God-Awful Mobility, Already?
I don’t get it. If you’re an athlete or lifter, why do you never work on your mobility? Maybe you’ve already put time into improving it and maybe you don’t need to be more flexible because you have all the range of motion needed to be the best you can at the movements or lifts you care about.
Putting too much time to increasing your dexterity and flexibility could detract you some from your progress if you’re at an elite level in your sport. That’s not a made-up problem, you can only do so much with your time and energies when you’re at the limit of your athletic and physical ability.
But working on mobility also means maintaining what you have or what you’ve improved for what you do, and that’s looked over completely.
So, there are Olympic weightlifters who can barely get into the positions to do the lifts. Powerlifters who can’t squat to depth without a heavy barbell on their backs.
I thought that when I started running strength and conditioning programs for combat sport athletes, I’d see strikers and grapplers that were committed to stretching, who could move in any position. In lieu, I saw fighters who could kick over my giant bald head but couldn’t reach down and touch their toes. I saw Jiu-jitsu players who couldn’t straighten their arms while laying on their bellies with legs sprawled behind them because their upper-backs only knew how to round.
The mistake is thinking that you won’t lose any mobility, once you’ve built enough range of motion for your sport if you keep practicing the movements of it.
But the stronger you get, the stiffer you get. The more skillful you are in your athletic movements, the better you are at compensating for it and masking any loss in the mobility of segments in the body and planes of motion that support the quality in how you move.
If you’re really competitive, you don’t need to misspend your time increasing mobility once you’re in a good place for the demands of your sport. You do need to sustain that baseline though and keep from losing ground if you haven’t already.
That means you need to put a little bit of time toward stretching, drilling, mobilizing, addressing neural inhibitions or tissue qualities, or whatever the hell else you want to call it.
And if you’re reading this and you can’t even get into the positions for your practice or can’t spread your legs apart while sitting on the floor without your knees bending like you’re wearing leg braces, walk away from this screen and do whatever stretches you remember from gym class. Doesn’t matter what you do, just do something, already.