mobility of human body explained

What is mobility?

‘Mobility’ is a term used frequently by doctors and PTs. It refers to how well we are able to move our bodies (joints and muscles) freely through their full range of motion.

Mobility is how well you can actively move your own joint. I.e. how far you can move your leg yourself (without your hands pulling) to stretch your hamstring and is usually mistaken with flexibility which means how well your joint can move passively. Like how much you can stretch your chest muscles by using a wall.

Why mobility is important in sports?

The skeleton works wonderfully when everything is aligned, but the skeleton itself is passive. It is pulled and adjusted by the muscles that attach to it. As we move through life, our muscles develop and grow based on our habitual movement patterns. Because we perform some movements more often than others, the muscles develop unevenly– some becoming tight and short, others loose and long. The tighter muscles end up pulling on the skeleton disproportionately, which shifts our joint positions. Having a joint slightly offset within a socket causes it to wear unevenly over time, which leads to problems like arthritis.

Mobility is essential because it prepares our bodies for the stress of training. It is a vital contributor to reducing the risk of injuries as well as improving technique and range of movement. It is important to note that strength alone isn’t enough to have good mobility.

As mobility relates to strength, you will be stronger and safer lifting weight through a range of motion if your joints are able to comfortably reach the given position. If you are straining just to reach the bar with proper form on a deadlift, you are way more likely to pull a muscle or injure the spine. Replace the deadlift with any hinging motion during daily life (like picking up a heavy box) and you risk the same consequences. Essentially, flexibility and mobility allow you to place your body in the safest, most advantageous position for utilizing your strength. If you have strength but no mobility, you are working against the pull of your muscles and moving less efficiently through life.


What are the Benefits of mobility training?

Reduced Risk of Injury

One of the biggest mobility training benefits is the reduced risk of injury. If there is any restriction to a moving joint, then there is a high risk of injury, especially if you like to lift heavy.

Improved Technique and Range of Movement

Mobility training benefits your form. When muscles and joints are more flexible, we get an increased range of motion. This allows us to perform exercises with better technique. For example, if we have tight leg muscles, then we will struggle to lower in a squat or perform a deadlift with correct posture.

A More Effective Warmup

Mobility training benefits your workout in ways that a quick warm-up cannot. During mobility training, blood is being moved to the surrounding tissues. Synovial fluid, the fluid in our joints that helps them to glide freely, is carried into the working joints.

What are the different types of stretches?

Static Stretching and Dynamic Mobility Stretching are the 2 types of stretches you can incorporate to help with both flexibility and also mobility

Stretching prevents injury, decrease soreness, and improve performance. Many people incorporate static stretching into their routine. However, dynamic stretches are not so widely used.

This being said, research shows that dynamic stretching, or stretching while moving, appears to be more effective than static stretching as part of your warm-up.

Static Stretches

Static stretching usually consists of holding positions with no movement. They tend to only focus on the main muscle groups, such as quads, hamstrings, calf and arm muscles. While they are useful in increasing range of motion if performed correctly and for long enough, they can, in fact, be detrimental as part of a warm-up.

Dynamic Stretches

Dynamic stretches, on the other hand, are often a static stretch performed with movement. Doing these results in many mobility training benefits. For example, dynamic stretches keep your heart rate higher than static ones. This is important during and after a warm-up, and better suited to sports that require running or jumping. This being said, you need to ensure that you perform enough dynamic stretches, with the right quality.

What are the types of mobility trainings?

There are many ways to reap the mobility training benefits above. Mobility exercises take many forms. For example, some require only your bodyweight, whereas others use various types of equipment. This can include resistance bands, foam rollers, barbells or poles.

Body Weight

There are many different exercises that can be used to increase mobility. Using your bodyweight is a wise place to start. Most exercises have regressions for those just beginning. There are also progressions if you are more advanced. If you’re just beginning, these mobility drills will get easier with practice and patience.

Resistance Bands, Poles and Barbells

Resistance bands, as well as poles and barbells, are a fantastic way to get the mobility training benefits that bodyweight stretching cannot achieve. If performed correctly, this equipment will allow you to take the muscles to a much greater stretch.

Foam Rolling

Many mobility training benefits can come from foam rolling. However, some people shy away from foam rolling because it can hurt. Unfortunately, if it is painful, this is probably a sign that you need to do more of it. Also, it is common to spend too little time foam rolling. The foam roller needs to move slowly over the muscles, while you use as much of your body weight as possible to increase the tensio