Mobility, lack there of and what it means for your health
Unfortunately, with modern conveniences, such as cars, phones, desks, computers and comfortable seating the human race is in the worst condition it ever has been. Ever.
By worst condition ever, what do I mean?
Forward head poke, thoracic rounding (hunchback), lack of overhead reach, immovability of the hips, lower back pain, niggles and strains, the list, unfortunately, goes on...
These postural adaptations and inability to achieve certain positions have become so commonplace that they no longer seem abnormal and the inability to perform or move to your full potential has been accepted as normal. With less movement we are also seeing increased prevalence of preventable lifestyle diseases, reduced quality of life and an increase in the occurrence of injuries.
Sad, isn't it?
Mobility, what is it?
Mobility refers to the ability to control your joints through their full range of motion. Unfortunately, given the world in which we now live, mobility is at an all time low. We are no longer required to squat for extended periods of time. We rarely have to reach overhead unless it is to get something off the top shelf and we usually use a chair or step ladder for convenience. Majority of what we do is directly in front of us, resulting in an inability to perform movements overhead or behind us. Very rarely are we required to squat below the height of our lounge or chair and that itself is generally a falling motion as oppose to a controlled squat movement, leaving most of us with a pelvis to be desired.
Ask yourself, when was the last time your arms were behind your body? Can't recall?
While you read this, with the risk of looking like a flailing baboon at your work station, are you able to get your hands above your head with your biceps behind your ears? No?
Pick something up off the floor, perform a squat to do so. Did your heels lift? Yes? Try again, with your heels planted this time. Fall flat on your arse?
Mobility, do you need it?
Do you want pain free, unrestricted movement and independence for years to come?
As an athlete, I can honestly say, since beginning my realMOVEMENT journey and constantly improving my mobility I have seen some of my best performances. Not only that, my ability to handle training load and volume has significantly increased, my recovery much more efficient and many aches, niggles and pains have long since disappeared.
So, does everybody need mobility? Yes. The benefits of improved mobility, may just convince you to begin your journey to movement freedom today.
Reduction in aches and pains
Reduced incidence of headaches/migraines from conditions such as forward head poke/thoracic rounding
Less use of anti-inflammatory medications/drugs
Save money on physio, chiro, remedial and other physical therapies
Ability to produce more force through a greater range of motion and achieve optimal positions/posture for any given task or requirement
Improved tolerance to, and recovery from, training
Now, I ask you again, do you need it? Absolutely! Today's 'normal' is far from it and everybody, including you, can benefit from improvements to their mobility. It is never too late to start.
Where to start
Consistently spending time in the positions that require attention is a great place to start. From there, incorporate the following:
Spend time in the top/bottom of your positions (i.e. resting squat / front support) and add muscular activation to develop strength in the end range
Add resistance (i.e. pause/resting squats)
When performing movements, work through full ROM
Work deficit ranges, provided you already have a strong foundation in your normal ROM (i.e. deficit deadlifts)
Adjust the tempo of your reps, perform them slowly with control and correct activation