Mobility vs. Stretching
You may see people come into the gym and grab a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or band for the bar. All this is done to improve their mobility (MWOD). But wait, you say you stretch, right? Doesn’t it do the same thing? No. The difference between mobility exercises and stretching is that stretching only focuses on lengthening short and tight muscles. Mobilization, on the other hand, is a movement-based integrated full-body approach that addresses all the elements that limit movement and performance including short and tight muscles, soft tissue restriction, joint capsule restriction, motor control problems, joint range of motion dysfunction, and neural dynamic issues. In short, mobilization is a tool to globally address movement and performance problems. Can mobility training be painful? Yes. Think of it as self-induced torture!
The best time to do mobility training is at a discreet 10-15 minute daily practice in addition to your normal workout routine. The MWOD can be done before or after a workout or at night when you are laying on the floor watching TV. Some of the mobilizations are very effective before workouts as part of your warm-up and movement preparation strategies. On the other hand, some of the mobilizations are best done post-workout or at a completely separate time of the day. For example, the 10-minute squat test is not appropriate as a pre-workout MWOD. However, rolling on the lacrosse balls to mobilize your thoracic spine prior to an overhead workout is an appropriate pre-workout MWOD. The bottom line – be less concerned about when to do the MWOD and be more concerned about addressing your tissue health and range of motion problems. Above all else, the MobilityWod is about improving your capacity to be in a good position during movement to improve performance and avoid injury.
How are you going to know that your MWOD is working? The primary goal of the MWOD improvement of athletic performance. This can be wattage, poundage, time, reps, whatever. You will know its working because you can track your mobility progress through your gains in performance. The MWOD has also proven to be effective for people who have chronic movement-based pain. For these athletes, pain resolution is also a sign that the MWOD is working and you are making good progress.
So, how do you get started on mobility training? There’s a great blog on the internet that provides videos highlighting various mobility exercises – check them out at www.mobilitywod.com. Just to see what they are all about, here’s a video that address thrusters and pull ups….also known as Games WOD 12.5 (and Fran!).