When it comes to Health and Athleticism, it seems that professionals really narrow their scope. This is natural of course–just like how a neurosurgeon should only be doing brain surgery and a podiatrist should secretly worship deal only with feet and ankles. The problem comes when these professionals believe that one attribute is superior or inferior to other attributes.
One common example of this is in the balance between strength and mobility. A “strength guy” will usually discount the importance of mobility. A “mobility guy” will often discount how important it is to make oneself strong. However, as I have been trying to tell people for years, it’s not a one or the other type of situation. They are synergists, not opposites.
Putting an emphasis on mobility enhances your strength and muscle building in a variety of ways.
1) Mobility work enhances proprioception
Proprioception is basically your brain’s map of your body. If you have a deficit in your proprioception you will experience a decrease in the following areas:-Strength-MobilityFurthermore if your proprioception is not very good, you are more likely to experience pain.To sum up, a lack of proprioception will make you weak, stiff, and painful.
2) Mobility work relieves stress and balances your stress hormones
One cool feature of mobility training is that it stimulates your body’s hormones to be in an ideal muscle-building state. By relieving stress, and thereby balancing out the excess of stress hormones, you put your body in a state where it will be more likely to build muscle and enhance strength. Strength training and sprinting enhance testosterone and growth hormone production (muscle builders)–so if you combine that with mobility work you will put your body in a superior hormonal state for building muscle and enhances strength.
3) Your muscles aren’t fighting each other
Ideally, your muscles will work together toward a goal, and keep your joint centered in the socket at the same time. Unfortunately, the balance of tension in opposing muscles is often skewed, and not only pulls joints out of alignment, but also fights you through every movement.For example, I frequently see people who have great difficulty in lifting their arms overhead struggle to military press. This is simply because they are fighting 2 opponents now–gravity AND their opposite muscle groups.This same thing is true for most movements. If you have to fight your body, the same weight will feel heavier. So if you prioritize mobility work, you are going to be able to maximize your training.
4) Preventing Injury
This last point goes hand-in-hand with point 3, but it has to be said. Mobility work helps to prevent injuries. One key roadblock I see hold people back from maximizing their strength and muscle potential is injury.
The keys to injury prevention are:
Mobility Training (As in 5 Minute Flow)
Balanced Programming (upper/lower pushing/pull as in Ultimate Athleticism)
Smart Progression (prepare the body thoroughly for the tasks you ask of it)
And before you think all I do is yoga and pilates…
I strongly recommend everyone make mobility a priority in their lives by implementing 5 Minute Flow. Pick up a copy by Monday for $20 OFF at www.5minuteflow.com
Better Every Day,
P.S. Do you have friends who lift a lot, but don’t do their mobility work? Send them this and show them the path to increased gains.