Many of the people at the Oly lifting seminar are finding out that mobility reigns supreme. Sure, technique is important. But if you can’t express that technique because you can’t put your arms over your head, or you can’t open your knees when you squat, then technique isn’t worth too much.
Take THIS GUY for instance. What do you think an overhead squat would look like? How about a snatch? Scary! While most of us are much more mobile than that guy, many of us can use more mobility.
First, let’s define mobility. It’s not the same thing as flexibility. Getting more flexibility means lengthening your muscle tissue. Getting more mobility means you’re able to get into functional positions (like squatting and deadlifting) and increasing your range of motion (ROM). That may include stretching muscles, but there are other ways to improve your ROM.
1) Self-myofacial release – a fancy term for soft tissue work. Foam rolling, lacrosse balls, and the stick are all tools you can use. Sometimes, you can’t do it on your own and you may need to see a professional, like a massage therapist or physiotherapist.
2) PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) – you basically hold a stretch for 10 seconds, then contact that same muscle for 5 seconds. Do that 5 times for optimal results. This works much better than holding a stretch in the same position for an extended period of time. This can be done with or without a partner.
3) Mobilization – this is all about getting your joints into good positions. You can use bands to increase the movement in your joint capsules. You can bias good positions while distracting the joint (pulling the limb away from the origin). It sounds complicated, but it’s rather simple.
And remember, it took you a LONG time to get tight, so don’t expect miracles overnight. Create habits by mobilizing every day. You’ll move better and feel better.