Everybody knows the words mobility and flexibility. They are buzzwords that float around the fitness world that everyone, health professional or not, is familiar with.
I want you to take a moment to think about these two words and define them before you continue reading. Seriously, stop and think…
Many people mistakenly use the terms flexibility and mobility interchangeably. And although flexibility is a component of mobility; mobility and flexibility are different.
Let’s define them.
Flexibility is the ability of a muscle(s) to lengthen.
Mobility on the other hand is the ability of a joint to move actively through a range of motion.
A common occurrence I see in my practice is people who claim to have tight hamstrings. This person attempts to touch their toes and is unable to do so. They feel this big pull in their hamstrings and blame those muscles for limiting their mobility.
This same person then lays on their back and has their leg passively stretched into hip flexion with the knee extended (a typical hamstring stretch). Here they continue to feel the same stretch in the hamstrings, but instead of being limited, their leg has normal range (about 70 degrees).
This is a classic example of how someone that demonstrates normal, or even good flexibility may not have the necessary mobility to get their body into certain positions.
In a case like this, stretching your hamstrings would not help improve your toe touch. You would need to learn how to improve your active mobility, stability, and strength of your spine and hips in order to get into this position.
Kinstretch and Mobility Training
Kinstretch can help you accomplish this by using isometric contractions to help develop maximal body control, flexibility, and usable ranges of motion.
Through the creation of strong isometric contractions at end ranges, our nervous system will learn how to produce high levels of force effectively strengthening your joints and better preparing our body for higher demands. The end result is more resilient joints that have the freedom for improved performance while reducing the risk of injury.
The trick to improving joint health, and maintaining a pain free body is in our ability to have active control over the positions we move through. You don’t need to be the most flexible person in the world, but active control over movement along with daily mobility training for joint health can help keep our bodies healthier than we ever imagined.
Joseph Gambino, PT, DPT, CSCS
Instagram Account: JoeGambinoDPT
PT Clinic: Perfect Stride Physical Therapy