The Truth About Mobility

    You can't fix a shitty squat in 15 minutes with a lax ball and some bands. You can fix kyphosis in 1000 minutes of ROMWOD. You probably can't add ankle mobility by smashing your feet and doing ankle circles.  Mobility issues are not things that can be fixed with the smallest amount of effort in one day. If your squat has gone to shit over the last 6 months, then 30 minutes of mobility before a competition will not undo all of the damage you’ve done to yourself.

    All of these things are reversible All of them. If you have the posture of Quasimodo, you can fix that. If your knees crash together like cars at the demolition derby, you can fix that. Can’t wash your back because your shoulders only move forward? Yes, again you can fix this. Here is the truth: the current masters of mobility (companies, people) want you to believe that the one little tip they throw out on instagram is your end all be all.

    Even if you're able to improve your mobility for the 15 minutes of the WOD are you going to be stuck adding yet another drill to your ever increasing list of pre-workout rituals? You probably roll your quads to get rid of knee pain, smash your ass to get rid of hip impingements, smash your t-spine with balls, weights, and bars, but wow you still deal with these issues tomorrow, the next week, and everyday following. What these people have given you are temporary fixes.

    They gave you one tiny tool that only works in one small situation. It would be like getting a flat tire and someone giving you a tire iron to loosen the nuts. Awesome, this person just gave you a really helpful tool. But the next week a baseball hits your windshield while you're driving by a park. Now you can’t see, so you pull over and now the only thing you have at your disposal is a god damn tire iron. I guess if you were in an action movie you could smash the window out with your foot and keep driving but in the real world this is absolutely no help to you.

    Mobility can’t be improved in 15 minutes, nor can it be improved using the same drills over and over and over for years. What you’re actually doing is priming the mobility that you already have. It takes multiple sessions over a long period of time to actually “improve” mobility. Most people try to hunt down the one particular drill that might work for them because it worked for a friend who had pain somewhere near where they are having pain. It’s a hassle and in most cases, as you have seen, not always the right tool for the job.

    No one has addressed the entirety of mobility issues for two reasons: the true fixes for mobility simply doesn't sell well on the 1 minute or less Instagram culture we are in. The second is that the people who understand mobility understand that we don't know shit about mobility. All we have to go on are improvements clients make in clinical trials by trying things we think will help. The reality is we don't know completely how foam rolling helps, but we just know it helps. We also don't completely understand how pain is registered or improved. We have an idea, but holy shit  it is really hard to nail down.

    I am sick of the idea that everyone with squat issues can simply roll out their butt and boom you're golden. If it were that simple no one should have trouble squatting in this day and age. But the truth is so many more things play a role in good movement like posture, breathing patterns, fascial tension, motor control, boney limitations, fear, previously established notions on how things should be done, and the list goes on. If you want to fix your mobility it's going to take work at all of those things for months. You can do it, you can change truly shitty mobility to at least above average mobility. I have seen it happen and maybe you have too.

    If you work so hard in the gym everyday, and eat right but don't like your times or results and you have a mobility restriction you better put in the same kind of consistency and attention into fixing it as you do your training and eating. I bet if you got into paleo you read nonstop about the idea behind paleo, the way it works, what you need to do it better, and found so many recipes that you couldn't make them all if you ate a new meal every time you sat down over the next year. But somehow you think that the quick tip our coach or someone on instagram (who has likely never met you) gives you is enough information on the subject.

    Everyday do something to loosen fascia, engrain good movement, push your fears back, and practice breathing properly. Everyday for 30 minutes. If you think you work hard to get better in the gym, in your sport, or in your WOD’s you owe it to yourself to do this necessary work. So stop taking things at face value and educate yourself on the entirety of how your body works.

 

 

Looking for ways to learn more about mobility and how everything in your body is connected? Check out these books!

Corrective Exercise Solutions to Common Shoulder and Hip Dysfunction, Evan Osar

Anatomy Trains, Thomas Myers

Movement, Gray Cook

Flexible Steel: An Insider's Guide to Ultimate Flexibility, Jon Engrum