Earl Strong, Certified Personal Trainer
This month’s Fitness Tip finds us discussing the difference between mobility and flexibility. Let’s begin with defining each one.
Flexibility is the total available pliability of a given muscle. “Pliability,” in this definition, refers to the length of the given muscle and is maintained through proper stretching and usage of said muscle. Typically, the term “flexible” refers to a singular muscle or group of muscles. Poor flexibility can lead to injury by over-stretching, either while in the act of stretching or while performing a movement that requires a lengthened muscle. Basically, it is considered safest to warm up a muscle prior to stretching it and hold a stretch between 20–60 seconds.
Mobility is the ability to perform functional movement patterns (or range of motion) with no restrictions around a given joint. This can also include core strength, balance, and coordination. When performed correctly, mobility exercises can restore freedom of movement.
Can you have one without the other? It is safe to say that flexibility is a component of mobility, and therefore both should be addressed for safe and effective movement. Increased range of motion for a given joint can mean fewer injuries and better performance. Example: incorporating stretching and mobility exercises into an existing program may improve performance by merely having the ability to perform the required movements more efficiently. A run stride (gait) or swimming stroke are good examples.
For a demonstration of stretches or mobility exercises, check in with a Parkpoint personal trainer.
“The body will become better at whatever you do, or don’t do. If you don’t move, your body will make you better at not moving. If you move, your body will allow more movement.” —Ido Portal