Everyone is talking about mobility today, trainers would like to learn more about it by searching and trying a bunch of various exercises and methods/philosophies… and clients would like to incorporate them more because they mostly think that their common areas are too tight (in many cases, tightness shows up with reason and stretching of common areas could make your real issues even worse – I was writing about it earlier).
We will not be talking who is right or wrong here (mobility work definitely has a good time and place), but what can you do to immediately speed up your results – how to “trick” your brain/body without risking an injury?
After all, we know that sometimes it takes time for results and many don’t have enough patience. Many clients would like to see results faster, and that’s absolutely possible when it comes to mobility work. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to lose fat fast on healthy way so try to find another tricks/improvements to show your clients and retain their motivation (aside the other things, they need more education…). There is a lot of them, and I am presenting just a small one today when it comes to MOBILITY. I want to highlight 3 Dean’s video and show you how awesome “magic” this guy possesses.
First, take a look the 1st video below…
So, if someone has plenty of passive range of motion (good flexibility), creating stability and control/activation during that range (at the end range? you are awesome!) is something crucial when it comes to one part of injury prevention work (static stretching is just one small and less important part). As you can see, using one part of the PNF stretching is very simple solution you can utilize to improve useful/functional shoulder mobility instantly (mobility on the other hand is the active range of motion we can control). The mechanism is simple – enabling agonists to do the work by relaxing antagonists, great if you have limitations with soft tissue flexibility/neural tension (after ISO/conc. contraction, muscle receives relaxing signal immediately – even below the normal muscle tone one short period). Of course, effects will not last forever so it’s important to repeat this technique until you strengthen muscles who keep active ROM possible (you can do it each time between 2 sets if you need more of ROM for some exercise, for example). Step by step, you will be able to reach greater ROM ACTIVELY, which is way more important than just passive stretching (but of course, static stretching of antagonists and some other “stretching” techniques could help with that goal – in the long run). It’s all about learning CNS how to use more of passive ROM, passive stretching is often almost useless (when it comes to injury prevention/reduction) if you are unable to control it. Of course, everything should be done with bodyweight only (in the beginning).
Passive stretching could be important if one is unable to reach enough ROM passively and you should do it first (but be careful, sometimes the cause can be structural – not soft tissue issue)… Of course, you can do this in both directions (or all possible directions), which is important in sports where agility is needed. It make sense that teaching your body how to control moves during full ROM (muscle activation/tension non-stop) can save you from common injuries as after splits in tennis, soccer… Your muscles need to be strong and under a good/timely activation non-stop. But if split happens too fast (fast move) an injury could happen even if you are properly prepared (but it’s not so often).
If you are not familiar with Dr. Andreo Spina’s work (FRC: the CARs solution, PAILs/RAILs) take a look because you will find that he has a similar philosophy to mobility training (the same in many cases) and many useful tips and practical solutions.
One thing needs to be clear here. Using foam roller or similar, passive stretching… can be helpful in improving passive ROM, but doesn’t always equate to improving your ability to move better – especially at the end ranges of motion.
The essence is that more USABLE range of motion you possess – more you will be protected from some injuries and better control of your body you will have which is sooo important not only in sports. That makes your muscles more usable in a broader spectrum of contractions and demands, and makes it safer – when you’re in these ranges of motion the body is able to defend itself. We are aware that it’s kinda hard to reach full or almost full ROM actively because it’s physiologically way harder to concentrically contract muscles when they are shortened (the shorter it is – the harder, and opposite) but it definitely makes sense that this kind of ability can give you a lot when it comes to injury prevention/reduction and overall health (joints and all-around structures health, “strength” and longevity). CONTROLLING joint articulation through a larger range of motion you can essentially limit the degrees of movement in which injury can occur. So, the main part of the FRC system is actively controlling of new ranges of motion (finding positions you are weak in and learn how to get strong there). You can try to squeeze the fist for example if you are unable to reach much ROM when you do FRC on hips (“irradiation” could help you).
In the 2nd video (you can find it below), Dean demonstrates how useful the same philosophy can be when it comes to pain management (and a lot more). Of course, the science of pain is such a huge so this doesn’t work in all cases of course. Actually, I am not going to repeat everything he said in all 3 videos – so I would advise you to listen carefully all the 3 videos.
In the 3rd video below you can see some other useful tips and assessments that Dean uses often with the same or similar goal. You must to watch this one (it’s short) because he reveals such a useful steps and principles – I am telling you again that his philosophy is amazing. This video is around 6 years old but I guarantee you will learn something new out of it.
“If implemented properly, stretching, foam rolling, and a bunch of other things work great in order to improve hip mobility for instance. (But he reveals something that you may not think about, something very simple that can improve your hip mobility without even addressing hips) Namely, side planks activate the muscles that provide lateral stability to the spine. Improving “lateral core stability” has been shown to significantly improve HIP INTERNAL ROTATION (without having to “stretch”). You want one more example? Front planks activate the muscles that provide anterior stability to the spine. Improving “anterior core stability” has been shown to significantly improve HIP EXTERNAL ROTATION (without having to “stretch”). Two sets of 15-30 seconds of each plank variation is usually enough ‘core activation’ to get a “mobility benefit” without over-fatiguing the core before your workout. Give it a try & lemme know what you think.” – Joe DeFranco (as he said in one of his Instagram posts, Dean showed him this “plank trick” over 5 years ago).
Last but not least, this is just one trick of how to improve mobility instantly (and the pretty old one). People just started revealing an amazing human body when it comes to instant pain relieving or any help in general. Asking why? Because the human brain is such a mysterious thing we just can’t imagine how challengeable is to interconnect some fact(s) we already know because there will be always something we still don’t know. “The body can do whatever the hell it wants and is under no obligation to make sense to ya.” – Dr. Perry Nickelston
For the love of movement,