Are Your Stretches Effectively Improving Your Mobility?
Many people view stretching as a quick warm-up routine before getting into a more intense workout. Stretching is more than just a warm-up or cool down, though — the right mobility and stability exercises are important and can provide you with several benefits.
What Are the Benefits of Stretching?
Along with being a relaxing activity to do before and after a workout, stretching offers several advantages. It can:
- Improve your workouts and athletic performance.
- Decrease your chances of injury.
- Help your muscles heal and recover.
Consistent, correct stretching also offers the bonus of improving flexibility and mobility.
What Is Mobility?
Even though the terms “flexibility” and “mobility” are often used interchangeably, they are actually quite different. Flexibility refers to your connective tissues’ ability to elongate. Mobility involves a muscle or muscle group’s range of motion and your ability to move them within that range.
It can be helpful to think of flexibility as being just one part of mobility — along with other elements like coordination and strength. In other words, flexibility tends to be more passive, whereas mobility is more active.
What Can Hinder Mobility?
Athletes should keep in mind that doing certain things — like only performing static stretches or stretching at the end of their workout — can hinder them from improving their overall mobility.
Static stretches, which involve no movement, can help increase flexibility — or your overall range of motion — but they aren’t as beneficial for improving mobility. Likewise, only stretching at the end of your workout doesn’t allow you to condition or take full advantage of your body’s range of motion.
Improve Your Mobility With the SAID Principle and Dynamic Stretches
The SAID principle, which stands for specific adaptions to imposed demands, can help make your stretching more effective by training your body to adapt to any new, more strenuous mobility demands you place on it. Dynamic stretching, which involves movement, helps improve and train your body to move within a new range of motion.
How to Safely Improve Mobility by Stretching
Keep in mind that regardless of whether you do static or dynamic stretches, an incorrect technique can cause injury. To safely improve your mobility:
- Warm up with a low-intensity exercise like walking or biking for five to 10 minutes.
- Concentrate on major muscle groups like your lower back, thighs, calves and shoulders.
- Focus on symmetry by stretching and having equal flexibility on both sides of your body.
- Don’t hold your breath or be tense.
- Don’t bounce a stretch — hold it for 30-60 seconds.
- Create a consistent schedule where you stretch two to three times per week.
Restore Balance and Resilience With Our Recovery Mobility Stretch Sessions
At Excellence In Fitness Personal Training Studios, Excellence In Recovery is our assisted stretching and flexibility program that restores both balance and resilience to the entire body.
We offer this program as an “add-on” service for active EIF clients who maintain at least two one-on-one professional fitness coaching workout sessions each week. During the recovery program, our EIF clients participate in practitioner-assisted full-body stretches that help increase range of motion, boost overall health and improve quality of life.
To get started with our safe and effective Excellence In Recovery program, book an appointment today.