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Stop stretching. Try mobility instead.

By stephdorworth

July 6, 2021

Mobility

mobility
Mobility

Intro: Times Have Changed

We used to think static stretching was EVERYTHING, but times have changed.

Neck hurting? Stretch it. Back hurt? Stretch it. Going out to run? Stretch before. Feeling tight? Stretch.

Here’s the thing: stretching (or flexibility) is no longer seen as such a glorious thing.

The research is actually telling us that it may be a waste of time when we can do something better and more effective - mobility.

Mobility is superior to static stretching in many ways.

In the last blog, I briefly touched on this. Today we will dive even deeper into why mobility exercise is superior to static stretching so you can stop wasting your time and energy on things that don’t matter.

Mobility vs. Static Stretching Defined

Let’s begin by defining the two.

  • Static stretching = the range of possible joint & muscle movement during passive movement or range of motion (ROM). With static stretching, you’re often using your body weight, limb support, or props to work on flexibility.

  • Mobility = neuromuscular control + stability + flexibility. It’s the ability to move freely through active ROM.

To make it clear: static stretching is passive and mobility is active. 

To have good mobility, you do have to have good flexibility since that’s one of 3 components. But you also have to have stability and control from your muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, etc. 

Mobility encompasses flexibility, plus some: a 3-for-1!

mobility

Mobility > Static Stretching

How to practice each:

  • To practice static stretching (or flexibility), you’re holding one single stretch for >30 seconds.

  • To practice mobility, you’re dynamically moving through your flexibility actively, so you’re not holding a stretch still.

Flexibility itself doesn’t have much practical use. But having the ability to control and stabilize in a lengthened position does have practical use. Those are some of the topics I’ll cover in the future Applied Mobility course.

The results of static stretching are temporary and the results of active mobility are longer lasting.

In my opinion, the only time to do static stretching is:

  1. If you have lots of extra free time

  2. Post-exercise when your muscles are warm and pliable

  3. If you just want to cool down for a few minutes after your workout

Do not, ever, ever do static stretching before exercise or physical activity. Static stretching as a warmup before activity has actually been shown to impair muscle performance.

You’re busy, right?

My point: mobility is worth your time and energy investment. Not static stretching.

stretching

Stretching vs. Mobility Exercise Examples

To be sure the difference between stretching and mobility is crystal clear, I’ve put together these videos so you can see them in action.

Pay attention to 3 things:

  • How long is the movement held?

  • Is it a passive movement (with assistance) or active (independent)?

  • Does it seem to require control and stability or no?

Mission: Mobilize, Modify, Move

My mission is to help you fall in love with mobility as much as I love it!  It’s effective, time efficient, and enhances the rest of your life!

If you’re in and ready to add some mobility into your life, I’ve got lots of free mobility workouts on my Instagram.

I also shared a wonderful Morning Mobility 5-minute Routine in my last blog that’s the perfect starter if you’re new to mobility. 

When you’re more mobile, you don’t have to modify exercise as much because you’re capable of more and can move better.

Mobility is everything!


PS- If you found this blog helpful, reach out let me know. I’d love to hear more!

PPS- Keep an eye out for my brand new mobility course that is launching on July 27, 2021. It’s called Applied Mobility and is an online course with video lessons, 12+ weeks of mobility workouts, workouts for specific sports, workouts with mobility tools, injury recommendations, & more. This course teaches busy men and women with aches and pains how to mobilize their bodies each day for pain relief, reduced medical expenses, improved movement, and injury prevention. I can’t wait to share it with you all!

Thanks for reading!

Mobility
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Mobility
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About Dr. Steph

Doctor of Physical therapy and Online Training & Nutrition Coach with a passion for teaching men and women how to train despite injury.

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