Mobility vs. Flexibilty: Whats the Difference?

Take a walk trough any gym and you'll hear the words “flexibility” and “mobility” used interchangeably. The common misconception is that if you stretch enough you will remain mobile and ready to move. The typical "mobility" routines involve stretching and passively holding position without active movement.

This may overtime help the flexibility of the muscles and connective tissue surrounding body region; however, flexibility and mobility are not the same thing. In fact, your flexibility may not be a great predictor of mobility at all.

Mobility is not simply stretching. Mobility refers to the capacity to move using active, stable and controlled motion.

MOBILITY = STRENGTH + BODY CONTROL


Why does it matter?

Flexibility does not improve function or performance by itself. Mobility however represents usable motion that can be used to maximize movement capacity, safely , efficiently and effectively.

"Strength without the mobility needed to use it is a fallacy. Flexibility without the strength to control is is a liability."

 

Benefits of Improved Mobility

Joint Health

When a joint maintains mobility, the components of the articular connective tissue remain strong and resilient. Maintaining joint mobility is key for preserving long term health and longevity and is shown to slow the progression of degenerative processes in joints.

 

Performance Enhancement

Strength and control over a wide range of motion is a vital component to force production. Regardless of your sport or functional endeavor, improved mobility will allow you to transfer energy more safety and efficiently.

 

Injury Prevention

Many injuries among the active population occur near end ranges of motion. Improving strength and motor control will help stabilize joints to minimize stress on de-conditioned tissues.

 


How do I Improve?

In order to truly enhance your mobility we must first expand our range of motion. This consists of muscle and joint capsule extensibility. We refer to this effort as "Gaining the Range". This process can be accelerated with the use of myofascial release techniques and low load long duration stretching of muscle and connective tissue structures.

The second step is to teach the nervous system to utilize those ranges of motion so you’re not just passively stretching. We refer to this as "Training the Range".

To do this we use a combination of passive and active techniques combined with isometric and isotonic muscle contractions. This may include contracting the tissue we’re attempting to stretch, and contracting the shortening tissue on the opposite side of the joint.

 


 

The mission of The Mobility Manifesto is to integrate assessment, treatment, and training to improve your ability to move safely, efficiently and effectively in whatever physical endeavor you choose. Stay tuned, we’ve designed a proven system to help improve your mobility. And now, we’re making that system available to YOU!

We're are offering a FREE foam rolling / self myofascial release tutorial to get you started off in the right direction. Click here to get access.

That's all for now.

- Dale

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