Flexibility and Mobility To Feel Better and Mover Better
Mobility is something that I’ve really gotten into over the last few years. Far from an expert, but I’ve learnt so much about getting the body moving the way it’s supposed to.
It’s definitely something that all of us need to work on. Even if you feel fine and move ok. There’s no doubt some under lying issues somewhere.
Maybe you lack range of motion in a joint or struggle with rotation. I knew I wasn’t very flexible or anything but it wasn’t until I went down this rabbit hole that I found out how bad it was.
For example, I have bad internal hip rotation. I didn’t even know I had hip internal rotation! The muscles are super tight and super weak. Internal hip rotation is actually very important for squatting.
So if you struggle with hip IR, when that is going to impact squat depth, strength and could lead you compensate somewhere else in your body which could lead to injury.
If you’re anything like me, there where alarm bells going off in my head the more I read things like this. There are so many things like internal and external rotation that have such a knock on effect to things like your posture, how you move and how you exercise.
Also as a life long martial artist, my lack of flexibility always annoyed me. How can you go to kickboxing for years and still not be flexible. Also for the sport of kickboxing, this means not being able to kick high and it also meant I struggled to do certain kicks because my muscles where so tight.
So after years of struggling with this, I have decided to make this my main goal for the next couple of months.
No weight training and no real cardio training. I’ll do padwork once a week but that’s it.
So why do this?
Well, it’s not exactly fun to do. This is my first week of doing it and it’s just not the same as lifting heavy weight or hitting pads or the bag.
But as I touched on earlier, doing all of this should improve, well, everything. Here’s some of the things that improving how my body moves will help me
- Squat better. Deeper and stronger with more ease
- Be able to perform more complex lifts such as front squatting and Olympic lifts that require a lot of strength but a lot of mobility too
- Kick and knee better. Better flexibility and better hip rotation
- Less injuries. The muscles, ligaments and tendons will be stronger and more mobile
- Less aches and pains. Get rid of muscle imbalances and lot of load certain parts of my body
- Move better in day to day life.
All sounds pretty good. Maybe not a lot of fun. But the thought of being able to go for a run and knowing I’m not gonna hurt because I’m not putting much stress on parts of my body due to tight muscles pulling things out of line. Or be able to lift heavy because I can sink into it better and all the stabilising muscles are stronger.
The thought of no more hip pain, knee pain, foot cramp, back pain etc sounds bliss.
Why the hardcore approach?
Yes it is a bit extreme to cut out everything else to focus on this. To me it didn’t make sense to try and improve how I move while still beating my body up. My theory came from my own experience.
As I mentioned before I’m not flexible at all. So I set myself the challenge of getting the front splits. I did research into the best stretches for it, how long to hold, how often to do, everything.
But I was still training as normal, well as normal as I can during lockdown.
Now I made decent progress. But I was doing weight training 2/3 times a week and running 5k 2/3 times a week. Also doing bits of martial arts training by myself.
So my muscles were taking a bit of a battering. I was running 5k then coming home and trying to do the splits. Or doing kettle bell swings, squats, lunges, KB cleans and then trying to stretch my body in a way it’s very been stretched before.
This lead me to believe that beating up my muscles like that and trying to achieve such a lofty flexibility goal, might not be a good idea to do them together.
I watched videos on YouTube of people who were getting it quickly but they were only doing split training everyday. No other training. And videos of people who were running and lifting weight while trying to get the splits took much longer.
So my logic is, if I’m still doing squats and lunges and trying to improve hip internal and external rotation and trying to strength my hamstrings at the end range etc it would just be too much going on.
It’s hard to achieve multiple goals at once. If you’re trying to get strong, train for that. If you’re trying to get flexible, train for that.
All this is so I can get the most out of my weight training anyway so why try to juggle it all?
How am I going to do all this?
Ah, that’s the million pound question. Well firstly there will be a lot of trial and error.
I’m going to do a bit of yoga to help with flexibility and balance. This should also help with a bit of core strength too.
It should also relax me more and make me chilled out rather than listening to heavy metal and lifting weights.
I’ll also have to do a lot of specific training to what I want to improve such as hip rotation.
So there will be a lot of PAILs and RAILs training and PNF stretching to improve flexibility and strength the muscles at the end range.
I need to do plenty of research into the best exercises for internal shoulder rotation for example. Because I’m not just looking to improve passive movement but I really need to improve actively rotating the joints. That’s the real key aspect.
Passive flexibility is great. But you need to have strong muscles to get the most out of it.
This is a new approach for me so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store and seeing how I feel after a few weeks.
Granted it won’t be as fun as weight training or martial arts but this should help both of those things massively. If this helps me squat deep with ease and kick people in the head, then it’ll all be worth while.
I’ll keep documenting how I’m getting on and telling you how I’m doing what I’m doing and the results I’m seeing.
Wish me luck