Updated: Aug 11, 2021
I have spent the last couple of years learning lots about improving flexibility and mobility. I have noticed a big difference in how my body moves and have helped several clients overcome issues that they had been struggling with for years.
I can’t recommend spending some time and fixing these underlying issues that we all have that are causing us pain or effecting out performance.
I was talking to a mate about all this recently and they agreed with me. But then they asked a simple question that I hadn’t really thought about.
“Where do I start?”
Though I have written several blogs now on this topic, I haven’t actually gone into where to start, which is what I will go through now.
Fix What Needs Fixed
Sounds simple really. But it’s exactly what you need to do. There’s no point in spending time working on something that could do with being a bit better, when there is something that needs fixed right away.
So the first thing that you are going to need to do is assess yourself or have someone who knows what they are doing to assess you.
So what are you looking for?
How do your shoulders sit, Does your head sit forward? Is there a curl in your lower back? Are you hunched over? Do your feet turn out? Do your knees fall in?
These are all the things that you are to look for to see what needs reset.
Say you have rounded shoulders for example, this is a good example cause a lot of people have this problem.
You’re going to want to look at improving thoracic extension, open up the chest and front of the shoulders, and strengthen the external rotators and upper back muscles in general.
Now that is quite generic and used simply as an example to show what to look for and what needs to be done to fix it.
Fixing posture will fix a lot of problems because you have realigned everything correctly and everything sits as it should.
If you have issues with certain shoulder movements for example, you can do lots of internal and external rotation exercises etc, but you never address how the socket sits.
You can find that you’ll have better range of motion because the joint now sits how it’s supposed to. Now that the joint is in the correct position, now you can work on things like rotational exercises.
Posture is like the foundations. If this is correct, you can’t build on it. Get your shoulders, spine and hips sitting how they’re supposed to and the rest help fall into place.
Now this can take a bit of a trained eye to see, but you can tell a lot by feel too.
Say you have good posture, or at least posture that isn’t completely awful and you want to make assessments to see what you need to work on. Like I said at the start, fix what needs to be fixed first.
So if you go through certain movements and notice pain or that you have very restricted movement, then that’s something that needs to be addressed first. Then you can worry about improving less important things.
Or if you go through a movement or range of motion and realise that it’s very weak or very little movement. That’s something that you want to address first.
So for example if you need to work in shoulder internal rotation but don’t get any pain bench pressing or over head movements or taking it through an internal rotation range of motion, then leave that for another time.
We all have areas that need improvement. That doesn’t mean it needs do right away.
Whereas if you have very little internal rotation in your left hip. Then that’s something that needs looked that. As that could be a factor in any hip or groin pain you have. Or could be a limiting factor when lifting weights or doing sports.
And because it’s a limiting factor, this is something that could lead to injury as it has restricted movement.
That’s more serious that in need of more time spent fixing that, rather than spending on something that isn’t giving you any issues but could just be better.
So these movements that you can do can be just about anything.
It can be squats, bench press, overhead press etc. See where is weak or feels restricted.
It can also be the motions themselves. Stand with your arm out to the side at a 90 degree angle. Then, while keeping everything else still, internally and externally rotate the shoulder. Like your arm is working like an Allen key.
So the movement is coming from in the shoulder socket and not compensating but moving the shoulder blade.
If you find that a certain range of motion is lacking, then that’s where you need to work on it.
Although this can be quite a deep topic, it is also self explanatory. If you’ve even done a certain movement that didn’t feel quite right then something is wrong. Go though the movement again, and stop and have a look and feel where the issue is.
Another thing to bear in mind that I have mentioned loads of times before, the source may not be the cause. Back pain can be caused by tight hamstrings. Working on the back isn’t going to do anything unless you address the hamstrings.
So when going through that movement that gives you problems, spend some time there (as long as it doesn’t cause too much pain of course). But spend time there and assess why there’s an issue. Where is the issue? Why is it sore or feeling restricted? Is there an issue somewhere else that is causing there to be pain?
Now, as for how to fix these issues requires a lot more effort which is something I’m definitely not gonna get into now.
But now you know where to start and what to look for. Once you’ve identified the issues, do research into how to fix them. Or contact a physio or a knowledgeable trainer such as myself.
On that note, if you are struggling with flexibility or mobility problems, please feel free to get in touch. I’d be more than happy to help you try and correct any issues that you have going on.