Mobility vs. Flexibility

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Surprisingly, many people mistake mobility and flexibility as being “one in the same.” In other words, they feel that if they’re flexible, they must have ample mobility (and vice versa). This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Mobility: how a joint moves.

Flexibility: length of a muscle.

A perfect example demonstrating the difference between mobility and flexibility would be in the ankles. As Mike Boyle has pointed out on numerous occasions and even more so in his new “Joint-by-Joint Training and Warmup” dvd, if the ankle is restricted due to a mobility issue, then static stretching the calves won’t fix the problem. Unfortunately, many trainees will still want to stretch their calves in the hopes of improving their ankle mobility.

MOTION is needed to fix a mobility issue.

As crazy as it sounds, many dysfunctions up the kinetic chain (particularly anterior knee pain) can be attributed to mobility restrictions in the ankles. It makes sense really. When you consider that many athletes (especially basketball and football players) tape their ankles (providing stability to a joint that normally wants to be mobile) and wear high top cleats and sneakers, it’s no wonder that many suffer from knee pain eventually.

A simple solution is to include more ankle mobility work into your basic warm-up.

Wall Ankle Mobilization:

Key Points to Remember:

1. Basically all you’re doing is pushing the knee forward into the wall. Work your way as far from the wall as possible without the front heel coming off the ground.

2. Use what ROM (Range of Motion) you have. You may only have a few inches to work with, which is fine. The more you do this drill, the better your ankle mobility will get as the weeks pass.

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  • Bachreric

    Simple yet effective. I see this all the time in my gym without any change in movement patterns. Nice work Tony!

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