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Mobility, Pain

Why Is Mobility Training A MUST For Everyone?

By Joe Talarico on Feb 26, 2024 9:00:00 AM
5 Minutes Reading Time


While mobility training might not be the most glamorous part of your fitness journey, it is just as crucial as the resistance training program. Incorporating a proper mobility workout routine into your regular workout regimen will allow you to open the door to many more exercises and have a higher potential to grow muscle. It is important for everyone, regardless of fitness level or age. It provides the foundation for all activities, increasing strength and your foundation towards improving performance.

Injury Prevention

One of the biggest reasons for mobility is injury prevention. Our body has a natural limit that it likes to keep you within. Take touching your toes, for instance. It’s not that you CAN’T touch your toes; it’s that your body's central nervous system won’t allow you to go that far because it has deemed it unsafe. This may have been due to a previous injury at that extended range or a built-in safeguard due to a lack of practice at that depth. If we’re doing repetitive motions, like sitting all day, that is shutting off inactive muscles, and forcing us to recruit bad movement patterns, which you will see transfer over to other parts of your day (leading to back pain and knee pain). If you’re looking to increase your quality of life, then adding even just 1-2 mobility exercises to your routine can do wonders.

Your body is trying to ensure you don’t get injured. If we slowly work on expanding that range of motion and teaching your body you have control of that range, you will, over time, get a bigger range of motion, which leads to better activation of muscle fibers when exercising. As we get older, our likelihood of injury increases, so it is recommended to address these issues early to avoid more significant problems later in life. We are recuperating our joints and muscle tissue.

Muscle Building Potential

Having a full range of motion facilitates optimal movement. If you can own a full range of motion, then you are able to place that muscle under stress the entire time. Muscle growth takes place when an external load is placed on it through its full range. Put it this way, do you think you’d grow a bigger chest by coming all the way down to your chest or stopping halfway? You are tapping into more muscle fibers with an increased range of motion, thus growing more muscle in the same set.

Mobility and flexibility are not the same. Flexibility isn’t always a good thing. If you can touch your toes, but the moment I add resistance, it gets dicey, that's actually increasing your risk for injury. On the flip side, if you learn to own that range of motion by slowly adding weight, you are now preparing your body to own that entire range, even when an external stimulus is placed. That is Mobility.

Have you ever had certain exercises you couldn’t do? Maybe you couldn’t get all the way down on a squat or couldn’t do a shoulder press behind the neck. That is muscle growth being left on the table. The more exercises we can add to our arsenal, the more options we have to switch out throughout our lifting career to provide a new stimulus. Increasing your mobility allows access to more complex and beneficial exercises that may have been once restricted. Once we unlock these exercises, maintaining them is a matter of staying on top of your routine.

Quality not Quantity

The key piece for mobility training isn’t about getting all your sets done or moving a lot of weight. Its entire focus is on quality. Being mindful of each aspect of every movement ensures the body gains strength and stability in positions that are functional and essential for everyday life. Let’s not forget that just because it may be slower, do not mistake it for easy or not a “workout”. A mobility program done right may still leave you sweating and feeling like you pushed yourself.

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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