The Importance of Mobility
Brian Klepacki, MS, CSCS
Head Strength Coach of Optimax Performance Training Ultima Replenisher Performance Expert
In order to properly introduce you to the world of mobility, it’s necessary for us to define it in the context of ‘movement’. Mobility and movement are NOT the same thing. Mobility (NOUN) is defined as the ability to move or be moved freely and easily. Whereas movement (also a NOUN) is an act of changing physical location or position or of having this changed. Did you catch that?
Mobility: To move freely AND easily. Movement: Changing physical location or position.
These are two HUGE differences. Once we realize this difference and the effect it has on performance, your training must be radically transformed into separate categories. Now going a step further, they must be done in order. In order to change our physical location or position wouldn’t it be common sense that you would want to move freely while changing position? It really is that simple folks. To move efficiently, safely, properly, and with the most stability, you MUST have mobility.
Sure you can move. We move all the time. Just because we have movement doesn’t mean we have mobility. Although we have movement nearly every moment of our life mobility has a different design to the way we move.
Pay attention… You do not have mobility just because you have movement.
This is the firm foundation in which my business Optimax Performance Training stands on. In order for you to reach your true ‘performance’ it’s required to have that base layer of mobility set in stone before ‘moving’ forward. This is your training backbone; the building block of your health.
Away from mobility we are just going through the motions exposing the body to damage, which WILL lead to limitations and roadblocks in the near future. The body was designed to be able to perform very general and specific movement functions. Though our proficiency in performing these movements may vary, our innate capability is all the same and our training optimizes these movements resulting in reaching maximum performance.
Let’s look at the definition of mobility again: To move freely.
When our movement is jeopardized from structural, muscular or neurological limitations or weakness we simply CANNOT move freely. When we do not move freely, we cannot move in the way the body was designed to move. I can’t stress it enough that mobility is vital for free movement especially in athletics.
It’s when we are able to move freely that we tap into our true performance. Yes, you can still perform at a certain level with limited or reduced mobility—but what if that level was only 80% of your max potential? Most of the time the sub-max performance can be traced back to a mobility issue. If the issue is never corrected to begin with, you just keep adding layers and layers of improper training to the training load.
Think of it this way; you are at the bottom of a deep pit looking up the side of a steep climb. In order to climb out of the pit you must travel up with speed and with little resistance. Now imagine you are weighed down with a backpack that is far too heavy to carry up the slope. To make the climb even more challenging let’s add rain, mud, and loose gravel. These will have a negative effect on the outcome of your climb AND your physical ability to climb. Think of mobility the same way. When we are weighed down by limitations, weaknesses and a lack of mobility it will keep us in that pit, never being able to reach the top. We may climb up a little bit but at some point we will collapse and slide back down to the bottom. And usually when that happens we will be fatigued, discouraged, and possibly injured. No matter how hard you train you will never reach your max if that foundation of proper mobility has not been established. Don’t just move. Move FREELY.
Brian Klepacki is the official Performance Expert for Ultima Replenisher and writes in-depth training articles on a monthly basis. Brian earned his Master’s Degree in Exercise Science with a focus in Strength & Conditioning. He also holds many highly recognized certifications that set him apart from others. Brian owns Optimax Performance Training and has a strong following in St. Petersburg Florida where he resides with his wife and son.