Monday, May 11, 2015

Mobility Monday: Mobility...Why so Uptight?

"Movement isn't important, until you can't." -Gray Cook

Has that ever happened to you?  You're cruising along in your training and everything seems to be going along fine.   You ignore that little ache and pain here and there as it will most likely go away.  You know you should do some stretching or possibly use that painful looking device over there they claim helps loosen you up (the dreaded foam roller).  But then it hits and your ache and pain goes over a tipping point and now you can't move and your working out ceases.

Now what? Some people may go see a MD, a PT, or an athletic trainer to help them figure out what is wrong.  It could be bad but often it is something that could have been fixed along the way of the injury or something you could handle on your own.

Some people will go see a massage therapist from time to time because it feels good and relaxing but then tension returns and the underlying cause may never have been addressed.  We don't believe this is good enough and we believe that you don't have to live in a constant state of pain and tightness.  This is where "mobility" comes in and maintaining it through your own soft tissue work and over long periods of time.

"The resting state of the human body should be pain free." -Kelly Starrett

This is where the individual comes in.  There are more than enough tools out there for you to help yourself remain loose and relieve chronic pain.  Our body is an amazingly adaptable organism.  It sets itself up to be the best it can be in the situations we put it in.  If we sit all day our body will adapt to that position but then when we get up be active and run we experience tightness or pain because we are not prepared to be moving.

"Pain is not the problem, it is a signal." -Gray Cook

As complex as our body is we can get it to do what we like, but it takes time and constant consistent attention.  It can take the fascial system in your body (a system that connects everything, muscles, bone, etc) up to 7 months to completely remodel.  This is where consistency comes in.  The dedication to a pain free life comes with work on a daily basis.  It may add to the list of things to do daily but to me being able to live pain free with movement ranks up there pretty high.

Starrett recommends your minimal effective dose to be at least 2 minutes per muscle and between 10-15 minutes a day (shooting for 5x a week).  A consistent effort is the key.  The best time to do it?  Post workout as you will never be a warm and mobile as you are then with an elevated body temperature.  The other best time is right before bed as it can help set your body up into a state of recovery by down regulating your nervous system and allowing for a better nights sleep.  If you do the mobility right it should be productive and intense but not painful and lets be honest after a good massage who wants to go do heavy squats?  Nope, time to hydrate and nap.

Endless amounts of money are spent on going to the the doctor, physical therapy and other health care professionals for help when you can take care of so much yourself when it comes to movement and how your body feels.  As someone who treats injury for a living this seems backwards that I would suggest you try and fix yourself first but it is well worth it and when something really bad is going on that's when to seek help but I want people to perform that basic maintenance on themselves.

"Whenever possible, we must separate movement dysfunction from fitness and performance.  Aggressive physical training cannot change fundamental mobility and stability problems at an effective rate without also introducing a degree of compensation and increased risk of injury." -Gray Cook (Summary: Just working out harder won't correct everything.  You have to take a step back and figure out why things aren't working.)

Take Home Point:
Most of the aches and pains you feel on a daily basis you can control and help reduce, if you put in the time.  There are more than enough tools that are much cheaper than having to visit someone for an exam and then the constant trips back.  Give yourself a chance to move free and live a life filled with less aches and pains and you may even along the way find hidden power and performance that some tight muscles were robbing you of.

We believe in mobility and offer services to help you get started or keep checking back weekly as we also post a Mobility Monday with a new move we like to help get you going.  We also offer our mobility pack that can help you start and it contains all the tools you need to get moving pain free.

Dr. Andrew Jagim on Mobility:
On a personal level this is an area of performance that I have ignored for far too long.  Early on in my athletic career the concepts of mobility weren't really around yet. Sure, the sit-and-reach test could get you a blue presidential fitness award (which I could never get because of those damn pull-ups) and coaches had us do some basic hurdler stretches before and after practice to "reduce the risk of injury" or as a "cooldown." And that was it, nothing else was touched on or mentioned. No talk of "can you squat to parallel or below pain-free and avoid valgus knee motions (knee moves in) or keep a neutral spine..." or "make sure you have proper mobility in your ankles and hips or you may be prone to running-related injuries." The list could go on. And because I missed out on the importance of mobility early on, I have since developed a long list of chronic injuries and over-compensations due to poor training habits stemming from a lack of mobility.

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