If you're reading this, it's safe for me to assume you want to be better at your sport.

One of the major ways most of us can get better at our sport is to become more mobile. Stiffness increases injury risk, injuries shorten practise and playing time and this in turn affects the quality of our game negatively.

If stiffness doesn't injure us, it also robs us off speed, power, agility, strength and endurance. I don't know about you, but I could definitely do with more of these attributes.

Stiffness bad. Mobility good.

Maybe you have frustratingly tried to improve your mobility with little or no result. If you have experienced this, at some point you probably resorted to static stretching; a method which has merits but for most of us under-delivers.

To give you an idea of why that's the case, let me bring your attention to an example of great familiarity – the seatbelt.

With a fastened seatbelt on, you can still move forward in your seat if you want to grab something from in front of you. The belt is extensible and allows movement.

In the event of a sudden stop or crash, that seatbelt will permit nowhere near as much forward movement. In some cases, it will not only stop forward movement, it will actively pull the wearer back into the seat. Clever electronic and mechanical sensors that detect sudden changes in the speed of the car and the speed of movement of the seatbelt tell the belt to limit movement all for the purpose of the protection of the wearer.

Your muscles work kinda like seatbelts in this respect.

They limit movement to protect you based on info from clever sensors in the muscles and the rest of you, plus your brain. These systems are set at different protection levels in all of us. This is a result of different genetic endowment and different personal experience that tells us that different ranges and speeds of movement are safer than others.

We cannot take our “seatbelts” off. They have a current setting that only allows so much movement. This is ultimately a good thing for our protection from extreme danger but ain't so good if we're just wanting a bit of extra mobility to do all that nice stuff (mentioned earlier) for our sports performance.

The good news is, we can change our settings. How quickly will depend on a number of factors including:

  • what methods we use

  • how regularly we use them

  • the starting point of our settings

  • the rate of change that our settings are capable of given a certain method and regularity

This mixture of factors can easily lead to two individuals of the same level of mobility doing identical mobility training and one getting results faster than the other. It can also lead to different methods working for some than for others.

There are people like me around who know how these safety systems work and how you can change their parameters safely and effectively. If you're looking to get more mobile, given all the confusing myriad of info out there on the topic, I suggest you find somebody who knows their stuff to work with.

It could save you years of faffing around and getting injured. It could ultimately help you get better at your sport. I speak as a poster child for faffing, being injured and stalling my own progress.

Stop yanking against your seatbelts, triggering their locking mechanisms. There are easier ways to cut yourself some slack and move better for your sport.

 

Arton “Buckle up but not too tight” Baleci
Float Sting - Sports Performance and Rehabilitation