Mobility vs Flexibility – whats the difference?

There’s much more to your fitness than simply strength and endurance. Flexibility and mobility matter too. In simple terms mobility is how well a joint moves through its full range and flexibility is the length of a muscle. If you neglect them you’ll struggle to perform the most basic movements properly and efficiently. For example – What’s the use of trying to squat if you don’t have good mobility in your hips allowing you to drop low enough? Or how would you bend forward and touch your toes properly without adequately flexible hamstrings?

Mobility is the catch all term concerning a range of factors affecting movement at a joint, including strength, inflammation adjacent joints and flexibility. Flexibility can affect mobility whereby short muscles will prevent a joint from reaching its end range.

And why is this important? Poor mobility and flexibility will cause inefficient movement through the whole body and can lead to early ‘wear and tear’/arthritis in the affected joint, as well as putting greater load on the surrounding joints as they have to compensate for their poorly moving neighbour. This is even in day to day movements such as walking or getting up out of a chair All in all, if you want to avoid pain and discomfort, improving your flexibility and mobility can go a long way towards helping that.

Ways to improve Mobility/Flexibility 

Foam Rolling/Lacrosse balls – a great way to self massage and release tight muscles. See our other blog post for more info on this

Mobility Drills – things like knee to wall thrusts, leg swings and wall angels. these are slow controlled movements designed to move a joint through its full range

Power/Stretch Bands – by providing some resistance as you take a joint through its range of motion, you tap into a process the body uses to move called ‘reciprocal inhibition’ where the agonist muscle contracts and the antagonist muscle relaxes. this happens naturally as you move but using some resistance whilst doing this can allow the joint to move more freely.

PNF Stretching – the next level up from your simple static stretching, you work through a stretch with a contract and relax phase to get further movement out of a muscle group. Can also be timed with respiration.

Massage – Sometimes you cannot release tight muscles enough yourself and a massage is fantastic to break down stubborn adhesions that have built up over time.

For more info on this or if you want us to help you put together a good mobility and flexibility routine for you, Give the clinic a call on 9683 1110