Mobility Vs Flexibility

Mobility Vs Flexibility

Mobility and flexibility are often two interchangeable words that people think mean the same thing. There is some truth that they can be perceived to have similarities but there is one key difference between them. Flexibility is the ability of a muscle, muscle groups, tendon and ligaments to lengthen passively through a range of motion. Whereas mobility is the ability for the joints structures to move actively through a range of motion.

 

Gymnastics Athlete

 

Flexibility and mobility do touch on similar subject areas but involving two different structures. Both are key attributes to have and one does not work independently from the other. Both are affected if individuals become sedentary and inactive and can also be negatively impacted due to injury history. For example, mobility can be adversely affected if the individual has deep or shallow joint capsules which unfortunately cannot be changed no matter how much you train or exercise. Whereas the flexibility of say the bicep can change due to size, contractile strength, and scar tissue to mention some factors.

 

Similar to a lot of exercise regimes consistency is the key to improving both flexibility and mobility. Little efforts as often as possible is the key to success. In the current climate with all of us spending more time at home, it is very easy to become inactive. Our stretching and movement routines are a great place to start and they are stretches I personally use and give to the athlete’s I coach. Movements like the ones pictured below can help dramatically if done a couple of times a week or once a day. Can you guess which one is mobility and which one is flexibility focused? 

 

 

 

This is a trick question as both exercises work on mobility and flexibility. The hip flexor stretch seems to be exclusively flexibility, all though it is static, you're taking your hip and ankle through a range of motion. And the squat and reach movement, although seemingly a mobility exercise, you are again passively taking the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calf muscles through a passive range of motion. Again one does not work exclusively instead of the other.

 

The mobility and flexibility routines do not have to be done for long extended periods of time. 5-10 minute warm-ups prior to a training session and as part of your cool-down can really help get consistency. Difficulty and complexity of movements can be increased or decreased like any other form of exercise but the focus must be on the quality of movement. A little bit of discomfort is ok in these movements, but you should not be in blinding pain. If somewhere hurts more than normal exertion levels of exercise please stop immediately and get in touch for some help.

 

For home workouts or more specific fitness programmes, you can get in contact with us at MVP (hello@projectmvp.co.uk) or head to https://performwithmvp.com/free-trial where you can get your MVP customised training programme. We are offering a 14-day free trial to show you how great our fitness app is!

 

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