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  • Dan Shipman

The Connection Between Strength and Mobility

It's funny all the time we hear people say I don't want to get too strong it will affect my mobility...

Did you know that some of the strongest people in the world can also be some of the most mobile?

How can this be??

1. Proper Training

You can't do the normal meathead workout you see all the bros at the gym doing. While bench press is a great exercise we have to take into account the full body. There is no muscle that works in isolation. The body works as a whole and we need to integrate that into our training. That means training the body from all angles almost (notice I said almost) equally. Knowing what is proper training for each person is beyond this blog, but it starts with an evaluation.

2. Proximal Stability = Distal Mobility

There's a lot of words for you. In easy terms, when one joint closer to the middle of your body is stable, joints further from the middle of the body will have more mobility.

If you have a stable core you will have better mobility in your hips.

If you have a stable scapula you will have better mobility in your shoulder.

This list can go on and on.

We just have to take advantage of this knowledge and build stability everywhere to create more mobility.

What's that you say?? I'm talking about stability now... well stability and strength go hand in hand.

Strong muscles around a joint are what give it the ability to stabilize.

For a better understanding let's look at what we call the Active Straight Leg Raise (a test in the Functional Movement Screen).

In this test we have people actively raise their leg straight up. Some people may not get as high as this picture because of what they deem to be tight hamstrings, which may or may not be true. When you turn on the core, like you see in the picture below where we use a band, you give the core STABILITY. This will, in turn, allow the joints further away, in this case the hips, to move better.

3. Breathe

Yes... breathe! Have you ever been trying to stretch and you take a deep breath and feel the muscle you're trying to stretch loosen up a little?

Most of the tightness you feel is actually a neurological block. Your body isn't sure that the position you're going into is safe. The nervous system in turn tightens the muscle to make sure you don't hurt yourself.

While this is a good mechanism to keep us from injury, when we are working on mobility we have to override this block. By taking a large diaphragmatic breath we allow the nervous system to tell our body we are safe. This will allow the muscle to relax and stretch better.

In all actuality, we are teaching the brain what is a safe position and the brain is smart enough to learn with repetitive use.

4. Actively Work on Your Mobility

Just because you're getting stronger doesn't mean you can forget to work on your mobility and range of motion. You have to work on it.

Our members love to do yoga once or twice a week to help work on their mobility along with breath work.

Even just stretching each day for a few minutes makes a difference when it's done with consistency.

This is Jon Call or @jujimufu on Instagram, crazy right?

It doesn't take a lot to actually accomplish what you have learned here today, it just takes time and consistency and you too can be stronger and more mobile at the same time!!

Let us know in the comments below if you need some extra help with mobility or strength.

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