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Stretching: The New Mobility Factor

Stretching is the ability of a muscle to lengthen whereas Mobility is the demonstration of an efficient movement. As we grow old, maintaining muscles are more important because human muscles lose elasticity due to ageing.

Stretching: The New Mobility Factor

“You can tell a lot about an athlete, from the way they do their warm-up.” I came across this quotation on one of the fitness websites and nothing can describe the value of the preparation phase in Workout more than this. Stretching is a classic word that means lengthening of muscles. It is probably one of the most underrated aspects of general fitness alongside Balance. Most of the gym-going population hardly devotes 5 minutes of their time to open up their muscles before starting the performance- lifting phase and even less to do the static stretches to finish off a session.

Stretching VS Mobility

Stretching is the ability of a muscle to lengthen whereas Mobility is the demonstration of an efficient movement. There’s a general misconception amongst masses that flexibility or mobility is required only in some specific sports and in yoga and Pilates. Nothing can be far from the truth. Only flexibility is a measure of how bendy an individual is but that ability doesn’t guarantee core strength and the ability to perform optimum movement and better performance. On the other hand, a person with better mobility can execute a greater range of motion.

Hypothetically, let’s take a comparison between two athletes who are equal in terms of strength and power. The person with better mobility can perform exercises with a better range of motion resulting in better muscle fiber excitation. Leaving aside the athletes and performance, modern-day lifestyle compromises the neutral body position. Imagine an average sedentary person using a cellphone, working on desktops and laptops sitting at a crouching position compromising entire spine neutrality (normal arch of the spine). They need mobility drills just to avoid muscular imbalance and resulting pain.

Movement is Medicine

“Movement is medicine”. Most of the time we as fitness professionals chose to suppress the pain rather than finding the cause of the problem and eliminate it. The Posterior chain (back side) of the human body works 24x7 to work against the force of gravity to maintain our posture. Every Workout routine should begin with mobility drills to open up the posterior chain (calf/hamstring/glutes/lower and upper back). Also, the deep muscle groups such as the rotator cuff need to be opened up as they work as stabilizers in most of the push movements.

The Anterior chain (front) of the body also needs the mobility drills for generating power in Movement.  These muscles are responsible for dynamic movement. After the performance phase of training, static stretches help in lengthening the muscles back to their original length to maintain the elasticity of muscles. As we grow old it’s even more important because human muscles lose elasticity due to ageing.

As fitness professionals, our goal is to work towards performance goals as much as possible while fixing up as many mobility issues as possible. Otherwise, due to faulty posture and lack of proper recovery in muscle size, there will be a risk of recurring pain and injuries. At the same time, it’s also important to understand only medicine and rest can’t fix all the pains. Unless we fix the mobility/flexibility issues, only suppression of pain is possible not a permanent cure. So be it an elite athlete/runner/lifter/sportsman or a beginner, the flexibility and mobility part of fitness should take at least one-third of the whole workout duration.

About The Author

Abhishek Chatterjee

Born and brought up in the industrial town of Rourkela, Northern Odisha, Abhishek never thought Fitness will be his profession in future.

After completing Btech (IT) he .. Read More..


Recent Comments

  • 24-May-2021, 11:57

    Mohona dey

    Very true

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