Friday, 14 January 2011

The Magnificence of Mobility

Hello all,

First of all i would like to thank all the new readers of the blog for sharing comments and feedback, particularly on my last blog. Its nice to write stuff that is being read and appreciated (and enjoyed in several different countries) its why i write in the first place. We just finished a GFD 7 day challenge and the results were again very good - i will write more on this in February blog "6 week training results" - but the average loss was about 5lbs across everyone who tried it.

Things are starting to pick up again at the gym as all the clients crawl back from their festive celebrations - I have made a commitment to start the year off with a bang, everyone is going to get pushed that liitle bit extra over the next 6 weeks.

Starting on Saturday 8th January (which is now in the past) we embarked on an experimental 6 week training and diet plan which was a combination of several different diet strategies along with my own training sessions i have been working since 2010. I will post a blog of results in February which will show results. Lets hope it works!

Today's blog is all about Mobility. I kid you not when i say that one DVD i bought (well actually it was lent to me by a friend, cheers Leigh) a few years back, 100% changed the way i trained people. The amount of money i have made using this program has been absolutely ridiculous (Thanks Eric Cressey and Mike robertson - more on that later) and the results that my clients have enjoyed from using this program have been amazing!

MM has earned me 1000's, fact.

Definition of Mobility

Mobility - "The quality or state of being mobile"

Think of the people you see at gyms across the world, do they produce quality movement? Let me tell you that here in Bahrain - they dont! more on that later....

During every assessment, i get clients to perform the primal patterns:

Squat (one for the guys!)




These are the basic human movements that should be easy to execute on command. But very often, clients/gym members will struggle with them.

Why is this? This could be a number of reasons from lack of basic strength, lack of co-ordination to stiff joints and tight muscles.

What can be done? By identifying faulty movement patterns you/your trainer can start to work out which muscles and joints are tight and are impacting normal movement.

The system of "assessing" and "correcting" should be the foundation of everyone's training programs or it will lead to dysfunction and injury somewhere down the line.

Cressey, Robertson and Hartmann's newer product - Assess and Correct

FYI- Im not getting paid to plug these products, its just they really are 'the shit' when it comes to corrective exercise and mobility exercises.

Are you mobile? Can you perform perfect technique in the Squat and Lunge? If not, read on. If so, read on.

The difference between Mobility and Flexibility

I could say that im asked this question all the time but i would be flat-out lying to you! Nobody has asked me this because they dont really care. But, i do ask myself this question all the time and here is the answer.. i give myself. In training terms, Mobility deals with the range of movement around a joint.

E.g. Skipping rope dislocation to assess shoulder mobility

Flexibility deals with the length of an individual muscle.

E.g. Adductor stretch to assess adductor length (another one for the guys!)

"The length and quality of each individual muscle tissue can affect a person's mobility and exercise technique in both a positive and negative way".

What am i saying? If you have short, tight and weak muscles around a joint, your mobility will suffer - if you have strong, quality supple muscles around a joint, your mobility will improve - simples.

What should you do? You should get yourself assessed  by a qualified trainer who can then write you a program based on your individual needs. Every one of these types of training programs should start with a corrective warm up with both mobility and flexibility drills specifically included to target an individuals' issues.
I dont mind the shameless plug here but that's what we do best at RCC gym. We write great training programs from our comprehensive assessment process. Plug over. Continue blog.

Working with Bahrain golfing prospect, Daniel Owen

The Bahrain/Modern day world problem on quality movement

The clients im seeing coming into the gym now in Bahrain (generally) have extremely bad mobility, flexibility, movement and technique. So what's going wrong?

I believe (and this is just my opinion) that the youth of Bahrain (and probably most of the world) are not doing the same things as we did as kids 20+ years ago. They do not fall over, they do no learn to get up. Its as if they have missed a crucial development stage during youth when you acquire motor control and basic movement. As a human being its very difficult to watch young people fail at basic movements, as a PT its very difficult to know where to begin when teaching exercises. I believe mobility and flexibility training is the only way forward with these individuals.

In the summer i took part in a 200-strong class taken by Alwyn Cosgrove who was taking us through a basic warm up:

- side to side jumps
- bear crawls
- jumping jacks
- push ups... and so on

When i told him i had clients who couldn't do these movements, he didn't understand what i was saying! In the end i dont think he believed me. Come to the Middle East Alwyn, Take a look for yourself, kids have forgotten how to move properly and walking into gyms with mobility issues aged 9! WTF!

Babies learn naturally to crawl, walk, run, fall...

Other factors that could affect poor motor skills in this region are:

- Hot weather does not allow kids to be out as much
- Massive reliance on motor transport to get from place to place
- No major parks or cycle tracks on the island
- Cheap home help means that every household will have atleast 1 maid who will do all housework
- Poor nutrition. The region has completely fallen in love with American fast food. Its also cheaper
- Its not compulsory for kids to take part in PE lessons

The way things are going... well, put it this way, it doesn't look great. I now see kids in the malls who are an unbelievable size. I always look at the parents. Its crazy but most of all its sad! Rant over.

Take home message

Everyone needs to incorporate some form of mobility and flexibility work into their training programs. How and when you do it is up to you. You can have extended corrective warm ups (which we favour at RCC) or you can have complete sessions devoted to corrective exercise. It would be a wise move which ever you choose, otherwise you're probably going to end up:

1) Tight
2) Injured
3) un co-ordinated
4) and have no friends

Ok... maybe not the last one.

For ideas of mobility drills, check out my youtube channel

See ya :)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the kind words, Nathan. The blog is looking great!




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