Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 42: How Should You Be Doing Mobility Work

Welcome back to #TuneUpTuesday!  I can't believe this has been going strong for 42 weeks. The goal of this series is to help tune-up your mobility, workouts, and fitness habits over the course of 2017 and beyond. 

With the start of the Par Four Performance Virtual Kinstretch classes, I have been getting a lot of questions about what type of mobility training one should do, and when is the best time to do it. 

Let me start by saying that mobility training is an individual practice, what works best for me may not be the best for you.  I highly recommend playing around with the frequency you perform mobility training, as well as when you use different types of mobility training.  

Today's post focuses on leaving you with a few rules of thumb to help guide you along your journey. 



1. Passive Stretching - This type of stretching is assisted.  Either by gravity, or by a partner - some external force is helping you stretch a muscle.  Examples: Yoga, having a friend stretch your hamstrings, stretching your chest in a doorway. 

When to use it:  Passive mobility serves a purpose in two ways.  

A) Short duration stretches of up to 30 seconds can improve ROM by improving your tolerance to stretching. 

B) Long duration stretches of > 2 mins, every day for 5-8 weeks can help create actual tissue change, ie) make tissue longer (increase in sarcomere length).

Beneficial for when you feel really tight.

Improving passive mobility does not mean you can actively access it.  This opens up a new window of range, but doesn't serve us any benefit when our body needs to use it.

2. Movement Prep/Dynamic Mobility - These are dynamic movements that mimic what you would be doing in the gym or sport in order to prepare your body.  Examples: Toe Touch, Squat to Stand, Greatest Stretch etc...

When to use it: Right before your workout/athletic event

This is beneficial to raise the temperature of your tissues, and actively work patterns that will be needed for activity.  This can help prevent injury and improve performance. 

The issue is, if you don't have good mobility in areas you may compensate from other areas to access the movement pattern.

3. Active Stretching - or kinetic stretching, as we term it in the Functional Range Conditioning world.  This uses muscular contractions to help improve your ACTIVE MOBILITY.  Examples: Controlled Articular Rotations, Isometrics, Eccentrics, Kinstretch.

Benefits: Active mobility helps you actively control your flexibility to help decrease risk of injury and improve performance.


Rules of Mobility

1. No high intensity isometrics before working out or athletic events.

Before events, you can do submaximal active mobility drills (around 30-50% intensity), or do movement prep/dynamic warm-ups before hand. 

2. Do something everyday.

My suggestion is do controlled articular rotations everyday.  They serve a multitude of function from keeping your joints healthy to allowing you to assess your joints.

Also, I suggest focusing on your weakest links.  If you notice you have decreased mobility of hip IR and spinal extension... do that everyday until it gets better.  Then focus on your next weakest links. 

3. Do Kinstretch classes on off days or use them as recovery days.

You can do Kinstretch on other days too, but I would suggest saving these workouts for your off days, or several hours after your workout.  Kinstretch can be neurologically demanding at times, and doing it before a workout/athletic event can drain the nervous system.  Kinstretch is meant to compliment your training program, not hinder it.  Using this rule of thumb will help keep your body feeling fresh week long.

Follow these rules to mobility training, and start putting an effort into improving how your body feels and performs.

Move Well, Stay Strong.

If you want to learn more about the Virtual Kinstretch Classes, sign up to the Par Four Performance newsletter below to get access to a FREE class.