I’m not very flexible, in fact…
I can’t touch my toes with straight knees
Put it like this, I coach a world class rugby player who can’t reach fully overhead one side…
But its not a problem for the demands of his position…
In fact it might be important to protect him
So how important is being flexible/mobile to you?
And how can it/can’t help and hinder you physically?
Get it right and it can remove pains?
Get it wrong and it can reduce your fitness and physical performance
As a general rule, if you go from your toes upward you want…
Ankle – mobility
Knee – stability
Hip – mobility
Lumbar spine – stability
Thoracic spine – mobility
Shoulder joint – stability
That’s not to say its all one or the other, but maybe a bit more of one than the other
Take for example you knees
Running requires your joints to be quickly supported and stiffened by your muscles
(remember the door hinge analogy?)
If your too flexible/mobile at your knees, it can reduce your ability to stiffen this joint
Less economical running
On the flip side take your thoracic spine?
D’ya remember, the upper part of your back we talked about the other week?
This is very commonly locked up and stiff from years of slouching forward
Maybe at a desk, maybe from training…
If you increase your ability to extend this joint and get it mobile 2 quality things happen…
You risk of lower back pain decreases and…
Your shoulders position better making them less prone to pain and soreness
But there’s one other type of training people overlook with this an its not stretching…
Another recent research paper showed how strength improves flexibility/mobility
Just think back to my email to you the other day…
Pulling exercises are great to pull your thoracic spine into a great position
Strengthening the right areas can allow you to pull your joints into more superior positions
In general if you follow this guideline you’ll be on to a winner, but…
Ultimately the answer lies in what you’re looking for exactly
Some sports and activities requires mobility where maybe others don’t
This is where more specific coaching is needed
Stretch and strengthen the right places