Flexibility vs Mobility. What is it, and what it isn’t.
Here’s a recall: This topic came up because one of our athlete, ShaoQi had mentioned his teacher and peers commented that he is really tight and ‘not flexible’, but yet when he does mobility sessions with us, he was able to hold hip flexion >120degree… So what’s up?
So, we’ll first define Flexibility and Mobility so that everyone is on the same page-
Flexibility is the ability of a muscle(s) to lengthen- i.e. how far you can fold, bend, or reach as your muscles stretch to their maximum length. Flexibility is usually passive.Mobility is the ability of a joint(s) to move through a range of motion. And this includes structural joint range, muscle flexibility and also having a good motor control program that allows you to ‘own that range’.
Mobility is usually active (like owning movement ranges that we do on zoom right now).And for us sportsmen, we take it one level up to not only owning the range, but doing it really quickly in a sequenced manner like swimming cycling and running, and then repeating them frequently hoping that we don’t get tight even though we do little maintenance…
Does this sound familiar? When your muscles get tight, the body doesn’t usually untighten itself. Hence, you will need to help it along by improving the muscles’ flexibility by stretching/foam-rolling/massage and then regaining active control over these ranges by doing mobility work.
Article written by: Shuwie (@shuwiechang)
So my questions to you is:
Is Shaoqi flexible or mobile? (He cant touch his toes but he can hip flex >120deg easy) Can a ballerina who can do a full split feel tightness? What doors does being both flexible and mobile mean in terms of sporting performance?