Drill the joints the right way

Stretch it right Mobility drills help achieve the full range of motion at joints

The answer to that is pretty simple: Stretching your muscles and mobilising your joints will save you. Mobility drills are being emphasised in fitness routines today. Let’s take a look at a few FAQs on the topic. What are mobility drills? When should they be done? How much should be done? Is it necessary to perform mobility drills even if a person is flexible?

Generally speaking, mobility and flexibility might sound the same but, technically, they are different and they have important impacts on your fitness. Mobility drill refers to working on the joints to achieve a free motion within optimal range. Flexibility drill refers to working on improving the muscle’s length because it has a naturally elastic property, which is prone to shorten if it is not stretched or used up to its maximum range of motion.

There are many types of stretching like dynamic stretching, PNF stretching, static stretching... but ultimately all types help improve muscle length and achieve maximum range of motion to play a sport, performing your workout in the gym and even in the regular daily activities that are physically demanding. Stretching also improves the blood flow to the muscle and makes the process of receiving nutrients and removing waste products more efficient. Tight muscles also have a negative effect on posture and alignment leading to imbalance and reduction in optimal performance. It is also a perfect recipe for injury

If you have tight muscles, you need to stretch but it is very important not to over-stretch. What happens if you do that? If you stretch the muscles too much, it leads to stretching of the ligaments and tendons, which are the ones holding the joints together and keeping them stable. A ligaments is a fibrous tissue that connects one bone to another and a tendon is a fibrous tissue that connects a muscle to a bone.

Since they provide stability to the joints, they are not meant to be loose or over-flexible. They need to have some tension and rigidity, else they become unstable and susceptible to injury.

This is where mobility drills help achieve the full range of motion at joints. If you lack a range of motion at joints, the body will naturally compensate with a dysfunctional movement pattern. When this happens while training with weights in a gym or with your own body weight, then an injury is just lurking around the corner.

Effective mobility drills will gradually push a joint beyond its current range of motion, gently stretch tendons and ligaments, making them stronger and more resilient. Also, the joints don’t have a blood supply like the muscles do. Instead they are nourished by synovial fluid that acts as a lubricant. Mobility drills bathe the joints in this synovial fluid, hence lubricating them and making them healthy and resilient.

When people get injured, it is typically at the joint, not the muscle. Further, as we age and with a sedentary lifestyle, mobility declines. So it is important to make time for mobility drills a part of your fitness training.

Mobility drills should be done before the workout as a warm-up, especially to those joints that will be loaded or trained on that particular day. It takes only 10 minutes. Before squats or lunges make sure you do hip mobility drills. There are many other drills for the other joints like shoulder, knee, and ankle. Remember, training smart is as important as training hard.

The writer is a Coimbatore-based fitness trainer

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Printable version | Apr 25, 2022 5:47:48 am |