Are you always at the same starting point when you come in before your workout? Perhaps you’re one of those folks with stiff shoulders or tight hip flexors. As an observer there are always those individuals around the gym that have had the same issues, for days, weeks, years even. Are the practices these people use, or you, effectively making change beyond the moment before training?
There are a few things this particular demographic claim to be their saviours, and sure enough a few comments to affirm their choice. “I can’t even begin to think about squatting without stretching my hip flexors”, or “when you’re older you’ll understand how necessary 30 minutes of foam rolling is before you workout.” Don’t get me wrong, a number of these tactics feel great and can temporarily improve the function of your body.
We must look objectively at our training habits. There is always the non negotiable biological limitations and the fact we cannot fast forward through time. Tissue adaptation takes just that, time. So should a significant amount of time have passed, and you have been doing the “right” things, why are you starting from scratch. If you have to do that one thing every time you come in, is it actually working?
Temporary change is not bad. Momentary improvement tactics are not shameful. And I will be one of the first people to encourage you to do things that feel good.
You may have goal of improving your mobility. That goal may consist of improved tissue quality, greater flexibility, and increase strength. All of these are apart of the mobility umbrella. And should you be doing the “right” things to get you there, maybe those hip flexors should not have to be stretched all the time because they feel tight. An improved hip function, and the associated stuff around that area, should create an environment that doesn’t have them tissues feeling tight all the time.
Mobility training responds to the same protocols we use for building strength or power. Progressively loading the tissues in such a way that we increase what they are capable of. If you want to get stronger you have to progressively lift more weight. If you want to become more powerful, you have to get progressively faster. Mobility is the same. You have to progressively work on it.
That few minutes you’re chucking in before your really important workout may only leave you with the same issue years later.
One way to tackle this is to attend the mobility class. During the weeks of our training cycles there are some focuses to help prioritize your efforts. You need to create dedicated time and effort to see progressive improvement. Take a few of these drills and such to begin feeding them into your other workout and days off.
Ask yourself the hard question if what your doing is actually working to progress you. Somethings just feel good, and that’s okay, if you just want some temporary change. Dedicate time to your mobility practice and allow me to help you find ways of working it in to your regular routine.
Mobility is something you need to dedicate specific time and focus to. When it becomes worked into every element of your training and philosophy, it is your training. Both can be true.
Emile Maxwell Connaughton