If there is one thing you are clear about, it is that exercises Mobility is a matter of physically abandoned forties. They are not for you. You still get to tie your shoelaces, you would be able to carry the suitcases to the loft two by two even if they were full. Let the weights show. You know well that you, who have not missed a CrossFit class in two years and do not miss a San Silvestre, you have enough to move your joints during the warm-up. The important thing is to sweat, and to see the result. You will think about mobility when you retire … Error.
You are one of those who still do not know that a good mobility training is a strength training, and not one to be ignored. Forget the ankle warm-up exercises in PE classes, the one in which you would go round and round with the tip of the foot fixed on the ground. The thing is not exactly that (although doing that and other similar movements are not bad at all). Instead, try slightly activating your abdomen, buttocks, and legs, with your arms close to the sides of your body, and then slowly bring your chin toward your sternum. From that position, turn your neck slowly, very slowly, to the right side, until you see the shoulder. Then tilt your head back and rotate your neck to the left side, until you are looking at the other shoulder. Go very slowly, recruiting each muscle fiber, and return to the starting point. You will notice tension. If it hurts, stop. Now imagine that you do this type of exercise, and more advanced ones, in each joint, from the neck to the toes. You will probably end up having cramps. Do them in a group and you will hear a colleague snort. Insurance. They are not a ride.
How to get new muscles
The idea of mobility exercises is to combine the flexibility of workouts like yoga with strength. This implies working the joints in their maximum range of motion but in a conscious, controlled way, activating the muscles related to each of them in all their possible positions. “This gives you a foundation so that you can perform more or better in other workouts, but it is invisible training, so to speak,” says Beatriz Vidal, mobility specialist trainer at Qi Movement. In other words, while reinforcing these muscles does not produce dramatic changes that are visible in the mirror —You will see a gain in mobility by recording yourself on video or taking photos — in the medium or long term, it helps you train without pain and with fewer limitations. “In the end, what you are doing is multiplying the options to move better, with more capacity and efficiency.”
There are specific mobility trainings that last an hour and a half, exercises that are placed at the beginning or end of a session, sessions that are done separately … everyone has to find the ones that suit them best. But, for Vidal, following a 20-minute routine that includes controlled rotations of the most important joints is a habit at the height of the daily shower. The aim of this hygiene measure is to maintain good communication with the deepest part of the joints. Literally, since the neural connections related to movements that we do not do regularly, that perhaps we have not done for decades, end up disappearingr. “What you don’t use is lost,” summarizes Vidal.
Mobility decreases until it disappears, and this favors the appearance of pain, increases the risk of injuries and reduces physical performance. For example, the lack of mobility can lead to compensations that replace the movements of which we have deprived them of inappropriate ones, using muscles that should not be involved. “Naps doing squats and you do not have hip mobility, the lower back will replace the action that this joint cannot do, hence why many people suffer from back pain ”. The lower back can also compensate, for example, for the extension and internal rotation movements of the shoulder required for push-ups. How much pain could be avoided by paying due attention to the joints of the cervical, thoracic region, scapulae, shoulders, hips, tibia, knee, ankles, toes, elbows, wrists …?
A good mobility training also prevents —or lightens— injuries such as sprains, by strengthening the muscles in all their possible movements; it is evident that if an ankle jerks Towards positions that have never been reinforced the muscles will be less prepared to control it. When the twist is unavoidable but the muscles are strong, recovery will tend to be more favorable.
In addition, it allows you to get the most out of other types of training. Its effects may not be noticeable with the naked eye (until you start doing hip rotations in front of a mirror and realize that you move like the robot from Star Wars), but they are evident as soon as you pay a little attention to what’s going on inside you. “You have to know how the shoulder has to work so that it comes into play well in a pull-up later, just like the scapula, it has a fundamental function in any movement that involves the upper body ”. With this knowledge, performing the most basic exercise becomes much more profitable. Controlled rotations also allow you to know how you are doing each day, information that can be very relevant in deciding which exercises you do and which you leave for another session. Power without control is useless…
When moving like a kid is a problem
There are very basic mobility exercises to do in the warm-up, but they are not the ones that will get you moving again as a teenager. What’s more, you may not want to go back to this stage of life. It does not guarantee anything. “You don’t have to be 60 years old to have serious mobility problems,” says Vanesa García, personal trainer and professor of Physical education high school. “Even in the minimum exercises that are part of the warm-up we are finding cases of little mobility,” he says.
In general, the problems of people who do not have osteoarthritis, arthritis or similar health problems may be due to a lack of travel of the joint itself or to dysfunctions of the muscles related to it. Some of his students experience problems of this nature in the knees, hips and ankle that, according to García, could be the consequence of a sedentary life.
She sees it in some exercises and observing well, for example, when storing material on shelves. For his part, Vidal evaluates this parameter with specific tests for each type of movement of each joint, which means that there are dozens of tests to do before determining the real state of mobility of a person (although if you cannot lift your leg beyond 45º, for example, you can already consider that the trend is not exactly flattering). The same thing happens with the exercises, the repertoire is wide and they should be chosen according to the needs of each person and with professional advice to learn to do the movements well: wrong actions can aggravate a possible injury, generate structural or functional disorders, and lead to neuropathies, warns Vidal.