Is Your Mobility Issue Actually a Stability Issue?
Wednesday, 2 / 21 / 18
Do you find yourself always coming to class or your sessions early to roll out the same tight muscles and always doing your mobility exercises like a pigeon stretch or whatever it may be, and you still are not seeing the results you wish to see within your mobility? Or maybe you might finally feel good for a while, but then you’re all locked up again a few weeks later. It’s probably very frustrating feeling like you’re constantly limited within your range of motion. I’m here to tell you that in this case, your mobility issue might actually be a STABILITY issue.
There is a difference between mobility and stability. Mobility is the ability for a joint to move through its range of motion. Stability is the body’s ability to control the movement through the range of motion that’s available.
You’re going through a specific movement, let’s say a squat for example, and your hips feel like they hit a wall where you can’t get down any further. Why this is happening is because your nervous system might be creating that locked up feeling because it is recognizing that the movement can’t be done safely due to being so unstable in that joint. Basically, your body creates this restriction in movement, so it can return to what feels safe and protected.
Keep in mind that I am not stating that mobility and stability are not related to one another. Our body is simply a giant chain of mobile joints and stable joints (see picture). These two play off of one another. For example, say you know you have tight hamstrings…so you foam roll them constantly and stretch them, but nothing comes of it. Most of the time the hamstrings aren’t really the problem. It is the lack of mobility in the hips/pelvis that causes the hamstrings to tighten, and the lack of stability in the hips results. The quads and hip flexors become tight which pulls the pelvis out of alignment and the hamstrings panic so they tighten in an attempt to provide stability in place of the pelvis not correctly doing its job. All of this bad body alignment causes the instability, which will negatively affect your overall strength and power. Now, you’re doing all this mobility work, and those mobility drills that you’ve been doing to your hips (or anywhere else) might actually be working! But now you need to work on the next piece of the puzzle, which is the stability. Once you put these two together, now you will start feel a difference in your movement.
There is a phrase that I learned “tightness comes secondary to weakness”. You might not actually be tight, it’s that you’re weak in an area and another area is overcompensating. This is why it is critical to work with a coach, to guide you through your mobility with stability, then comes the strength and power gains you’ve been waiting and working so hard for.