Whether you run, climb, ski, cycle or just sit at a desk a lot, you probably have suffered from small injuries or large ones that have sidelined you from your sport or are limiting your performance. Having had some personal experience over the last few months with this topic, we figured we could provide some insight for folks looking to take better care of themselves.
Look for more of these in the future but we’re kicking off our Mobility Series with some wise words and demonstration on hip mobility from coach Chris Baker. Chris coaches the competitive climbing teams at City Rock, here in Colorado Springs and has a background as a national development coach for USA Triathlon and the resident team coach at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
What does “Mobility” Refer to?
Mobility generally refers to three areas of work you can do to improve the biomechanics that affect range of motion within your body. They can be categorized as follows:
Soft Tissue Work
This is stuff you do with a foam roller, tennis ball or other tool to self-massage tight muscles and other soft-tissue. You may actually need to bring a massage therapist into the mix if you can’t do the work yourself. The idea here is to create a “pressure wave” with the tool of your choice to break up tight bubbles and adhesions in the tissue that are causing problems.
This is what most of us have been brought up from a young age to practice either before or after exercise. Stretches generally focus on lengthening muscles and are great except that some muscles are very difficult to stretch.
The final item on the list, and the least well known is joint mobilization. This is all about manipulation of the joints themselves to restore or improve full range of motion in the joint.
All three of these should be part of your self-maintainance routine to keep you from those annoying injuries. Definitely, you should be in communication with a good physical therapist, coach or other professional if you feel you have underlying serious issues that need to be addressed but some mobility work will go a long ways towards keeping most of us healthy and on target with the training goals we have for our sport. Think of this series as a preventive measure to keep you healthy more than something to do when something is already wrong but you an also use it in the latter scenario.