3 Lessons from Improving Mobility
1. Get it fixed, fast
Don’t sit around and rationalize how you can work around a lack of mobility. You’re only hurting yourself and your training by prolonging the amount of time you’re moving poorly. Not only will you not train as efficiently as you could, but you’re more likely to get injured! Sports are all about movement, and if you have areas of your body that could function better to help you move better, you should address them. Personally, it was amazing to me how quickly I felt a change when I started focusing in on my mobility issues (rather than just general stretching). I got a mobility program from Dr. John Giacalone (GS Athletics’ Team Doctor), and within a few sessions I really noticed a difference. So don’t waste any more time, get it done!
2. If you aren't sure, get an assessment
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Most people aren’t experts on human movement or biomechanics, so if you think something is wrong with you, go ask someone who knows! Even if you are an expert, having someone else to watch you move can be invaluable. Find a reputable DPT in your area, and go in for an assessment. Even if you can’t afford to get treated once or twice per week, just getting an initial assessment and having an understanding of what is wrong can be very helpful. Athletes move so much that any weaknesses or imbalances will only increase over time and become more difficult to treat. An assessment is the first step to helping yourself out.
3. It might be boring work, but it will make everything better
Other than meal prep, I think most people would agree that mobility work is low on the list of “exciting athlete things”. Unfortunately, it has to be high on your list of “important athlete things”. Mobility and recovery work are completely necessary as an athlete, because they give your body the chance to heal and get ready for another difficult training session. As well, not only will you address an issue directly, but it could improve some other issues that you didn't even know were related. For example, opening up my hips and lower back has drastically improved how my knees feel on a day to day basis, which is awesome. You can think of mobility work sort of like saving for retirement. A little bit each and every day is always better than nothing. Over time, that little bit each day compounds, and if you extrapolate that focus over a month, or three months, or a year, you’ve probably made a serious dent in your existing mobility issues. So, you might be lying on the floor, dreading another 15 or 20 minutes of stretching, but just tell yourself that it’s worth it. And that tomorrow will be the day you’ll give yourself a break and skip it. And then tell yourself that again tomorrow. And the next day.