5 Common Mobility Mistakes

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In this Workshop we’re tackling one of the fundamental issues; 5 common mobility mistakes all athletes make. Mobilising is a crucial part of any training plan. So how come you don’t programme it, get coaching or treat it the same way as the rest of your programming?!?!

Mobility Mistake 1

Not actually mobilising the bit you think you are!

OMG! This is by far the most common mobility mistake we see! I would say there are two categories here:

1.Completely wrong body part – This is pretty rare, nowadays you guys have access to LOTS of information on mobility, so the chances of working completely the wrong stretch/drill are pretty low. But, we do see it, often with people choosing overly complicated drills or performing the drill wrong and simply not getting the improvements because it’s not hitting their problem area.

2.Incorrect technique – One of THE most common mistakes is with the hip flexor stretch. You either relax the lower back, hyperextending rather than hitting the hip flexors, and/or allow the pelvis to anteriorly tilt hitting the anterior hip capsule (ligaments) rather than the hip flexors. Both of these start stretching passive stability structures and can result in injury. Check out this video on how to perform a hip flexor stretch properly.

What’s going on: You’re allowing the stretch/movement to pass elsewhere. Go back to basics, try an easier progression and really ensure you’re feeling stretch where you should be for that drill. And if you’re not sure where to feel it? Then ask someone who knows!


Mobility Mistake 2

Forgetting to test yourself

Ah man this is a big one….bringing in regular mobility testing completely changed everything with our athletes. If you’re not testing yourself (in any way) then you are missing out on a WEALTH of information. Here’s why not testing yourself is a huge mobility mistake:

1.Failing to identify what needs mobilising in the first place

How on earth can you be certain that your tight hamstrings are the problem if you haven’t tested? 9 times out 10- mobility testing highlights problems with the hips and lower back, as well as the hamstrings. By targeting these areas as well you can get a much faster, and longer lasting improvement in your hamstring flexibility. But if you haven’t tested yourself properly then you wouldn’t even know these areas need mobilising in the first place

2.Wasting time on drills that aren’t working

Who has time to waste on training/drills that aren’t working?! If you don’t test yourself AFTER you perform mobility drills then you miss out on being able to accurately tell which drills are helping you or not. The simple approach of test – drill – retest will show you IMMEDIATELY if a drill has helped or not. In most cases you should see some sort of improvement straight away – so if you’re not testing then you’re making a huge mistake.

3.Not spotting injuries before they happen.

With regular testing you know what your baseline flexibility and mobility is, right? As soon as things start to change; left vs right, big increases/decreases in mobility, you can get a heads up that you’re at risk of injury. It’s one of the biggest mobility mistakes to not use testing as a diagnostic tool for injury prevention.

What’s going on: Forgetting to test yourself when doing mobility work results in wasted time, and poor results. Learning how to test yourself before and after mobility work will be one of the best things you can do for maximising your mobility.


Mobility Mistake 3

Not getting coaching/feedback

We spend loads of time geeking out and learning about lifting technique. Regardless of whether it’s powerlifting, olympic lifting or even gymnastics we value any piece of coaching advice that we get which could improve our form.

So why are you not getting coaching and feedback on your mobility work? It’s exactly the same, you’re trying to work and improve movement patterns, affect how load is going through your tissues – so not getting coaching or regular feedback on your mobility drills and positioning is one of the biggest mobility mistakes that you can make!!

What’s going on: By not getting coaching for your mobility work you’re putting the time in but simply not getting the return that you could be. There is a wealth of knowledge that a good coach or therapist can give you, particularly in educating you on how, where and why to use particular drills.


Mobility Mistake 4

Thinking there’s a magic stretch

THERE IS NO NEW MAGIC STRETCH OUT THERE!! Stretches and mobility drills are tools, one of the big mistakes you make is thinking that you’re missing some important drill in your routine. Think of mobility drills as tools, rather than just acquiring more and more tools, actually learn how to use the tools that you have in your toolkit.

Just like with lifting, accessory drills are just that. Accessory. The same with complicated, or elaborate stretches. They certainly can be useful, but the mistake is thinking that one of them is the answer.

What’s going on: By thinking there’s some special drill out there you’re neglecting the basics. Learn how to use a foam roller and mobility ball properly, understand all the different ways to use breath in your stretching, experiment with basic positions and learn how to use them in a variety of ways. You don’t need MORE tools in your toolkit – you need to understand how to use the ones you have effectively.


Mobility Mistake 5 – Not having any sort of mobility programme

WHAT?!?! The sooner you think about mobility work as training, the better.

It’s a huge mistake to consider it as anything else. You can use mobility drills as recovery by performing easy, light drills with a big emphasis on breathing – this is the same as having an active recovery day. But performing intense stretches, aggressive foam rolling or smashing the tissues with a mobility ball can be just as intense as a workout.

You should be programming your mobility work, checking it matches your training plan, cycling through different body parts and have emphasis on different techniques with each cycle.

Programming mobility work is essential. Simply start with choosing a different part of the body part to focus on each month. You can perform general work elsewhere, but perform some targeted drills for a different body part each month.

If you need help with this then book an appt with one of our team or look through more of our blog posts!

Follow Vicki:

Sports Massage Therapist

Vicki Marsh MSc BA (hons) studied at Oxford University before training as a Sports Massage Therapist. With over 12 years experience she specialises in chronic pain & complex cases as well as coaching Crossfit & Weightlifters.She runs specialist workshops, creates online courses and has spoken at events such as COPA on how to grow a successful business.

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