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STABILITY AND MOBILITY TIPS TO KEEP YOU MOVING

 

Having adequate mobility and stability is essential for your health and function. This is especially true when it comes to avoiding injury. When your joint mobility is restricted, your movement is impaired, meaning the risk of injury is increased. This is why you need full mobility when strength training or performing any other form of exercise. At birth, we are generally graced with full mobility but as life progresses, our mobility slowly deteriorates due in part to injuries and our lifestyle choices, for example sitting for long periods of time. On the other hand, we are born with no stability. This is attained throughout our childhood and enhanced through exercise in later life. This is why placing a large focus on both mobility and stability in your training will be very beneficial for your life. 

The mobility of a joint is the degree of movement to which the surrounding tissue; such as tendons, muscle, and ligaments are able to perform before being restricted.(1) 

Stability is defined as having the ability to maintain control of the joint position by the coordinating actions of surrounding tissue and the neuromuscular system.(2)

Two of the main areas that I focus on with my clients are the hips and thoracic spine.

Without proper hip mobility, we tend to fall into poor movement patterns. A lack of hip mobility means that the body must find a different way to move. Unfortunately, this means that the lower back or knees end up doing more of the work. When we are sat down all day our hip flexors can tighten and our core and glute muscles can weaken from lack of use. In order to maintain a healthy hip joint, the joint needs to be exercised to its full range in all directions.

Hip stability helps you to maintain your centre of gravity and produce strength and coordination in your hips and core muscles. Hip stability works in conjunction with hip mobility ensuring the freedom of movement. 

The thoracic spine includes 12 vertebrae and large surrounding muscle with the ability to flex, extend and rotate. However, strength imbalances, muscle tightness and poor posture can immobilize this area. Not only can this result in the reduction of power in rotational movements, it can increase the risk of a lower back injury. This is because the lower back compensates and rotates even though it is not supposed to.

Everyone needs a good range of mobility and stability. Any joint restriction or muscular weakness will decrease your performance. The increase in mobility and stability could give you the potential to produce more power in your golf swing for example and also increase the control of your swings with fewer restrictions. The main reason for improving mobility and stability through the hips and back is the reduced risk of injury. 

Here are a few of my favourite mobility and stability exercises for you to try. They are of great benefit to anyone with mobility and stability issues, whether you play golf or not:

3 Point T-spine Rotations

This is a great exercise to do to improve your thoracic spine mobility. You will notice very quickly how tight you are through your back. Complete 15 reps, twice on each side.  

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

This is a great stretch for increasing hip mobility. The hips are such an important area to mobilise. Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds, twice on each.  

Golfers Pick- Up

This is a brilliant exercise for strengthening and stabilising glutes, hamstrings and lower back.  Complete 10 reps on each leg, two to three times.

Single leg medicine ball rotations

Just like the golfers pick-up, this exercise works the glutes, hamstrings and lower back but this also adds rotation, which works your internal and external obliques. Try to do 10 reps on each side, repeating the exercise twice.    

If you need some help with improving mobility or stability please do not hesitate to contact me or one of our other qualified trainers. 


REFERENCES

1.  http://www.acefitness.org/blog/1189/stability-and-mobility

2.  http://boneandspine.com/joint-stability-injury/