Mobility is the hot new topic in fitness studios around town, but what exactly is it (and is it really new)? When you ask 5 different people, you will get 5 different answers. So to get to the bottom of something so crucial for maintaining a healthy, injury-free body through all our crazy workouts, we went to the best: Julia Falamas.
Coach Julia Falamas is a coach & nutritional consultant specializing in sports performance and body composition. In today's blog, she talks about the concept of mobility, and how you can incorporate it in your daily routine.
Ketanga: What is mobility?
Julia Falamas: The word "Mobility" gets tossed around at lot these days but many people don't REALLY know what it means. At times synonymous with flexibility, mobility refers to the ability for a joint to move freely through its natural range of motion without restriction or pain.
K: Why is mobility important?
JF: This is important for everyone regardless of training type or intensity because maintaining mobility means a decrease in the risk of injury and an increase in performance. Things like impingements can make certain exercises painful or uncomfortable when they don't have to be!
K: How do you ‘practice’ mobility?
JF: For me, mobility is made up of dynamic stretching (i.e. glute bridges, back extensions, squats, lunges, scapula push ups and active hanging), activation (activating muscle groups around joints where you experience tightness and/or discomfort!), and foam rolling.
Foam rolling is a method of self-myofascial release. Fascia is the connective tissue that encases your muscles. Foam rolling aids in relaxing the fascia around a muscle to allow for ease of movement. It also helps to circulate fluid through the muscle body which aids in recovery and provides relief. Textured rollers are best, but they definitely provide an intense experience that may need some working up to.
K: For someone who is new to foam rolling, what are some tips to get started?
JF: My foam rolling routine starts from the ground up; working my way from calves, to quads, hamstrings and IT bands and working up through my glutes to my lats. I avoid rolling my lower back as those muscles can often tighten up if pressure is applied to aggressively- however rolling your upper back is a great option. I start with broad strokes and as I narrow in on a pressure point I will either rest or pulse over that spot until I experience some relief.
K: When should you incorporate mobility into your workouts?
JF: All of my mobility work happens before I train that way I can specifically target the areas that will get worked later in the session. All of my static stretching and flexibility work (i.e. the elasticity of a muscle) happens at the end of a workout when I'm nice and warm. It's important to do a little mobility before anything that will be physically demanding- even things like hiking and rock climbing can benefit from a mobility routine.