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MOBILITY VS FLEXIBILITY: WHY JUST BEING FLEXIBLE WON’T SAVE YOU FROM INJURY

MOBILITY VS FLEXIBILITY

Ahh, “Mobility” – a mesh-word in the fitness industry these days, but often used in the wrong context. This blog post is all about defining what exactly mobility is, and why it’s different than flexibility             

Flexibility: how “bendy” something is – the ability to PASSIVELY achieve a range of motion (Maximum passive range of motion)
Mobility: a blend of strength and flexibility – requires an element of neurological control; the ability to ACTIVELY achieve a range of motion (Maximum active range of motion)

Functional Gap = Passive ROM (Flexibility) – Active ROM (Mobility)
               – The higher this gap = increased risk of injury



Using the example above, the maximum PASSIVE range of motion was 90 degrees, but the Maximum ACTIVE range of motion was 45

90 (Passive ROM) – 60 (Active ROM) = 30 degrees Functional Gap

This means that the nervous system and the tissue do not have the required control and strength to work past 60 degrees – therefore, from 45-90 degrees is USELESS range and must be picked up somewhere else (ie. Low Back, Knee joint, etc)

Imagine this individual was doing Romanian Deadlifts or a Sprinter (see below) – the inability to control their ROM from 60-90 is an essential part of both. The result? Increased strain on adjacent joints or tissues; likely resulting in lower back pain or hamstring strains

HOW TO CONVERT PASSIVE TO ACTIVE ROM

Alright, now that we understand Passive vs Active ROM, here’s how to fix that:

Remember,
Flexibility = How “stretchy” something is – requires no strength or neurological control
Mobility = Flexibility + Strength + Control

So, in order to convert your passive ROM and tissue flexibility to active, we must exhibit strength and control at the end-ranges of movement

Here’s an example on improving Hip External Rotation using end-Range Contractions (ie. PAILs/RAILs)


The act of CONTRACTING the muscles being stretched at their end-ROM creates a feedback loop with the nervous system. Basically, you are telling the muscles, joint and the nervous system that you are able to produce a force at this ROM. Once the brain understands this, it gives you another 10-15 degrees to move into, and you continue to repeat. Do this often enough, and that functional gap decreases as well as your risk of injury

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Riley Dane

RMT, Hons. BA Kin

I started out in this field because I was inspired by the care and sports rehab that I received when I was an athlete. From competitive gymnastics to soccer to varsity track and field, I’ve been in and out of my fair share of clinics!

I have a passion for helping people return to doing what they love. Whether that be sports, recreational activity, or returning to a pain-free everyday life. I want to work as a team with each individual to create a treatment that fits their mental and physical needs. I believe that exercise and activity is an essential component of wellbeing and want my clients to be able to engage in these activities without compromise.

Education-wise I went to Western (GO STANGS!) for my undergrad, earning a Honours Bachelor of Arts with Specialization in Kinesiology and followed that with a Diploma of Massage Therapy from Sutherland-Chan.

In my spare time, I like to lift weights, read, play volleyball and spend time with family. I’m a huge sports fan, especially the Leafs, Raps and Jays!