Does mobility even matter?

I’ve got a confession to make.

I’m a reformed Supple Leopard.

I’ve stopped drinking the Kool-Aid.

I’ve taken off my black Nikes.

Ok for the sake of your sanity, dear reader, let’s back track.

A while ago (a few years) I discovered “mobility work”. I was convinced, thanks to a few very charismatic YouTube personalities, that the answer to all of my lifting woes was to be found in the form of a variety of instrument assisted self torture all performed in the name of improving my mobility.

I spent longer than I care to think about preparing for every training session by spending 10-30 minutes rolling about on the floor in a variety of bastardised yoga poses in severe discomfort safe in the knowledge that I was making progress.

Here’s the thing:

I wasn’t.

Every time I came to the gym I had to go through the same routine or I wouldn’t feel ready to lift.

I was pissed off.

I was promised progress, a pathway to “pain free” lifting and the ability to literally (no I don’t mean figuratively) ass to grass.

It never happened.

I was still sore as shit.

My squat wasn’t any deeper.

Maybe more work is the answer?

It isn’t.

I’ve come to realise over the last year or two that, while mobility work may have a place at some point, the answer to my issues lay elsewhere.

Let’s have a quick look at the logic behind foam rolling. The idea is that it helps “break up” your muscle fibres and allow them to move better. If that logic were true then every time you got under a heavy squat bar you would crumble into oblivion.

Today my warm up looks a lot different to what it did before. Gone are the foam rollers, lacrosse balls and band distraction. Instead, if you watch me warm up, you’ll see a bunch of movement and position based drills.

These drills aren’t voodoo magic. They’re not going to¬†add 1 million kilograms to your total or suddenly drop your body fat below 10%. Instead they’ll teach you to move correctly and activate the muscles you need to create efficient and effective movement.

I’m going to let you in on a secret.

Position matters.

Can’t hit depth in the squat? Maybe your pelvis is in a shit position.

Can’t lock out your deadlifts? Maybe your start position sucks.

Shoulder hurts when you bench? Maybe your setup leaves something to be desired.

If you’re not putting your body into the ideal position to allow a full range of movement then what the fuck is flopping about on a bit of cylindrical foam going to do to help?

Unfortunately this isn’t the forum to offer a one size fits all solution. There’s so many factors that go into each persons movement that make trying to offer absolutes just doesn’t work.

Instead I encourage you to think critically about what you’re doing to prepare for your training.

Could you be using your time more effectively?

If you’re interested in finding out more then you should definitely check out this awesome episode of The Jugglife podcast from my man crush, Mr Chad Wesley Smith, his slightly smaller twin Max Aita and everyone’s favourite Clinical Athlete Dr Quinn Henoch. It’s got a heap of awesome info on the theories behind foam rolling etc. You can check it out on iTunes HERE.

Until next time,

Stay Strong.

Sherro