This is a topic that gets touched upon quite regularly but i thought i would revisit it in the hope of giving you an insight into some of the experiences that i’ve had in trying to get an increased range of motion.
Like most of you, i thought initially that if i use my bands everyday to open me up, hit the couch stretch everyday amongst other things then my range would slowly but surely increase. Well it definitely made me more mobile before i worked out but it has never actually increased my range of motion over a long period.
Any of you who familiar with physiology know that there are two things that you need to think about when trying to increase ROM, their Stability + Mobility. They both work synergistically to enable you to move properly. You cant have one without the other and still hope to move efficiently. To explain this clearly lets think about a movement like the ring dip. If an individual doesn’t possess enough strength (stability) to perform it then the body will stiffen up as a defence mechanism and the individual won’t be able to move from the top. If you wrap bands around their elbows for stability then they will be able to relax and you will probably find they can perform the eccentric at least. On the flip side in say a squat, if someone possess great leg strength but bad mobility then again the individual will have to activate too many muscles to balance and wont be able to move.
So what does this mean for you?
Mobility and strengthening needs to be done at the same time if you ever want to notice a real improvement. For example if i want to improve my OH position I would mobilise, first using lacrosse balls and bands and then strengthen the posterior shoulder muscles using bands. This way I’m stable in my new range. This can be used for any other part of the body.
It’s worth a note that the body doesn’t work in isolation when it comes to movement. Having tight shoulders could be a compensatory result of something else being tight elsewhere. Therefore its important to address the body as a whole. Like Kelly Starrett says “ Look upstream and downstream”
Why is virtuosity so important then when it comes to increasing your range? If you move in the correct positions then you will activate and strengthen the correct muscles increasing your ROM further. You will continue to develop properly and have a better chance at reaching your athletic potential and staying injury free. If you can’t physically get into some positions then modify the movement until you can. Don’t reinforce and strengthen bad positions.
If you are happy to move badly while activating and strengthening the wrong muscles then you will ultimately hit a dead end in your training and also increase your likelihood of injury. You will then have the endless task of undoing all the bad work which sucks.
There are a lot of resources out there, I’ve been using the gymnastic bodies stretch courses over the last month or so and have seen great results in my thoracic range. Others in the gym that i have talked to have been using a site called Romwod and again have seen decent results. If you feel like you have any issues then always talk to a coach or some of the other members and hopefully they can help and give some feedback.
Workout of the Day:
5 Rounds for time:
50 Double unders
– Give 100% effort!
B) Gymnastic – Handstand Push-Ups
B1) 3 sets for max rep parallete strict HSPU
B2) 2 sets for max rep kipping parallete HSPU
B3) 1 sets for max rep strict HSPU