Because of the repetitiveness off our endurance sport it can cause a lack of mobility and a lot of related issues if not addressed. Stifness in the hips and thoracic spine is not unfamilliar topics for triathletes. Also, hip dysfunction can be a misterious proponent of injury. How can you avoid unneccassary injury?
But what is mobility and why do I give you (my athlete) a mobility session every week?
In short Mobility is an active movement around a joint.
With good mobility you will be able to perform movement patterns and move through full range of motion of that patterns with no restriction of soft tissue, joints, joint capsule and motor control.
Why do you have poor mobility?
i. Joint stiffness
ii. Tissue immobility
iii. Impaired proprioception
iv. Weak stability around joints
v. Daily bad habits in posture like sitting with bad posture in front of the computer or desk
A lack of good mobility can have a negative effect on training and performance because of the fact that you do not have full range of motion and also can be because you lack strength through that full range of motion. You will end up to compensate, and recruit other muscle tissue and then ending up over stressing that muscle or messing with proper biomechanics for efficient swimming, cycling or running.
Don't confuse flexibility with mobility. Flexible athletes will be able to stretch their soft tissue (muscle) but can have weak mobility. Athletes with good mobility will be able to perform movement patterns through full range of motion and will not be restricted by muscle tissue, the joint capsule or motor control.
You can not just focus on good mobility and not focus on stabilising exercises. The joint will be moveable after proper mobility training but that doesn't mean the new range of motion created is controlled and stable. That is why it is so important to focus on hip / lower back / thoracic spine and ankle stabilisation combined with proper mobility training.
For me as coach I want you to do the mobility sessions so we can get to proper mobility and then work towards more stability exercises. We need stability to create proper stiffness in the skeleton and the fascia so that you as athlete can absorb the impact from all the pounding. If you can't absorp the impact and are stiff in the joints you use more energy, which normally is seen during long full ironman races. The better your body can absorp and take the beating, which you get through volume training and not just mobility and stability, the longer you will be able to keep up the speed.
The benefits of proper mobility I would sum up in 4 ways.
1. Muscle = Muscle and tissue recruitment is beter which leads to more force all around the joint as all fibres can be active
2. Joint = To quote Michael Nystrom as he sums it up so beautifully;
"From a joint’s perspective, when the axis around the joint is able to achieve its full motion, the muscles around the joint work in unison to apply equal forces around the joint. If the joint in unable to achieve its proper mobility, joint health can suffer by changing the axis of the joint."
3. Biomechanics = Good mobility will help with proper aerodynamic bike fit and good running form. Also to become a better effecient swimmer if you can use strength through full range of motion.
4. Daily habits = Our bodies are designed to move in more diverse ways than just traveling through space in a specific plane.
Make sure to grab the opportunity on Tuesday nights and don't miss Trivium's mobility sessions. We will be progressing each week. If you're thinking of doing the full ironman next year, you can not miss a session.
Good mobility = Free speed
This blog is written by the coach and athletes associated with Trivium.