Mobility is big in the fitness industry.
Like weirdly big.
It's sort of held up as the differentiator of sorts between coaches who supposedly know what they are doing and don't know what they are doing.
It's also the area of fitness where lines blur often times between training and rehabilitation (if there really even is a line).
All this making it a really hot topic both for those trying to improve their fitness and those trying to help those people improve their fitness.
I'm of the opinion that this is an awesome thing because for a long time stretching or mobility work has been the non-sexy thing to do and the largest over looked part of a training program meaning that most people are in severe need of it.
But as with most things in fitness the pendulum always swings a bit too far to one side and right now that is where mobility training is going.
You've got people trying to foam roll their way to a deep squat, using bands to crank their joints into all sorts of positions, and spending an hour in the gym just warming up or cooling down.
And largely those responsible are coaches, trainers, and content creators that prescribe more mobility work for every single problem they see in a client.
Not enough depth in the squat?
Can't get your arm fully overhead?
The truth those is that mobility work isn't always the answer and even when it is the mobility work that is being prescribed is rarely targeted, helpful, or successful at creating long term changes in mobility.
I am not saying that you should stop your pre-workout warm-up, morning stretching, or bi-weekly yoga class.
I just want to help you understand that mobility and flexibility training aren't always the right answer and if applied in the wrong place for the wrong reasons can cause additional problems beyond whatever limitation you were trying to correct in the first place.
The good news determining when mobilizing or stretching a joint and it's surrounding musculature isn't such a good idea is really easy to do and doesn't require any kind of expertise.
You just have to be know what closing angle pinching feels like.
Let me explain.
Super easy right?
If you do still have questions about this though please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'd be happy to talk about it more with you.
The next logical concern then you might have especially if you did find that a joint you have been trying to mobilize or stretch has a closing angle pinch is what to do next.
The answer is you really should consider finding a doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor you trust to evaluate you and consult with you and preferably it would be one who is trained in Functional Range Conditioning or Functional Range Release as they will understand what you mean when you have a "closing angle pinch."
You can find these professionals using this.
The idea behind seeing a medical professional is that a closing angle pinch points to an abnormality in the structure or function of the joint and this abnormality needs to be examined by a medical professional trained to deal with pathologies.
They will use their training to help restore the joint or it's surrounding tissue to a point where it can handle and receive stimulus properly to adapt and remodel the way you want it too which can be accomplished using Functional Range Conditioning techniques and ideally this medical professional will help you start these techniques, but you'll continue to work on them by seeking out an Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist (like me) who can continue to coach you through them, adjust as needed, and keep communication open with your therapist.
You can find these professionals using this as well.
I know that all that seems like a lot and in all likelihood is an ideal scenario and may not be completely realistic yet depending on where you live and whether you have access to such professionals.
But that still doesn't mean you can't make sure you aren't trying to stretch or mobilize into a closing angle pinch and causing things to just get worse instead of get better.
Happy moving and heavy lifting!
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training