An introduction to mobility work

Oct 9, 2011   //   by admin   //   Strength & Conditioning  //  No Comments

This is an area that seems to generate lots of debate, but it seems to be obvious that most triathletes don’t do enough.  Its understandable – when you’re training a lot of hours and have all the pressures of a typical age-grouper, mobility work is the first thing that most people drop.

That isn’t the wisest choice when you consider your long-term health and well-being, as well as your short-term performance.

So what is mobility work.  We can define it as actively moving a joint through its range of motion.  It differs from flexibility work (or static stretching), which is more passive and much better suited to cooling down (a number of recent studies have shown that performance decreases if muscles are statically stretched prior to training, with no demonstrable benefits in reduction of injuries).

Mobility work is ideal as a warm-up, especially for shorter sessions which have a tendency to become quite vigourous quite quickly.  I will normally work from head to toe or toe to head, working each joint in turn.  Start with simple movements and make these more complex as you progress through your session.

For example, start with shoulder circles (no weights), then progress to the tea cup drill (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIdf6y_GiaMhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ffpcRxWgsg)

Target areas of weakness.  Although you should aim to cover all the joints, listen to your body and make sure that problem areas get more attention.  Remember, these drills shouldn’t hurt!

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