For a lot of us, staying motivated to workout is easy. Getting to the gym is easy. Even grinding through a hard workout is, well, kind of easy (at least in terms of maintaining the discipline to do it). What's not easy is improving our mobility. Sure, we may like to roll around on a foam roller for a minute or two, but are we really doing enough to make improvements in our joint range of motion?
"Mobility" in this case refers to the ability to be strong and move correctly throughout a large range of motion. It's a little different than "flexibility," which is more about how much you can stretch your joints, muscles, and connective tissue. It's a subtle yet important distinction, for one reason:
What good is being super "flexible" if you don't have the necessary tissue strength and pliability to safely bend that far?
Mobility is all about the balance of tension and length of the connective tissues around your joints (especially the shoulders, hips, and ankles). It's also about addressing any underlying areas of tissue tightness (e.g., old scar tissue or adhesions) that may be limiting your range of motion or increasing your risk of injury. For this reason, using mobility tools can help you get into your deep tissues much more effectively than simple static stretching alone. Read on to learn more.
3 Pieces of Mobility Equipment That You Should Regularly Use
If it's easy to do, then it's easy not to do. Don't be that guy (or gal) who skips mobility. Test out 1 or all 3 of the below pieces of mobility equipment (after a proper warm-up) and see just how much of a difference these simple little tools can make for your mobility, performance, and injury prevention:
1) VooDoo Floss Band, $24 at Rogue Fitness (and other retailers).
Improve blood flow, break down scar tissue, increase range of motion, and increase overall tissue mobilization with this feels-so-bad-its-good "floss" technique. Check out this video and/or this website for specific ideas on how to use.
*Image courtesy of Rogue Fitess
2) Lacrosse Ball, $2.99 at Rogue Fitness or in-store at Dick's Sporting Goods (and other retailers).
Break through knots in your shoulders, activate trigger points, and release tension in deep, hard-to-reach muscles that the foam roller just can't get to. This video has some awesome suggestions. Fair warning: if you're doing it right, it's probably gonna hurt.
3) Resistance Bands,various sizes, and prices at Rogue Fitness (similar products available with other retailers).
These guys can be used hundreds of ways and really turn the volume up on your simple stretch routine. Check out this video for more.
Got a favorite mobility tool at home? Let us know about it!