In a perfect world, every person who came to me looking for mobility or strength training would have no injuries, no nagging aches and pains, and nothing but beautiful joints and movement patterns. However, with the abuse we put on our bodies everyday, that has never happened and most likely never will.
People come to see me because they can’t seem to find any answers on how to deal with their particular orthopedic issue. I like to categorize this as “reactive” mode. They’re usually fed up and frustrated with having dealt with this particular issue long enough and now they’re ready to tackle the situation head-on. Fortunately, that’s one of the things mobility training is perfect for and because of this, I wanted to share with you how you can use mobility training to identify, recover from and mitigate injury so you can get back to being the awesome mover you were meant to be!
It’s more simple than you think.
The first step in dealing with pain and injury is finding the root of the problem. You can’t fix something if you don’t know where it started, right? Mobility training helps us pinpoint where aches, pains and injuries are coming from by showing us which joints are causing the problem. Remember: everything is connected so just because you feel pain in one spot doesn’t mean that that’s the area of concern. Mobility training can be used as an assessment tool to quickly tell us which joints have limitation in movement and are dysfunctional.
For example, if someone’s knee is bothering them, we use some mobility exercises to quickly assess each of the surrounding joints and see which one isn’t doing it’s job. The questions are pretty simple:
Does the tibia rotate?
Does the ankle invert and evert?
Lastly, does the hip rotate both internally and externally?
By answering all of these questions, we can figure out very quickly where the problem is coming from. You can apply this same system to all of your aches and pains by using concepts found in mobility training. Once you know where the problem is coming from, now you can go fix it.
Once we find the joint that’s causing the problem, we can begin to recover by using mobility exercises that focus on the dysfunctional joint. So if we take the example from above and found that the hip can’t internally and externally rotate, well then, we know we need to get it back to doing so. We do this by teaching the hip to be a hip again with exercises focused on internal and external rotation. Simple, right? Once a better connection to the hip is created, our next course of action would be to start expanding the ranges of motion in this hip. Expanding ranges is another aspect of mobility training where the more ranges the hip can achieve, the less that knee is going to be asked to do.
Now that we’ve got the root of the problem solved and the body is moving the way it was meant to, it will naturally, on its own, start moving the way it was intended to. But we can’t stop there. You must continue working those areas and start exploring other joints of the body to see if there are some other issues lurking in the background. Start working on those issues and now your body will be able to mitigate future issues down the road. Mobility training is not a once in a while thing, it's a powerful daily habit for the rest of your life.
So although it would be better if we’re all proactive vs reactive with our bodies, life happens and injuries occur. Recovering doesn’t have to be as complicated as it’s made out to be though. Just follow these steps incorporating mobility training and you’ll be on your way to becoming a pain-free super human!
For all things strength and mobility training, check out my Instagram and Facebook pages or YouTube channel.
ABOUT COACH MATT PIPPIN
Matt is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Level 3 Fascial Stretch Therapist with over 15 years experience in his field. After years of playing sports as a child, Matt gained an interest in health and wellness and decided to pursue a career in strength and conditioning. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Exercise Science in 2005. During college Matt played rugby and interned as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with the football team.
Post graduation, he worked with professional athletes as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for NFL Europe's Berlin Thunder. For 8 years, Matt worked in Chicago, IL at the East Bank Club as a Master Personal Trainer, Performance Coach and Fascial Stretch Therapist helping athletes and weekend warriors achieve their personal goals. Inspired by the overall quality and active lifestyle that California is known for, Matt and his wife Jennifer moved to San Diego in the summer of 2014 and haven’t looked back!
NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist
Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach
Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)
Level 1 Kinstretch Instructor