THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MOBILITY & FLEXIBILITY
Those just starting out usually want to know the difference between mobility and flexibility and I totally get it.
These phrases are often used interchangeably as if they’re the same, but I can assure you they’re not. Here’s a quick example:
When we talk about flexibility think of someone reaching down to touch their toes to stretch their hamstrings. The truth is, most of that range of motion is passive, meaning there’s an external force, like gravity to help pull them into that stretch.
Now take that same stretch and look at it a little differently. If I’m standing and pull my leg up towards me, I’m still stretching my hamstring, but now I’m using all of the tissue to get that stretch. This is an example of mobility and in this stretch, we call this active range of motion because nothing is helping me get into this position.
Another example is down dog in yoga. Your flexibility is being able to push your head through your arms to feel a stretch in your lats. The external force is gravity and the leverage you can produce through the floor with your hands.
Mobility would be can you raise both of your arms up over your head in a standing position? My guess is that for most, you won’t be able to pull them as far back as you would if you were in down dog.
See the difference?
Flexibility is a component of mobility but they are not the same.
Don’t get me wrong. We need flexibility to hep us move but we need to be able to control it and that’s what mobility training is for.