What's getting in the way of your gains? Psst - It's not what you think!

When we think about the gym, the words that come to mind are #gains and #results! Now, the media may have you believe that if you just kick ass and go H.A.M (hard as a mother F&%&er), the gains gods will gift you with the results you desire. Don’t get me wrong, going H.A.M in an intelligent fashion will get you there. However, if you just bang out workouts with no regard to form, activation, and mobility something will give out. Mobility will be the focus of this article. And  no, it’s not the thing you do when you roll around on a foam roller, looking for the “FEELS” of opening up. A definition of what mobility really is and should be is in order.

Mobility vs. Flexibility

Believe it or not, these two terms have different implications. Flexibility is the ability to take the tissue and stretch it to some desired end range. Mobility is the ability to have full range of motion about a joint. This would involve being able to create stability through proper activation of the appropriate muscle groups surrounding the joint. Here are the considerations for the movement you are wanting to partake in:

  1. What is the position you need to be able to get into. Hip flexion, back  extension, Hip external/internal rotation, shoulder flexion, shoulder retraction?
  2. What muscle groups need to be engaged such that we can properly take ourselves to the right positions throughout the movement?
  3. Do we have the necessary core stability to execute this movement?
  4. Do we know how to breathe appropriately for the movement?
  5. Is there a previous injury/muscular guarding going on?
  6. Is there a capsular restriction or a congenital structural problem?

If you don’t know what’s needed for the movement, going H.A.M sub-optimally will only get you sub-optimal results. Why? Your movement is less effective due to improper stability/range of motion about your joints. So what is your desired result? If it’s what most people want, it would be : Strong, fit, six pack, look great naked, and to have lots of energy ( I should probably hashtag all of these,  but I won’t). The ultimate quintuplefecta! Yes, I just made up that word. And yes, this is possible if you are truly dedicated to the process. Also, you must fall deeply in love with the ups and the downs of it all. As long as you keep showing up to the process you will move in the right direction. Okay, what does this have to do with mobility you ask?

Resiliency

In your journey to all these wonderful goals you must stay resilient. So if you sustain an injury, it puts a dent into your path to your goals. It’s like that accident on the highway that pisses you off because it’s causing traffic! If the traffic wasn’t there, you would get to your destination a little faster right? Picture this. You are doing back squats, and you know due to your sedentary work lifestyle, your tight inner groin/hip prevents you from squatting as deep as you’d like. You say F it, and keep racking on the weight. Let’s go 3 plates, 4 plates, 5 plates AND SNAP! and then it sets in. Your tight hips were preventing you from properly engaging your hamstrings, glutes, and stabilizing your core throughout the movement. Whether you tore your groin, tweaked your glute, or had a back spasm , your body said “dude you haven’t prepped me for this. I don’t know what the F I’m doing!”. Now, you could say “I’ll just put some ice on it, and wait it out. Time heals all.” And then snap your shit up again. This time it’s a disc in your spine. Now, you can’t move like you use to. It’s taking longer to heal, and it’s frustrating the hell out of you. This doesn’t have to be you! Create more range of motion about your hip joints with the right muscle activation, and the proper inhibition of the opposing groups, and you wouldn’t have had the problem in the first place!

Lifestyle Considerations

In your journey to all these wonderful goals you must stay resilient. So if you sustain an injury, it puts a dent into your path to your goals. It’s like that accident on the highway that pisses you off because it’s causing traffic! If the traffic wasn’t there, you would get to your destination a little faster right? Picture this. You are doing back squats, and you know due to your sedentary work lifestyle, your tight inner groin/hip prevents you from squatting as deep as you’d like. You say F it, and keep racking on the weight. Let’s go 3 plates, 4 plates, 5 plates AND SNAP! and then it sets in. Your tight hips were preventing you from properly engaging your hamstrings, glutes, and stabilizing your core throughout the movement. Whether you tore your groin, tweaked your glute, or had a back spasm , your body said “dude you haven’t prepped me for this. I don’t know what the F I’m doing!”. Now, you could say “I’ll just put some ice on it, and wait it out. Time heals all.” And then snap your shit up again. This time it’s a disc in your spine. Now, you can’t move like you use to. It’s taking longer to heal, and it’s frustrating the hell out of you. This doesn’t have to be you! Create more range of motion about your hip joints with the right muscle activation, and the proper inhibition of the opposing groups, and you wouldn’t have had the problem in the first place!

Feed Your Dynamic Machine!

Yes, believe it or not, you aren’t just a machine with random mechanical parts.  What you consume literally becomes your cells! So when we are dehydrated, or lacking in proper nutrient consumption, we are more prone to being stiff and fragile! This is a recipe for “snapping your Sh*t up”. So , if you really want to improve the quality of your tissues, then you must :

a. Drink quality water with low Total Dissolved Solids, and a pH of 7.6 or so (neutral). If you live in Austin, Tx, then a company called Cielo is a fantastic option. If you do happen to have a spring nearby, then go to http://findaspring.com, and harvest your own! In terms of quantity, pursuing about 1/2 your bodyweight in ounces of water is a good target. You don’t have to hit the number exactly, but in the process, you will find your happy medium.

b. Consume high quality fat like grass fed-butter, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, and avocados

c. At least .8 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight from high quality sources : Grass fed beef, pasture-raised eggs, non antibiotic and humanely raised chicken, wild caught salmon, legumes etc.

d. Consume lots of leafy greens like spinach, kale, arugula,and fibrous vegetables like bok choy and broccoli.

e. Take high quality Omega 3 Supplement like Udo’s Oil and/or Arctic Cod Liver Oil.

f. Take a high quality MultiVitamin like Raw Code for Men Or Raw Code for Wome

Two ways you can incorporate mobility into your life/warmups. Do them every hour at work, at your house, or even as a warmup before your training sessions.

Until next time , Sumair

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Sumair Bhasin