Do You Make Any of These Mobility Exercise Mistakes?

Do You Make Any of These Mobility Exercise Mistakes

When it comes to putting together a workout routine, we often dismiss mobility training and exercises. Truth is, without mobility training, you may not be working to your full potential and could be more susceptible to injuries. Mobility is often confused with flexibility but they are actually two separate concepts. Mobility is the ability to move freely and easily while still being able to control your joints through their full range of motion. Flexibility on the other hand is the ability for your muscles and connective tissues to be lengthened and be pliable but does not include controlling the muscles. In saying this, having flexibility is important for mobility because having length in the muscles will allow for a wider range of motion and mobility in the joints. Having good mobility means being able to control your muscles so you can perform a wide range of movement patterns with no restrictions. 

When we do not have good mobility in certain areas, our body compensates, leading to muscle imbalances. Over time this will lead to performance issues as well as potential injuries. Fortunately, there is a wide range of exercises designed to increase your range of motion and to promote better control over the muscles that surround your joints. Mobility is essential because it prepares your body for the stress of training.  

It is important to note that neither strength nor flexibility alone is enough to have good mobility. You might be putting in the effort, but not seeing results because you’re making some common mistakes that can actually do more harm than good. In this post, we’re going to share some of the most common mobility exercise mistakes, and how to avoid them. 


Skipping Post-Workout Stretching

Most experts will agree that by not including stretching in your workout routine you could be doing your body more harm that good. The same theory goes for stretching without strengthening. Both are equally important when it comes to maintaining optimal mobility. By skipping one or the other, you can promote injury, muscle soreness, and joint issues.

Many people believe that a good workout is enough to keep your body strong and healthy, however without regular stretching your muscles tighten up and will eventually pull on your joints, affecting the way your body moves and leading to pain and discomfort. This can also significantly increase the risk of unnecessary wear and tear on your joints. 

Think of your muscles like elastic bands. They need to be both strong and flexible in order not to break or tear while performing a wide range of activities. In saying this, having extra tightness anywhere in the body can cause a ripple effect. Think of when you pull one string of a spider web, you see the whole web move. If you relate this theory to the body, a runner, cyclist, or someone who sits for work all day may have tight hip flexors but can experience knee injuries as a result.

Planning enough time for a proper cool-down and stretch after each workout will effectively allow your heart rate, and temperature to normalize gradually, putting less strain on the body. Stretching all the major muscle groups will help keep lactic acid from storing and reduce muscle pain, but most importantly help maintain flexibility in your muscles and promote good range of motion in your joints.


Stretching Without Strengthening

Having good flexibility has become increasingly popular in recent years. Many people believe that this type of exercise is beneficial for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. However, research has shown that flexibility exercises alone are not appropriate for everyone. In fact, they can even be dangerous for some people. If you are middle aged or older and do not have a regular fitness or strengthening routine in place, it is important to consult with your doctor or physical therapist before starting a flexibility program. This goes on the premise that doing one can be harmful without the other and is is especially important if you have any preexisting medical conditions that affect connective tissue, muscle atrophy, or your joints in any way. Flexibility training exercises can help improve flexibility and range of motion, but without the strength to control a full range of motion, you could be putting yourself at risk of injury. 

When looking into programs such as yoga or Pilates to support both aspects of flexibility and strength, make sure to do your research. There are many different styles and many different teachers. Finding the right teacher and right type of practice to support your needs may take some time. 


Forgetting to Breathe

It’s funny how we take breathing for granted. Most of the time, it’s just a subconscious thing that we do without thinking about it. But when you’re doing something physical and your heartrate goes up, you may find yourself forgetting to breathe at all or maybe you are taking quick breaths in between movements. The same goes for when you feel overwhelmed and stressed, or if you have a respiratory condition. It may go unnoticed, especially if you are chronically stressed that your breathing has become habitually fast and shallow. Over time, a couple things happen; your diaphragm becomes weak, and you may experience declined rib mobility that can lead to decreased lung function.

More than half of those over the age of 50 forget to breathe while they are exercising. What’s even more concerning is that many may not even realize it. To avoid this, you need to be more aware of your breath and focus on breathing deeply and steadily. If you have become stressed or overwhelmed, there are many breathing techniques you can try to promote relaxation and increase awareness of your diaphragm and rib cage mobility. While you exercise, breath awareness will help keep your oxygen levels up and prevent any dizziness or fainting spells. This will also keep your diaphragm strong and allow for good rib expansion. By learning how to control your breath, you can create and maintain strength and mobility to not only support respiratory function, but also allow you to benefit from stress control.


Focusing on Only 1 Type of Training

People for the most part tend to only focus on exercise that they enjoy. However, for the exercise you are doing to be affective and provide everything your body needs to stay healthy, mobile, and strong, you may need to branch out and explore other methods of getting fit.

Research from Harvard University notes that the best 4 types of exercises to do on a regular basis include strengthening, working on balance, stretching, and some sort of aerobic fitness. Blending all 4 of these disciplines helps to ensure cardiovascular health along with a strong, balanced, and mobile musculoskeletal system. The trick is discovering what works best for your body and any limitations you may have.


We all know that exercise is good for our health and well-being, but with so many options out there it can be difficult to figure out what type of exercise is best for us. Creating balance in your exercise routine will not only inspire change and shake things up a bit, but also make you more body aware. If you’re making one of these mistakes, it’s not too late to make positive changes.  Mobility exercises can improve your body’s range of motion and allow you to move easily, without pain or stiffness.

It is important for everyone, not just athletes, to take injury-prevention seriously. The more you stay active and balanced, the better your health will be in general.