Mobility: Greasing the Gears of the Human Machine
Mobility is a buzz word that has been on the rise in the fitness world for some time now. But in reality, it has been around for thousands of years. We as humans realized that if left in the same redundant movement patterns, we will develop imbalances in other areas. As the world became more industrialized, and our jobs changed, more sitting stationary jobs came around, and more imbalances were created. The case for the regular cubicle dweller, and also the athlete, to return to more primal movement patterns has been made and we are seeing a resurgence in the world of becoming a more mobile and adaptive human machine. Our bodies are amazing things, and constantly strive for balance, and mobility is the key to unlocking our true athletic potential.
What is mobility work then? And why is it important for the students and athletes at the Kombat Arts Training Academy? Mobility exercises and movements are designed to make use of the full range of motion of muscles, joints, and connective tissues. Far too often our bodies are subjected to bad movement patterns and thus creating a weak link or stiffness in the primary movers in our body. Mobility work isolates these areas, and through the use of different techniques and/or implements, the body is returned to its optimal movement pattern. Why is that important for our students and athletes? To become a more stable, balanced, and optimal human being. You may have the meanest right hook in the gym right now, but imagine if you could harness the full potential of your posterior chain, create even more torque in your hip and torso, and deliver this energy through uninhibited muscles to deliver a right hook that will have devastating effects when unleashed upon your opponent. This can be done by using the proper mobility techniques to train your body and relieve the imbalances created by everyday life.
Honestly, one could spend their entire training time every day of every week working on mobility. So when and where do we fit in time for this? Luckily, there have been many techniques, old and new, that have made the most effective movements that yield the best results, in a shorter time. By no means is it a magic pill to cure all ails, but integrating them into your training will surely make you better than you were before. And with consistency, you will be closer to realizing your full physical potential.
There are so many techniques and implements that are used for mobility these days that listing them all here would be a very exhausting exercise. I will touch on the main ones that would benefit most at Kombat Arts.
- Foam Rollers, Lacrosse Balls, Kettlebells – These are just some of the tools used for self-myofascial release, essentially giving yourself a deep tissue massage to relieve knots, muscular soreness, and minor skeletal and spinal alignment when done properly. See our Kombat Tip of the Week for additional information on the benefits of foam rolling.
- Resistance Bands– Bands are used to “distract” target areas by pulling the joints (hip, shoulders) into or out of the socket slightly, and then forcing the limb through a range of motion to break up minor buildup of gristle in the joints.
- Steel Mace, Indian Clubs, Kettlebells – These tools are used to aid mobility by using weighted implements and moving through functional movement patterns as a different approach to resistance training. For more on the Steel Mace and other great mobility techniques, check out Oskar Gut at The Human Vitality Project. Oskar will be coaching a Steel Mace Training Class on Mondays at 6pm. And starting in October, we are lucky to have Oskar sharing his wisdom in a Mobility Class on Wednesdays at 7:30pm.
- Yoga – The Practice of Yoga dates back to 5th Century India (or before) and is a spiritual, mental, and physical discipline that incorporates breathing techniques, and a multitudes of movesets that help with mobility, flexibility, and general physical well-being.
- Stretching, body weight exercises – These can usually be done anywhere, and require minimal equipment. They can easily be added to your regular warm up and cool down in your training to add some extra benefit to your regimen.
These are just a few of the many options available to increase your body’s range of motion, to harness the kinetic energy to become a better mover, better athlete, better version of yourself. Don’t forget to check out our Mobility Class starting on Mondays in October, and ask your Coach about any of their favorite mobility exercises. It always helps to have more tools in your toolbox to help you become better.
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