One question you should ask when looking at why you may be struggling to reach your fitness goals is whether or not your lack of mobility is affecting your performance

It is hard to reach your full fitness potential when tight muscles or damaged joints cause pain and limit your range of movement, especially during exercise. 

Whether it is an old sporting injury that has flared up or just common posture-related complaints from too many hours at the desk, a limited range of movement or pain during movement can stop you from engaging in exercises safely. 

When we experience acute pain, the body’s natural response is to tense up, which often sees people do common exercises wrong. 

For example, if you have bad knees, it is really easy to only complete half-squats instead of going all the way down and cave your knees in towards each other.  

Or, if we have a specific part of the body that is injured, we will naturally try not to use it to help aid recovery. 

An example of this could be having a sore shoulder and then favouring the “good” shoulder when doing training moves like presses and push-ups to overcompensate. 

So, what areas of the body are most likely to suffer from limited mobility? What exercises will this affect? And, most importantly, how can you boost your mobility and get your training back on track? 

Common Mobility Complaints 

Hip, Hamstrings & Ankles. Some of the most common areas where people experience tightness or limited mobility from old injuries are in the hips, hamstrings and ankles. 

How many of us have sprained our ankle – where the foundation of most movement is based – and subsequently have a weakness there that we might not even be aware of? 

The lion’s share of lower back complaints stems from tightness in the hips. Restricted hip mobility can also spread to knee pain and often stops people engage their posterior chain (the muscles from your foot all the way up to your skull at the back of your body) correctly during exercise.  

A lack of mobility in any or all of these areas of the body will impact many exercises, especially squats, and see you miss out building strength and properly engaging your muscles.  

Thoracic Region, Upper Back, Shoulders. The nature of our lives today has the upper thoracic region of the back and shoulders one of the most prevalent areas to suffer a loss of mobility.  

Desk work, overuse of technology and doing too many reps of an exercises using poor form are just some of the reasons why people are suffering from reduced shoulder mobility. 

In addition, thoracic issues can lead to a curvature of the upper spine known as the ‘kyphotic curve’, plus increase the risk of neck pain, rotator cuff injuries and negatively affect our range of shoulder movement. 

Big Moves: What Exercises Mobility Affects Most

Squats are one of the best ways to boost fitness, build lean-muscle and get the most out of your workouts. Unfortunately, squats are also one of the most common exercise people do wrong because of problems with lower body mobility. 

Lunges. Want killer quads and a tight but? Lunges can be your best friend if you can do them without making common mistakes like bending your torso forward because of a tight back or incorrectly shifting your weight due to tight hip flexors.  

Overhead Presses are a very popular and effective way to build shoulder strength. Thoracic stiffness, lack of full thoracic extension and recurrent shoulder impingements however can really affect our performance in these areas as our upper body simply cannot move into these positions safely or without pain.

The Fix: How to Improve Mobility & Increase Your Fitness

Learn the proper techniques when engaging in big muscle group exercises. A great way to do this is to learn from a pro at a training gym near you or here at Electric Fitness that can help accommodate moves to work with your mobility and improve your mobility. 

Stretch. The benefits of stretching especially when suffering from tightness in areas like the hamstrings, quads, hips and glutes cannot be underestimated. Try to stretch a few times a day, especially post-exercise. All of our members post stretch after our group classes

Practice good posture. Our posture is perhaps the one thing we could all improve to notice health and fitness benefits quickly. Having a correct alignment of the body means our muscles can be used properly and with less stress on our ligaments, the risk of injury decreases. 

If any of this sounds familiar, check in with your local training gym or get started with us and learn to move your way to better mobility!  

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