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Stretching without relief? Why stretching is not our best fix for movement restriction.

Stretching alone is not enough to prevent injury, improve performance, alleviate pain, or fix underlying movement issues. Stretching may help us lengthen muscles, but we need to also improve strength, stability, and control in the new range of motion to maintain lasting results.

Stretching addresses muscle length; however, we must also consider joint positioning, freedom to move, motor control, and sliding between tissues/structures when we think comprehensively about mobility. Dysfunction in any area could feel like or appear to be a tight muscle, and stretching will not be the appropriate fix for each issue.

Mobilization should be utilized to improve your positioning for all of the movements you experience in life, work, recreation, training, yard work, playing fetch with the dog, etc. If we train our bodies to become more mobile AND more stable in various positions, our bodies will adapt for improved performance in all activities we participate in. Mobilization done well should improve the capability to move and allow movement to be more efficient.

Our ability to move is central to three primary mobility systems:

  • Joint mechanics (joint range of motion, soft tissue/joint capsule)

  • Sliding surfaces (soft/connective tissues, neurodynamics)

  • Muscular dynamics (muscle length, motor control)

To optimize movement, mobilization and mobility techniques should address each system. Mobilization should be completed as a movement-based approach that addresses all of the elements that could lead to restricted mobility.

Stay tuned next week as we explain each movement system and how to improve mobility within the system.

If you have a specific movement restriction or area with limited mobility, reach out. We would love to help you improve your mobilization routine.

Just keep moving,

Nicole Todisco MacDonald

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