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Best stretches to improve mobility to enhance sport performance

Man stretching leg after run by some water

Mobility is the new buzzword in sports training; what does it mobility really mean and how can improving mobility enhance your performance playing sport and in the gym? 

Adding mobility drills into your training programme can significantly improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury. Lunging for the ball, reaching for the top corner of the goal and manipulating your arms and legs to change direction quickly all require good mobility skills. However, many people fail to realise the importance of mobility training and don’t include these types of exercises in their training programmes. This leads to a poor range of motion, plus a higher risk of injury. 

In this article we are going to discuss what mobility really means and some examples of the exercises and stretches you can incorporate into your training to enhance your mobility levels. 

Mobility vs flexibility

Mobility and flexibility are commonly mistaken for the same thing, but they are quite different. The easiest way to define mobility is the ability to dynamically move freely through an optimal range of motion, whereas, flexibility refers to the pliability or extensibility of structures/tissues i.e. muscles, tendons, joint capsules that may restrict mobility. The reason people confuse the two is because they are mutually exclusive, therefore, by stretching specific muscles this will help with greater flexibility and create optimal mobility and vice versa. 

When should you start mobility training?

Mobility training is vital for people of all ages. Younger athletes are naturally more mobile compared to older and more mature athletes, but completing mobility activities at any age is beneficial, especially as you get older as mobility naturally decreases with age. 

It’s important to do regular stretching and mobility activities to ensure that you maintain and improve your level of mobility. Over time, you should notice an increase in your range of motion and even feel an improvement in your day to day life, not just while performing physical activities or playing sport. Conditions such as low back or knee pain, and some forms of arthritis, can benefit from mobility training.

How to incorporate mobility training into your exercise schedule

Stretching and mobility training can be done as part of your warm-up exercises to prepare your body for movement, or they can be completed during active rest. One of the good things about mobility exercises is that anyone can do them, you might not be able to perform them optimally at first, but overtime you should notice an improvement. Remember to perform these activities in a pain free range to avoid injuring yourself. 

Here are some mobility exercises that you can try:

Lower Body Lunge Shoulder Mobility

The lower body lunge and shoulder mobility will help to keep optimal range of motion in the hips, so that lunging for the football or change direction can be performed. 

Overhead Squat - Mobility

The overhead squat mobility helps to integrate the hips and shoulders to help with dynamic movements such as sprints 

Lower Body Standing Hip

The lower body standing hip stretches helps to keep the tissues on the outside of the leg healthy to reduce affecting hip and knee mobility. 

These stretches will help you enhance your mobility level and reduce your risk of injury. Amaven’s training programmes include a comprehensive range of mobility activities that are personalised for your individual needs. 

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