“I just need to stretch more!”
“I feel so tight”
“I’m not flexible at all!”
Flexibility and mobility are not the same, and this is important to understand what you ACTUALLY need to do if you want to increase range of motion, or if you feel “tight”.
Let’s start with some definitions that we use at SOAR so we are on the same page:
Flexibility: passive range of motion.
Gravity is doing the work for flexibility. So, if you’re standing straight up and you lock out your knees and fold over towards the ground, that’s looking at your hamstring flexibility. Gravity is pulling you towards the ground.
Mobility: active range of motion
You are doing the work. So if you’re standing tall with your hands by your side like you’re about to do a jumping jack and you bring your biceps towards your ears, that’s looking at shoulder mobility.
Why does it matter?
1) Actually assessing range of motion to know if you’re even lacking it is important. Just because something feels tight, doesn’t mean you don’t have full range of motion. A tight feeling is just that, a feeling, or a sensation. It’s important to know, but it doesn’t actually mean that you are lacking any sort of range of motion.
2) If you’re lacking flexibility, that means the tissue is short or stiff. In this instance, stretching COULD help with this, however the amount of time you’d have to dedicate to stretching isn’t really worth the ROI. You’re much better off loading the tissues (adding weight) to increase the tissue length.
3) If you’re lacking mobility, that means you’re lacking the strength to get into that particular position. Stretching is pretty useless in this scenario. Strength training is what helps to increase your strength in positions.
Long story short:
1) get assessed; understand what your range of motion actually looks like throughout your body
2) have a plan; where do you need to gain flexibility? Where do you need to gain mobility?
3) stop stretching just because you feel tight!
And if you need help with any of these things, reach out to someone at SOAR, we would be happy to assist you!