I first learned about the magic of mobility when I was playing professional soccer. We had a game on a Friday night in LA and a Sunday afternoon game in New York. After our Friday game, my glute was so tight that I could barely walk. Our team trainer put me on the message table and dug his elbow into the side of my hip for about 10 minutes. The tension resonated all the way to the front of my shoulder. After 10 minutes, I got off the table and I was totally pain free. It was at that point that I realized how tight and ropey tissue can have such a huge impact on performance.
The key to having longevity in health and fitness, and staying injury free is mobility. Here are the 4 most effective ways to tackle mobility:
THE TWO MINUTE RULE
You must hold a position of restriction like a hamstring stretch, for 2 minutes or more to actually have an effect on the tissue. So, dig in and find a time that you can really spend time working on where you are tight. I do this before bed while watching a movie or reading a book. Pick 2 or 3 things to work on and spend 15 to 20 minutes.
COMPRESSION IS KEY
Find a place you are tight and apply pressure using something like a lacrosse ball, foam roller, tennis ball, anything will do. You can move while you are putting pressure on the muscle or you can find a single trigger point and stay on it. Two minutes! Try and avoid going too deep right away as your body will tense up and defeat the purpose of compression, which is to break up tight muscle and scar tissue.
Static stretching, (stretch and hold), doesn’t do much for mobility and actually decreases performance levels and leads to injury when done before a workout. Your warm up should look a lot like what you are going to be doing for the activity itself - called dynamic stretching. This involves full body movements that take you through a range of motion. If you are going to do a workout that requires squats, do air squats or lunges for the dynamic stretching warm up. If you are going to sprint and need a lot of hip range of motion, do a leg swing. This type of stretching has shown to make improvements in range of motion, speed, power, and performance.
FISH OIL OR OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
This type of fat is found in most cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, halibut, trout. Omega 3’s help with osteoarthritis and helps with decreasing inflammation in the joints. I recommend 6-8 oz of cold water fish that has been wild caught weekly. If you can’t get that, then 4 grams of fish oil from a good reliable source is perfect.