MOBILITY and CONTROL are not exactly known for being the cool parts of an athlete’s training session. Those first and last 10 or 15min of a session spent doing a few hammy stretches and planks are often seen as something to be done as quickly as possible, just to get to “the good stuff” sooner.
So why is it that we harp on about MOBILITY and CONTROL so much? Because they should be the prerequisites to training. They’re the quality we should be aspiring to, before getting stuck in to the quantity.
There are receptors in your joints and muscles which are responsible for “proprioception” (this is your body awareness, your sense of where your limbs are in space). When a joint range or muscle length is limited (i.e. reduced MOBILITY), this reduces the amount of proprioceptive information you receive. This means your ability to CONTROL those limbs is potentially compromised. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of some manual therapy to release your hip flexors, and you’ve all of a sudden become a lot more aware of your glutes – you’ll know what I’m talking about!
So what do you think happens when you have a MOBILITY problem, which is then compounded by a CONTROL problem, and you’re in the gym lifting weights 3 times a week? Short answer: it’s not good.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything until you have full joint range and muscle length in every joint and muscle in your body, though. This is where we use the Functional Movement Screen to look at 7 fundamental movement patterns, to see which ones you’re safe to train in, and which ones need some attention before being loaded. NB: these movement patterns are NOT sport-specific. They’re human being-specific. This is why we call them fundamental.