Mobility is for girls and tiny dudes…
I have been lifting for many years now and never truly utilized mobility training in my workout program for a couple reasons.
First, I didn’t really know what it was. I thought mobility training was for people who wanted to be more flexible so they could get deeper into their crouching tiger yoga pose.
Second, I thought it was for girls and yogis, yes I know this seems sexist but that was before I really knew what mobility is.
I recently took a year off of heavy/power lifting and decided to work on mobility training and the results were both beneficial and surprising.
Over my many years of lifting I developed some bad habits which has lead me down a road of pain and tightness. My pain has never been out of control or unbearable but it caused me to skip workouts and completely quit specific exercises. Sometimes it hurt during the lift or after and I would experience pain for days. I always thought the pain would go away on its own, and it would, but then it would immediately come back as soon as I started the lift again.
After becoming sick and tired of being in pain all of the time I reached out to some of the local experts and found some good mobility training. I never intended to take a take such a long break from heavy lifting but I found the mobility training to be fun and I felt great, and that was more important to me than picking up heavy things.
Despite the name “mobility,” training is actually very challenging. Being able to perform an overhead squat or get movement from each vertebrae while doing a spinal flexion exercise is harder than it sounds. Just to be clear… Mobility training is not yoga or stretching, it is getting your body to work and move correctly and that directly translates into strength. When your entire body and muscles are working together you will be at your strongest. Also, while working on mobility I still worked on high volume and hypertrophy training so I saw some great muscle gains and my chest and biceps really started to pop.
Have you ever gone to the gym and done tons of reps on a bench press but did not feel sore the next day? This could be caused by not firing the right muscles during the exercise. This means you wasted time in the gym doing an exercise incorrectly and will not get the desired effects.
I have a theory that this is what people call the dreaded “plateau.” You haven’t actually stopped growing or hit a wall but rather you’re not actually targeting the muscles that you were intending and that means no gains. There are hundreds of muscles in the body and are easily jammed up causing them to not fire properly.
This is another advantage to mobility training. When you are correctly firing the right muscles you can target your movements to work those specific muscles and maximize your movements. No more wasted time and energy! Oh yeah, and those muscle gains you are looking for.
Aren’t guys who train mobility small and weak?
No way! Mobility means that you are able to move in ways that your body was made for and with that means more strength and the ability to pack on muscle. Have you heard of a guy named Jon Call? You might know him better as “Jujimufu.” He was on season 11 of America’s Got Talent and has been making viral videos for years. I bring him up because he is a good example of size and mobility. Jon moves like a gymnast, looks like a bodybuilder and lifts like a powerlifter. Watch him jump and flip around in the video below.
My experience with mobility training.
I have seen some significant gains in muscle size and power since switching to mobility training and have been complimented by friends, family and co-workers who have noticed the increased muscle size.
Mobility work doesn’t take that much time and can be added to any routine. Personally I took a break from power lifting to focus on mobility to get rid of my pain once and for all.
You don’t have to follow in my footsteps and take a year off. But I believe that adding some mobility work will greatly improve your results. Try adding in some mobility, you might be amazed!
Did I lose all of my strength and gains by taking a year off?
I am currently testing my 1 rep max and have found that I am still just about as strong as I was when I started my break. I tested my bench press the other day and hit 215 lbs for 1 rep, which is 10 pounds less than my previous max. So basically over the year I took off I lost 10 lbs of strength. I say that’s worth it! If you told me I could eliminate my pain in exchange for a slightly less 1 rep max I would take you up on that offer in a heartbeat.
Here’s something else to consider.
I might have lost 10 pounds off my max bench but now I am ready to start training again and I’ll get that strength back quickly. Plus, when I was performing my max bench it felt easier than usual. I didn’t have to strain, grunt and struggle the weight up. I just moved the bar and it felt great! I am confident that I will be hitting new personal records very soon and doing so without pain is the best feeling in the world. Knowing that I will be able to do this for the rest of my life and do it pain free.
I like being different!
Mobility training is cool because I am the odd man out in the gym. While everyone else is doing the standard weight lifting (which is totally fine, I’m not judging). I am in the stretching area doing handstands, spinal flexions, arm circles, camshafts, overhead squats, shin boxes and dozens of other non-traditional movements. Some people look at me funny and others have asked questions about what I am doing and want to try it as well. I teach them what I am doing and why I am doing it and people really like it. They say it feels good and it’s a lot more challenging than it looks.
Now that I am mobile and my muscles are working together I am stronger than ever. I will continue to see amazing gains and believe that everyone needs to be doing this. I have seen many new programs and gyms offering this type of training and see is as a good thing.
So before you write of mobility as just girls and tiny dudes think about how you could benefit from being stronger!
Let’s sum it up.
- Mobility training is for everyone and makes the muscles in the body work together which means more strength and less/no pain.
- Mobility is challenging and easy at the same time and can be added to any routine.
- Mobility should be in everyone’s program to ensure proper form and performance.
- Mobility will actually make you stronger!
We have put together a mobility workout combining a fitness routine and warm up that takes 10 minutes and will get you ready for some upper body work.
And as always remember – Stay Motivated!