“Am I doing this right?” is the most common question I’m asked by people just starting out with their mobility – and the answer is always, yes.
Bodies don’t move “badly” and when it comes to mobility using the SMARTT® methods, there is no wrong way to move…
…so how can you be doing mobility “wrong”?
It’s true that I’ll always encourage you to move your joints in as may different ways as you can possibly think of.
And once you’ve run out of ways to move one joint, I’d ask you to position it the best way for you and move a different joint instead.
That way you can keep developing the ways your body can move – and learn more about your body in the process.
Just yesterday this happened for me.
Over the past few months, I’ve been kicking a ball for our rescue dog Belle (if I take the ball thrower she won’t walk in a straight line), and it’s been irritating an old ankle injury – it doesn’t hurt, it just won’t move.
But yesterday, I was working on my hips and spine, when I stumbled across a new way to unlock my ankle!
I’ll bet you’d never have thought that standing with one foot in front of the other, leaning backwards and rotating your chest would reach the depths of foot now would you?
That’s why details don’t really interest me. All I was doing was investigating which ways I could move my spine from that one split stance position. There’s no way I would have ever been able to THINK my way to that place.
So, if details don’t matter, how can you be doing your mobility “wrong”?
Well, there’s three ways really:
1. Moving too fast – this is THE most common mistake people make when it comes to mobility. Your body is struggling to move well, and because there’s a problem, your brain is a bit more protective than usual. If you move too fast, this INCREASES the protective mechanism, making everything tighten up more (which isn’t our end goal). Moving slowly, like the speed of rocking a baby to sleep, increases your brain’s confidence that you’re not going to damage yourself any further, which RELAXES your muscles – and that IS our end goal.
2. Pushing too far – many exercise enthusiasts treat their mobility like a training session, especially at the beginning. They think that they need to be moving as far as they possibly can, which is a mistake with mobility, because pushing at the boundaries of your range of movement increases that protective mechanism again, which tightens your muscles up. Working gently at the edges of those boundaries allows your brain time to recognise that nothing bad is happening, which lowers the protective mechanism and promotes relaxation.
3. Not paying attention – this is a mistake that more experienced people make when it comes to mobility. They think that simply because they’re following a video, and doing some mobility, that they must be improving – which is simply NOT TRUE. In fact, experienced people need to pay MORE attention because bodies “cheat” with movement.
We are hard-wired to find the easiest way to do anything and movement is no different. If you’re making a circle with your hips and your body is struggling to move through a given point in that circle, it’ll avoid it, making your circle more elliptical in shape (or if there’s lots of points its avoiding – more like a 50p!). The more experienced you are with mobility, the more you need to be on the lookout for these avoidances, because these are the true causes of your issues, and missing them can mean the difference between getting rid of an issue for good, and it returning.
So you see, even though you can’t really move “wrong” with the SMARTT® methods, you can still do things that will stifle your progress.
But now you know what they are, I’m confident you won’t be making these mistakes with your mobility!
If you haven’t tried the super simple SMARTT® methods yet, you can grab my FREE Hip Flexors 5 Ways Video here.
While you’re doing the moves, just pay attention to your speed, your distance and what your body is doing.
I’ll give you hint – if you’re pulling funny faces or holding your breath, you’re pushing too far!