Mobility: Is it really that important?
Coach Dan’s two cents on Mobility:
You spend numerous hours in the gym getting fitter, working on your weakness, and getting
stronger, but how much time do you set aside taking care of your bodies?
Mobility is one of the most overlooked parts of training and today I am writing to change the way you think about
mobility. Most of the information I will provide you with today comes from Dr. Kelly Starrett’s book
“Becoming a Supple Leopard”, so if you’d like to find out more, I’d highly recommend checking it
There are two ways to approach mobility. One is to identify your restriction and mobilise within the
context of the position you’re trying to improve (e.g. holding the bottom of your squat), and the
other is to mobilise upstream and downstream of a painful area (e.g. having tight calves). Today I
am going to focus mainly on the later.
Even if you are mechanically sound in your movement, pain and injury are an inherent reality,
especially if you’re training at a high level. Joints get tweaked and tissues get stiff, but that’s the
nature of being a physically active human being. Therefore, we need to not just now how to solve
mechanical problems, but also how to resolve a treat pain. This is where the upstream-
downstream approach comes in. It’s quite simple: Mobilise the tissue upstream (above) and
downstream (below) of the problem.
Kelly Starrett says, “What’s great about the upstream-downstream approach is that you don’t need
to know anything about movement or anatomy to take care of yourself. Just target the muscle and
tissue above and below the restricted area. It’s that simple.” In other words, grab a mobility tool,
which could be a barbell, foam roller, plate, lacrosse ball, band, kettlebell, etc. and go to work. My
two cents on mobility is that you want to figure out where you are restricted and then work on
restoring/improving range-of-motion there before it becomes a problem. So try spending at least
15-20 minutes daily doing mobility and over-time you will see and feel the results. Let’s get supple!