Difference between mobility and flexibility in personal training
Posted on 5th January 2020 at 12:55
Are they the same thing? you see both terms batted about by fitness types all over the internet “improve your flexibility and mobility” but flexibility and mobility are actually different.
So, what is the difference between mobility and flexibility?
I will start with flexibility, which is the ability for a muscle to stretch when needed, as an example, your favourite pair of PJ’s or joggers, if the waistband is stretchy, it is flexible or it has seen better days and is no longer stretchy, or worse case it snaps, then it is inflexible, the same can happen with muscles. Therefore, flexibility is important, to help keep your muscles supple and help from sustaining injuries.
So, what is mobility then? Mobility is the range of motion of a joint, if your joint can move in the full range of motion that it is intended to, then it has mobility.
Although that is the very basic description and your flexibility can also affect your mobility. You may be very flexible and very mobile, but you can also be flexible and immobile on some joints and this may be more about the structure of your joint.
Does this matter as to how I exercise?
The bigger question here is actually what do you want to achieve by exercising?
Do you want to be able to move better? As an example, the older we get the harder we find to get up from the floor and the likelihood is that this is a mobility issue, our joints are not working as well as they used to, but it could also be a flexibility issue. The reason being is that some of our muscles are not being used to their full potential or hardly at all, and as such they are not as flexible as they used to be when we were children.
Come on, who avoids getting down on the floor, because you know getting up is not as easy as it used to be? The answer to that is a lot of people, but wouldn’t it be nice if it was easy, it used to be.
If we improve the flexibility of our muscles, all our muscles, then our mobility should improve.
Exercises for improved mobility
Exercises that improve your mobility, need to focus of movements of your joints, and it is a good idea to start a training session with these types of movements. There are different types of mobility exercises, either an exercise that is focused purely on a joint such as Indian Club swings or a set of movements that focus on different joints at once.
Exercises to improve flexibility
Exercises to improve your flexibility include stretching exercises, which can be used throughout a training session but are most beneficial at the end when your muscles are already warm.
Exercises to improve both mobility and flexibility
During my personal training sessions with my clients, I also introduce exercises that improve both the mobility and flexibility as they incorporate both joint movement and stretching.
If you would like more information personal training with myself at my studio in Northampton, please click on one of the links below
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