"if you stretch correctly and regularly, you'll find every other movement you make becomes easier."
The Importance of Mobility
Being mobile is a crucial aspect of being healthy. If a person is not able to move a joint freely through its full range of motion, then they are already putting themselves at an increased risk of injury before even attempting to pick up a weight and load that range of motion. There should be a period of time either before/after training or even on a separate day that is dedicated to improving mobility. Something as little as 5-10 minutes daily can be enough to see progress. One of the most common reasons you feel unathletic is because you aren't able to get into the positions and postures that you want. It's much easier to do a little mobility work every day to preserve it than it is to lose it and have to work to get it back. 5 minutes a day goes a long way.
Decreases chance of injury- This should be a given and is by far the most important. Any restrictions to a freely moving joint pose a possible risk of injury. There are some exceptions such as a basketball player having tight ankles to prevent constant sprains from changing directions, but overall a free joint is a happy joint.
Keeps joints healthy- When doing mobility exercises, the joint being targeted is commonly referred to as being “warmed up.” What is actually happening is that blood is being moved to the surrounding tissues and synovial fluid (fluid in our joints which helps them glide) is shuttled into the working joint. For example, fire hydrants or hip circles are aiming to warm up the hips. Blood is then transported to the muscles working to move the leg (hip flexors, glutes, external rotators) and synovial fluid hydrates the hip joint in preparation for exercise.
Become stronger- If our movement is restricted in a squat and we can only go down to just above parallel, how strong would the squat be through its full range of motion if we are not able to train the bottom fourth of the movement? Not very strong at all. This logic can be applied to every exercise as well. If our mobility is limiting a full range of motion, then we cannot strengthen all parts of the movement.
Time efficient- Like I said earlier, mobility exercises are quick, easy, and effective by design. A full upper body or lower body routine can be completed in 5-10 minutes making it optimal as a warm-up or cool down. Full body routines can be implemented on non-training days as well and should take no more than 15-20 minutes either.
All you need is you- In addition to being time efficient; mobility exercises are also very portable. Many can be down with just body weight movements, and the most you would ever need are some bands and a light bar or dumbbells. There really is no excuse to not stay on top of mobility work.