Flexibility is Overrated

Previously I wrote about whether Strength or flexibility was most useful for Grapplers. (check it out here)

We looked at some pros and cons of both and why you might choose one over the other. 

I ended up confessing if I could pick only one to train it would be STRENGTH but not just for the reasons you think…

 

Sure it would get me bigger, stronger and more powerful but when performed correctly it would also make me more flexible (without ever stretching!)

Before we get into that we have to look at exactly what flexibility is – here’s my definition:

Flexibility is your ability to move your joints through a full range of motion.

Ok so you’re really bendy – problem is if you’re just flexible when someone bends you you can’t bend back…

Introducing…

Mobility

Mobility and Flexibility are as commonly clumped together as strength and conditioning – they are not the same thing!

So what the hell is mobility then? 

I define it as:

Your ability to express strength through a full range of movement.

Lets look at a common example off this to illustrate the difference. 

I ask person A to perform a bodyweight squat, they have a decent degree of flexibility so they squat down nice and deep – butt close to heels.

I then ask the same person to put a 100kg bar on their back and perform a squat. Suddenly they’re only ‘quarter squatting’ (i’m guessing you’ve all seen this in the gym at some point)

So what happened? 

Did person A suddenly lose all of their flexibility? Nope – but they lacked mobility. 

They physically could move through the same range of movement however they lacked the strength to move the weight with them.

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So you should be asking 

‘ok so mobility sounds great – but how do I train it?’
 

Well there’s a number of ways – but if you want to keep things simple and efficient then…

Lift weights with a full range of movement 

Haha, yeh cool but what’s the real answer, whats the one tip, trick, hack…

No, seriously just lift weights with a full range of movement. Yes you might have to lower the weight, yes it takes practice, yes its tougher but the results will speak for themselves. 

Think about it 1 hour of lifting then 1 hour of stretching, or just 1 hour of lifting with full ROM and good technique? For grappling athletes with an already bust training schedule its surely a no-brainer. 

So are you saying I shouldn’t stretch at all? 

Not at all, if you enjoy stretching or are working on a particularly tight area or have another good reason – then you should stretch for sure. Just understand the limitations and exactly why you’re doing it. 

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So if you want to get STRONGER and more MOBILE, whilst increasing your flexibility as a nice side effect, then start really focusing on form and range of movement as key elements of your lifting. 

Soon, you will be able to fold people up and be folded up and bounce back with equal ease. 

 

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