Did you like veggies as a kid? I actually didn’t mind them. I had my favorites, green beans and carrots. I’m thankful that both my parents forced me to eat a well-balanced diet. I believe that’s why I enjoy veggies to this day and don’t have any nutritional deficiencies. I do wish I had a coach early on when I started strength training that forced me to work on my mobility. That alone may have saved me from a few injuries.
There’s a popular saying in the strength and conditioning world that getting stronger solves a lot of problems. I partly agree with this. Many people experience problems due to weakness and the answer is to increase strength. Similar to your nutrition, you should have a well-balanced exercise program. It should include exercises to address strength, power, muscular endurance, body-composition (lean muscle to fat ratio), and mobility. I’ve been strength training for over 30 years. I can acknowledge that my personal workouts have always checked each of those boxes, except for mobility. It was my understanding early on that if I perform strength training exercises using a full range of motion, I would maintain my mobility. I was wrong. I now understand and have observed that if you put more emphasis on one or more of the components, you may sacrifice in one of the other categories.
I’ve always focused heavily on becoming stronger. When I participated in competitive sports (football, wrestling), there was an emphasis on both power and endurance. Later in life, when I stepped on stage as a competitive bodybuilder, it was all about building maximum muscle while carrying minimal body-fat. I was always strong, so after bodybuilding my focus went solely to strength. The goal may have shifted to over-all strength, as opposed to being strong in a particular exercise (example- bench press or dead-lift), but it remained strength, nonetheless. This picture was a taken 4 years ago at a local gym at a bodyweight of 210lbs. I was able to lift 450lbs. in the dead-lift for a few repetitions.
While lifting more than double my body-weight in the dead-lift may sound impressive and is well above average, my mobility was sub-par, and well below average. Some would argue that it was my tight tendon attachments in my glutes and hips that allowed me to both squat & dead-lift very heavy weight for years. However, I will argue that my tightness caused me to compensate in other movement patterns, which later created muscle imbalances that eventually led to injuries. Now this picture may not appear as impressive as the prior, but it is for me.
For years, I struggled to sit in what is called a pigeon or a 90/90 position. In this position you have one hip externally rotated with the other hip internally rotated. If I did attempt this position, my body would excessively lean to one side and I may experience cramping in the hip. My core would shut down to create the mobility that my hips lacked. After working extensively on my mobility for the last few years, I’ve come to a point where I can sit on the floor in this position and not be uncomfortable or in pain.
My goal was not to make this a public service announcement about mobility. It was to share my personal experience. Similar to you, I tend to do the things I’m either good at or enjoy. The job of a qualified coach is to create a safe and effective program. It should be fun, well balanced and catered to your current fitness level. Just like when we were kids, you need to eat everything, including your vegetables.
See you at the studio.