What is mobility? By definition mobility is the ability to to move, or be moved freely and easily. I look at mobility as the bodies ability to move into end ranges and be strong without a lot of restriction.
What is flexibility? By definition flexibility is the quality of bending easily without breaking. I look at flexibility as the bodies ability to move into end ranges with or without feelings of restriction.
What is stability? By definition stability is the bodies ability to maintain postural balance (equilibrum) and support joints through movement. I like this definition.
Why does any of this matter?
Being able to move well is the cornerstone of wellbeing and health, without it, muscles and support structures become dysfunctional, painful and weak. Living in a body that hurts constantly can affect emotional and mental wellbeing and can make simple daily living activities unbareable.
The good news is, you don’t need to live in pain.
Looking at fitness under the four pillars of fitness, we can see that stability is possibly the most important. We cannot have strength and cardiovascular health, or power / endurance, if the body is unstable and unable to perform basic movement patterns. It may be my bias, but, spending more time on first principles (stability) means having more gains in the other areas of fitness quicker. [Lets leave this nugget for another blog post] Pillars of Fitness: 1. Stability 2. Strength 3. Cardiovascular Health 4. Power.
A huge component in stability is having muscles that can both contract and lengthen to either (a) move the bone or (b) hold the bone still. Tight muscles have an impact on the global chain becuase if one area is not moving well, then other structures need to pick up the slack. This is not ideal. The body is incredibly resilient and adaptable to keep you moving, yet, our goal is to live optimally and without pain. Muscles that that become strained and overworked show up as weakness, pain, and tightness; this is seen in simple daily activities (picking up your kids, putting on your shoes, gardening) as well as, the big movements at the gym (deadlifts, squats, yoga).
The takeaway - compensation is a mechanical disadvantage that puts strains on other structures and tissues.
Manual Therapy is incredibly helpful in these situations to “undo” a tight knot, relieve pain and discomfort and can assist in those
long term goals. However, what you do on the daily will have the biggest impact. Following a self care routine that involves stability, mobility and rolling as your building blocks can prevent future injuries - I look at this as your “Preventative Plan”.
Where does rolling come into the plan?
I look at rolling as an act of selfcare. Self-myofascial Release is a massage technique where we use props (foam rollers, rubber balls, inflatable balls, blocks) to provide compression and kneading to specific body parts. Its what happens before stability. The compression and kneading provide outside stimulus to adhered muscles fibres and encourage these spindles to “release” by increasing circulation to the area, calming the nervous system, and breaking down tough tissue. The coolest part is that we can affect the global fascial network - by creating change in one area we can indirectly create more pliability and less pulls of tension in others. Depending on your specific goals and areas of limitations, rolling can be done as a warm up, as a cool or as an entire workout in its own.
Rolling alone can be hard (and boring), the good news is?
We can do it together, because rolling together is just better.