The Importance of Mobility Training: Form Follows Function

The Importance of Mobility Training: Form Follows Function

July 24, 2018

In this article, Coach Rich Thurman brings up a great point about how compensating your form due to a lack of mobility when swinging the steel mace (or any fitness tool for that matter) can affect your body negatively. 

It's important to understand that improving mobility is essential to maintaining proper form, which in turn will allow you to gain strength in a way that is effective and safe for the long run. If your form is incorrect, you are compensating by using muscles and joints that shouldn't be activated, or as activated, which can lead to injury or over-development in certain areas. This applies to almost every exercise; especially the Big Three - squats, bench, deadlift. 

The first thing you need to do is understand how to correctly perform a movement. To do so you need to know exactly which muscles and stabilizer muscles should be involved and the exact movement pattern. Then if your mobility isn't adequate, you need to work on that first. Once you have the necessary mobility for a movement, you can add a load (weight) and start gaining strength in that specific exercise. 

Today we will use the 10 to 2 macebell swing as an example. This video further explains the above (and below) so be sure to watch this now...



Guest Blog: Coach Rich Thurman

I've written numerous articles about the concept of "mobility" and Steel Mace Training. As more and more people begin to pick up the Mace and swing it, it's important that we clear up confusion about the Steel Mace's contributions to Mobility training. 

  1. Firstly we must distinguish between mobility gains and compensation gains. Mobility gains can be measured by your actual range of motion of the joint of interest. There is always a certain degree of collaborative effort throughout the kinetic chain. However, too much compensation by a joint upstream or downstream can result in potential overuse issues. For example, if the shoulder is unable to access a range and stabilize that range naturally, another joint must take up the slack for it. 

  2. Secondly, what are the potential impacts of compensation gains? Now that our body has created this compensatory pattern, it repeats this pattern over and over again. What if we looked at a specific process in an organization where everyone has a specific job to do. Imagine a restaurant where you have a Chef, Waiter, and Host. The waiter is the middle link in the chain. Let's imagine the Chef is incapable of bearing the load in the kitchen and asks the Waiter for help. Now the waiter is burdened by two jobs and isn't very proficient at cooking so now the food suffers. Meanwhile, the host now has to help out with the tables and is now getting an earful from customers about poor service and long wait times. The host is now presenting symptoms of a much deeper issue. That issue is that the load is too much for the Chef to take.

  3. How do we address those compensations in order to mitigate (not prevent) injury? In the previous example, we referred to the Chef in the restaurant. What do we need to address to mitigate these compensations throughout the restaurant? Well either you need the Chef to step their game up or you need to hire more help. Either way, if the Chef was a joint, we'd need it to have more capacity. Improve the Chef's ability to bear the load and we increase the overall efficiency of the restaurant and reduce the potential for compensations and inflammation in other areas due to overuse.

    The goal is simple. Let's prepare ourselves and our clients for success and longevity, by making sure their bodies are capable.

Check out Coach Rich Thurman on Instagram.

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