Mobility? Flexibility? Warming up? Lets get it straight for once…….

Mobility? Flexibility? Warming up? Lets get it straight for once…….

We hear these terms Mobility, Flexibility, and Warming up often but what do they mean and why are they important?

The reasons why fit into two main categories:

—Injury prevention

—Tissue preparation for activity

The term “warm-up” refers to preparatory exercises performed prior to engaging in activities that are more vigorous and includes three types: passive, general, and specific. Regardless of the type selected, the overall purpose remains the same: to prepare the body for the demands of the upcoming workout, in particular to increase temperature-dependent physiological responses. These responses:

1. increase muscle temperature causing more forceful contractions and quicker relaxations,

2. increase blood temperature to working muscles, unloading more oxygen to working muscles, and

3. increase range of motion around joints (Hedrick, 2012).

Great squat mobility on this guy!

It is important to note that dynamic warm-up/stretching is not the same as flexibility (e.g., static stretching) training. Flexibility refers to the range of motion at a specific joint or series of joints, and is typically assessed in non-weight bearing situations.  Schedule an an assessment now!

Sit and reach test

Conversely, dynamic stretching refers to performing movements specific to a sport or movement pattern (Hedrick, 2012). Within the context of dynamic stretching are the terms mobility and movement preparation (prep). Mobility refers to an individuals ability to achieve a posture or position, is more global in nature, and emphasizes multi-joint movements and stabilization (Brooks & Cressey, 2013). Movement prep is an even broader term used to describe all of the various methods used to improve mobility during a warm-up. Performing a dynamic-based warm-up

Warming up dynamically

prior to physical activity appears to improve performance and may provide increased resistance to muscle injury (Hedrick, 2012)

A dynamic warm-up routine starts with about 5 min of cardiovascular activity, starting at a low intensity and progressing to a moderate intensity (i.e., to the point of developing a light sweat). This cardiovascular warm-up is followed by 5 – 15 min of movement prep that progresses from general exercises to ones that are more specific.  Personal trainers should have a conscious reason for prescribing exercises for their clients and can support their recommendations with scientifically sound research.  This statement applies to all phases of a workout, including the dynamic warm-up routine. When designing a warm-up routine, personal trainers should ask themselves:

1. What cardiovascular activity is most appropriate for the client and involves the most amount of muscle mass?

2. What exercises are planned in the upcoming workout? a. What joints and muscles will be involved? b. What is the overall level of mobility required to perform the exercise? c. What planes of motion will be involved? d. What speed of movement will be involved?

3. Does the client have any specific mobility restrictions or exercise contraindications? (I address all of these points in my initial assessment of all new clients)


1. Start with general movements that mobilize joints that will be used in the upcoming workout or need consistent work, such as the ankle, hip, and thoracic spine (Myer, et al., 2014).

2. Select additional mobility drills based on the individual needs of the client.

3. Progress to specific warm-up movements/exercises that meet the physical and physiological demands of the upcoming workout.


Please don’t just jump right into a set of heavy lifting, explosive jumps or sprints without taking the time to prepare your nervous system and muscles first!

The point of this is……Do it all, you probably need it, Come to JK Physical Cultures mobility class and learn how!

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