Mobility and stability
By Peter Lakatos – Expert level 3 KMG international team of instructors
For sure you have heard these words, since most of the fitness trends are trying to explain their goals via mobility, stability balance and other concepts. Not many tough has any clear idea about them, and following Gray Cook and Lee Burton – the founders of FMS – is pretty much always a good idea.
The definitions are:
- Mobility: Ability of neuro-muscular system to allow for efficient movement of a joint or series of joints through a full, non-restricted pain free range of motion.
- Stability:Active muscular control exerted on a joint to redirect force and control movement in the presence of normal muscular flexibility and joint mobility
Cool,but what the heck does that mean?
Simply, better mobility, better proprioception. Better proprioception is better body image, and the ability for better control, since stability is not rigidity, but the ability to keep things motionless in the presence of movements.
The joint-by-joint concept
The Point of the concept is as easy as anything. Every joint has a primary and a secondary function, which can change as a result of an injury, incorrect posture or wrong training. The primary functions are repeating alternately on the kinetic chain.
The ankle is primarily mobile, the knee is primarily stable – and this rule goes along the chain.
In case of dysfunctional movements it’s noticeable, that ankle mobility decreases, and the lack of ROM (range of movement) results extra mobility in the knee and the lumbar spine.
Areas typically getting stable meaning rigid: toes, ankles, hips, thoracic spine, shoulders, wrists.
Areas typically getting mobile, meaning loosing stability: foot arches, knees, lumbar spine, shoulder blades, elbows.
When we talk about mobility, we are not only talking about the ability of moving freely in a wide range of motion.
A high-level of coordination requires a high level of self-awareness. Improving proprioception is an important goal for Ground Force Method practice since how much information your body has about where it is in space and time can have an effect on how the CNS interprets any given information – as a threat or not.
Every body part has a dedicated area in the brain where it is mapped, some bigger some smaller. While the size of the different maps are important – and they change all the time depending on what we are doing – these maps can also shrink or become blurred, which is problematic for healthy movement.
Motor maps are refreshed and informed by movements, especially when they are slow, careful, enjoyable, full range and repeated. Most of the information that helps inform our body’s self- awareness mainly comes from our joints via nerves that transmit information such as “mechano-receptors”.
This information is used by the CNS to create a 3D-map for the body. The use it or lose it rule is quite important here. If a range of motion is not used for some time, mechanoreceptors from that area cannot give enough signals about the area, and the map of the virtual shoulder or hip is shrinking in the brain.
Bad proprioceptive information tends to be translated by the CNS as threat, and pain can be created as a result, so that we pay attention. That is the reason why the condition of some painful areas can often be improved by good, slow, pain-free or very low pain moves.
When using mobility drills, we use the following two main categories:
- Loaded with band or bodyweight
Both type of mobility exercise can be used in the following speed:
- Sport specific
By joints, mobility exercises can be:
- Single joint
- Multi joint
- Sport specific
The best time to practice mobility is in the warm up block, since high quality of proprioception is actually lowering the risk of injury.