High-Performance Vegan Letters

Mobility vs Flexibility, Warm-Up & Cooldown Routines, and Lift Heavier Using This Technique

letters May 10, 2024

Being an athlete, I’ve always valued mobility.

But it wasn’t until the past decade that I started to notice my mobility diminish.

While it’s easy to blame age and getting older, the reality was I wasn’t being as active.

My physical condition deteriorated because of prolonged periods of sitting.

I was moving less.

As the adage goes, ‘If you don’t use it, you lose it.’

Reality check for me.

I began to enhance my training efforts and have made significant investments in multiple high-level mentors over the past few years.

I also recommitted to standing more.

Walking more.

Squatting more.

Optimizing my training with my coach even more.

Mobility matters.

So does flexibility.

They go hand in hand with your strength and physique goals.

Ideally, having a synergistic blend between mobility, flexibility, strength, and physique gives you a strong foundation to live from.

If you don’t use it - you’ll lose it.

Lesson: It’s easy to overlook certain parts of our health when we’re young. As we become less active, it gets harder to overlook those same things.

Here's Your 5 Minute Friday:

#1.) Mobility Fundamentals

What is mobility?

According to Harvard Health:

“Mobility is defined as your ability to move purposefully throughout your day. It is the foundation for living a healthy and independent life.

Mobility comprises all the skills required for everyday living: physical stamina, strength, balance, coordination, and range of motion.”

The better your mobility?

The better your overall health & fitness.

As we age, there is the tendency to ‘lose’ several qualities in our body (mainly due to sedentary lifestyle and lack of usage; not age always):

  • Mobility
  • Strength
  • Muscle mass
  • Flexibility
  • Heart health
  • Coordination
  • Endurance
  • Range of motion

It’s not always just because of age.

It’s due to lack of usage and dropping our activity levels.

If you don’t use it - you lose it.

Mobility enhances everything in your fitness.

Mobilizing your body can happen in several ways:

  1. Using specific exercises to activate and mobilize your body
  2. Using foam rolling and self-myofascial massage tools to help improve mobility

Dr. Kelly Starlett, one of the leading pioneers in the mobility movement, also reminds us that a supple body is the key to consistent strength and muscle development.

If you want a lean, toned body - mobility is how you’ll create and keep it.

According to Dr. Bo, “In my line of work, I’ve seen so many injuries come down to the client not working through a full range of motion,” Babenko says.

This means you need to be flexible enough to go through full range of motion as well as have the strength to do this.

Here’s 12 Best Mobility Exercises, From a Doctor of Physical Therapy:

  1. Crocodile Breathing
  2. Single-Leg Supine Leg Raise
  3. Single-Arm Kettlebell March + Reverse Lunge
  4. 90/90 Hip Rotation
  5. Thoracic Foam Rolling
  6. Cossack Squat
  7. Shoulder CAR
  8. Sciatic Nerve Floss
  9. Dead Hang
  10. Banded Hip Mobilization
  11. Kang Squat
  12. Kettlebell Windmill

If you want to review the exercises, click the links above or click here to read a deeper dive by BarBend of how to execute each of these 12 exercises.

As always, the main thing is to be consistent, not perfect.

A 5-minute mobility time investment can go a LONG way in your fitness journey.

#2.) Flexibility 101

So, what’s the difference between mobility and flexibility?

According to Sports Medicine Today:

“Flexibility is the ability to move muscles and joints through a full normal range of motion (ROM). Flexibility helps performance, posture, promotes efficient movement, prevents incorrect body alignment, maintains appropriate muscle length and balance, and decreases injury risk.”

There are a few key differences here:

  1. Mobility can happen before OR after a workout (before works well since you prime your body)
  2. Flexibility (or static flexibility) is best done after a workout due to lengthening the muscles
  3. Dynamic flexibility can be done before a workout

Flexibility is another tool to add to your fitness arsenal.

It can help prevent injury and increase range of motion; however, it’s important to note that static stretching is best done post-workout, and dynamic flexibility done before or after a workout.

Click below to watch 8 best exercises to improve your flexibility:​


#3.) Use This Technique To Lift

Sometimes what’s optimal isn’t always sustainable.

What works best is what you can be consistent with.

Whether that’s only a few squats and push-ups before your workout and a quick 2 minute post workout stretch - if you can be consistent, that’s more important than being optimal.

With that said, there are certain warm-up and cooldowns that can have a bigger impact on your body and nervous system.

A warm-up and cooldown should act as a trigger.

They can be a switch to turn on your mind and body and prep it for your workout while stimulating your nervous system to fire faster.

Plus, it tells your muscles it’s time to work.

If you want to lift heavier and get the most of out of your workout investment, use the following pre-workout routine:

For pre-workout routines (5-7 minutes):

  1. Use mobility exercises
  2. Use dynamic flexibility flow
  3. Do 1-2 warm-up sets for your first 2 big strength lifts

*For warm-up sets, lift to 50-60% of your max intensity between 8-12 reps - repeat 2x before starting your first working set.

For post-workout routines (5-7 minutes):

  1. Use mobility exercises
  2. Use static flexibility or yoga flow
  3. Cooldown and relax your heart rate

Whether or not you do a ‘perfect’ warm-up or cooldown isn’t important.

The most important thing is to get in the gym, warm-up your heart rate and ligaments, get in a good workout, then cooldown for a few minutes, and get back to life.

Fitness should enhance your life, not derail it.

Keep that in mind.

One Quote To Finish Your Week Strong

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. Time will pass anyway.”
- Earl Nightingale

I changed 4 diapers in 90 minutes.

Tbh - this was my win for the week.

Oh and my son peed on me. Again.

- Gabriel

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