MOBILITY AND FLEXIBILITY BASICS

The Foundation for Success

As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, movement and function is my expertise. I often see strong athletes come in with injuries and they wonder how they can be hurt if they have been lifting weights and are stronger than others on the team. However, when I take them through basic mobility tests, they usually struggle to perform simple functional movements required for successful athletic performance. It turns out they have been doing well at their sport by compensating with their talent and strength, but have not been using proper mechanics. Over time this improper use has led to overuse and break-down injuries. 


Here is the take home message: building strength and power on top of a foundation of poor mobility often causes injuries over time. This happens to high school, collegiate, and professional athletes all the time in various sports. Pickleball is no exception.

First things first: what is the difference between Mobility and Flexibility?

Mobility is the ability of your joints to move through their intended range of motion without pain or limitations.  

Flexibility refers to the total amount of motion through a kinetic chain, involving joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

One can have good flexibility without good mobility and vice versa. For example: I may be able to touch my toes, demonstrating good flexibility, but maybe I am doing so with pain in my hip because I lack adequate mobility to allow for a pain free movement. 

Maintaining good mobility and flexibility are both important and contribute to successful participation in Pickleball.


Click on the video above to see some basic mobility drills for your ankles, knees, hips, spine, and shoulders. Performing these on a regular basis and as a routine will help enhance your overall movement, and therefore make you a more efficient player. Please remember that this may not work for everyone, and consulting a licensed health professional should always be your priority if you are injured.

 

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