Updated: Jul 16, 2021
Flexibility and mobility are crucial if you want to stay fit and injury-free. In Jiu-jitsu, in the weight room, and life, I’ve always prioritized flexibility and mobility.
Even if you’re a strength athlete, you need joint work — especially if you’re in recovery after an injury. Adding mobility and flexibility work can benefit your joint fitness and your performance on the platform. As an endurance athlete, your hamstrings and groin can stay healthy the more you stretch and increase their range of motion.
At BarraFIT Scottsdale, we focus on overall health and performance. For this reason, no class is complete without some mobility and flexibility drills.
Let’s talk about why your joints need to stay flexible and mobile!
Mobility Vs. Flexibility
Every time I talk about mobility and flexibility, I get this glazed look from my students. Some even ask me, “Aren’t those two things the same, Flavio?” Everyone confuses these two together the same way many students confuse an Americana with a Kimura.
When we talk about flexibility, we mean the ability of your muscles to stretch or lengthen. This is why you “stretch” to improve flexibility. What you’re doing is increasing the length of your muscles so that your joints can move more freely.
Now, if flexibility is the looseness and lengthening of your muscles, then what’s mobility? Mobility refers to how well you can move your joints in their axis of rotation. You show your mobility when you raise both arms freely above your head. You also demonstrate joint mobility whenever you throw a roundhouse kick to the head.
Why Are Flexibility and Mobility Important?
The free and painless movement of your limbs determines more than your ability to attempt armbars and triangles. It also does more than allow you to kick above the torso.
Flexibility and mobility are important in the BarraFIT studio and your daily life. Let me count the ways:
Your Posture Will Improve.
Every time I see a new client, nine times out of ten, I’ll see the following:
An abnormal pelvic tilt
Uneven shoulders (as in one shoulder is a bit higher than the other)
These imbalances cause unhealthy posture. These result from — well, you’ve guessed it — sitting around for hours on end either at work or home. Sitting is the number one culprit for hip flexor overactivation.
When the hip flexors are overactivated, they tense up, causing a bent-forward posture. Improving the flexibility of the hips and shoulders allows you to remove the tension on the hip flexors. As a result, you’ll be able to stand upright. Your back and shoulders will say thank you.
You Won’t Easily Get Injured.
Being in the Jiu-Jitsu game for years, I’ve been injured more times than I care to recall. And, each time, I remember doing two things:
Rolling with my partners right away
Not stretching and doing mobility drills
On the other hand, every time I felt great after training, I stretched, foam rolled, and did my mobility drills. The science seems to support it. By lengthening the muscles and connective tissue around your joints (flexibility), you allow yourself room to move your joints more freely (mobility).
Most importantly, you get to move in a way that does not tear or overexert your muscles and joints. For this reason, I’m very fussy about stretching and warming up before training — and you should be too.
You’ll Have Better Performance on the Mats and in Life.
With a better range of motion comes better performance in your BarraFIT or Jiu-Jitsu classes. Also, a better range of motion can lead to improvements in your daily life.
Because you’re more flexible and mobile, you can:
Pick things up off the ground pain-free (hip and hamstring flexibility with lower back mobility)
Get out of bed easily (hip and shoulder mobility)
Press objects above your head (shoulder flexibility and mobility with some hip mobility)
Quickly moving from a sitting position to a standing position (hip mobility and hamstring flexibility)
I can go on and on. The bottom line is that mobility and flexibility are excellent goals for sports and overall health and functioning.
Your quality of life depends greatly on how well you can move. That said, investing time and effort in improving your flexibility and mobility can help you in the gym and life.
Take your mobility, flexibility, and physical preparedness to the next level with BarraFIT Flex. We have a permanent discount for founding athletes who sign up early.
Be a BarraFIT Founder Athlete and experience a new level of physical adeptness!
Flavio Almeida | Co-Founder BarraFIT Studio Scottsdale