Take a look at both athletes featured below. What are some things that you notice?
If you said that they were incredibly strong, ding! You are right! If you said that they are incredibly flexible, ding! You are right! Both of these individuals are not only incredibly strong, but they are incredibly flexible. How is that possible? I thought that really strong people had really poor mobility. Guess again. If you are failing to achieve proper positioning during your lifts, naturally your mobility is the first item which you address. But what if I told you your mobility sucked because you were incredibly weak?
One of the most effective ways to improve your mobility/positioning is to simply get stronger. Seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Let me explain.
A muscle that is weak needs to work incredibly hard to fire correctly. As the muscle fires harder and harder, the tension in the muscle increases. With increased tension running throughout the muscle, the muscle cannot relax and allow the body to place itself into optimal positions. As the muscle becomes stronger, the work that it must perform requires less energy and strain and therefore can relax more. More relaxed muscles are then capable of moving through positions of power and stability.
What does this mean for the chronically tight athlete? Does this mean that you should stop mobilizing your tissues before your lifting? Absolutely not. Mobility work before training is essential. With that said, however, an athlete who is looking to improve his or her mobility over the long term must focus on getting stronger, not getting “toned”(to be honest, I don’t even know what the hell toned really means…). In the realm of , this means that attention needs to be shifted more towards developing general strength and stability and less from the sexy and punishing “metcon.”