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Flexibility v Mobility + Consistency Over Intensity

Flexibility vs Mobility

This explanation about the difference between flexibility and mobility from Chris Sommer was very good and to the point.

“Flexibility” can be passive, whereas “mobility” requires that you can demonstrate strength throughout the entire range of motion, including the end ranges.”

I find a lot of people say they have to work on their flexibility, which is true a fair amount of the time, but long term what they need is to increase their mobility. After a few weeks of stretching and gaining some flexibility I find they have to get stronger at those end ranges as mentioned above. People tend to over-do the flexibility and neglect the mobility in certain sports. There is an optimal level of flexibility needed for each sport, not a maximal level. Charles Poliquin taught me this a long time ago. For example, a rugby league player needs to be flexible but he doesn’t have to be as flexible as a gymnast.

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Consistency Over Intensity

Chris also has a good saying to remind athletes that adaptation takes time. He says “Slow down. Where’s the fire?” Adaptations from training can take weeks or months of consistent work. Gains don’t come linearly. You may see next to no progress for a while and then all of a sudden your strength seems to go through the roof all of a sudden or you pick up a skill you had been working on for a long time. It is like something just clicks. Sometimes you just have to be patient.

If you rush you increase your risk of injury. You want to coax the body into building strength or muscle mass not force it. So from one workout to the next we may only increase the load by 1kg but it doesn’t matter you are still adapting and making your way towards your goal. By doing this consistently you can maintain technique and eventually you will have increased the load significantly. If you add 5kg to the bar each workout it will not take very long before you are grinding reps, hitting a plateau, and injuring yourself.

Ed Coan spoke of this at great length in a seminar when talking about longevity in powerlifting. It also applies to other sports. Basically what he said was you can have a long career through making gradual progress from session to session and comp to comp or you can go crazy, train 3 times a day, get really quick results, but only have a short career because you have ruined your body and can’t do your sport anymore.

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