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How and Why To Improve Mobility for Better Sports Performance

Did you know that mobility is a crucial aspect of athletic performance? In fact, athletes who prioritize mobility training can see improvements in their overall performance, including strength, power, agility, and endurance.

Mobility refers to the ability to move joints through their full range of motion. Athletes with good mobility are less likely to experience injuries, as their joints can move freely and without restriction. Additionally, improved mobility can result in better technique and form during exercises, further enhancing athletic performance.

In this article, we will review the importance of mobility for athletes and discuss some tips and exercises that are known to significantly boost sports performance.

What is Mobility? How Does Mobility Impact Sports Performance?

As previously mentioned, mobility refers to an individual’s capability to move a joint actively across its entire range of motion. This includes both active and passive movements. Active mobility is the range of motion an athlete can achieve on their own, while passive mobility is the range of motion achieved with the help of an external force.

Research suggests that athletes with better mobility have better overall sports performance. A study found that young soccer players with limited ankle mobility showed an impairment when asked to perform a vertical jump. Furthermore, research also shows that incorporating mobility exercises in an athlete’s training regimen can significantly reduce the chance of injury.

Why Should I Improve My Mobility?

Improving mobility allows athletes to gain better physical health and performance in the following ways:

  • Reduced risk of injury: Athletes with poor mobility are more prone to injuries. By carrying out mobility exercises, athletes can reduce their risk of injuries, such as sprains, strains, and tears.
  • Enhanced performance: Good mobility allows athletes to move more efficiently. It can help athletes move faster, jump higher, and change directions more quickly.
  • Better technique: Mobility can also improve an athlete’s technique and form. Being able to attain proper positions during your training can lead to effective exercise performance and outcomes.
  • Increased flexibility: Improved mobility can lead to increased flexibility. This can help athletes with movements that require a greater range of motion, such as gymnastics and dance.
  • Improved recovery: Mobility work can also aid in recovery from training and competition. By improving blood flow and reducing muscle tension, athletes can recover faster and be ready for their next workout or game.
  • Rehabilitation: Improving mobility can aid in rehabilitation for athletes who have suffered injuries or undergone surgeries.

How Can I Improve My Ankle Mobility?

Good ankle mobility is essential for various athletic movements, such as jumping, running, and pivoting. Here are some ways to improve ankle mobility:

  • Ankle circles: Sit on the ground with your legs out in front of you. Lift one foot off the ground and rotate your ankle in circles. Repeat on the other side.
  • Calf raises: Stand on the edge of a step with the balls of your feet on the step and your heels hanging off. Slowly lower your heels down until you feel a stretch in your calves, then raise your heels back up.
  • Wall stretch: Stand facing a wall with your toes a few inches away from the wall. Lean forward, keeping your heels on the ground, until you feel a stretch in your calves and ankles.
  • Resistance band exercises: Wrap a resistance band around your foot and perform ankle dorsiflexion (bringing your foot toward you) and plantarflexion (pointing your foot away from you) exercises against the resistance of the band.
  • Balance exercises: Perform balance exercises, such as single-leg stands, to improve ankle stability and mobility.

How Can I Improve My Shoulder Mobility?

Having good shoulder mobility is important for maintaining proper posture, preventing injury, and performing daily activities that involve the upper body. Here are some ways you can improve your shoulder mobility:

  • Shoulder circles: Stand tall and rotate your shoulders in a circular motion, first clockwise and then counterclockwise.
  • Wall angels: Stand with your back against a wall and raise your arms overhead, keeping them in contact with the wall. Slowly lower your arms back down to your sides and repeat.
  • Doorway stretch: Stand in a doorway and place your forearms on the doorframe. Lean forward and feel the stretch in your chest and shoulders.
  • Thread the needle: Begin on your hands and knees, then thread one arm through the space between your opposite arm and knee. Hold for a few seconds, then switch sides.
  • Shoulder dislocations: Hold a broomstick or resistance band with a wide grip and slowly raise it overhead and behind your back, then back to the front.

How Can I Improve My Hip Mobility?

Hip mobility is essential for movements like running, jumping, and kicking. Limited hip mobility can lead to compensatory movement patterns and an increased risk of hip, knee, and lower back injuries. Here are some ways to improve hip mobility:

  • Hip circles: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and rotate your hips in a circular motion, first clockwise and then counterclockwise.
  • Figure four stretch: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Cross your left ankle over your right knee and gently pull your right knee towards your chest. Hold for a few seconds, then switch sides.
  • Butterfly stretch: Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together and knees out to the sides. Gently press your knees towards the floor and feel the stretch in your hips.
  • Hip flexor stretch: Kneel on one knee and place the other foot flat on the floor in front of you. Lean forward and feel the stretch in your hip flexor. Switch sides and repeat.
  • Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and squat down, keeping your knees aligned with your toes. Hold for a few seconds, then stand back up.

Remember to start with gentle stretches and gradually increase the intensity and frequency over time for all the exercises mentioned above. If you experience pain or discomfort, stop and consult with a fitness professional at Breakthru Physical Therapy.

Can Physical Therapy Help with Mobility?

Working with a physical therapist can be incredibly beneficial for improving mobility. A physical therapist is a trained healthcare professional who can assess your current mobility, identify any limitations, and create a personalized treatment plan to improve range of motion, flexibility, and strength. During your treatment, your physical therapist will provide you with education on proper body mechanics, posture, and movement patterns to help prevent further mobility issues and injury. Additionally, they will track your progress and adjust your treatment plan accordingly. By working with a physical therapist, you can expect to see improvements in your mobility, increased strength and flexibility, and a reduced risk of future injury.

Why Choose BT for Physical Therapy to Improve Sports Performance?

At Breakthru Physical Therapy, we believe that every athlete deserves individualized care to help them achieve their goals. Our value proposition is centered around providing personalized treatment plans that are tailored to each individual athlete’s needs and goals. Our team of highly skilled physical therapists works closely with athletes to assess their physical limitations and create customized treatment plans to help them reach their full potential.

One way that Breakthru differs from our competitors is our commitment to using cutting-edge technology and techniques to improve sports performance. We offer a range of innovative services, including dry needling, Kinesio Taping, and blood flow restriction training. These services are designed to help athletes optimize their physical abilities and prevent injury.

If you’re interested in improving your sports performance, we encourage you to take action today. Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced physical therapists! Our team will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that will help you achieve your goals and reach your full potential. Don’t let physical limitations hold you back – choose Breakthru Physical Therapy and start performing at your best!

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