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Mobility and It's Impact on Your Performance

10 Oct 2017
by Kathryn Taylor

As the triathlon season is winding down, many triathletes are starting to shift their focus away from swim, bike, run and onto some forms of exercise that have been neglected during the season. We're starting a series of posts to help you maximize your off-season exercise. Today we start by diving into the topic of mobility.

Mobility is often confused with flexibility but they are different. Flexibility relates to the length of the muscle whereas mobility relates to how the joint moves. Mobility encompasses a wide range of factors that may affect mobility around that joint. These can include things like tissue damage, residual effects from a prior injury, flexibility, and even the way an individual's joints naturally are formed. Flexibility can be incredibly helpful to increase that range of motion but if other factors are in play, it may not be beneficial.

There are simple tests that a physical therapist, good bike fitter, personal trainer or you as an individual can do to test your range of motion (it's usually easier for an outside observer to point these out but often you can watch yourself in the mirror for a better understanding of where you may need to improve your mobility).

Lack of mobility will have a direct impact on your performance potential but the good news is that most athletes can see an improvement in their mobility by adding some simple daily routines.

Today we partnered up with Ethan Duff from FitWit and some great products we sell from Trigger Point to take a look at 3 potential problem areas for triathletes and show you a few quick and easy mobility drills that you can do to help loosen them up.

Chest and Shoulders

Because triathletes spend so much time in the pool or the aero position as well as at desk jobs, they often find their chest and lats to be extremely tight. This can result in limited range of motion in the shoulder joint which can lead to swimming injuries in the neck and shoulders or inability to hold the aero position without pain.

In this video, Ethan shows us a couple of easy ways to open up the chest and roll out the tight muscles in the lats. It's important to note that the goal of foam rolling is to loosen the facia - so when you find a tight spot, you want to dig in there rather than just rolling back and forth.

Hamstrings, Calves, Ankles. 

The entire posterior chain can get extremely tight in the process of training. This again can be problematic and lead to injury or poor performance. A tight posterior chain can lead to ankle mobility issues which can decrease swim, bike, and run performance.

Here is another video addressing some of the big problem areas along the posterior chain.

Psoas Muscle

This muscle is the root of many problems that athletes encounter. It's not the biggest muscle but it does connect from the spine all the way around to the pelvis, basically connecting the upper half of the body to the lower half of the body. It can play a role in any number of issues including SI Joint issues, back pain, core stability and more.

This video shows an easy way to find tight spots in the muscle and help release that facia.

We have both the foam rollers and the Trigger point balls available for you to try out in the store.  And if you get a bike fit from use, we'll include a mobility screening as a part of your fit. Book a Fit!

If you're looking for a place to workout in the offseason, FitWit has a location in Kirkwood and the Old Fourth Ward and they offer a $99 intro month. Get it here.

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