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Edgar Benitez, CSCS Director


December 7, 2023

What you may not have known about Flexibility

When it comes to fitness jargon, 'mobility' and 'flexibility' are often used interchangeably. But let's set the record straight: mobility is the true star of the show. Understanding this distinction is not just about semantics; it's about making a real impact on your fitness journey.

Flexibility vs. Mobility: What's the Difference?

Flexibility is your muscle's ability to stretch passively. Think of it as the muscle's elasticity, akin to how far a rubber band can extend. It's a static measurement of range without active muscle engagement.

Mobility, however, takes this a step further. It's about muscle stretch under tension while maintaining neuromuscular control. It's dynamic, combining flexibility with strength.

The Science Behind Mobility

According to the American Council on Exercise, mobility is crucial because it involves the body's ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion with control and stability. This involves muscle activation and the nervous system, making it a more holistic measure of functional fitness.

The Real-World Application: Why Mobility Matters

Think about it: if you fall or make a sudden movement that could potentially cause an injury, it usually occurs in a range where the muscle tries to produce tension to brake the movement. If you don't have strength in that specific range, that's where problems can happen. Mobility training fortifies your muscles across their entire range, preparing them for these unpredictable scenarios.

Why We Prioritize Mobility at IMOC Fitness

At IMOC Fitness, our mantra is clear: mobility first. Why? Because being mobile inherently means you're flexible. But being flexible doesn’t always mean you’re mobile. When we train with mobility in mind, it means we’re preparing your muscles not just to stretch, but to function powerfully throughout that stretch.

Practical Tip: Train for Mobility

To enhance mobility, try this: Load your stretches. Use weights, bands, or body tension. Stretch the muscle, then add strength to it. You're aiming for controlled movement within the stretch, even if that limits your range. It's about building strength where it counts.

The Misuse of Terms: A Common Misconception

In fitness circles, flexibility and mobility are often mistakenly used as synonyms. But understanding their distinct roles is key to a balanced fitness approach. Flexibility is a component of mobility, but not vice versa.

Conclusion: Embrace Mobility for Long-Term Fitness

Mobility training is about preparing your body for real-life demands, where strength and control are needed in every movement. By focusing on mobility, you ensure a comprehensive approach to fitness, reducing injury risk and enhancing performance. Remember, true fitness is about more than just stretching your muscles; it's about empowering them to handle whatever life throws your way.

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