Ideally, every muscle and joint would have stability and mobility. But we all know, that’s not how life works. We develop a dominant hand and leg, we play one-sided sports, and favor sleeping on one side of our bodies. Encouraging both stability and mobility when it comes to exercise can prove helpful, but also challenging. Olympic weightlifters who full range deep squat with hundreds of pounds overhead exemplify what it takes to have full joint range of motion while containing strength to support extra loads within those ranges. Dancers, gymnasts, and martial artists have great flexibility and often are conditioned to move and support their bodyweight in many creative positions requiring extreme full body strength. How does one strive for their own personal best for both strength and flexibility?
- Know what movements you will be requiring of your body: deep squat, hurdle, handstand, iron-cross, etc.
- Breakdown where you are lacking the proper range of motion by closely observing your movement. Look at professionals who can execute the movement with ease and quality and find out where you are limited.
- Use corrective exercises to increase your range at a pace that is safe for your body; foam rolling, specific stretches, mobility exercises.
- Build strength within those newly available ranges in stages that progressively challenge your new range.
- Test out your new ability by executing your chosen movement. Adjust your corrective exercises to perfect your movement.
- Retest and practice to keep your movement natural.