Increase mobility for better living
For more than a few of our La Jolla Sports Club members, golf and tennis reign supreme. Well… behind families and friends and… actually, that’s about it. Over the years, our personal trainers have heard plenty of stories about backs, hips and shoulders. The swings are restricted, the shots and drives less powerful, the hooks and slices more extreme. While it would be easy to rack this up to aging, there might be something else at play.
When we are young, our bodies are graced with full mobility. Over the years, this mobility fades as we sit behind the computer, TV, in traffic and on our phones. The good news, however, is that we can get it back. While we might not achieve 100%, we have the ability to create less pain, more movement and, in the end, healthier bodies.
Your body moves in patterns. Whether you are walking, squatting or putting something away, you are moving in a pattern. Your first step at regaining mobility is assessing your patterns (you can finally justify checking yourself out in the mirror). Do your squats shift to one side? Can you raise your right arm higher than your left? Do your ankles collapse while walking / lunging? My immediate guess is, Yes, you have at least one of these issues. We all do.
Once you have recognized these asymmetrical patterns, pick the most prevalent and start there. Let’s take the example of shifting to one side during squats. Maybe you have had a previous injury or you just plain favor the right foot. When you squat or run, you compensate by putting more pressure on your right knee and hip, which perpetuates weakness in your left hip. Your right side, overused, becomes tighter and creates extra work for your spine, which then leads to any number of problems. So… what do you do?
First, stop– one of the worst things you can do is strengthen an asymmetrical movement. Using the squats example, this could be caused by an overactive right hip / adductor, so in this case, start with dynamic stretching to help open up the joints and tendons.
You would then progress to foam rolling, warming up and then finally into squats, watching your form like an Olympic judge (note: ask one of our La Jolla Sports Club personal trainers if you ever need assistance or a helpful eye). After your workout, cool down with static stretching, holding your stretches for 20-30 seconds.
It is important to keep in mind that optimal range of motion is the number one goal for each movement. This will differ from person to person, so listen to your body and stay within your limits. It might take a bit to balance the body (yoga helps!), but when you do, you’ll add years to your health… and game. Good luck out there!
// Your La Jolla Sports Club team