Mobility is key in injury prevention: flexibility without the muscle system to support it may run into injuries Triathlon Plus 26th November 2015 by Tobina Wilson
Mobility refers to the freedom of movement your body is capable of through a range of motion. Mobility requires your joints and soft tissue to be able to move in various required directions. Muscle strength can only be utilised properly if the joints around them have the ability to move without restriction. Similarly, a mobile joint needs to be supported by good muscles to allow it to move well. Flexibility is often thought to be a bonus but someone that is very flexible without the right muscle system to support it may run into injuries.
Having good mobility also ensures that your movements are fluid and efficient, therefore improving your energy efficiency and speed in sport. Sufficient mobility is therefore a pre cursor to optimising performance. Good mobility is key in preventing injuries.
For example, the upper back area is a key area for all three disciplines. We have all seen cyclists whose upper backs are very flexed over the bars. If there is insufficient mobility in the upper back to cope with these aerodynamic bike positions, the neck is forced into a position of looking forwards which may cause irritation. This is a common cause of neck pain in the triathlete.
Cyclists that have poor mobility in the upper back area (most of us!) may also find that this immobility can restrict arm movements, lung capacity, optimal muscle activation in the legs and body alignment when you transition into the run. Another example of the importance of upper back mobility is the impact on shoulder
mobility and strength in the freestyle stroke. Limited mobility in the upper back can restrict a good stroke action reducing efiiciency and putting the shoulder at risk of soft tissue injury.
Mobility of the hip flexors are particularly important for triathletes where the hip works in a very different range for each of the disciplines. Improving your mobility allows to allows your hip to easily move back into a running position after the cycle and prevent common running injuries caused by poor activation of the glutes.