“Mobility”, “Flexibility”, call it what you like but the fitness industry’s current approach to improving movement isn’t a magic pill that will suddenly prevent injuries…and it never will be.
Because it’s an after thought, like an “off-setting” scheme that gets tagged on outside of training time. Which is probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!
Fitness coaches have got so many elements of fitness to juggle when it comes to delivering results for their clients. On one hand you’ve got the different types of training, like:
- Aerobic training
- Anaerobic training
- Speed & Agility
- Strength training
Then you’ve got all the planning that goes into making sure you cover all the training types at the most appropriate times of the year/month/week.
Then there’s testing to throw into the mix so our clients can see the progress they’re making and any areas they may need to focus more on — which ties nicely into the fact that we need to consider the psychological factors of the group or individual to help them adhere to the programme too.
And of course, we need to be making sure that our clients are actually performing the exercises safely and correctly while they’re under our care.
In addition, we need to keep an eye on their nutrition if weight loss/gain, improving health or performance improvement is their goal…and that’s all before we even get to the idea of improving their movement.
If we throw that in the mix too, then we’ve got to make time for that as well, which means that even in the best case scenario, it’s only a fraction of the time that’s really needed to be effective.
Here’s a snapshot of all the elements a fitness coach needs to consider in a client’s training programme (with rehab & reconditioning only relevant to those who are certified to include it):
With a good diet helping to eliminate inflammation in the body (which helps our clients move more easily) and however much time we can convince our clients to spend on mobility being the only elements that DO focus on improving movement, it’s not difficult to see that the balance of focus is skewed heavily towards NOT improving movement.
And since being able to move easily is the fundamental basis for all good sporting or fitness performance, it seems ridiculous to me that we spend so little time helping our clients to improve how easily they can move.
I mean, if we were talking about nutrition here instead of movement, each red block might indicate a poor nutrition choice (like a chocolate bar or a bag of crisps) and green ones might represent a good choice (like a salad or some steamed veggies).
And if we were actually talking about nutrition, it wouldn’t take long for someone with this type of balance in their diet to gain weight, which may eventually lead to them becoming obese and having health problems.
So, why do we think that it’s any different for improving movement?
Why do we believe that a token gesture of a few minutes of mobility work in a client’s programme is enough to off-set the tightness created by the endless repetition of their workouts (doing the same moves, exactly the same way every time) and their often sedentary lifestyles (which usually include many hours of sitting down)?
This excessive repetition decreases our clients’ ability to move easily, increasing the amount of muscle tightness/stiffness in the body, which over time, increases their risk of injury.
If fitness coaches are REALLY going to help our clients avoid injury, we need to stop thinking of “mobility” as an add-on feature and start putting it at the heart of everything we do as coaches.
Even the simple act of labelling it “mobility” (or flexibility, or whatever you like to call it), gives the impression that it’s an additional element of fitness that requires dedicated time spent on it.
But when we consider it as improving movement instead, we can see so many more opportunities, within what we’re already coaching, to improve someone’s ability to move in any direction, without restriction or pain.
Then our balance can look something like this:
and we can start to turn the tide from sporting injuries being “inevitable” to being something that happens occasionally.
And that’s something each and every sports or fitness coach has the capability of doing — without needing to know the first thing about injuries or movement “dysfunction”.
In fact, since poor heart health and poor joint health are the two main reasons for the overwhelming majority of visits to our healthcare systems, if every fitness coach was doing more to turn this tide, then we could have a significant impact, not only on our immediate clients, but on our healthcare systems too!
If you’d like to see EXACTLY how we can achieve this, I’d like to invite you to my FREE webinar “How Fitness Coaches Can Save the NHS — no injury knowledge required!”
It’s time for fitness coaches everywhere to step up and take a stand. Are you ready to join us?