Range of motion is foundational. Do you have a mobility to move your body in multiple ranges of motion the way that you were designed? Any limitation can hurt your performance in sports and life. Much more, limitations in range of motion can cause physical pain.
You might have already read the flexibility assessment from yesterday's blog post. Maybe you're wondering if they're the same thing. So first, we need to briefly define the difference between flexibility and range of motion.
Simply, flexibility is passive and range of motion is active. What I mean by that is to determine my flexibility I can lie on my back and have somebody manipulate my legs or arms. When I refer to range of motion, I’m talking about my ability to contract a muscle in order to take its opposite muscle into a full range of motion.
It’s helpful to get some background knowledge first. Specifically, about muscle action, and muscle opposites. When you do a bicep curl, your tricep is lengthening. The tricep is the opposite muscle from the bicep. Every muscle in the body has at least one opposite.
When you shorten a muscle to its absolute full shortened end range, the opposite muscle is at its lengthened end range.
Watch this video about the end ranges of the biceps and triceps.
Benefits of range of motion
I am a much bigger fan of range of motion then I am of flexibility. Here’s why. When you are stretching muscles, there is very little muscle engagement when you are doing flexibility work. On the other hand, with range of motion you are not only increasing flexibility but you are gaining strength and stability at the same time.
When one muscle is engaging, the opposite is forced into a stretch. So limitations in your range motion usually occur when one muscle group is not strong enough to overpower the tightness of the opposite muscle group.
The following 14 exercises represent a large part of your body, and will help you accurately assess your range of motion. If you have not downloaded the free assessment tool, click here to download it now.
How did you do? The good news is that the first step in getting more range of motion is to assess where you are. Once you know that, It’s very simple to take the next step and simply do the exercises daily that you are not very good at. You will notice that as you get better at the deficient exercises, you will be feeling much better. The body likes balance. The body likes symmetry. The closer you get to full balance and symmetry, the better you’ll feel.
Try to do these exercises daily, and when you’re ready move onto the next assessment, core.
Is there anything that was unclear? Let me know what questions you have, and I’ll be happy to clarify.