The major difference between mobility and flexibility is that in order to move a muscle through its range of motion with control (mobility), you need strength.
Mobility is the best indication of how well and efficiently we move. Flexibility is just one part of mobility. Strength, coordination, motor skills and body awareness are also important elements of mobility.
While flexibility is a component of mobility, extreme flexibility isn’t necessary to perform most exercises. As such, mobility can be limited by flexibility, but that super-flexibility is unnecessary for most strength activities.
Mobility is not synonymous with flexibility. The terms flexibility and mobility have been used interchangeably for a long. For good reason, we now separate the two concepts. That’s because while colloquially “mobility” and “flexibility” may sound the same, they are different (though connected) cornerstones of fitness.
Flexibility refers to the connective tissues (muscles, ligaments, tendons) ability to temporality elongate. Our connective tissues are like plasticine; the amount of material doesn’t actually change, you can’t actually lengthen it (it’s physically impossible to lengthen a muscle, because the ends are attached to the bones at a joint), but you can contract it.
Flexibility is passive. And refers to a person’s ability to move their connective tissue with the help of another person or tool, while their muscles passively allow the movement to happen, he says. Flexibility means the muscles and joints are stretchy and pliable.
If you are not engaging in mobility based training in addition to flexibility-focused exercise, you are depriving yourself of a practice that could dramatically improve your range of motion, your overall strength, and more. These techniques help your mobility by:
- activating dormant muscles
- improving motor control through developing muscle awareness
- releasing trapped or restricted muscle tissue which can then be utilized by the body to stretch deeper or exhibit strength
Mobility techniques can also help to:
- reduce your risk of injury
- correct muscle imbalances caused by muscle tightness
- decrease pain in your joints by releasing trigger points in muscles attached to joints
- Release tension in your body caused by stress.
Yoga Tune up Balls and Foam Rollers are useful tools to assist in the release of trigger points, muscle tension, correct imbalance and help to rehabilitate from injury. BUT these methods should not be used insolation and should be performed in conjunction with a well-balanced mobility program.