Why should I mobilize?

Published December 21, 2017

The 3 Modalities of Mobility

Mobility plays a major role in everyday movements whether you are picking up your back pack from the ground or simply squatting to a toilet. Without being able to get to a strong and supportive position you may be compromising your posture which may lead to injury.

            In this article below you will learn more about the purpose of each Modality of Mobility, when to do it and also how it will play a role in your Fitness!


Joint Mechanics



The purpose of Joint Mechanic focused mobility drills is to set a given joint in the best position. Having the spine in a good position for example (having good posture) which is feet underneath the hips, butt squeezed, tucking your ribcage down, squeezing the abs and pulling the shoulders back. Putting a joint in it’s best position allows the surrounding muscles to turn on and ultimately work most effectively. If you start in a bad position it’s impossible to end in a good position.


(Good posture is above and not so good posture is below)

When to do:

The best time to set the joint in the most stable position possible should be performed before the workout. Getting the joint in the best position before hand will optimize results from the workout to follow.



Pictured below is a band attached around the hip, the opposite end of the band can be attached knee height on any solid structure(Pull up station, leg of a heavy table, etc) The purpose of the band is to pull the hip forward which will reposition the head of the femur to the front of the hip socket while the hip is in extension, often you’ll get a nice stretch in the quadriceps as well!

How does this play a role in Fitness?

If the hips are internally rotated while in flexion meaning they face inward and you try to perform a heavy squat, the hips are being put into a weak and compromised position. Putting the hip in its best position will not only make you stronger but it will also prevent injury down the road.


Sliding Surfaces



The purpose of Sliding Surface mobility work is to make your skin, nerves, muscles and tendons slide over one another smoothly. Having tight muscles or “knots” in your muscles is a sign that your surfaces are not sliding properly. You may experience pain or tightness in your muscles while trying to perform movement if you have sliding surface restrictions. Have you ever tried squatting in pants that are two sizes too small? Its not comfortable or easy to properly squat because you will feel restricted, that’s what stiff sliding surfaces may feel like.

When to do:

Performing a “smash and floss” on the muscles should be performed post workout. “Smashing” is just another word for loosening, digging an object deep into the tissue. Flossing refers to the movement of that same tissue past the point of restriction created by the smashing object. The movement below is called a Quad Smash, by simply applying pressure down and rolling dough (by dough I mean quads!) You can also think of this as a self-deep tissue massage. The flossing part comes into play when holding down the sliding surfaces (in the example below with a barbell) then pulling the muscle past that restriction helps to break up the knots or adhesions within the muscle itself. You would floss in this example by flexing at your knee to pull your foot to your butt.



(Barbell Smash)

(Barbell Floss)

How does this play a role in Fitness?

You should use smashing and flossing on a specific body part that feels tight or is painful during movement. It will have great benefit. Loosening up your muscles can improve your range of motion, make your muscles or joints feel smoother (think of WD-40 on a rusty bolt) and reduce the tension you may feel in your muscles.


Muscle Dynamics



Muscle Dynamic mobility work is sometimes confused with static stretching, while one strategy is static stretching muscle dynamics is about lengthening the muscles themselves. The purpose of Muscle Dynamics is to lengthen the muscle to its full range of motion. When performing this type of mobility exercise, you are actively going in and out of end range of motion. When you stretch the muscle to its end range you contract (squeeze the muscle) hard and then relax. The purpose of this is to get the most tension on the muscle and then to sink in even deeper into the “stretch” when you relax.



When to do:

This is best to be done post workout like sliding surface work. The reason behind this is because your body is at a higher core temperature and tends to be a little more flexible. Your body will cool down and the tissues will short back up, so while warm we want to lengthen them as much as possible. It also serves as a great cool down post workout, when you may not feel like doing a whole lot.




How does this play a role in Fitness?

Long muscles will create more leverage throughout a full range of motion leading to more power output. Practicing this mobility modality regularly post workout will help lengthen the muscle to end range of motion and your flexibility will increase over time. This will result in more efficient movement because your able to get in the strongest positions possible.




Some closing remarks!

How much should I do a day?

  • 10-20mins per day 3-5x per week

Test and Retest

  • Compare your mobilized area to your non-side, feel the difference!



Hopefully this article on mobility gives you some more insight along with some motivation to get started!


Mark Costner 

Coach- CrossFit Jungle Gym





Okay I get the point Mobility IS important...

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