Why Mobility Should Be a Key Part of Your Fitness Routine

27 Jun, 2024 | Dr. Malik | No Comments

Why Mobility Should Be a Key Part of Your Fitness Routine

Before your next workout, you might breeze through a few static stretches, thinking you’re preparing your muscles and joints. However, while these stretches can enhance your flexibility, you may need to do more for your mobility.

Unlike flexibility, which primarily concerns the lengthening of muscles, mobility refers to efficiently moving your joints through their full range of motion. For example, if you play a reactive sport like basketball or tennis, you may quickly reach for a ball or change directions. Having mobility in your joints will allow you to pivot and move without straining your muscles or irritating the joint.



A 2024 systematic review examined 22 studies on various mobility techniques, including yoga, Pilates, dynamic stretching, and dance. The review found that incorporating mobility work can significantly enhance athletic performance in 20 of these studies.

But mobility work isn’t just for athletes. It plays a crucial role in overall health, enhancing movement efficiency and agility and reducing the risk of injury during physical activities.

How is Mobility Work Different from Stretching?


During static stretching sessions, you’ll hold a particular position for a set amount of time, typically around 30 seconds. With these types of movements, you target the flexibility of your muscles.

However, mobility becomes paramount in scenarios where the emphasis is on joint movement within specific ranges, such as in sports requiring quick changes in direction or depth of movement (e.g., basketball, weightlifting).

Mobility exercises boost synovial fluid production, reducing friction and wear in joints. This enhances movement efficiency, allowing for greater agility and precision. Additionally, mobility work increases muscle and connective tissue elasticity, reduces strains and sprains risk by improving force absorption, and increases neuromuscular coordination, ensuring optimal muscle activation.

It can also contribute significantly to psychological well-being. By focusing on joint movements and muscle engagement, individuals can develop heightened proprioception, or the sense of body position in space. This increased awareness can improve posture, coordination, and overall body control.

In some cases, too much static stretching may hinder your mobility. If you do more than 60 seconds of static stretching without combining it with any dynamic activities, you can experience performance impairments typically ranging from three to seven percent. An appropriate amount of static stretching (around 30 seconds per stretch) combined with dynamic stretching and active movements eliminates these performance decreases.

How Should You Incorporate Mobility Work into Your Training?


Mobility is needed for everyday tasks, such as climbing stairs or sitting in a chair, which is why mobility work should be part of your daily routine. However, if that isn’t feasible, aim for at least three short weekly sessions.

Consistency over volume is key. Regular mobility training, with a minimum of two to three times a week, appears to be more important than the volume per session. These movements don’t have to be complicated. Think of a runner moving through exaggerated skips before sprinting or a swimmer doing arm circles. Each exercise focuses on moving the joints through a specific range of motion.

If you’re stuck on what to do, consider the type of movements you’re likely to do, where you need to be unrestricted in your movements, and the demands of your particular sport. These questions can help guide the range-of-motion movements you’ll want to prioritize.

Integrating mobility exercises into daily routines doesn’t always require dedicated workout sessions. Take short breaks throughout the day to perform simple mobility exercises. This can include stretching the neck, shoulders, and wrists if you work at a desk or standing and performing gentle leg swings or hip rotations.

Is Resistance Training Mobility Work?


You may be doing mobility work without even realizing it. Certain resistance training methods, such as free weights, elastic band work, and Pilates, can increase your range of motion. Resistance training or weight training can be like dynamic stretching with a load.

This research has influenced many habits. While it’s essential to warm up properly before lifting heavy weights, resistance training alone can suffice if you aim to improve your range of motion.

You don’t have to spend 15 minutes stretching before you lift weights. This doesn’t mean stretching isn’t important; it might be less critical depending on your training goals and priorities.


Mobility should be a key part of your fitness routine, whether you’re an athlete or just looking to improve your overall health. It enhances movement efficiency, reduces injury risk, and improves psychological well-being. Integrate mobility exercises into your daily routine, and consider the demands of your specific activities to guide your focus. With consistent practice, mobility work can significantly benefit your physical and mental health.

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