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Don't waste your time with mobility exercises

On minimalift

I was asked by a fellow coach the other day if I do any mobility work before training. I think my reply would be of benefit to some lifters, so here it is along with some elaboration.

Mobility work revolves around two perceived benefits: pain/injury prevention and preparing the range of motion for load (either to increase it or just work through the range about to be used). So really, we’re looking to avoid future pain and improve imminent performance. Here’s what I say to that: phooey.

If you want to warm up the range of motion you’re about to use, do the movement. Taking squatting as an example, this would mean empty bar squatting. For snatching, I use snatch pulls, overhead squats, drop snatches (because calling snatch balance drop snatch really annoys Giles) and empty bar snatches. If you can’t get your full ROM with an empty bar, something’s wrong, and you need to seek and destroy that problem. Except you should have done it before you got to the gym, which brings me to the other perceived benefit: injury prevention.

So you walk into a gym, and you know full well you can’t hit your positions (and will hurt yourself) if you don’t perform a bunch of band and soft tissue work, you messed up. How bad did you mess up? If you’re at this point, you’re already on the brink of injury. There’s nothing wrong with training injured - you work around the problems and do what you can. But if you have to rely on all this mobility crap just to get through a normal training session, you have issues that you’re ignoring. Worse still, you think your mobility work is helping these issues. If that’s the case, why do you have to do them every single workout? And why do you still get injured anyway?

It’s because mobility exercises are short term triage. It’s like a tourniquet on a gaping artery wound - it’ll do but it’s not going to solve the problem! The mobility work addresses the symptoms, but as soon as you finish training your body goes right back to how it was. It’s possible your form is a contributing factor, but most likely you walked in a wreck from computer work, driving, sitting too much, an old injury, or a combination of stress factors that chewed your movement up.

At what point did we stop running?

On Precarious Thinking!

My son, like most young children, runs everywhere. He runs to get a glass of juice, runs to his room because he forgot his socks, runs up the driveway of his grandmother's house, runs in the park and runs to fetch the ball he just hit in a toss up to himself.

Running is a child's purest expression of taking life head on. They run to whatever is front of them because they can't wait for what's next. They can't wait for life and they don't because they move towards life instead of letting life come to them.

My son's favorite sports mostly revolve around running such as soccer, tennis and flag football. Most recess and playground activities are based on running and skating and biking are basically mutations of running. Golf is tough for my kids.

Watch most kids getting off a school bus and if they're alone, they'll run to their front door. Sometimes the weight of their backpack slows them down or discourages them from running, both literally and metaphorically.

"Walk, don't run!" is an admonishment most adults deliver to their kids, often with more vigor than is needed. It comes gutturally from their heart and not in a good way because it's them saying, "Be careful about running, life can burn you." A child running in a parking lot is most parent's worst nightmare.

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