Do You Really NEED To Be More Flexible?
When asking our clients what their goals are during one of our physical therapy, injury prevention or performance sessions, one of the most common responses is, “I want more flexibility.”
That’s the equivalent asking someone what they want out of their job and them responding, “ more money!”
We know you want money and we know you want flexibility… but WHY? In your eyes, money may provide happiness, our autonomy or experiences. Flexibility on the other hand may provide pain relief, improved performance in your sport or maybe reduced risk of injury.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news. Assuming money will make you happier is the same as assuming that flexibility will provide you with less pain or more athletic prowess! It does not quite work like that.
Strategic use of money or flexibility on the other hand may help you reach your desired goals.
Let’s assume your goal is to get deeper in your squat or press more weight overhead. We need to make sure we are providing flexibility in the right places. We also need to make sure that we are pressing the “save” button on that flexibility. To do that we need to make sure we are addressing any underlying strength, stability and technique errors. If not, it is unlikely that your flexibility will stick around.
Stiffness tends to show up in regions of the body that lack adequate strength and stability, or regions that fall victim to repeated sustained postures. For instance, adding more flexibility to your hip flexors in a one hour treatment session won’t make up for the 10 hours you sit all day. Stretching or mobilizing your left shoulder joint won’t matter if we don’t ensure the rotator cuff is functioning well and that you know how to use good technique in the gym.
The morale of the story is that your desire for reduced pain or increased performance requires more than a massage, a spine manipulation or some stretching. It requires a well-rounded treatment approach. One that not only looks at your physical limitations, but also considers your goals, lifestyle and personal preferences. Do not shortchange yourself when it comes to your health.
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