It is believed that the brain should be the primary target for joint mobility work. With this in mind, here is a quick list of rules that will help you achieve this when you are trying to achieve more mobility. Remember it is not a competition … you don’t need to be THIS flexible!!
1. Avoid pain and threat
If you create pain while doing joint mobility drills, the brain will attend to
the pain and ignore the potentially interesting new information it is receiving
that can help build better movement patterns. Further, the brain is not
interested in adopting a new movement pattern that is threatening.
Therefore, make sure the movement does not cause discomfort or create
other signs of threat such as holding the breath, grimacing, collapsing
your posture, or using unnecessary tension.
2. Be mindful and attentive to what you are doing
The brain receives massive amounts of sensory information each second
and must be selective in deciding what information to process. As such, it
will ignore any inputs it deems irrelevant, uninteresting or redundant. If
you pay careful attention to what you are doing during mobility exercises, this
will act like a spotlight or microphone on the new information
that helps to build your movement maps. If you want your brain to really
notice the interesting sensory data you are sending it by mobilizing your
joints, place your attention on what you are doing and how it feels. Just
going through the motions isn’t enough.
3.Use novel movements
The brain is more likely to pay attention to a stimulus that is novel. Most
joint mobility drills incorporate novelty already and that is why they work.
However, endlessly repeating the same drill will have diminishing returns.
So you might want to change things up from time to time to keep the brain
The benefits of moving slowly and gently to improve coordination have
been recognized by martial artists, elite athletes and musicians for a long
time. The scientific explanation for why slow and easy works because
it inherently non threatening; is less likely to cause pain; allows you to
find movement angles that would be missed at higher speeds; improves
the proprioceptive signal to noise ratio; allows greater opportunity to
focus on the subtle differences in joint movements; and less force equals
greater ability to discriminate in the amount of force used.
5.Be curious, exploratory and playful
Motor learning is greatly facilitated by a curious playful attitude. All
animals engage in the most play during the times of their lives when they are
young and learning new skills – do the same!
ENJOY YOUR MOBILISATION – IT SHOULD NOT BE A CHORE!