I get it. It hurts when you move so try to limit the amount you move so you don't suffer as much. It's a natural response. And your brain counts on it. Let's talk about why your mind is betting on you to do this, and what the sneaky bastard is doing.
The first thing you can do to improve your mobility is to use pain as a warning.
1. Increase your freedom of movement
I will start with that. Your brain loves you We really love you and don't want you to get hurt. But much like a toddler and a puddle of mud, they cannot trust you to make the right decisions.
To keep you safe and alive, the main task of the brain is protection and survival. To do that it has to be a bit annoying at times and make some tough decisions. You might want to run, lift, swim, or whatever you want to do, but the brain needs to step in, be a mama-bear and stop you.
Remember, your brain's priorities do not match your priorities. With that in mind, let's talk about mobility. Subject to mechanical restrictions, It is your brain that stops your mobility gains. It's true.
Let me tell you why There are generally two reasons why your brain restricts your mobility:
- Strength in a position or reach
- Lack of use
Think about it. If you're weak in one area or position, why the heck would your brain let you go there when you can't pull yourself back? If your mind thinks for even a second that you are unsafe in a range or position and that you are at risk of harm, it will stop you. Guess how it's going to stop you? That's right by hurting yourself.
Pain is a warning. Pain is the best tool your body can use to pay attention to what your brain is telling you. and it uses it to draw attention to boo-boos and keep you from doing something that is going to hurt you.
How do we get healthy in our range of motion so that the brain lets us go there? Well the answer is bit by bit. You have to earn your mind's trust and that will happen as you build strength. Remove this exercise from the mobility reset program.
The L-Sit to Tabletop is the perfect confidence-building exercise between you and the big, squishy thing above.
Not only does the movement help you build range by asking the brain to do the job of achieving a great position on the flat end, it also gives you the power to:
And coordination creates comfort and trust. Do you understand what I mean?
Try it here:
2. Strength and stability are critical to mobility
That brings me to the second thing. Use the areas you currently have.
One of the truest things I've ever learned about the brain-body connection is if you don't use it, you lose it. Your brain doesn't want to devote any time or space, and that means neurons doing crap that it doesn't use.
It doesn't matter if you were an Olympic gymnast. If you don't switch to the areas you have often, you lose them. To make this more understandable:
- If you sit at a desk all day, lie down and never move your spine in any other direction, what do you think will happen? You will end up in a hunched posture, an inability to straighten or rotate your back, and pain.
- This is how the brain sees it. We haven't arched or twisted our spine in weeks. So do I still have to dedicate space on the brain map to this ability? Damn no, not me. I'm going to use these neurons for something else.
If this sounds like you, try this spinal wave exercise from the Mobility Reset program. See if you can move your spine the way you should be.
So what I'm saying is this. To be mobile, or to build mobility, you need to develop the strength and stability in the areas that the brain needs to get there.
And you have to couple that with the frequent use of these areas, otherwise your brain will rob you of the ability to use them. It comes down to using a joint like a joint and using it often.
Both exercises are from our mobility reset program.