Maintaining mobility is crucial for us not only because our professional baseball players are in season, but because our high school athletes always seem to be in-season with high school, club, and national showcases (see Sparta Point 12/23/09). The best reset buttons we have to keep, and even enhance mobility, is an exercise called the Snatch Squat Press. Place a barbell behind your head and squat as low as you can to the ground while keeping a lower back arch. From the bottom position, press upwards until the barbell is overhead. You’ll probably need to start with a dowel at first until mobility improves. Since the goal here is mobility, once you can press the barbell, just work on being more upright to target your mid back, or even barefoot to further enhance the ankle mobility. The improvements in joint mobility and muscle flexibility can help prevent anything from oblique strains to patella tendonosis (see Sparta Point 11/10/09). Yes, you can have too much mobility, but probably the best explanation has been championed by Mike Boyle and Gray Cook, discussing how the body’s joints generally alternate mobility and stability. To simplify their work, your ankles need mobility, knees stability, hips mobility, lower back stability, and middle of the back mobility. So you don’t really want your knees to be mobile, unless you’re hoping for an ACL injury (see Sparta Point 5/3/09). You should also avoid lower back mobility, as it is one of the chief culprits behind lower back pain. The snatch squat press requires mobile ankles by pushing the knees forward, hip mobility by increasing the depth of descent, and middle back mobility by staying upright. Unfortunately, squatting all the way down is generally avoided for fear of knee injury (see SpartaPoint 4/21/10), and even light overhead lifts are skipped due to poor execution from immobility. You should seek ankle, knee, and hip mobility in every exercise, and the Snatch Squat Press is the most efficient solution that should be done year round. Most of our athletes should be doing it daily, and if you’re one of them reading this, thanks for the inspiration!One of our minor league baseball players just got done with a 21 day road trip, a potpourri of riding cramped buses, sitting in the dugout, and rotating from an upright position while throwing and hitting a baseball. What a lovely recipe for immobility, a loss of range of motion at every joint. It happens to us all as we age, as we sit at a desk for hours and anything repetitive over time. This inability to use certain joints will affect every movement pattern, and if it doesn’t result in an injury, it causes you daily discomfort somewhere.
May 25, 2011
Do Not Fear the Mobility