If you read last weeks post we talked a little bit about the difference between flexibility and mobility and why it's important for catchers to have both. We also touched on the fact that stability is often an overlooked part of mobility and I want to expand on that in this weeks post.
When we feel stiff in an area of our body our first reaction is likely going to be to try and mobilize that area; either with static stretching or foam rolling. While that might do the trick, many times foam rolling or static stretching only provide temporary increases to our mobility. Here's why...
Popular strength coach Mike Boyle and physical therapist Grey Cook came up with an approach to training called the joint by joint approach. This approach is not absolute, as every joint needs a combination of stability and mobility, but it does show us which joints typically need more stability and which joints need more mobility. So how does this change our approach to increasing mobility in catchers?
Typically I see a lot of catchers with poor hip mobility. Now this might be due to poor flexibility in muscular tissue or soft tissue that can be remedied with static stretching and foam rolling but many times this issue lies in the adjacent joints; in the case of our hips that would be the knee joint and the lumbar spine. Both of those joints require more stability. So typically what you'll see with a catcher that has poor core stability and motor control is tight hips. We can foam roll those suckers all day long and our catcher might get some temporary increases in his mobility but he'll be tight the next day. Why is that?
Each joint affects the other so our catchers poor lumbar spine stability is being compensated for in the adjacent joint (the hips) to make sure the spine is protected. It's our bodies way of keeping us from injury. It's not going to grant you extra mobility when it knows there's a potential for too much mobility in that joint. So you can stretch and stretch and stretch but that muscular tissue is going to tighten up again to protect your spine from too much movement.
This is why we focus so much on core stability while working on our catchers mobility. We don't just do static stretching because joints aren't one dimensional. They are all working together to create efficient movement.
This is just the basics of the joint by joint approach, but even the basics help us get a better understanding of improving mobility through the stabilization of adjacent joints. If you lack mobility, ask questions about the adjacent joints.
To simplify all of this; if you lack mobility in your hips as a catcher continue your static stretching and foam rolling but make sure you are working on your core stability and function.
Keep getting after it and gain that mobility!