Scientific Applications of Mobility Training

Dean Somerset

Mobility training is an area full of misinformation, unspecific recommendations, and scientific inaccuracies as to what it actually does and how to do it. What does the body of evidence actually say with respect to the best methods for producing larger ranges of motion? Also, how do you approach structural limits, neural resistance, or motor pattern deficiencies with respect to different modalities? This session will overview the existing evidence regarding mobility training, and lay out a framework of what approaches work best in different situations, and how to know which to use for the best results possible.

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Mobility training is often given as "hold this stretch for 30-60 seconds," however very few studies actually show any benefit to this prescription, and the benefits that it does give are incredibly limited and non-specific. For a hypermobile individual, someone with a structural or capsular limit, or someone in an advanced age, this approach is actually contraindicated.

The research on mobility training has identified a number of specific approaches that are beneficial in specific limitations of mobility, and involve a much more nuanced and specific approach to determine what will actually work well versus cause more problems or at the very least a waste of precious training time.

This workshop will summarize the existing body of evidence regarding mobility training, plus outline the specific applications used for improving range of motion beyond short duration static holds, how to use them effectively, and when to apply them for the best results possible.

Learning objectives for this workshop include the following:

1.  Anatomical and physiological elements affecting joint range of motion
2.  Review of different limits to mobility and flexibility, and how they change in different populations and ages
3.  Learn what approaches the evidence shows work best in the situations above
4.  Learn how to assess, approach, and apply different methods with individualized programming for the best results possible.

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