Many trainers and coaches tend to look at the current rage of joint mobility protocols as recent innovations in sports science and training. Everyone is talking about mobility for health, mobility for prehab or injury prevention, mobility for warm-ups, mobility for fending off the ravages of aging. Everyone is talking about the benefits of increased range of motion for sport performance and martial art training enhancement. And, just to be perfectly clear, this is a good thing. They are all correct. Mobility training is the rage for a reason.
However, as with many “new” types of training methods, mobility work is an ancient idea come full circle.
Hua Tuo (2nd century AD) was one of the patriarchs of Chinese Medicine and also the creator of the famous qigong set, The Five Animal Frolics. The Five Animal Frolics model movements from the crane, bear, monkey, tiger, and deer. Each animal emphasizes different health benefits and you can choose a specific animal for specific results. The movements form arcs, spirals, waves and spins, in order to accommodate all ranges of motion for the body.
Hua Tuo is famous for many sayings that have been passed down through the generations, but one of my favorite quotes from him is this one:
“Just as a door hinge will not rust if it is used, so the body will attain health by gently moving and exercising all of the limbs.”
Now what does that sound like? Health by moving and exercising all the limbs… hmm… reminds me of a certain new exercise protocol called joint mobility. And this quote from Hua Tuo is just one example. There are many more within Chinese Medicine as well as Indian Yoga that all point to the same idea – mobility is essential for health. Or, more crudely but succinctly put, move it or lose it.
Benefits of Mobility Training
Let’s list out some of the benefits of mobility training:
- Lubricates joints and allows them to receive nutrition through synovial fluid
- Aids in removal of toxins
- Reduces joint pain and inflammation
- Increases range of motion (flexibility in motion)
- Increases energy by reducing unconsciously held tension
- Prehab for injury prevention
- Mobility is foundation of all sport, athletic, and martial movement
- Decreased mobility leads to increased pain and stiffness
How Do We Do It?
Do you really need to learn an ancient qigong set and imitate 5 different animals to get all the benefits of mobility training though? Well, no. What if I told you it’s possible to get all the same benefits with just one short mobility routine that moves each joint in the body through all ranges of motion from head to toe in just 10 to 15 minutes a day?
Want to know more? Sign up for the Warrior Fitness Mailing List on the right side of the screen. You will receive a free copy of my mobility program. Want to learn more protocols and strategies for increasing your health, fitness, and conditioning as a martial artist? Check out my book, Warrior Fitness: Conditioning for Martial Arts. Or, if you are within driving distance of New Jersey, come on down and join us at Warrior Fitness Gym in Hainesport, NJ!