What is Range of Motion, and How Can It Help You Workout Better?
In technical terms, range of motion (ROM) is the measurement of movement around a joint or body part. Your range of motion is how far you can move a body part, such as a muscle or joint, when stretching or moving it. These measurements will vary from person to person, but there are certain ranges of motion that you should be able to achieve for optimal performance, particularly during workouts.
You can't move a specific body part or joint through its full range of motion if you have a limited range of motion. There are a variety of reasons for this, including joint problems, swelling around the joints, stiffness, and pain. Injuries, infections, or certain conditions such as arthritis or brain, nerve, or muscle disorders can cause these symptoms.
A sedentary lifestyle or a lack of proper mobility work can, however, cause a mild to moderate reduction in range of motion in many people.
Exercising within your full range of motion can help you achieve better results and improve your ability to perform at your best. Lifting safely and effectively requires completing the lift with the proper and full range of motion for many resistance training exercises.
Range of Motion: Passive vs. Active
Passive ROM occurs around a joint that is not being moved. Something or someone else is moving it. When you move your body part yourself, this is known as active ROM. The topic of active range of motion is discussed in this article.
Importance of Range of Motion Improvement
Improving your range of motion can not only help you perform better in workouts and sports, but it can also help you function better in everyday life.
"Improving range of motion allows the muscles in question to work at longer lengths, allowing you to build stronger muscles and, as a result, feel less tense. You may be less prone to injury if you have a stronger muscle that is capable of contracting efficiently over a wider range of motion "Dr. Laeda Malek, a physical therapist, agrees.
Increasing Workout Range of Motion
Range of motion restrictions can make it difficult to perform many strength-training exercises properly, as well as hinder your performance. For example, being unable to squat below parallel or lift a barbell over your head with your shoulders fully protracted can obstruct your ability to gain strength and muscle, as well as cause injuries.
Your body has over 250 joints that move from extension to flexion and are in charge of all of your movements. Ankles, hips, elbows, knees, and shoulders are among them. Tightness in your hips and ankles can limit your squat range of motion, limiting your ability to fully squat.
Due to a lack of range of motion, both your form and your strength potential will be hampered. When your form is harmed, you may experience pain and injuries. Mobility work can help you increase your range of motion. Mobility exercises go beyond simple stretching to expand your body's safe ranges of motion.
Increasing Range of Motion for Day-to-Day Activities
You are actively increasing your ability to perform well and feel good during your daily activities, regardless of the type of training you are doing, whether it is cardiovascular, strength, or mobility work. Physical ability determines a lot of what determines independent aging and optimal functioning.
Reduced range of motion and mobility can make it difficult to lift groceries or carry a suitcase, as well as shoveling the driveway or raking leaves. When reaching down to tie your shoes or lifting your shirt over your head, you may feel pain or tightness as your range of motion decreases.
Maintaining a healthy range of motion in your joints can improve your overall quality of life as well as your ability to care for yourself and others.
Work on Mobility to Improve Range of Motion
The ability of a joint to move through its range of motion is referred to as mobility. When mobility is good, moving through the range of motion is simple and painless. Poor mobility, on the other hand, can cause tightness or pain when attempting to move the joint through its range of motion.
Mobility can be harmed by a lack of movement or repetitive movement performed in a less-than-ideal manner. However, you can improve your range of motion to improve your mobility. In other words, doing mobility exercises on a regular basis can help you increase your range of motion and make these movements easier.
Working on your mobility in a targeted way right before a workout can help you function better during that particular workout. Direct mobility work can increase synovial fluid, or the fluid around your joints, providing additional lubrication and ease of movement for your joints, reducing friction and the likelihood of pain or stiffness.
Your hips, ankles, and shoulders, for example, are likely stiff and tight if you've been sitting all day. Working on your mobility before your session can improve your range of motion and ease of movement, allowing you to perform better and reduce your risk of injury.
Mobility Exercises for the Entire Body
There are a slew of mobility exercises that can help you improve the range of motion in various joints. Here are some of the most effective mobility exercises for each part of the body. Try the ones that you need the most help with, or do them all before your workout as a warm-up. For some exercises, you can use your own body weight or a light weight.
Precautions and Safety
When working on your range of motion with mobility work, never push past discomfort into pain. Also, before doing mobility work, make sure you warm up your body with some light cardiovascular work for 5 to 10 minutes. 8 This improves the circulation of nutrients and oxygen in your blood, nourishing your muscles, and increases synovial fluid in your joints, allowing you to move more freely.
It's critical to see a physiotherapist or other medical professional if you're experiencing pain, pinching, snapping, or other discomforts in your daily life, workouts, or mobility sessions.
"It's a good idea to see a physical therapist if you feel like your range of motion is being hampered by pain, excessive or sudden soreness, or if you notice any clicking, catching, or locking in the joint (i.e., knees). Any sudden losses or ROM with no apparent mechanism are also reasons to consult with someone. On the other hand, it's also a good idea to see someone if you notice sudden, new/uncomfortable gains in range of motion or episodes of a joint feeling unstable, "Malek explains.
Mobility work can specifically address your range of motion, which will have a significant impact on your training and daily functioning. Greater muscle recruitment and better workout results can result from being able to move through broader ranges of motion without pain or limitations. It's also necessary for avoiding injuries and a rise in dysfunction.
For the best results, do mobility training every week, and if you have any pain or limitations that are interfering with your ability to train or function normally, see a physical therapist.