140218 Mobility: Understanding the language

I’m down, but not out FBO community. Whew. My battle with this bout of the flu has been something fierce. And from what I’ve heard from others, I’m not alone. This is a kind reminder to take care of yourselves out there this season. The influenza strains out there are quite unique and exceedingly resistant. It seems that the 10 day mark is when you start to turn the corner, so I’m looking forward to feeling normal again.

Besides, I haven’t stepped foot into my second home in over a week. I’m jonesin’ for some FBO.

I sort of dropped the ball on daily Mobility, but I’m doing my best to get back into that groove. I thought I’d take this opportunity to rewind a bit. I’ve made the analogy before that Mobility shares many of the same features of CrossFit. Just like CrossFit, the world of mobility has its own language. I mean, don’t we all remember reading the word WOD for the first time? I swear I read that word to myself three times before I dare say it out loud. I remember thinking to myself… (was that a misprint?)

The language we use in Mobility is a bit less confusing. It borders on amusing most of the time, but the descriptors I’ve used and learned through the years seem to communicate our goals pretty well.

When I started writing this post, I realized half-way through it was going to be entirely too long to keep anyone’s attention. So I decided to break this up into multiple posts.

Here is a random list of terms you’ll hear me and many others say when referring to all things mobility:

  • Supple – describes being mobile. A term coined by Kelly Starrett. He described the leopard as being a supple animal. It was able bodied and prepared for anything, both the known and unknowable as a predator and prey. So, we humans should strive to be supple like the leopard. We too should be prepared for the known and unknowable – sound familiar? (you can sort of guess where my nickname originated from can’t you?)
  • Supple nation – a comical term that describes the ‘cult’ following for all things mobility in the world wide CrossFit community. Yes, welcome to the supple nation.
  • Ugly bits / Janky tissue / junky tissue – Terms used to describe immobile, stiff, inflexible and tight tissue and joints.
  • Unglue – the act of mobilizing that janky tissue. You are literally un-gluing your tissue from its surface.
  • Flexibility– refers to the act and extent a singular muscle, or muscle group (including its tendons)  can attain a specific length.
  • Mobility– refers to the global application of movement through multiple joints to attain a specific motor pattern and body movement. This involves all the needed systems for flexibility as well as joints, joint capsules, joint ligaments, fascial tissue, bone lengths, surface tensions and body habitus.

When someone asks me the difference between mobility and flexibility, here is my answer. Flexibility is the ability to efficiently attain a standing straight-legged two-handed toe touch. Mobility is the ability to efficiently attain the below-parallel ‘bottom’ position of the air squat.

As we progress through our mobility adventures, we have intentions of making all the mobility information readily and easily accessible from  the blog with separate menus / pages. Stay tuned.