Mobility Vs. Flexibility

Mobility, American Football, Flexibility, Gridiron Strong, BritBall

Mobility vs Flexibility

Mobility is currently a very big topic within the fitness industry, with everyone talking about it and giving their top tips, but what really is it?


S&C coaches like myself know too well the importance of an athletes mobility in performance inside and outside of the weights room. Yet not all athletes prioritise it on their training list despite the great advantages which come from it.

From my experience it is the male athletes who often shy away from this training more than their female counterparts. Often I believe, due to embarrassment from their inflexibility. But isn’t it true that you should work harder on those areas which you don’t enjoy and/or find as easy?

So how do flexibility and mobility help improve performance, and what really are they?


Mobility vs Flexibility

Mobility can be an indication of how well and efficiently an athlete moves, also helping to reduce injury risk. Great mobility tends to mean the individual can perform functional movements well with no restrictions in their ranges of motion.

But surely a flexible athlete can move the same? Well, not necessarily…

The flexible athlete may have the ability to move their joints freely without restrictions, however they might not have the balance, coordination or core-strength to perform functional movements such as an overhead squat.

Flexibility is indeed a part of mobility training, however it does not necessarily mean you can move through good functional movement patterns.

The key for building this is to stretch, strengthen and foam roll.

3 common sticky points of mobility I see in American Football are 1) overhead reach, 2) deep squat, 3) thoracic mobility. These can be worked on with four simple drills. Take a look at these –

  • Overhead wall reach
  • Spider-man with thoracic reach
  • Froggies
  • Passive extension of the upper back

Let me know how you get on in the comments below!

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