What if there was a way to improve your joint range of motion without having to stretch? What if this method crushed your core, increased your flexibility and improved your joint stability? There is, it does, its called "Stick Mobility" and it is going revolutionize the way you train.
Featured in the Jan/Feb 2016 issue of Paleo Fitness Magazine, Stick Mobility is an amazing new modality that will help you get more flexible, build a bullet proof core and give you rock solid hip stability. Three critical components to both moving well and feeling your best.
I've been in this industry for well over a decade and I've seen the alleged next big thing claiming to be my end all be all fitness experience flame out time and time again. Needless to say, it takes quite a bit to grab my attention, let alone impress me.
Stick Mobility is the real deal and its going to be a staple of the strength and conditioning world as well as the general fitness realm for a long time. Want proof? It is already being adopted by players in the NFL, Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour.
I've started using it myself as well as with my clients and we love it. They can't believe how much "fun" holding static positions at different angles can be and how much better they move after they do.
The Stick Mobility website says the methodology is "a revolutionary system designed to help you move better than you ever have and take your performance to the next level." It is, and from what I've experienced, it does.
I wanted to share my Stick Mobility group class experience, and I thought rather than hear about the workout from me, who better to tell you why you need to do this than Co-Founder Dennis Dunphy.
I've know Dennis for about 15 years and he's someone who gets it when it comes to the best ways to train the body, what makes it perform its best and how to keep it from breaking. He's someone I have the utmost respect for.
Plus, the guy is an old school comic book "afficionado" to put it mildly and he makes one hell of a home made macaroni and cheese. OMG, it is AMAZING.
I sent some questions over to him to help people get a better idea of what Stick Mobility is, how it helps and why they need to use one. Here's what he said, enjoy!
What is Stick Mobility?
"Stick Mobility is a system that uses a stick, and Sherrington's Law of Irradiation, to access greater ranges of motion and enhance neuromuscular awareness."
Sherrington's Law of Irradiation says when a muscle contracts with enough force, it can recruit nearby muscles to do work as well. This simultaneous contraction of multiple muscles at once in a movement chain can amplify your total strength levels for a given lift (1).
One of the best examples of this is the Turkish Get Up. If you crush the grip as hard as you can on the bell, you can create a more stable platform at the shoulder joint giving you more control over the weight. Lighten your grip, and it seems like the load gets heavier and the shoulder less stable.
This is what makes Stick Mobility so effective. It is essentially a total body pedal to the floor board "positional plank" that allows you to lay down a much stronger movement foundation in a 3D plane. Since we are supposed to support ourselves over own base of support as we move, this is a pretty good thing.
This is also a great way to prime the pump for other lifts as well. You can clean up plank based movements (pushups, suspension trainer rows, etc) quite a bit with the right Stick Mobility move prior to performing the exercise.
How does it help?
"Stick Mobility helps to increase your functional range of motion, improves posture, increases stability, enhances body awareness, and improves full body strength."
Remember, our bodies only let us produce the amount of power our joint stability allows. Want to prevent shooting a canon from a canoe? Stick Mobility can help with that.
From an athletic standpoint this is critical because improved performance is all about doing more work in less time. To move our best, we need power and lots of it (2). The more stable we are, the more power we can produce, the better we move.
One of the things I like quite a bit about the Stick Mobility approach is its emphasis on dialing in our diagonal loading patterns. Especially since our rotational patterns of running, walking and skipping (great exercise!) are incredibly dependent on the diagonal connections of the hips and opposite shoulder (3).
Why can't people just stretch to get more mobile?
"Stick Mobility uses the following formula: joint range of motion (articulation) + joint stability + neuromuscular drive = mobility. Stretching by itself lacks these crucial elements."
We know that our muscles get tight for a reason and no matter how much you stretch, without the right strength levels, they won't let go. This is typically caused by weakness in one area causing tension in another (4).
Tighten the hip flexors (like you do when you sit down all day), and your hamstrings will become overactive when you extend the hip (5). This is not a good thing btw because it makes you more susceptible to injury. Unfortunately I've learned this first hand when a weak left glute lead to a left hamstring pull during a sprint.
The neuromuscular drive benefits from Stick Mobility come as your body is better able to coordinate your muscles as one unified mechanism to produce movement. The better balanced our muscles are, the better they can coordinate ou kinetic chain (6).
With that said, its gets pretty easy to see how Stick Mobility helps with performance improvement and injury prevention.
Who is using Stick Mobility?
"Everyone. We have seen our system in use by professional football players, pro golfers, pro baseball players, wheelchair athletes, world class power lifters, and desk jockeys. Our system has been effective for all ages and fitness levels."
The day of the class there was a pretty diverse range of people across fitness levels, movement skill and laps around the calendar. The common thread post class? Not only did everyone have fun, they walked out of the gym moving better than when they walked in.
You recently met with the Cincinnati Bengals. How did that come about, and what was it like?
"Bengal's S&C Coach Chip Morton is always looking for ways to improve his player's health and abilities. He caught onto us about one month after we started hitting social media.
We met with him and some of his staff in December while they were in San Jose to play the Niners. They loved what our system brings to the table.
One of the biggest aspects were the intrinsic foot strengthening drills that we teach. He stated that the players are expected to produce power and explosiveness, yet have sacks of mashed potatoes at the end of their legs. The joint mobilization/warm up was 'Gold' just by itself."
How did the Baltimore Orioles hear about Stick Mobility, and why did they start using it?
"The Baltimore Orioles started following us on social media. There are many professional S&C coaches who are always looking for new tools and systems for their players. Stick Mobility Co-Founder, Mitch Taylor, has an extensive baseball background and has instituted a protocol for baseball players."
Why has Stick Mobility gained traction as fast as it has?
"Social media has been a huge benefit for people/companies who want to show what they can do. Our quick growth wouldn't have been possible without it.
Seeing people using sticks and doing 'odd' stretches and poses with them capture the attention. Once, you've been exposed to it's benefits and how it feels, you are sold.
The system speaks for itself. We have seen over 11k people follow our Instagram page in under 10 months. We have a very devout following and we can't thank everyone enough for that."
Will there be a certification? Can trainers get CEU's?
"We are excited to offer our Level 1 Stick Mobility Certification to all health practitioners. NCEP is the only organization that currently gives CEU's at this time. You can petition your certifying organization for CEU's.
This is a system that is self regulated, effective, and practical. You can use Stick Mobility as a complement to any modality you chose or Stick Mobility can be a stand alone program. Our goal is 'MOVEMENT MADE BETTER'."
For more information on Stick Mobility or to pick up a set (I'd recommend the 664 package), click here to head over to their homepage. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, they've got classes most Saturdays at 10am at Weights and Bars in San Jose.
1) "The Concept of Irradiation," Rodney McBride B.S., CSCS, CPT, LMT
2) “To The Max: Functional Training for Endurance Athletes,” Gary Lavin BS, CSCS, USAT II, Juan Carlos Santana MeD, CSCS
3) “Some Reasons Why You Should Stop Stretching Your Hip Flexors,” Dean Somerset, BSc, CSCS, MES, CEP
4) ”The Essence of Band and Pulley Training Companion Guide,” Juan Carlos Santana MeD, CSCS
5) “NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training,” Michael A. Clark, Scott C. Lucett, Brian G. Sutton
6) “NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training,” Michael A. Clark, Scott C. Lucett