Range of motion that is…..
We can’t tell you how many times we see an aberrant movement pattern or lack of a range of motion during gait (such as ankle rocker or hip extension), only to test them on the table later to find that they have that range of motion available to them, but for some reason they choose to NOT use it.
Yes, range of motion IS very important; but if you have the range and don’t use it; it most certainly will be taken away from you and the resources used elsewhere. You need to know what you are doing and how to do it. Then be able to do it over time, time and time again and finally, able to do it with a load (your body weight +).
Just because you increase someone’s range of motion, does not mean they will be able to incorporate that range of motion into a movement pattern, or compensation pattern for that matter. It is only ¼ of the equation: Range of Motion, Skill (or proprioception), endurance (or the proportion of slow twitch muscle) and strength (the proportion of fast twitch muscle).
Here is an article that supports this notion, by one of our favorite authors; Dr Stu McGill.
The Gait Guys. Taking you to where the rubber meets the road (because some of you are gluten intolerant and therefore separating the wheat from the chaff is not an option).
Improvements in Hip Flexibility Do Not Transfer to Mobility in Functional Movement Patterns
Moreside, Janice M.1; McGill, Stuart M.2
Abstract: Moreside, JM and McGill, SM. Improvements in hip flexibility do not transfer to mobility in functional movement patterns. J Strength Cond Res 27(10): 2635–2643, 2013—The purpose of this study was to analyze the transference of increased passive hip range of motion (ROM) and core endurance to functional movement. Twenty-four healthy young men with limited hip mobility were randomly assigned to 4 intervention groups: group 1, stretching; group 2, stretching plus hip/spine disassociation exercises; group 3, core endurance; and group 4, control. Previous work has documented the large increase in passive ROM and core endurance that was attained over the 6-week interventions, but whether these changes transferred to functional activities was unclear. Four dynamic activities were analyzed before and after the 6-week interventions: active standing hip extension, lunge, a standing twist/reach maneuver, and exercising on an elliptical trainer. A Vicon motion capture system collected body segment kinematics, with hip and lumbar spine angles subsequently calculated in Visual 3D. Repeated measures analyses of variance determined group effects on various hip and spine angles, with paired t-tests on specific pre/post pairs. Despite the large increases in passive hip ROM, there was no evidence of increased hip ROM used during functional movement testing. Similarly, the only significant change in lumbar motion was a reduction in lumbar rotation during the active hip extension maneuver (p < 0.05). These results indicate that changes in passive ROM or core endurance do not automatically transfer to changes in functional movement patterns. This implies that training and rehabilitation programs may benefit from an additional focus on grooving new motor patterns if newfound movement range is to be used.