What is the difference between 'flexibility' and 'mobility' ?

Flexibility

  • the ability of a muscle or muscle groups to lengthen passively through a range of motion.

Mobility

  • the ability of a joint to move actively through a range of motion.

The two key terms in the above definitions are:  'passive' and 'active'

Passive = accepting or allowing something to happen, without intentional muscular response and resistance.

Active = intentionally producing and involving muscular movement.

Mobility and Balance Test

 

**Before performing the test, please ensure you are in a safe and controlled environment**

From a relaxed standing position:

  1. balance on your right leg

  2. now that your left leg is floating off the ground, ensure knees are next to each other and bend your left knee to approximately 90 degrees

  3. keeping your knee flexed 90 degrees, slowly lift your left leg as high as you can without any sort of compensation or physical manipulation to assist the raising of the leg. (example:  adjusting your posture or hugging your knee)

  4. once you reach your highest possible point, observe the height of your left knee:

    • is it above or below your hip joint?​

    • are you struggling to hold and maintain this position?

    • if your left knee is above your hip joint and you feel you can comfortably hold this position without compensation for at least 30 seconds, then you have good hip mobility in the sagittal plane!

  5. Before putting your left leg down, perform a 'knee hug' and physically pull your left knee up towards your chest.

    • If you were able to hug your knee and pull it up closer to your chest​ then you just experienced 'passive flexibility.'

    • Your 'mobility' was the highest position of the knee WITHOUT help from the 'hug' of the knee.

  6. Repeat the test on other leg and compare results.

    • Being that we do favor one leg over another, especially when playing sports, it is normal to have more or less mobility in one hip over the other.​

  7.  If during the ​test you noticed any sort of pain, 'pinching', or severe restriction in your hip joint, please consult a physical therapist to ensure mobility is restored with proper progressions in a pain free way.

    • Never force your body into positions that cause pain and that you can not control under your own strength.