Updated: Feb 26
Don't cheat the system! You cannot be strong first and then work on your mobility. Just like you can't be stable before you have mobility. Most people who hit the gym, intend to get really strong and really fit, which is great but too much focus is put on getting strong straight away. It is all about lifting more and lifting heavier. The problem with this is that the majority of new gym-goers have some kind of restriction, injury or movement disorder. At first, they may not be very visible but overtime after doing some resistance training, the body can start to become "strong" but in poor positions. The best example is for someone who has a desk job (most likely got poor posture), starts to become strong before they have addressed their poor positions and postures. Their body has already created a "strong" sitting posture, which will not hack it in the gym.
The beauty of going to the gym and doing functional movements such as squats, deadlifts and pressing overhead, is that these movements will help bring out the mobility restrictions an individual has. There is no chance you will be able to hit a full squat if your hips are tight as hell! The only way around this address your mobility and gradually work your way into a deeper squat and then start to add weight. The same thing applies to pressing any kind of load overhead. If you do not have the mobility to fully extend your arms overhead with good stability, your body will always try and find the easiest way to get it up there but most of the time, this way is not the most efficient way. Your brain will start bringing in other muscles to help out, mainly smaller stabilising muscles, that cannot cope well with this load. The dominant muscle that is used to press a load overhead is your Pec Major and with the majority of people, this muscle becomes tight and weak from poor "posture: and so has restricted mobility to press overhead. In comes the Upper Traps muscles to help out, which are already super tight from tension, stress and being overworked, so eventually will start to break down and cause pain!
Injuries suck, but they can also be a great lesson to remold your body and release the potential you are hiding. The hardest part is to take your ego out of the gym and leave it at the door. Once it is placed to the side, you can really focus on what works well for your body and how you can unleash your full potential. Training hard is not smart unless you are really in tune with your body and know what it needs. No one knows your body better than you so no one can feel that little niggle or tiredness or weakness. It is up to you to work out what you need to work on. Yes, it may take longer to get back to where you were but the benefits FAR outweigh the time it takes!