Many times when you walk into most training facilities, a large percentage of women will be found in yoga classes and men will be near the free weights. Women love holding those poses and men want to lift more weight. What if things were flipped one day? The women were using the free weights and the men were taking yoga classes. Did we just enter the twilight zone? Would this hamper any of the gains the men would see in the weight room? Would the women become bulky and lose all mobility? The answer to both questions is a resounding no. Both would actually move better and feel stronger.
Unfortunately we know something like this is unlikely to happen. Most people like doing what they are good at, not necessarily what they need. Overall, if we look at the sexes as a whole, women will have greater mobility than men and vice versa as far as strength goes. This is the case in most part due to our different hormonal profile. Men and women have different hormonal levels that contribute to certain fitness attributes.
So the question remains, how do you get people to work on their weaknesses? Does the twenty six year old female that can put her foot behind her head need more mobility? No, I don’t think she does. She would get a much greater benefit from spending her time near the free weights. And don’t get me wrong, yoga works on many other things than just mobility, but for the sake of the argument we are going to look at yoga as something that improves mobility.
How about the eighteen year old male that is squatting in the corner? It seems that his hips and shoulders could use a bit more mobility. Do you think he might benefit from some mobility work, perhaps a yoga class? Yes, that would help a lot! Many male squatters that do not take the time to work on their mobility have poor squatting form which will lead to a possible injury and less efficient movement. With less efficient movement usually comes less weight being lifted. Those are both bad things.
The problem is that we like being good at things. It is human nature to gravitate towards things that we do well and make us feel good. No one likes to struggle. As athletes and those still trying to maintain their athleticism we “forget” to include the things that are going to make us better, no matter how bad we might be at them.
If you are lacking mobility work on it, it doesn't necessarily have to be a yoga class , but it has to get done. If strength is a issue, go lift something heavy. The point being, if you do not work on your weaknesses, you will never be as great as you would have been had you done so. Challenge yourself to put your ego to the side and work on your weaknesses to become a better athlete. It will pay off in the long run!
SPU's Alex Drayson and Matt Migiano write the SPU Athletic Performance Blog.
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