Technically speaking, the range of motion (ROM) is measured by how much movement there is around a joint or body part. Therefore, your range of motion is the maximum amount of movement you can make with a body part, such as a muscle or joint. For optimal performance, particularly during physical activity, there are ideal ranges of motion you should be able to achieve. And this will differ from one person to the other.
When a joint or a body part doesn't move as it should, you're said to have a limited range of motion. Several factors can contribute to this condition, including joint problems, inflammation around the joints, stiffness, and pain. These symptoms may be a result of injuries, infections, or health conditions such as arthritis or disorders of the brain, muscles, or nerves.
In many cases, however, a limited range of motion is caused by a sedentary lifestyle or a lack of proper mobility work.
When you exercise within your range of motion, you will achieve better results and be able to perform at your highest level. Lifting safely and effectively requires completing the lift with a full range of motion, especially when engaging in resistance training exercises. Also, performing these exercises in the proper form is vital.
How to increase range of motion for your workouts
You can experience range of motion limitations that may impair your ability to perform many strength training exercises properly and performance. If you are unable to squat below parallel or lift a barbell over your head with fully drawn out shoulders, you will not only be unable to gain strength or muscle. Also, you may get injured.
Each of your 250 joints moves from extension to flexion and are responsible for all the movements your body performs. A few examples are your ankles, hips, elbows, knees, and shoulders. You may find that your hips and ankles are tight during a squat, thus limiting your ability to engage the muscles involved fully.
The lack of a range of motion will have a detrimental effect on your form and your strength. Consequently, you are susceptible to injury and pain. Mobility exercises can help increase the range of motion. Exercises that increase your body's safe range of motion go beyond stretching alone.
Exercises that improve your full body mobility
It is possible to improve the range of motion for various joints by performing a few dozen mobility exercises. The following are some of the most effective mobility exercises that will help you address each body part. Start your exercises with the movements you need help with, or try them all as part of your warmup. You can attempt some exercises with bodyweight or light weights.
Shoulders: Kettlebell halo, Wall angels
Hips: Lateral lunge, Gate opener, dirty dog, runner's lunge
Spine: Kettlebell windmill, neck circles, kettlebell halo
Full-body: Lunge with a twist, Turkish get-up, inchworm,
Ankles: Inversion, ankle eversion, and flexion
Wrists: Wrist curls