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Make Yourself Indestructible: Mobility Matters

We love our Cut Seven workouts. We love to go hard, to feel like we gave it our all, and then to come back the next day and do it all over again. We are in it for the long haul — not just next Saturday’s Heart Day but ten, twenty, one hundred Heart Days from now. In order to last on the turf, we need to put some time in off the turf. 

It Works Until It Doesn’t

Having the appropriate range of motion in your joints that allows you to do the exercises that you want to do (aka mobility) is important not only for injury prevention but to get the most out of your workout. Read this next part slowly… “Our bodies, especially athlete’s bodies, are good at bullying our way through exercises. If you are lacking range of motion in your hip or your thoracic spine, your body is still going to find a way to do the things you want to do, but it will compensate and put increased stress on another joint up or down the chain. And that works until it doesn’t,” says Ashley Speights O’Neill PT, DPT, PES, Founder of The PHYT Collective


Do You Feel “Tight” All The Time? 

Well, mobility is different from being flexible or stretching. “When your body feels like you need to stretch all the time, that tightness is likely coming from a weakness or an overuse of an area. Not only do you need to stretch, but you need to address the root cause of the issue. You need to strengthen whatever muscles are weak,” says Ashley. 

The most common issues that Ashley sees and that we, as athletes at Cut Seven, experience are shoulder pain, hip flexor tightness, and lower back pain. The shoulder joint can’t work properly if you have tight pecs, a stiff thoracic spine, and poor control over your postural muscles. Your hip flexors likely feel tight because they are shortened making it harder for your core and glutes to get involved. 

If You Think About It, This Makes Sense

We spend almost the entirety of our days sitting (shortening and tightening our hip flexors) and likely with less than ideal posture – shoulders rounded and chin sticking out (causing us to have stiff spines and tight pecs). 

And you now know that stretching alone isn’t going to fix the problem. This is why you’ll see core activation and glute activation before an Abs or Ass day. The goal of activation is to wake up the mind-muscle connection and to make the patterns subconscious and set yourself up for success. Sometimes our butts need a reminder to work so our hip flexors can chill. 

Thanks, But I Don’t Have Any Issues 

You don’t need to currently have an issue or be in a lot of pain to see a physical therapist. Ashley says that our bodies change over time and we get general wear and tear so it can be helpful to see a physical therapist to evaluate any imbalances or areas for improvement. “But ultimately the goal is not to see a physical therapist forever. We get you better and then we are there when you need us.” 

In It To Win It

If you’re looking to sweat for life (and for your sanity), adding mobility work and activation can be the key to your success. That’s why you’ll see mobility and activation in the Cut Seven warm up and on Cut Seven Play and that’s why it is so important to learn your body, see an expert, and put in the work to do mobility on and off the turf (peep some of your peers doing it during the demos). That’s what’ll get you that G.O.A.T status.

Ashley Speights O’Neill PT, DPT, PES is the founder of The PHYT Collective. She has been practicing orthopedic & sports physical therapy since receiving her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Duke University in 2011. Prior to attending Duke, she received a B.S. Ed in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sports Medicine & a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Virginia in 2008. She also holds a Performance Enhancement Specialist Certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Missed the Physical Therapy workshop? Cut Seven athletes receive 20% off their initial evaluation with The PHYT Collective. Just grab a PHYT Collective card from one of the captains at your next Cut Seven class.