Let’s look at the coil springs as an analogy to our joints and muscles that support them. Where the springs are our muscles, and the red circle is the actual joint.
Picture A. – An ideal position for the joint. All muscles are strong and counterbalance each other, thus allowing a full range of motion. The joint is stable and mobile. Once the extra load force is removed the joint will get back to its original position.
Picture B. – Some muscles become weaker, and the joint is no longer in its strongest position. To compensate, the body stiffens and shortens some muscles that are weak. As a result, the position of the joint is not ideal, it lacks a full range of motion, however, the joint is relatively stable. Once the extra load force is removed the joint will get back to its original position.
Picture C. – When you stretch the shortened muscles without strengthening them, you just make them longer. This brings instability to the whole region since stretched muscles are no longer able to counteract the muscles that support the joint from the other side. Once the extra load force is removed it will be harder for the muscles to stabilize the joint and get it back to its original position.
At that point, it would be a good idea to briefly address the difference between mobility and flexibility.
Mobility and flexibility are related concepts that describe different aspects of movement and range of motion in muscles and joints. While they are interconnected, there are some distinctions between the two.
Flexibility refers to the ability of muscles and connective tissues to lengthen and stretch, allowing for a larger range of motion around a joint. It primarily involves the elasticity and extensibility of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues. Flexibility can be improved through various stretching exercises and techniques, such as static stretching, dynamic stretching, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching. Enhancing flexibility can lead to increased muscle and joint suppleness, and it is commonly associated with activities like yoga, ballet, and gymnastics.