Contrary to popular belief, you can in fact be too thin, too rich or too flexible. Number three is called hypermobility, and here’s the kicker: most people don’t even realize they have it. In fact, some hypermobile people actually think they are tight. They are misinformed. The feeling of stiffness occurs because some muscle groups must work overtime to stabilize and support the less stable joints. These compensating muscles get held in a constant state of tension.
What Is Hypermobility?
Hypermobility implies a greater-than-normal range of joint movement. Lax connective tissues might trigger this condition. The resulting joint instability triggers a series movement impairments and muscle imbalances that stress your joints, muscles and soft tissues. While some sort of extreme flexibility might benefit dancers and gymnasts, mobility is only safe and functional when paired with equal measures of stability.
Symptoms of Hypermobility
If you tend to be as pliable as Play-Doh, you probably fight to maintain stability. Typical signs of hypermobility include spines that easily fold in half, knees or elbows that bend backward; shoulders that look like they are about to pop out of their sockets. Hypermobility often creates symptoms of muscular tension. Left untreated, it increases your susceptibility to injuries such as tendinitis, torn ligaments, pelvic-floor problems and sacroiliac joint instability.
Hypermobility and Pregnancy
These extreme flexibility issues are especially prevalent among pregnant women. As pregnancy progresses, a hormone called relaxin prepares the pelvis for labor. Unfortunately, it often affects your entire body, which explains why some pregnant women seem to wobble when they walk. Exercise techniques such as yoga might be dangerous for some pregnant women, because it potentially stretches the muscles to their point of instability.
How Clinical Pilates Can Help
Whilst some yoga techniques inspired Joe Pilates, he had a clear understanding of the importance of balancing strength and flexibility. Pilates, therefore, never holds static positions. The method might increase range of motion, but never to the point where it sacrifices joint stability. In fact, in certain movements, such as the saw, Pilates was known to walk around the room and tell dancers displaying a wide open stance to narrow their leg alignment. The sense of control and body awareness gained from Pilates exercise helps you avoid movements that take your body beyond a healthy range of motion.
Using the Pilates apparatus, such as the reformer, Cadillac and chair, provides enormous benefits. This type of equipment supports closed chain exercises, meaning that your feet or hands remain in a fixed position throughout the entire movement. Closed chain exercises create compression forces, which assist in joint stability.
As much as performing contortions might provide excellent party entertainment, your body requires both strength and flexibility. Clinical Pilates can help! Call us on (08) 9272 7359 today!