Recent News and Events

by Alison McGinnis, PT, DPT, FAFS

Posted in Blog.

August 3rd, 2020


Mostability is a term used to describe the spectrum from mobility to stability at each joint throughout the body, and coined by the Gray Institute.  To be an efficient and effective athlete, you need a combination of mobility and dynamic stability.  Mobility is the amount of motion available at a given joint.  Stability is the body’s ability to control this motion through the entire range, and return successfully to its initial position.  If your body doesn’t have both, it will choose stability over uncontrolled mobility to prevent injury.  Therefore, your flexibility is only as good as the control you have over it.  For athletes, if your body doesn’t have the strength to control your joints as they move through a range of motion, the motion available for your stride or swing will decrease and the efficiency of your movement pattern will also decrease. This is why as you fatigue while running, your stride range of motion decreases. As your muscles get tired, your body can no longer control your limbs if they are further away from you so your stride gets shorter to gain stability.


When assessing your mostability, you want to know what motion you have, what motion you lack, and can you stabilize and control the motion you have in each plane of motion. Stretching and flexibility work is important, but if you don’t also do balance and stability training to integrate the new mobility you’ve gained then you won’t have access to it functionally.


Start by checking your mobility in the most stable condition (most points of contact) and work on decreasing the support until your mobility decreases.  That is your threshold point.  For example, to test hip extension start with a forward lunge where both feet are on the ground.  Then perform a forward reach with toe touch.  Lastly try a forward reach at ankle height where your foot doesn’t touch the ground.  If your mobility decreases as your stability decreases (hip doesn’t translate as far forward), then your stability doesn’t match your mobility at your hip joint.


This same technique can be used at all joints and in all planes of motion. It can also be used with compound motions like a squat. Start with a double leg squat, move to a single leg squat with toe touch from the other foot, and eventually a single leg squat without the other foot. Pay attention to your range of motion, balance and control at multiple joints as you move to the less stable exercise. Did your depth stay the same? Could you move at the same speed/smoothness as compared to the double leg squat? All of this provides great feedback on areas where each individual needs extra work to expand their range of functional performance.

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