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December 9th, 2015

Mostability: The Key to Becoming a Better Runner

Runners are always searching for a balance between improving their speed and performance while simultaneously eluding pesky overuse injuries that can sideline them from big races. While strength routines and consistent stretching and foam rolling are important pieces of the puzzle, the key to achieving balance as a runner is the ability to successfully combine stability (strength) and mobility (motion): Mostability.

Mostability is a term coined by Dr. Gary Gray of the Gray Institute to describe the ideal blend of mobility and stability required to effectively complete a desired task (i.e. running). In Gray’s words, Mostability is “just the right amount of motion at just the right joints in just the right planes at just the right time.”

How does this affect runners? The hip is a dynamic joint that can (and should) move in all three planes of motion in order to take advantage of the glutes — the largest muscle group in the body (and your best friend as a runner). This is where the “Mo” in Mostability comes in. If a runner is lacking range of motion at the hip in any of the three planes of motion, then he or she is unable to successfully “load” or recruit his or her glutes.

Stability, on the other hand, implies that the runner has the ability to control the motion available at a specific joint. When mobility and stability are effectively combined at the hip, the runner has achieved the range of motion required to efficiently use his or her glutes to explode forward.

Mobility without stability—or more commonly in runners, stability without mobility—sets the stage for subpar performance, injuries or both. This means that stretching or strengthening exercises, on their own, are not enough to achieve good MoStability. Runners should be training mobility and stability functionally, beginning with dynamic mobility drills and ending with drills that challenge the ability of their muscles to control this new range of motion.

Take a look at the video below for an example of a hip mobility exercise progressed up to a dynamic stability drill by gradually taking away points of outside stability.

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