The Modern Methods of Mobility system started with a simple question. “Why am I not getting results from my flexibility training? “ This is a question Emmet Louis, the system creator, posed to himself during his time in circus school. The advice he was receiving at the time was to stretch more and, if that didn’t work, to stretch even more leading to twice daily stretching sessions, multiple stretches per muscle group, and holding stretches for longer when possible. All this led to stagnation and regression in range of motion.
In the flexibility methods he encountered during this period, there was no rhyme or reason to the suggested approach, no real assessments of the person, their flexibility type or capabilities. Basically, it seemed like a one size fits all approach when in fact, it just didn’t fit in many cases. Emmet at that stage had started to research strength and conditioning and found that there was a world of both science and practical, in the trenches methods of getting a person stronger in the context of their chosen activity when it came to strength training. However, this seemed lacking in flexibility development particularly in relation to adults. At the time, there was no confident method you could find that could almost guarantee success, unlike what we find in strength training.
So Emmet set out to solve this problem. He wanted to create a system that, at its core, would have a set of foundational principles that apply in all cases for range of motion development, and then explore these principles and their application across a broad spectrum of the population and their levels. Now, having spent ten years working with everyone from professional circus artists, athletes, martial artists, dancers, as well as dedicated practitioners from ages 16 to 60, he has formalised a set of principles that apply in all cases and, more importantly, can be taught and replicated by others.
Seeing the Big Picture of Flexibility Training
One of the issues of developing range of motion as an adult is that there is so much conflicting information about flexibility training out there. If you look closely you’ll find success cases and failures of all methods. So we need to zoom out and take a bigger picture view of flexibility development. It closely follows the bio psycho social model in that
We need a method of respecting the biology of the person and their current capabilities, assessing their current range of motion in the three main flexibility attributes, passive, active, static active and dynamic, and finding the limitations there. We also need to find the individuals limits set by genetics or bone structure. Based on this, we then need to find the type of flexibility methods they respond to.
We need a way of addressing the beliefs of the person in regards to what they think about flexibility. Do they know how to confidently approach the training and techniques used, do they believe they can successfully develop their range or have they been told some nonsense like only children can get flexible? (as a side note, Emmet has been told this by multiple highly regarded coaches in a number of disciplines).
We need to address the social side of things. What are the expectations of the environment the individual trains in, and what value the social or activity group puts on range of motion as a physical attribute.