Is There A Difference Between Flexibility and Mobility?

When I began to do some stretching for the first time. I always thought that flexibility and mobility were two of the same things. That they were synonyms of each other. However, that is incorrect. Flexibility and mobility are two totally different things. Both require a different training approach.

Well in this post, I will explain the difference between these two. I will also tell you why it is highly important to stretch every now and then. And at last, I will cover some good stretching exercises for both flexibility and mobility.

Flexibility vs mobility what is the difference?

A lot of people think they know the answer, but most people are wrong. As I said before: flexibility and mobility are not synonyms of each other. They are two different things. But what is the difference? Let’s define them. It is actually pretty simple:

Flexibility: Being able to lengthen your muscles, so someone with decent flexibility can stretch his muscles a certain range without straining or tearing them. Very similar to a rubber band. The more flexible it is the farther it can stretch. When it is inflexible it will snap at a certain point just like your muscles will when you are not flexible enough.

Mobility: This has more to do with your joints. Mobility is the ability to move your joints actively and freely in a range of motion without any problems and restrictions. For example, if you cannot hold your arms next to your ears when raising your arms in the air, you probably lack shoulder mobility.

So that is it. In one sentence: Mobility is the ability for joints to move and flexibility is the ability for muscles to stretch.

The importance of flexibility and mobility work and the benefits

The importance of stretching is often overlooked. Doing some good stretches on a daily bases will benefit you in many ways. It will not only benefit you in your workouts but also your daily life will get much easier. Let me show some advantages you get when you do flexibility and mobility work on a daily bases.

Injuries prevention.

You can tear or strain a muscle when you stretch it too much. This could occur while exercises or just in your daily life. Stretching the muscle regularly will increase the length in which the muscle can move. This will decrease the chance of you getting injured. Doing some stretches as a warm-up before your workout will make your muscles warm. This will make muscle movement easier and will help you prevent injuries.

Improve your posture.

Stretching daily can improve your posture. Poor posture happens because of tight muscles. In today’s life, a lot of people are sitting behind their desks and are sitting in this position for way too long. This will cause tight muscles in the upper and lower back as well as in the hips. We can fix this poor posture by stretching frequently. By stretching you encourage your muscles to be in proper body alignment. 

Decreases muscle soreness.

After you worked out your muscles can feel really sore. You can relive this soreness by doing stretches after your workout. Stretching increases blood flow and supply. Eat healthily and stretch daily. Your blood will bring all these healthy nutrients to your sore muscles. This will make them recover faster.

Exercises will get easier.

Some exercises, especially in calisthenics, will require you to have mobility. Exercises such as handstand, l-sits, and pistol squats will become much easier if you would take some time to stretch the muscles used in these exercises. Therefore, doing some mobility work on a daily bases and you will see your calisthenics game elevate to the next level!

Flexibility and mobility exercises

Now, after we have seen what the benefits are of daily stretching. It is important to start with yourself. But how do you start?

Choose a couple of exercises and start doing them. There are tons of flexibility and mobility workout videos on youtube. You can follow the full routine or just choose some exercises and implement them in your own stretching routine.

In case you want to do some mobility stretches immediately after reading this post. I got you covered. Here are some of the best stretching exercises that are easy to do and which will improve your workout performance and overall will make your life easier.

Shoulder mobility exercises

In fitness, especially in calisthenics, it is so important to have solid shoulder mobility. Your shoulders are in almost every upper body exercise involved. Therefore, take some time to work on shoulder mobility. You will improve your handstand a lot and besides better exercise performance, You will also improve your posture by fixing those rounded shoulders.

skin the cat

The first exercise requires you to use a pull-up bar. The skin the cat is a great exercise that works on your shoulder mobility and which most people are probably able to do. The exercise is a great workout beginner as a warm-up as well as a finisher. To do it you start from a dead hang. You pull and rotate your body until you reach the german hang position. The youtube video demonstrates the right technique.

wall extensions

The next shoulder mobility exercise is extremely easy to do. The only thing you basically need is a wall. Put your back flat against the wall and rais your elbows at a 90-degree angle. From this position, you raise your arms until they are both in the air while maintaining contact with the wall. A great exercise for improving your handstands.

Down dog

This fairly easy typical yoga pose is a great exercise that will loosen up tight shoulders. So another exercise when learning the handstand. Try to hold the position shown in the picture. 

Besides shoulders, this exercise will also loosen up your hamstrings. 

Speaking of hamstrings.


In almost every sport you will somehow use your hamstrings, so in calisthenics. Your hamstrings are found at the back of the thigh. They are capable of bending and flexing the knee. Tight hamstrings are a very common problem. To fix this problem you need to loosen them up. Stretch your hamstrings daily, and believe me, you will feel much better. Flexible hamstrings are not only beneficial in your daily life but also in calisthenics. Advanced moves such as pistol squats and v-sits are not only based on strength but more on flexibility. By stretching your hamstrings, these moves will become a whole lot easier. Thus, enough reasons to stretch your hamstrings. 

The simple hamstring stretch (Standing and sitting)

This stretching exercise is one of the most famous stretches. I think almost everybody is familiar with this exercise. This exercise is pretty simple. It can be done practically everywhere.

To do the standing simple hamstring stretch. You simply put your legs together and cross them. Then you need to bend forward and try to touch the ground with your hands. Try to hold this position while maintaining straight legs. After you hold this position for a couple of seconds switch your legs.

The sitting simple hamstring stretch. You do the same thing but sitting. Start by sitting on the ground. Keep your legs straight in front of you. Lean forward while maintaining straight legs. Try to reach your toes. Relax and hold this position for a couple of seconds.

The hurdler hamstring stretch

The next stretch looks a lot like the previous stretches. You start by sitting on the ground again. But instead of keeping two straight legs in front of you. You only hold one. Put the other leg like how it is shown in the image. 

Again, hold this position for a couple of seconds and relax. 

Lying hamstring stretch

This one is slightly more advanced and demands a bit more flexibility. To perform this stretch you need to lay down on the ground. Put a towel or a resistance band around one foot and lift your leg until it reaches the position like it is shown in the video. Keeping both legs straight at all times. After some time switch between legs.

lower back

A very common problem as people age older is to suffer from lower back pain. This problem is caused because people nowadays mostly spend their time behind a desk. This can also result in poor posture. You can fix these problems by stretching the lower back sometimes.

cow-cat stretch

This exercise is not only a great lower back stretch exercise but, also a good warm-up before your workout. To do this exercise you need to place your hands and knees on the ground. Arch your back up and downwards. Continue these movements slowly with controlled breathing.

Child pose

The next lower back stretch is a typical yoga pose. It helps relax and relieve pain and tension in the lower back. To do child you need to get on the ground. Place your hands and knees on the ground. Lower your hips until they can rest on heels. Do this while touching the ground in front of you with straight arms. Just like how it is shown in the picture.

Some stretch tips

Like I said before working on flexibility and mobility work is really important but doing it the right way is even more important. Here are some stretching tips that will make sure you stretch the right way. 

Warm-up, If there is one thing you should definitely not do is stretching without properly warmed-up muscles. Just move a little bit, swing your arms around and let that blood flow through your muscles. This you will prevent injuries and will make stretching much more comfortable.

Breathing, When stretching it is important to control your breathing and most importantly not to hold your breath while stretching. Just relax.

Stop when you feel any pain, During stretching, you should only feel a slight discomfort. When it hurts you should stop immediately. Applying too much pressure will result in injuries.

Do it frequently. You cannot really overdo flexibility and mobility work. I recommend you do it at least three times per week. You can even do it every day if you have enough time.


This post in a few sentences:

The difference between flexibility and mobility: mobility is the ability for joints to move and flexibility is the ability for muscles to stretch.

The benefits of doing flexibility and mobility work:

  • Injuries prevention.
  • Improve your posture
  • Decreases muscle soreness.
  • Exercises will get easier.

Some stretching tips:

  • Warm-up,
  • Breathing
  • Stop when you feel any pain
  • Do it frequently.