After a sobering conversation with a running coach we finally admitted that our flexibility was bad. This was obvious since sitting cross-legged on the floor has not been possible for years. In an effort to improve mobility and flexibility, with the end goal to improve athletic performance, our coach recommended we grab the two week free-trial of “The Ready State”. This article reviews the experience of using The Ready State Virtual mobility coach app.
Mobility Test Scores – The First Step in Building a Mobility Plan
After downloading The Ready State app the first thing to try out is the mobility test. This is a series of 16 individual positions that span across the body. Each measures range of motion in a single area and provides images on how to categorize your performance (into one of three areas, effectively a low, medium, and high flexibility bucket).
The mobility test provides video guides for each position to further help get into position. There are no additional materials needed (bands, weights, etc.) other than a wall and maybe a pad or rolled up towel to rest a knee on.
An upside of this test is that it provides a somewhat objective measure of how your flexibility preforms in different areas. This then allows you to build a plan around which areas to focus on, and offers a uniform test to return to after training more to see how you have improved.
Daily Flexibility Videos
After performing the mobility test and navigating through the app a bit, the recommendation was to do 2 session per week of any target area that landed in the red zone. That meant doing 2 hips and 2 ankle videos a week. Each of the recommended video sis between 5 and around 20 minutes with most being right in the middle.
Although the videos do have some good guides and focus positions that will help with a stretch, there is a major lacking of meeting someone where they are in the flexibility. After the first three hip videos it was clear that even the starting positions of stretches and positions were achievable for someone who was in the “red” flexibility zone. Not only that but the hosts offer no clear direction on how to modify or work into some of the target poses.
This makes no sense. During the mobility test one of the 16 things to trial was sitting cross legged on the floor. While there was an option for not being able to do this without knees being more than a foot from the ground, nearly all of the hip stretch videos make the assumption that you can do this. Not only is this defeating in feeling like it’s making progress, but it is arguably detrimental as even attempting some of the positions can lead to over extension and pain that is only going to do damage.
Over all while the videos seem like a great guide for an advanced user, they are severely lacking for anyone else. Further, most videos focused on only 1-2 positions maximum so although this makes for a good few minutes of stretching you are still on the hook for building out your own combination of videos that span more than one stretch.
What Gear Is Needed For Flexibility
None. There is no gear inherently needed to complete any flexibility training, it can all be done with your body. That said there are a number of videos that offer the opportunity to use different gear. Thankfully this is limited to mostly easy to obtain things. In place of most items a simple tennis or lacrosse ball can serve a purpose, and a resistance band seems to be the next most popular piece of equipment.
There are other that call for even more, including free weights and the infamous foam roller. Personally we reviewed massage guns here before which preform as well as foam rollers, although admittedly they require less over effort linked to rolling that may be beneficial. Certainly getting into position and rolling around will require more effort than the otherwise relaxation option of compression leg massagers we trialed a few months ago.
The Ready State Subscription – Is It Worth It?
Ultimately The Ready State is not a free app. The initial on-boarding drives you to create an account and sign up for a subscription which will auto renew after a two week free trial. This is an aggressive tactic and certainly a bit off putting, we prefer a true freemium model where extended features are available for an upsell and you can trial the app without having to fork over payment information.
In comparison to getting personal training, or going to a gym for assisted stretching, The Ready State is inexpensive. A month of the service is still less than a single session at a place like The Stretch Lab (which we’ve previously reviewed), although it is more expensive than seeking out similar material on free video sites like youtube. In the end we did not find The Ready State to be worth the fee, and instead prefer to go for a free service like youtube videos which better caters to folks across the range of flexibility.