Focused Flexibility is Dead; Long Live GMB Mobility

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A little over a year ago, we announced big changes in our curriculum and product. Since then, we’ve had delays and changes to the plan, but we’ve moved steadily toward a more unified GMB experience for all our clients.

The post is about the next batch of changes and what they mean for the future.

TL;DR

  • We’re retiring our Focused Flexibility program
  • We’re also going to release a new mobility program
  • You look very nice today

Read on for more details and embarrassing pics from GMB’s past.

Focused Flexibility was a Turning Point for GMB

2012! What a year.

GMB was still less than two years old, and Ryan, Jarlo, and I had just wrapped up the second ever GMB seminar in Vancouver, BC. We were driving back to Jarlo’s place in Seattle, and Jarlo suddenly says, “I’m gonna make a flexibility program.”

A few months earlier, we’d all been in Honolulu, filming Floor One. Since the tumbling skills in that program required a certain amount of flexibility to even attempt, we included a flexibility module. In that twenty-minute video, Jarlo showed some basic stretching, but it wasn’t enough for a lot of our clients. So Jarlo turned to his clinical experience to find a more effective way to teach flexibility.

To make a long story short, a couple months later, we were back in Seattle, filming FF.

In a lot of ways, Focused Flexibility was a new beginning for GMB. It was…

  • our first program to be professionally filmed in full HD,
  • our first program not based on gymnastic training and skills,
  • the genesis of the Assess-Address-Apply protocol that much of our GMB Method is based on.

In addition to starting the process of solidifying the GMB Method, FF was the entry point for a much wider audience for GMB. Whether or not you actually care if we’re successful or not, the fact is that the success of Focused Flexibility is one of the things that allowed GMB to survive and continue creating new programs.

It’s no exaggeration to say that GMB would not exist today if it weren’t for FF.

So, Why isn’t FF making the jump to Praxis?

Since the beginning, FF has been a complex program to for people to wrap their heads around. With literally every other stretching product on the market taking the form of follow-along stretching routines, the idea that you’d need to think and make decisions about which stretches to do seemed completely foreign to many clients.

We get it. Using a self-assessment adds a step most people aren’t used to taking, and you don’t have that immediate feeling taking action. And focus in general is something humans are pretty bad at. A program that forces you to focus on one or two things also forces you to accept that you’re not working on the other areas. That’s something many clients had a very hard time with.

We created our Praxis platform around the idea that it’s not your job to decide what you need. Once you set your schedule and tell it how much time you have, Praxis does the thinking for you, and that lets you put 100% of your focus on doing the work.

We knew from the time we started working on Praxis that the process we built FF around was not going to work in this format. Over the past year, Jarlo and I thought a lot about different ways we could organize the material to make FF fit the new platform, but it became increasingly clear that doing so would mean a fundamental change to the way the program worked. So Jarlo went back to first principles and instead of trying to figure out how to make FF work on Praxis, he decided to answer a completely different question:

What’s the very best way we can structure a flexibility and mobility program that makes it simple for our clients to improve their range of motion?

His answers pointed us in a completely new direction.

What’s Different about GMB Mobility?

There’s a lot of opinions that people have about flexibility and mobility. Even the words we choose to talk about them can be controversial.

Every trainer on the internet has their favorite study that proves stretching doesn’t work. Long essays have been written about why flexibility is bad and mobility is good. Yet, when we look around at the people we know who have excellent mobility, almost 100% of them got that way by stretching. And no amount of semantic hair-splitting will ever change the fact that the vast majority of our clients couldn’t care less if “flexibility” is the wrong word - they just want to move well and not feel hurt or restricted.

Jarlo sums it up like this:

Every new method I’ve seen that claims to be better than stretching is literally just another form of stretching.

Stretching isn’t just one thing. And it’s not just used for one purpose.

There’s static/dynamic, active/passive, various protocols, and different ideas about how to employ them around the rest of your training. There’s also different thoughts on what stretching is even supposed to accomplish. At the end of the day, none of the theories really matter. To quote Jarlo yet again, it’s very simple:

If you can’t access a specific range of motion that you need, you should do something about that.

It doesn’t matter what you believe. It only matters if you can find a way to make your body do the things you need it to do.

We don’t care about the semantics people use or who says what methods do or don’t “work,” (however you choose to define that). We know from our own experience and that of thousands of clients that you can teach your nervous system to allow greater range of motion. It just takes the right combination of techniques.

Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together

I’ve always wanted to use the old Reese’s slogan to describe a GMB program, and our Mobility program finally fits the bill. So, what’s being put together here?

  • Stretching
  • Movement

GMB Mobility combines stretching exercises with movement in the target ranges to train the nervous system to first allow and then use ROM it habitually restricts.

The stretching protocol is still the same, proven methods from FF. These are the same techniques Jarlo used with thousand of physical therapy clients, and they work. We don’t see any need to reinvent the wheel on this.

The movement component also makes use of “GMB Classic” locomotor exercises we’ve been teaching for years. The differences here is that we’ve paired specific variations and stretches to work together specifically for increasing mobility. Just like you can use different push-up variations to achieve any number of different goals, we often use similar movements in different ways for different purposes.

If you imagine an old, rusty hinge on a door that won’t open smoothly, you know that you need to oil those hinges to get it swinging that way you want it to. But you don’t just drip some oil on the hinges, do you? No. You need to open and close the door a few times to work the oil into the hinges and lubricate the entire range of motion. GMB Mobility works the same way.

This actually isn’t new for us. For years, we’ve been recommending our clients use Focused Flexibility alongside our Elements or Vitamin programs to practice moving their bodies and build strength in every direction each joint can move. Strength, flexibility, and control - all three are necessary if you wanna be able to move better. The new program obviates the need to use multiple programs to achieve that result.

This old video of Jarlo at a seminar back in 2013 explains it well:

So how’s this gonna go down?

What it boils down to is this: we want to release our new program next month. And that means we have to stop selling FF.

  1. As of April 5th, 2020, Focused Flexibility will no longer be available.
  2. A couple weeks later, we’ll release GMB Mobility.

That’s it!

Simple, right? hahahahaha, no, nothing’s ever that simple. Almost seventy thousand people are using our programs, and we want to make the new Mobility program accessible to everyone.

If you’re a GMB client, and you own FF, be on the lookout for an email in the coming weeks. We’ll be offering Mobility at a discount to people who already own FF, and that includes anyone who buys it between now and its retirement in a couple of weeks.

And of course, anyone that owns FF will have access to it for as long as our company exists.

As always, GMB takes care of our people.

Questions? Yeah, we thought so…

Just like when we closed down our Skills Curriculum last last, we know this is a pretty big change, and that’s bound to leave you with some questions. Let’s answer a few o the big ones.

Q: How is the GMB Mobility program different from FF?

It’s very simple:

  • Focused Flexibility is a DIY process for self-diagnosing and improving range of motion in the specific areas you need it.
  • GMB Mobility has programmed sessions that improve the most important movement patterns and ranges in a single sequence.

Q: So, why would I buy FF?

FF is the only (as far as we know) DIY self-diagnostic program aimed at recreational fitnessers. It’s also over 9 freakin’ hours of video instruction, with fifteen sample routines, which make it a hell of a resource.

Also, it works! Don’t believe us? Cool. Ask Charlie.

Q: Will FF be moved to Praxis?

Noperz!

FF is based on assessing your own limitations and choosing the exercises that’ll help you overcome them. That’s great, but most of our clients want a simple-to-follow program that guarantees increased ROM in a broad range of movements, especially for joints where limited range can lead to injury or dysfunction.

Our Mobility program is made for Praxis and provides that simplified process you’ve been asking us for.

Q: What if I already own FF? Will I lose access to my programs?

No.

All GMB programs include lifetime access. What lifetime access means is that you don’t lose access. If you have FF now, you’ll always be able to access it in your account.

Simple as that.

**Update**

GMB Mobility is now available! https://gmb.io/mobility/