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Anna Pfeifer Feb 1, 2023 8:00:00 AM 6 min read

What is Range of Motion?

We hear a lot about ROM or range of motion and again it’s an area that’s becoming increasingly popular within the sports/fitness industry.


What is Range of Motion?

It’s the measurement of the amount of movement around a specific joint or body part and there are three types of ROM that are measured. They are passive (PROM), active-assistive (AAROM), and active (AROM). In the above infographic, I’ve outlined the main two, however there is another type called Active-assistive ROM which occurs when you are able to move your injured body part, but you may require some help to move to ensure further injury or damage does not occur. Active-assistive ROM is typically used after injury or surgery when some healing has occurred and your muscle can contract, but protection is still required to prevent damage to your healing body part. If you have ever had an injury serious or not you have most likely spent some time doing AAROM.

So joint range of motion refers to both the distance a joint can move and the direction in which it can move but what cause a limited ROM in the joints?

1.    Medical conditions such as arthritis etc.

2.    Inflammation of the soft tissues surrounding the joint, or joint swelling

3.    Muscle stiffness

4.    Pain

5.    Joint dislocation

6.    Fractures in various areas of the body

 Joint range of motion typically declines with age and inactivity, but can be increased via flexibility and mobility exercises so all is not lost! It’s an area that you can work on bit by bit, you don’t need to spend hours every day focusing on ROM but it’s something to keep top of mind. Whether it’s an app specifically for ROM exercises, physio led exercises or movement such as yoga and pilates, these will help keeping the joints moving and maintain joint health.

Why is bigger range of motion is generally considered better for athletes?

1.    More flexibility and mobility - Everyone wants their workouts to be more efficient. Training with a greater range of motion is strength, flexibility and mobility training, all in one.

2.    May reduce risk of injury

 Typically, using a muscle’s full accessible range of motion is the better idea. However, this isn’t always true, especially in instances where we’re recovering from an injury. In those cases, it may not be optimal for your body therefore it’s crucial that we recognise and understand what level we’re at.

Why is Range of Motion Important?

Like other similar exercises, having the proper range of motion can carry numerous benefits. Aside from being able to properly move, these are some of the most important benefits:

  • Blood Flow

  • Muscle Strength

  • Heightened Flexibility

  • Decreased Pain

  • Stronger Performance

  • Reduced Stiffness

  • Lower Potential for Injury

So how does Yoga help improve our Range of Motion?

Yoga works through all planes of movement (sagittal, frontal/coronal and transverse) so that multiple joints and muscles are used in every sequence and this is why it’s so effective in improving our ROM.

  • Sagittal Plane: Cuts the body into left and right halves. Forward and backward movements.

  • Frontal/Coronal Plane: Cuts the body into front and back halves. Side-to-side movements.

  • Transverse Plane: Cuts the body into top and bottom halves. Twisting movements.

The majority of sports or training, work with one or two planes but not all three so that’s what makes yoga so unique. Whatever sort of ROM exercise you do, be assured that it’ll improve your overall performance and if you do fancy trying some yoga you know where I am!


Yoga for Muscle Recovery* is on the schedule in Leeson St and is part of your membership:

  • Tuesdays @ 13.30 (45 mins)
  • Saturdays @ 09.3o & 10.30 (45mins) 

*Classes are a combine dynamic yoga flow (vinyasa style) and mobility exercises as it's all about feeling good and moving with intent and control.