Physiology related

Anatomical Adaptation

img_7713_21668144869_oJosh aka J.S.E. chillin’ overhead.

In the strength training world, we often here the word “adaptation” used a lot in regards to training specific to the imposed demands of a given sport or fitness goal. For example, lifting heavy weights yields muscular strength adaptations through increased fiber size, motor unit activation etc, whereas long endurance improves cardiorespiratory adaptations such as better oxygen delivery, increased mitochondria and capillary density, etc. One concept I really like using in my class is the concept of anatomical adaptation in relation to a phase of strength training programming.

Tudor Bompa, author of a really cool text I use at SMC, “Periodization”, elaborates on the differences in focus on each of the main phases of strength training: ANATOMICAL ADAPTATION-HYPERTROPHY-MAX STRENGTH-SPORTS SPECIFIC POWER-MAINTENANCE-CESSATION. Most of what you see in strength and conditioning settings and A LOT in CrossFit, is a heavy emphasis on maximum strength. While maximum strength and power get a lot of the attention when it comes to programming and design, many forget and overlook the anatomical adaptation phase, leaving many folks either injured from too much stress too early or overuse injuries down the road through developing poor early movement patterns. Accounting for anatomical adaptation is a big part of why we do what we do and why things like coaching the fundamentals and programs like the On-Ramp are super important before hitting it hard. It isn’t just important for newbies, but even for experienced lifters or athletes coming back from the offseason or a short hiatus. Bompa has a great explanation of what this phase is and I think all of you who lift should read! Here’s a snit-bit below, but you can check out the full article here.

This phase represents the foundation on which the other phases of training are based. The name of this phase has been specifically selected to illustrate the fact that the main objective of strength training is not an immediate overload, but rather a progressive adaptation of an athlete’s anatomy. The objectives of the AA phase are focused around “prehabilitation” with the hope of preventing the need for “rehabilitation.” In other words, focusing on a higher volume of training with low to medium loads will aid in the adaptation level of an athlete’s muscle tissue, ligaments and tendons, and prepare the body for the more challenging program inherent in the following phases of training. Furthermore, a methodologically structured AA phase will aid in the improvement of inter-muscular coordination (i.e. balance, coordination and neural firing patterns), and increase the bone mineral content and proliferation of connective tissue that surrounds the individual muscle fibers.


Pacing Practice During this Week’s Workouts

IMG_0796Basil staying calm and relaxed during a metcon

So last week, as we wrapped up the CrossFit Open, I mentioned how I learned (or was once again reminded), the importance of pacing.  But this year, a big takeaway for me was that rather than simply acknowledging that pacing is important, but only practice it during the Open, we should instead be spending an equal amount of energy developing this “skill”, just as we do our other skills.  We can greatly improve our strength, fitness, and skill level (as it pertains to movement), but if we do a poor job pacing ourselves, we are operating at a level far below our true potential.

As I programmed the workouts for this week, I saw a couple of great examples where pacing is not only important, but can and should be “practiced”.

1.) First, and one of the simplest ways to regulate your pace, is on the rower.  This Wednesday there is a 1000m Row for time.  When going about a row, especially those longer than 500m, many people start out pretty fast, because they feel fresh, but by the time they end, their pace has dropped off dramatically.  A better approach is to set a pace based off a previous 1000m row time (or even your 1000m row PR) and try to maintain that pace from the start.  For example if someone’s previous PR is 3:56 for 1000m, (which is an average of 1:58/500m) a good goal would be to maintain a 1:56/500m pace, it should be easy to maintain this in the beginning, towards the end it may be difficult to hold on to, or they may be able to even kick it up a bit for the final 100 meters.  If they maintain the 1:56 they will PR their 1000m row by 4 seconds.  The really nice thing about the rower is that you have CONSTANT feedback as to what your pace is (it’s that number displayed the largest), use it! Try it out this Wednesday and see how it goes and more importantly, how it feels.  If you don’t have a previous 1000m row time, you can estimate one if you have a 500m row time.  Add about 12 seconds to your best 500m Row time and try to maintain that pace for the duration of 1000 meters.

2.) The second opportunity to practice pacing is during Thursday’s metcon.  The first portion has 3 rounds of among other movements, pushups or ring dips (ranging from 9 to 18 reps).  If your one of the bros that can mash out 3 sets of 18 ring dips without breaking this won’t apply to you, for everyone else it’s important to break these up early, before you have to, so that you don’t hit a wall on the 3rd round.  For example, if someone went unbroken on the first round of 18, then on round 2 went 14 unbroken, then struggled but was able to do a final set of 4, but on round 3 had to break the 18 reps into 5/4/3/3/2/1, with significant rest in between sets, it would be clear that they did not pace it correctly FROM THE BEGINNING.  A better approach, which would yield a faster time for this person, would be to break the first round into two sets of 9, with a really short rest after the first 9.  The 2nd and 3rd round could be broken into 3 sets of 6, again with short rests.  While this may seem like taking too many breaks when you are fresh, the main thing we want to avoid is being FORCED to take longer breaks b/c we’ve hit a wall.  This type of pacing is in regards to muscle stamina, rather than “cardio”, and is especially important when it comes to movements like pullups, ring dips, handstand pushups, and toes to bar.  Don’t forget to apply the same principle to the toes to bar in the second portion of this same workout!

3.) The final opportunity is on Friday’s finisher.  While pacing is important on this workout, I’ll admit that these are the toughest to figure out because there are several variables.  Here you have 3 Rounds, each round being 2:30 minutes, to run 200 meters, then complete as many pullups (or bar muscle ups for beefy) before the clock hits 2:30.  Then rest for a minute and repeat, starting with the 200 meter run each time.  Your score being the total number of pullups completed over the course of the 3 rounds.  The first pacing point for this one, which most people understand, is that the run will be fast to give yourself plenty of time to perform pullups, but NOT an all out sprint.  The second pacing point, which is a bit more tricky, is to not go to absolute failure on any of your pullups for the first two rounds.  For example, if on round one someone comes in from the run and they have 90 seconds remaining and they go for broke and smash out 35 pullups, hitting 25 unbroken, then a set of 5, then a 3 and a 2.  They rest for one minute, take off the run on round two but are still gasping from round 1.  By the time they come in their arms have still not recovered from the first round, their run was much slower and thus they have even less time on the bar, this time let’s say they only get 14 pullups.  Because they hit the wall at the end of round 1, their second round while considerably less work than round 1, is still not a recovery round by any means.  They take off for their final run, still just as tired as when they finished round 2, return with even less time, and are only able to squeak out 8 pullup singles before time expires.  Total pullup reps would be 47.  However, had the person come in from the first run and done 4 sets of 5 pullups with quick breaks, they could then take off for the second run feeling much more fresh, and then likely repeat that performance, 4 sets of 5 pullups, or perhaps 5 sets of 4 pullups for the second round (smaller sets in this case would still not reflect a degrade in performance).  On the final round perhaps fatigue starts setting in so they start with just 3 reps before they break, but because they still haven’t technically hit “the wall”, where they require long breaks, they are able to get 5 sets of 3 reps.  Therefore they would have done 20/20/15, yielding a total of 55 reps, with their biggest set being 5 reps, vs. 25 reps.  The important thing to note here is that the drop off of reps is much smaller for the better paced version, as compared to the first version.  Like I mentioned earlier though, this one, and workouts like it, are a tough to pace just right, especially if you’ve haven’t done the workout before, but keeping these ideas in mind when approaching the workout are key.  At the very least, use a workout like as a learning experience, take a look at your reps per round and how you broke it up to determine if you were in the ballpark of pacing it correct, or if you just went out way too hot!

Lastly, it’s important to remember that these numbers are just general guidelines.  Someone with really good engine, or muscle stamina could push these numbers much higher.  Likewise, someone who is newer to CrossFit could benefit from even more breaks.  The important thing is to experiment with it and document your results.  And just remember, there may be a time during Open Gym that someone (perhaps Rikus) convinces you that it’s a “good idea” to try and go unbroken for the entire workout.  You probably know it’s not a good idea, and it definitely yield a slower overall time, but you may want to give a try anyway, just to see if you can do it…. and perhaps to give Rikus a good laugh as he watches you struggle.

How Long Does It Take To Lose Skills?

16233251724_a90591f9b8_zMuscle ups are definitely in Seth’s skill “Wheelhouse”.

I saw this good read a couple days ago on how we learn skills and how we can temporarily lose them. It gives a pretty cool description of the processes and periods of learning a skill and points out what happens after we cease training or practice in that skill. What I like about it is that there is a response to the questions by multiple psychologists and motor learning biomechanists. You get a cool viewpoint from each professional in their area of expertise.

From the article:

FROM A MOTOR LEARNING PERSPECTIVE, once a person has acquired a skill, they typically do not lose their ability to perform that skill, unless there is a neurological or musculoskeletal injury or disease. Over time, their ability to perform the skill at a high level, or at the same level of performance they were at when they first learned or mastered the skill, is going to decrease (if they stop practicing the skill), but they should be able to still perform the skill. The supplementary motor area of our cerebral cortex (brain) is the part that helps construct movements based on internal motor memory (many people call this muscle memory, which is incorrect. Muscles cannot remember anything, but that’s a topic for another day).

For example, when you first learn a motor skill, like riding a bicycle or hitting a baseball or softball, your brain has to learn which limbs to use, which muscles to activate, when the muscles need to turn on and off, how much muscle force to produce, and how to coordinate the movement. With practice, this movement becomes more coordinated and the brain gains better control, and this internal motor memory is strengthened. So, when you want to perform the skill again, the supplementary motor area can organize the movement based on the internal motor memory that was created from previous experience. Just like anything else, this memory will fade some over time, and the longer you go between practicing the skill, the less efficient you are going to be at performing it. But, a person could go several years without riding a bicycle, and they would still be able to ride it due to the previous experience and motor memories from performing the skill.

Now, it’s difficult to say how much of the skill a person would lose within a set period of time. Some people are going to see more of a loss than others, and some people will perform better than others when first performing a skill after not doing it for a long time. There are many factors that will affect this, including the level of expertise the person originally achieved and their own motor abilities). That’s what makes us unique as humans; we are all different, but are bodies have an amazing ability to learn, remember and adapt.

Read more here.



16772535244_4177d60bcf_k (1)Matty boy demonstrating some great shoulder mobility in the jerk.

—CrossFit Open Reminders—

  • Use Zen Planner schedule found here (or by clicking CrossFit Open logo on right sidebar), to reserve your heat time each week.
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Mobility is everywhere these days and for good reason. For a majority of us, maintaining joint mobility is a necessity in order to not only sustain a super active lifestyle, but to live a functional and pain free life. While mobility should be on most people’s daily exercise list, there are some folks who are hypermobile, that is, those who have too much mobility. Most people with hypermobility typically have it in all areas of the body, but some can have it in only certain areas like the shoulders. We have a couple Sweat Shoppers who fall in this category so I found this good post for you all coming from popular strength coach, Eric Cressey. Rather than simply tell these folks to stop static stretching, he gives 4 ways hypermobile people can improve their training.

From the post:

From super tight to super loose, people can fall at any point on the laxity continuum. Most women fall under the more hypermobile side of things, but there are a surprising amount of women who are nonetheless unaware of their extreme laxity. As a hypermobile female who learned the hard way, I want to share my knowledge and experiences with you to help improve your training and long-term health in four simple steps. While I’ll focus my attention on females in particular, the overwhelming majority of these lessons hold true for hypermobile males as well.

Check out full post here. 

The Sweet Spot: 80-90%

FullSizeRender (8)

We we’ve talked a lot about the importance of hanging out around 80-90% of our 1RM when it comes to strength training and olympic lifting. Very rarely do you see us program 1 rep maxes, and in EMOM formats, rarely do we program them for you to reach a 1Rep Max (even though some of you still sneak them in at the end!). While it seems obvious as a learning standpoint, there is science behind why hanging out in that range is more effective for getting stronger. It has to do with neural adaption. For a long time, many in our field studied muscle size as the primary basis of strength development. However, it is clear now that muscle size is not everything, in fact, it says very little about strength. What folks are more focused on nowadays are the neural adaptations gained from strength training, that is, the sensory or nervous system adaptation. If you look at the geeky graph up top, you can see that at lighter loads (40-70%), the neural adaptations of intermuscular coordination are highest, that is, the coordination of contraction within the muscle. At the opposite end (90-100% of max), our intermuscular coordination is the worst. Makes sense right? Typically, 1 Rep maxes aren’t as smooth as lighter weights. However, at heavier loads, we neurally recruit more muscle fibers and gain disinhibition of inhibitory mechanisms, which can lead to strength improvements as well. If you look at the 80-90% range, you can see you get the best of both worlds; greater intermuscular coordination along with the same muscle fiber recruitment as max loads. So, what does this mean? When it comes to getting stronger…rethink where you need to work. While it is tempting to throw on your “previous max” on the barbell, know that it probably isn’t the best for actually improving strength in that lift. When muscle coordination/timing is key in a skill, work more in a load that allows you make these neural adaptions. Start looking at 80-90% as the sweet spot for making GAINZ!

Bigger Than Fascia

IMG_9864Camilo. The happiest foamroller-ER ever! 

One of my favorite, yet difficult, exercise physiology related books I’ve read has to be Anatomy Trains by Tom Myers. To keep it simple, Anatomy Trains maps the entire body through myofascia and shows how the function or disfunction in one area of body tissue can effect another area along that line (i.e. hamstrings pain, caused by tight achillies). While his findings on fascia are very important in our field, I recently read an article of his annoyance of how much the word “fascia” is used. While he explains it’s importance, he reveals there are bigger things than simply “fascia” that need to be accounted for when improving movement.

From the article:

“I am so over the word ‘fascia’. I have touted it for 40 years – I was even called the ‘Father of Fascia’ the other day in New York (it was meant kindly, but…) — now that ‘fascia’ has become a buzzword and is being used for everything and anything, I am pulling back from it in top-speed reverse. Fascia? is important, of course, and folks need to understand its implications for biomechanics, but it is not a panacea, the answer to all questions, and it doesn’t do half the things even some of my friends say it does.”

Check out the full article here.




Winter is Coming: Time to Up Your Warm Up Game

rowena_sunsetCool sunset as the season changes – Rowena during last week’s Strict Pullup, Burpee, Run workout

While we still have a ways to go before winter, and the winters here in the Bay Area are pretty mild compared to many other parts of the country, it’s still necessary to address the importance of the warm up, as the weather cools down.  When it comes to preparing our bodies for exercise, there is a huge difference between coming in for your workout when the temperature is in the 90′s, versus coming in and the temperatures are in the 40′s or 50′s.  Many of you may have recently experienced a positive effect that running a mile has on your 1 rep max squat.  A good warm-up will among other things, increase blood flow, breathing rate, body temperature, and excite the neuromuscular system (the interaction between the muscles and the nervous system that controls them).  While you won’t be seeing many mile runs during the cold winter months, one thing I usually do on cold days is keep my sweats on for as long as possible during the warm-up.  Rather than taking them off as soon as I’m warm enough to be comfortable without them, I wear them until I can no longer stand the heat and extra layers of clothing.  At this point, I am well past breaking a sweat and my core temperature as risen significantly.  This last second stripping of clothes usually makes dramatic and entertaining show as the 10 second clock counts down.  :)

Here’s a post I came across recently on Breaking Muscle that talks more about the importance of warm-up as the weather cools off.


Drop what? Drop SETS!


Doug with the RAW strength!

Lately, you may have noticed the sudden frequency of drop sets being incorporated into our weekly programming. For those of you who are unfamiliar with drop sets, we are simply working up to a heavy set in any particular lift, then dropping a certain percentage or weight, and then performing a few more sets at that load. Now if you’re like me and wondered, “Why the heck do I have to use all my energy to go heavy and then go back down to do more work?!?!” well I’m here to let you in on the rhyme and reason behind the madness! Drop sets are effective for a number of reasons, and at the Sweat Shop we use them to develop proper movement patterns and to help us build strength just as Doug is demonstrating above.

Primarily, I want to talk about the relationship between strength and drop sets. In any given prescribed sets or reps, our body only recruits a certain number of muscle fibers. For example, the muscle fibers recruited for a heavy set of squats will be different then the fibers recruited for a lighter set. Performing drop sets essentially uses this idea in order to facilitate more muscle growth in any given lifting session. Still confused? Think about it this way, when we build to a heavy set in any movement we fatigue the muscle fibers that allow us to lift that particular load. You may think your body is done and can’t go on, but there is in fact more left in the tank. When we drop the weight, we recruit an entirely new set of muscle fibers and in turn we can keep going. Now what does this do for us in terms of building strength? Simply, when we recruit all different types of muscle fibers when we exercise, we facilitate more growth in the long run. More muscle fiber growth equals more strength!

In the end, using a variety of training methods is effective in building strength. The last thing we want to do is become content with the same reps and sets day in and day out. Look for more drop sets in the future, and hopefully I have made the “why” behind drop sets a little bit more clear!

Box Jump and Achilles Health

plyo_box1716b_bAre box jumps evil?

For sometime now, whenever there is a workout with box jumps, you’ve probably heard me say during the WOD briefing, that I recommend “jumping up, and stepping down”, to reduce or hopefully eliminate any risk of injuring your achilles tendon.  With Julie Foucher’s recent achilles injury at this year’s Regional competition, the always hot debate is once again on the front burner.  There are a couple of different takes on this matter, but here’s mine.  If you participate in CrossFit competitions you’ll likely come across the box jump in a workout, and for most people, the fastest way is to jump down and rebound back onto the box.  While there is an inherent risk to any type of exercise, box jumps done this way, in my opinion, are more risky in regards to potential achilles injury.  Nonetheless, for many that compete, it’s a risk worth taking.  For everyone else, I recommend jumping up and stepping down.

Here’s a post that talks more about the topic.

Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger?

I came across this interesting TED talk by David Epstein recently. This talk touches upon sports performance technology as well as human physiology and its impact on sporting achievements throughout the years. If you have a spare 15 minutes in your day it’s definitely worth the watch.

When you look at sporting achievements over the last decades, it seems like humans have gotten faster, better and stronger in nearly every way. Yet as David Epstein points out in this delightfully counter-intuitive talk, we might want to lay off the self-congratulation. Many factors are at play in shattering athletic records, and the development of our natural talents is just one of them.

From the Archives: Beware of the Sexy Metcon


Originally posted back in 2010, then again in 2011, there have been a lot of new members to the Sweat Shop since then, and since us coaches feel strongly about this, I’m posting this again.

Although everyone loves a good met-con workout (metabolic conditioning) for it’s fast pace, variety, mental challenge, and great post-workout feeling, the foundation of any fitness program should be strength, followed by skills.

Everyone’s body is different, and how someone recovers from high intensity exercise depends on many factors including sleep, nutrition and stress, just to name a few.  While there are a few people that get into CrossFit solely for the competitions, most people are doing it, or at least started to doing it, to improve their health.  Therefore it’s important to understand that long metcons that turn into a death-march, or even relatively shorter ones, if done too often, can have negative consequences on your health.  It’s important to listen to your body.  There’s no shame in doing overhead squats for strength, and then skipping part B. if you’re feeling a little run down.

Here’s an excerpt from an excellent post from the Whole 9.

People often make misguided assumptions about CrossFit workouts based on what grabs their attention on paper. “Tough workouts”, “elite athletic training” and “high intensity” translates as high repetitions, endless rounds, a grab bag of exercises (often seemingly chosen at random), or some combination of the above. And there’s a trend, especially among those new to CrossFit and inexperienced with programming, to ride that met-con train all the way to Cortisol Crazytown.

I’m here to caution you… beware the lure of the Sexy Met-Con.

For some (especially those new to CrossFit), the lure of something like the Filthy Fifty or the “300” workout is undeniable. Hundreds of reps of various bad-ass exercises all in one workout? That MUST be good fitness. New trainees doing their own programming fall quickly into the Sexy Met-Con trap, piling on the reps, adding more and more exotic movements, needing an excessive amount of time to complete the workout. They get beyond creative, making up workouts so complicated that you need a map and a flashlight just to follow along.

Trainees aren’t the only victims of the Sexy Met-Con pull. New coaches and affiliate owners fall into this trap as well. What looks like you put more effort into your programming – seven rounds of five different exercises with a complicated rep scheme, or “Back Squat 5×5”? What’s an easier group class workout – a 20 minute light-weight met-con, or a structured PMenu-style Olympic lifting session? This isn’t a dig on those coaches or affiliate owners – I get it. The pressure to get creative and put out fresh “unknowable” workouts every day is enormous. There is also a need (real or perceived) to drastically distinguish themselves from their Globo-Gym competition. Add in the pressure from clients to make them SWEAT so they feel like they’re getting what they pay for and the Sexy Met-Con becomes an easy go-to on all counts.

Read full post here.


5 Way Shoulder Mobility WOD


From time to time I like to check out Kelly Starret’s mobility WOD for some new mobility drills during class. There are now hundreds of videos of exercises for each joint. If you have pain or tightness resulting from something tissue related, and have yet to check out his videos, please do! This is where we get lot of our pre-wod mobility stuff. You can basically type “Mobility WOD” on youtube and you will find them all. While there are hundreds of them, every now and then I find a diamond in the rough, that hits several drills for one specific issue as opposed to the longer videos going over a bunch. Also, these are the ones doable BEFORE AND AFTER the WOD each day. As we’ve said before, the five minutes of mobility we do before class will not cure you of years of tight joints. It must be specific to the areas of tightness and be done everyday. Here is a good video which goes over a few we do in class. Add this to your everyday shoulder routine, and I guarantee you’ll start feeling some success!

Keeping Strength In The Strength Program

15502138639_cd1ccc5082_zThe epitome of strength: Emily “Ditka” Plurkowski

During my Thursday night lecture at JFKU, the importance of strength training came up. As I do every time giving this lecture, I ask the students to tell me what they believe is the most important factor when it comes to athletic performance. Almost every time, strength is never the first thing any of the students choose. This semester was no different. Most say cardiovascular endurance, more say speed and coordination, and a few even said mental strength. Most folks seem to get the general idea behind things like endurance and speed, but strength is typically the most misunderstood. Most times, people think of strength and associate it with big muscles. Many also associate strength as being an olympic weightlifter, bodybuilder, or one of those heavy power lifters. But as many of you may now have realized throughout your training with us, being stronger is more than just lifting weights and big muscles. Check out this older article written by Bill Star on understanding strength and why it is important to keep in your program.

From the article:

Strength is a much sought after attribute in the athletic community and for good reason. Greater strength gives every athlete a definite edge in any sport, if for no other reason than it allows him to practice the skills necessary for success longer and with more precision. Being strong also helps athletes to avoid serious injury. Sure, they’re still going to get hurt because there’s no possible way to avoid bone-jarring collisions in high-impact sports like football, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and even baseball. But if the athletes involved in such situations are extremely strong, they can walk away rather than being carried off the field. In their book, Kinesiology and Applied Anatomy, Drs. Rasch and Burke state: “Muscular strength is perhaps the most important of all factors in athletic performance.” Increase an athlete’s strength by 40% while keeping all the other attributes constant and he will be able to perform at a much higher level. Even if his technique has not improved to any great extent, he will become more proficient in his chosen sport. I’ve seen this happen countless times in Olympic and powerlifting. As the athlete gains strength, his numbers climb, yet his form stays constant. Strength is the difference.

Read full article here.

Understanding Mobile and Stable Joints

Last month, Dr. Rob and I attended the Selective Functional Movement Assessment Seminar. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it’s  a seminar put on by the governing body on all things “functional movement” and is run by the big names in the pre-hab, diagnostic, and rehabilitative realm of corrective exercise. They have created a pretty awesome diagnostic flowchart and system of assessing all sources of pain throughout the body. Out of the many seminars I’ve attended on exercise physiology, performance enhancement, and as a matter of fact, all of my undergraduate and graduate studies in Kinesiology, this one really took my understanding of the human body, through exercise and sport, to another level. While there were a ton of concepts I have taken home with me and have started applying to training and programming, I thought I’d share a really cool one that ALL of you who have had some sort of nagging pain or injury can relate to: The Stable/Mobile joint Approach.

This approach was put together by Functional Movement coaches and therapists Gray Cook and Mike Boyle.

If you look at the big joint structures of the body (see above), there is a recurring pattern….Whether you start from the top-down or vice versa, the body follows an alternating pattern of:

Stable Joints and Mobile Joints

For instance, the ankle, which requires a lot of movement in all planes of motion at the foot is considered a MOBILE joint. Right above it, we have the knee, a joint that provides stability for the leg, which is considered a STABLE joint. You are probably familiar with the hip as a MOBILE joint, and right above it, the lumbar spine, which is our spine’s source of support, is considered a STABLE joint. The same goes for shoulder girdle (STABLE joint) while the shoulder joint is a MOBILE joint and so on and so forth.

In a perfect body, this pattern stays consistent and is a blueprint of how we were meant to use our joints functionally. However, in life, especially in the lives of those who love to move, we run the risk of messing with this beautiful pattern. We start to run into problems when our daily activities, or lack there of, can alter the anatomically pre-determined job of the joints. Think about sitting for long periods. Our hip, which is supposed to be a mobile joint, is glued to a seat. What happens over time? Tight hips. When the hip, which is supposed to be a mobile joint, turns into a stable body, the next joint up has to compensate and start moving….hello Mr. Low Back Pain. Now the low back has gone from what is supposed to be a stable joint to now having to do excess motion to make up for the tight hips. Here is the start of the vicious cycle. If we just did a hardcore shoulder workout and the shoulder joint gets tight or “immobile”, the shoulder girdle, where our shoulder stabilizers reside, take on more movement. Hello shoulder issues.

So, why do I want you all to know this? To be honest, I think it’s really cool stuff to know. When you extrapolate this to the entire body, you can start to see the importance of moving correctly! You can back track and maybe find where most pain comes from and in my realization at this seminar, how one tight joint can effect all the others. As coaches, we always want you guys to better understand the “why’s” and “how’s” of treating yourself. Most of us just grab a foam roller or lax ball and start going to town on where we feel pain. This is obviously better than nothing, however, finding the source of the pain or tightness will help you get to the problem quicker. I know a majority of you are not EXPERTS in anatomy, but as with things like exercise and diet, I’m sure the lack of clinical expertise has not stopped you from going about day to day behavior changes. Also, this is where we come in! One of the biggest values of a clinician, therapist, or coach, is to assess and diagnose movement correctly. We’ve been around movement a lot, and take pride in our knowledge of the body so don’t be afraid to communicate any nagging issues with us. If it is beyond something movement-based, then of course, go see a doc. A good diagnosis cuts to the chase. If you can get a better diagnosis, you know where to start treatment and be able to cut down the treatment time. When you cut treatment time down, you get back to doing what you love: MOVING!

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