December 23, 2014


December 23, 2014

Each week, Joe will be contributing to the blog with a mobility-focused article. Here’s the first…

Strategizing a Mobility Program That Best Suits You 
Gathering the data : Let’s break me down for a second : I’m 6 feet tall and weigh anywhere between 195 to 200 pounds. I have been doing CrossFit since 2010. As a physical therapist I find myself for the most part on my feet all day. I did martial arts for years which means that I did a lot of stretching. I’ve injured my left wrist and my right elbow and have lost mobility in these joints. I just turned 45 this year. I have no issues with my hips, knees, shoulders, spine, ankles or feet. This is the rough template of what I have to work with. How then does someone like me come up with the appropriate mobility program that best suits me?
One has to consider his/her injuries, mobility issues as well as day to day activities that play a role in inhibiting or improving his/her performance in the playground we call CrossFit. Do you have a sit-down job? Are you subjected to repetitive physical stresses at work? Do you love your iPad/ smartphone too much? Do you log many miles driving in your car every week? Are you a woman who has given multiple births? What kind of shape is your body in at the present? Ask yourself how well you move  and don’t be biased. Evaluate yourself with an honest eye.
Postural Assessment : A person’s posture should be nothing short of perfect because, after all, normal posture is perfect posture. Awareness of posture for us has become somewhat of a foregone idea because we can move, walk and stand without any immediate issues. We all start out with perfect postures until the day comes when we are forced to sit in a classroom for hours everyday. Just look at any pre-school aged child and how they stand and move. Here’s a simple way to do your own postural assessment :
(1) Stand in front of a full length mirror in the nude or in your underwear. No – you’re not critiquing the tissues and how it hangs off your skeletal frame. You are looking at the bony protrusions – your head, shoulders, pelvis, knees, ankles, ribs, extremities and the spine.
(2) Stand in neutral. Stand with your heel bones directly under your lungs (roughly the same distance/width of your heels if you were walking or running. Wiggle your toes (because your weight should be back on the outside edges of your feet and on the heels).
(3)Lengthen your spine. The spine is neutral when it is at it’s maximal length while in standing or under load.What to look for :
From the front view: the shoulders/ collarbones as well as the pelvis and the lower ribs should be level and parallel with the floor. The spine should be straight. The arms should dangle evenly from the torso. Thighs and shins should be straight.
From the side view
: The head is seated directly over the torso and not in front. The neck and the lower back should show a gentle arching curve known as a lordosis. The upper back and the sacrum or tailbone should show a soft convex curve which we refer to as kyphosis. The mid-point of the upper portion of the upper arm or humerus bone should fall in the same vertical line as the ear. The pelvis is in a neutral tilt.
View from the top: the torso and pelvis  should be neutral and not rotated in either direction. The arms and legs should rotate out slightly and symmetrically

Movement Assessment : The Spine: Chin should touch the top of the breastbone  when going into flexion and extend at all segments resulting in a straight line from the top of the breastbone to the base of the chin during extension. During rotation the chin should almost touch the top of the shoulders. During side bending the neck should exceed 45 degrees. The upper back should round out as well flatten. The lumbar spine should hyperextend and fully flex. There is less side bending and rotation in the lumbar spine than there is in the neck.
Elbows, knees and all hinge joints : This is an easy one. The respective joint should  close and open and even hyperextend to some degree.
Joints that rotate : No, the shoulders and hips do not have 360 degrees of movement but pretty close. The degrees of movement vary from individual to individual  but should never be excessive to where the joint becomes unstable. Forearms should allow your hands to turn up and flat as well as palms down and flat. The shoulder blades, although not joints, should tilt forward, backward, slide up and down, tilt medially and laterally on the ribcage.
Tissue Assessment : The skin should be loose and glide freely over the muscles, looser around the elbows and knees and somewhat taut in the lower back and between the shoulder blades. Normal, healthy and relaxed tissues  at rest should feel like that of an infant or a puppy and not like a bagel or beef jerky. It should not be sensitive or irritable to moderate or even deep pressure.
What to do : Once all the data has been gathered it is then necessary to prioritize your issues. Bones first vs. tissues or is it the other way around? Remember, bones do not move by themselves so we always turn to the fascia. The tension around a joint should be even from front to back, side to side and top to bottom – no different than solving a Rubik’s cube. Fascia versus joint capsule? If the muscle, skin and connective tissue are loose and you’re still lacking range of motion in a joint then capsular releases are necessary. We have the Mobility WOD posters in the gym that will assist you in choosing the correct and appropriate capsular release technique. For the fascia : foam rollers, banded stretches, lacrosse balls and general stretching that effectively elongate and balance the tissue tension around the joint. We have a resource of videos in the mobility section of CFVB for self-tissue mobilization.
Asses and Re-asses : Keep a mental image of what you look like before you work on yourself or better yet take a selfie. Do your mobilization, put yourself back in neutral and then check for any changes. Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary.
Maintenance : One word – frequency. I have four dogs and two cats and I watch them stretch all day long. Their stretches typically involve gross or long/large movement patterns. They will typically arch forward, sit back, wiggle there toes, let out a big yawn and shake their spines and tails. One repetition per stretch and that’s it. These same stretches are repeated every time they change positions. For us humans that means frequently reaching overhead, bending forward and backward at the neck and low back, squat and even yawn. Don’t wait to come to the gym to do your stretches.
Still not making progress? : Talk to your coach. YouTube mobilizations and stretches. Yoga. Consult a bodyworker, a physical therapist, a pro. We’ll fix you and get you in the right direction.
christiana OH
Workout of the Day
Front Squat
work to a heavy single

Split Jerk
Work to a heavy single

3 rounds for time of:
20 wall balls 20/14
10 Power Clean 155/105 (masters 135/85)

Post your scores to the Whiteboard.