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More Program than Gym

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Entries in mobility (91)

Coach's Corner: Shoulders in the Floor Press

Without knowing anything about mobility, anatomy, or physiology, anyone could identify that shoulders shouched forwards is back and shoulders pulled back is good. Not only is shoulders back a stronger position, but also safer. Sometimes this gets tricky to identify when doing movements in CrossFit because there is so much going on, so many moving parts, and we are often changing our orientation in space.

While doing floor presses, we are lying on our back and this gives us a better view of what our shoulders might be doing in push-ups (the same movement, just flipped on our belly). Pay attention to the shoulder position of Shakes and Jacqueline in the video below.

Notice how Shakes's shoulders slowly roll forward on the descent, while Jackie's do a pretty good job of staying further back against the ground. As with most things we see in the gym, this can be broken down to both a movement and mobility issue.

Movement. The set-up of the lift gets more important as the weight increases. In the floor press, we need to have the same set-up as our push-up: butt and belly tight with external rotation in the shoulder. But because we have an added point of support (the floor), we need to actively pinch the shoulder blades back together bebefore we start to make sure they don't ram into the floor while the movement is being completed, causing the shoulder to roll forward.

Mobility. The more mobility we have, the more room for error we are granted. In Shakes's case, she is missing shoulder extension, which is coupled with internal rotation. If this is the main problem, it would be a long-term fix and something that needs daily mobility work, but it can definitely be improved.

The floor press is a weird lift, and is something we wouldn't see as much if we had more benches. But in a video call with the Martins from Brand X a few months ago, they actually told me they believe it's better to practice floor press for most athletes anyway, especially if they aren't competing in powerlifting. Either way, I'll be paying attention to what the shoulders are looking like whenever these happen to come up.

Avoiding Shin Splints

Track has been under way for about 4 weeks now, and the thing Shannon and I have heard the most of by far is complaints about pain in the shins.

The best way to avoid this is to avoid over-striding when running. It looks something like this:

The closer we land to underneath out hips, the less braking force we put on everythihg. Whether you land on the ball of foot like Crystal, or heel-strike like Mrs. Carey, this active landing is something we will be continually working to correct in the coming warm months.

In the meantime, there are a few good ways to treat your shins and everything surrounding while you work on your running technique. Kelly Starrett talks about some of them in this old video.

You know it's old because he talks about icing the area in question. But be on the lookout for some of this stuff at the upcoming mobility sessions.

Mobility Day Highlights - Dodgeball Mashup

Last Wednesday I left halfway through the mobility session as usual to help Matt with his basketball camp at the Warren Rec center. When I talked to Shannon after, she said the kids stayed an extra half hour to play dodgeball. Apparently Mr. Fitz got the entire thing on camera and did a trippy mash-up. Check it out.

Aaron Sexton was obviously prepping for the upcoming baseball season, seeing as he left giant welts on Katie Shakes and Elizabeth that are not going away any time soon.

Quick Mobility Rules

While we rarely see injuries that come from our workouts (less than I over the course of the years we're been doing this), minor aches and pains come up often due to the fact that we work out at a relatively high intensity. Most often, these come from problems in our joints - especially knees and elbows. The cause of knee and elbow pain is another story, but there is a mobility principle that can give you some relief for the time being. It's what Kelly Starrett calls Upstream and Downstream.

It's as simple as this: whatever spot is giving you problems, do some mashing above and below.

Let's take the knee for example. Arlene was complaining yesterday about some pain on the front/outside of her knee. So naturally I mashed on the front/outside of her quad and BINGO! It loosened up and she was able to jog a little. (The fact that she couldn't run for the workout tells me that the problem comes from the hips, again, an issue for another post).

If her pain was in the back of her knee, then it would make sense to mash the hamstings and calves. Inside knee pain? Go after the groin and high calf.

Same idea can be done with the elbow, ankle, wrist, or any joint really. So when you get in early for a session, or are feeling a little achy after a tough workout, find your hotspot and work upstream and downstream.

Schedule Adjustment for This Saturday's Mobility

For this Saturday only the mobility session will be at 9 am instead of 11 am. Normal times for stuff on Sunday.

More shoulder stuff, anyone?

Hard Routine Challenge for the New Year

Within the last few days I've been hearing a lot of talk how healthy lifestyles have gone in the crapper over the past two holiday weeks. Given that, I think it would be a good time to introduce the Hard Routine Challenge again starting when you read this and lasting for one week (Tuesday, January 10th).

The idea behind the Hard Routine can be found in this retro CrossFit Journal article. It started off as a Military pact that soldiers would make to help them stay focused and on task in a given period of time. Some in the CrossFit community have used it as a way to get their lifestyles back on track after a lapse of sorts - we've done this numerous times and you can see them by clicking the hard routine tag below. Here's our guidelines for this one:

  1. At least three CrossFit sessions
  2. At least 8 hours of attempted* sleep every night
  3. At least two meals per day estimating a balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat
  4. 6 minutes of mobility**

Waffles would generally not count towards a balanced mealThese are some of the main points of emphasis we talk about at the gym that affects your workouts and sports. The reason I am keeping it short is because in the past there's been good participation early on, only to see it dwindle down over time.

All we need from you is one week. If you can manage, sign up to comments.

*I noted attempted sleep because sometimes we just lay in bed and toss and turn. The intention was there though.

**This mobility needs to be done outside of a session.

Jazz Night for Shakes + Lifts 4 Gifts Prep

Tomorrow at the 6pm mobility session we're going to work on the back squat and test out some numbers in prep for Lifts 4 Gifts on Saturday. Pleaee be there.


Katie Shakes can lift trucks, run 800m repeats, make cricket and cat sounds, and is out reigning Athlete of the Summer. What else can she do, you ask? Well, it turns out she is quite the Jazz player.

She was part of Warren Mott's marching band in high school and now she's on Macomb Community College's Jazz band playing the baritone saxophone. Her winter concert is tonight at 7:30 pm at the MCC Center campus (19 mile & Garfield). If the snow holds up, try to make it out there.