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Entries in mobility (94)

History of the Squat + Notes for Mobility Session Tomorrow

Tomorrow's mobility/makeup workout session will be on your own; I'll be at the gym but I'll be coaching a one-on-one session. I will write a prescription on the board for shoulders and hips, and have the timer running for you to either time your mobility or start a workout.

One of the things that has really helped me get a better understanding of coaching has been to look into the origins of strength and conditioning, and the movements that are included. A simple example would be a Toes to Bar (cue Mel with the rebuttal), knowing it came as a signature movement to the CrossFit Games for judging purposes helped me scale and not be restricted by the range of motion standards.

Squatting to lift weight is another example. Knowing how this thing started as a formal training tool is important to understand why some things are done the way they are.

Just by chance, I stumbled across this video on YouTube from earlier this year that gives a good visual of where formal squatting came from and how it was performed. (Sneak peek: before they had squat racks, they would stand the bar upright and the lifter would have to tip it onto themselves.

Quote of the Week vol. 198

We have a two-parter this week. The first comes from Arlene during yesterday's benchmark workout, "Barbara."

Me: "Arlene, you want a towel?"

Arlene: "I want my mommy"


Next, I always like to watch the NBA Summer League games for some reason, and this year Vince Carter has been announcing some of the games. He had an interesting point during the Knicks/Magic game.

Matt Winer: "At this point in your career, is there anything, or any habits, you did when you were younger - 20 or 22 years old - that you look back now like,'Man, I'm glad I did that?'"

Vince Carter: "Well, the first thing that comes to mind is stretching"

Mobility is never the most fun thing to do, compounding that fact that it ranges anywhere from uncomfortable to downright painful. But it's also one of the most important things we can be doing for our body - espcially judging by the intense nature of our workouts.

Get to these Wednesdays and Sundays folks!

Wednesday/Weekend Summer Schedule

Okay kids, so after a few phone calls and asking around, we are making a few changes for team workout/mobility times. Starting this weekend, here is what they will look like:


9 am (team workout - kids only)

11 am (babies)



10 am (mobility)

11 am (parents team workout)



10 am

5:30 pm

I know the 9 am is a little on the early side, but it is really the best time that will help the kids who are working late morning/early afternoon. It also helps get a babies session into a good spot - which is very important for this Summer.

It should also be noted that the parents are allowed to come on Sunday at 9 to mobilize during the kids team workout session should they so desire.

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.