Here we are one week into the Squat Virtuosity Challenge. We have a few more weeks to go and I am excited to see the progress that is bound to come. I wanted to take a little time and lay out a few things based on the challenge as a whole and some of the things I observed this week.
Assessing vs Guessing
We began this challenge with the tests to see where you all were with mobility in the joints and muscles that make up a good squat. It is a good thing to know what our limitations for good movement are because knowledge is power. If you know what you need to address, you can make it happen. This was a very quick down and dirty assessment which will catch some things; I encourage you to take advantage of the assessments through De Motu/Mobility Therapy.
Now that we are armed with good information we can attack the stiff and weak areas. Spending consistent time working on your specific areas will provide you with greater range of motion and uninhibited movement. This will be accomplished in class every day.
Results and Expectations
It was interesting to observe the tests over the course of the week. Reactions were definitely mixed, some were shocked, some enlightened and some a little disappointed and maybe little upset. I was not surprised at all.
It seems that many were surprised that some people that squat pretty well and pretty heavy failed many of the tests. Sadly that is not uncommon. The human body has incredible ability to compensate and get tasks done under less than optimal conditions. The little compensations are supposed to help you get through the task’s at hand temporarily. However, this will come at a cost down the road via injury or knee/hip replacement.
Our bodies need constant maintenance to keep it in good working order. The more we address the inhibited tissue the greater chance we can restore better movement. But the work does not end there, we need to keep it going to keep your body properly aligned and void of compensation. Daily mobility is a must to regain mobility and to maintain mobility. Our bodies are like a high performance race car, they are high maintenance.
Along with compensation issues we develop postural issues that come with being in the same posture for long periods of time. And just to demonstrate how ingrained these can become, I’ll give you an example of a very small thing that crept into my movement.
As some of you know, I have a background in martial arts. It is actually through martial arts that I found CrossFit and functional movement. Way back in the day, I did a lot of kickboxing and also studied traditional Karate as a foundation to kickboxing. Recently, our family picked up the traditional side of martial arts again. A funny thing crept up in my movement and it was totally unexpected. When I made fists in a fighting stance my thumbs stick up. I know how to make a good fist, but I spent a lot of time using boxing gloves. With boxing gloves on you, never make a tight fist. I was holding my hands up with my thumbs sticking up and had no clue until an upper belt pointed it out to me. It seems like a small thing but in a street fight that could become a leverage point or I could injure myself by getting it caught on something.
Using the Information
Use the data that we discovered to help improve the positions in our squats. And the way to do that is developing a daily mobility practice. It can be first thing in the morning for 5 minutes or last thing before you go to bed. If you are binge watching House of Cards, Narcos, Orange is the New Black, or whatever… get on your mobility tools or just do joint mobility. Heck even accumulate 5 minutes in a squat all of those things will improve your mobility with very little effort. We will work on the mobility in classes but it is NOT enough. It will not happen by itself, you have to do the work. Dedicate some time to your most valued possession, your body!