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Coach's Blog

A Little Mobility Goes A Long Way

By Rob | In Coach's Blog | on June 4, 2013

Life as a human being is amazing. Consider the things that we can do as humans compared to other species. From a gross motor pattern perspective we can crawl, walk, run, skip, gallop, shuffle sideways, jump, swim and climb. We can lift, carry, throw and catch. Our fingers are nimble enough to write, type, play the piano, paint pictures and strum guitars. Pretty incredible if you think about it, clearly we were meant to be movers. Our minds have developed to a point that we have developed inventions that improve our daily lives such as cars, planes, computers, cell phones etc. Computers have developed from needing an entire room to process data to cell phones that can surf the internet, place phone calls, watch movies and listen to music. While these things improve our daily life, they affect our ability to do the amazing movement skills.  When our mobility becomes limited, our chances of injury increase.

Decreased mobility is a ticking time bomb to injury, especially within intense movement environments like CrossFit. Moving intensely is safe as long as the proper mobility and ranges of motion capabilities are present. If the proper mobility and range of motion capabilities are not present then we are creating a situation of  “putting fitness on top of dysfunction”; a term coined by Gray Cook, the creator of the Functional Movement Screen.  Many times exercises are blamed for injuries, when there is possibly an underlying movement dysfunction that could be the culprit.

Postural Awareness

We are what we repeatedly do.  – Aristotle

Have you ever considered how much time or effort that you put into improving your mobility vs. the time spent in activities that limit your mobility (sitting, slouching, working on computers, texting, driving, etc)? Most of us spend 8 or more hours a day sitting at a desk for work, add to that the time spent daily driving, eating, watching TV.   That is an awful lot of time sitting in spinal flexion (round back), internally rotated shoulders (like driving and working on a computer, texting), hip flexion (sitting) and many times all the above. Also consider your sleep position, what is your posture there? Is it helping or more of the same? Are you only doing your mobility work at CrossFit West Houston during class?

Make note of the postures you have while walking, sitting, working, driving, reading, texting, watching TV and sleeping. Can you make improvements that will positively impact your mobility? My guess for most people the answer would be a resounding YES.

Corrections

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. – Winston Churchill

Once you have determined your at risk posture, it is time to make a change.  There must be accounting for the time spent out of good posture.  It does not have to be a one for one accounting.

Here are some tips to do at work:
A couple of times a day do 10 shoulder rolls in each direction.
If it is allowed in your office, turn your chair around or kneel in front of your keyboard you’re your hips open and extended to do your work.
Have a LaX ball at your office and work on your pecs and shoulders.

Work your neck a couple of times a day. 5 x each
Turn head to right and left
Tilt head right and left
Keep chin level and move chin forward and backward
Nod head chin to chest and back of the head towards spine

Here are some things you could do at home watching TV:

Supermans x 10

Hip Bridges x 10 hold for 3 secs

PNF Stretching of  hamstrings

Roll out Quads, IT Band and Piriformis with Foam Roller

LaX ball on Shoulders, biceps, triceps, pecs, Achilles and calf

Un weighted Turkish Get Up from Lying to a Post

Kneeling Windmill 5 each side

Proper Positioning

If you don’t have time to do it right, how will you have time to do it over? – John Wooden

The key to good movement is proper positioning. If you don’t have good mobility it is difficult to get into a proper position. Take the time to work on the mobility of the hips, shoulders, T Spine, and hamstrings. Becoming more mobile will allow you to get into a solid proper position to begin any lift.

The main point here is that for most people the time balance between being in posture that limits mobility vs. time improving mobility is way out of whack. It is really important to understand that and do as much as possible to help keep it in balance. Relieve yourself from stress, tension and tightness by employing some to these simple things into your day.  A little mobility goes a long way!

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