11 Feb 13 “Mobility”

Alright, I haven’t really posted anything of substance in quite some time and it is highly debated if I’ve ever posted anything substance but I’m going to give it a shot today.  After leaving the gym on Saturday I was thinking about the mobility work that we did that day.  Needless to say everyone’s mobility needs some serious work, and that statement definitely includes me as well.  Often times mobility is overlooked, because for one it isn’t fun or sexy, secondly most don’t understand it, and lastly we feel overwhelmed by the amount of mobility issues that we have we just don’t know where to start.  So today my goal in this post is to answer these questions in order to better help all of us understand how we can move better. 

Make no doubt about it if you do CrossFit regularly you should consider yourself an athlete.  I say that because CrossFit is very similar to how college and professional athletes train.  The largest difference between the two is that as a CrossFitter you need to have a very board range of skills and be proficient at all of them.  However, a college or professional athlete for the most part specializing in one particular area.  I’m not bringing this up because I see us as professional athletes, I bring this up because you need to have that mindset.  You need to come into the gym prepared to train and better yourself each and every day just like a professional does.  If you don’t have the mindset of wanting to improve then I’d question your reasoning of even coming to the gym.  This mindset ties into performing the remedial tasks (mobility work) that help to improve our ability to move our bodies freely.

Now that I’ve got you in the right mindset to actually do the mobility work, now I’ve got to explain what the hell it is.  So what is mobility, and how does it differ from flexibility?   Mobility or joint mobility is the ability to move a limb through the full range of motion with control, and is based on voluntary movement.  While flexibility involves static holds and is often dependent on gravity or a passive force.  Basically, mobility is force generated by your own body to move a limb through complete range of motion.  That is why when you see mobility we are not relaying on gravity to generate further range of motion.  Lastly, the piece of control based voluntary movements is important as well because voluntarily moving your joints applies directly to us in that performing an air squat hinges on the fact that our bodies must move to full range of motion without a passive force.    

So, I’ve got you thinking that mobility work is sexy because professional athletes do it and I’ve explained what the hell it is, now I have to address how to approach our mobility weaknesses.  I personally know exactly how overwhelming it can be to address our mobility shortcomings.  We try so hard to fix everything at once that we get overwhelmed and just stop doing mobility in general.  It’s exactly like changing up your diet.  If you try to change everything all at once chances are you won’t be able to maintain it and eventually you will probably quit.  My approach to improving our mobility is to begin by focusing on one thing at a time.  For example, for the couple of weeks we will focus solely on improving our anterior hip and exterior rotators. We will be improving our mobility in these areas by performing the couch stretch every single day.  Now, this may become a little boring, but we will test and re-test in order to show progress in this area.  This mobility work is vital to improving our position in the catch of the Olympic lifts.

Stay tuned for more information regarding our every evolving fitness goals.

The videos below are from Justin Lascek, who hosts the blog 70sbig.com as well as co-writer to one of the fundamental books regarding fitness titled “Fit.”  I will be referencing Justin Lascek more and more because his approach to mobility, crossfit, powerlifting, Olympic lifting and fitness is pretty forward thinking.  In addition, his newest e-book titled “Paleo for Lifters” is already released and can be found here.  This e-book goes into the newest thought process behind the paleo diet and caters to athletes, especially those we lift a lot.

Couch stretch- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JawPBvtf7Qs.

Pam here is the IT band video I promised- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_WcSTvZR1k

Toe angle and squatting part 1- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWi65pMS1Fc

Toe angle ad squatting part 2- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFzE9NolXyg

Warm Up 20mins

  • 400m run
  • Dynamic stretching
  • Mobility- Couch stretch for 3mins ea leg
  • 50 GHD Situps
  • 25 Hip Extensions
  • 10 Navel to bar pullups
  • 5 Minutes of HS Walk practice

Barbell Work 20mins

  • 7×1 Hang Clean
All working reps should be 80% or above your 1RM clean. You may work up to a max, or hold a challenging weight across the sets, depending on how you are feeling.
I am not going to specify high or low hang; this is up to you. My only stipulation is that you do not start ballistically; it needs to be from a dead stall, but does not need to be paused for more than a moment or two. This is to ensure you have correct positioning before you begin and prevents you from utilizing any momentum from lowering into the hang.
Things I would like you to keep in mind:
  • Work on not allowing feet to leave the ground. Extending onto the balls of the feet is acceptable, but using the ground as leverage is preferred over floating.
  • Push the ground away to propel the bar upwards. Use the legs!
  • PULL yourself under the bar. Priority is getting those elbows under, around, and UP as quickly as possible. Hands need to be open to catch the bar.

Conditioning 15mins

10 Muscle Ups
100 DU
2 Shoulder to overhead (STOH), 135/95
8 MU
80 DU
6 MU
60 DU
4 MU
40 DU
2 MU
20 DU
*Just an observation…there have been A LOT of STOH and large sets of DU appearing in programming across the board, HQ included. You have to be able to string these movements together in UB sets as much as possible if you are interested in being competitive.

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