Category Archives for "Functional Fitness"

Coach Mash Talks Strongman Training

We have used strongman movements in our workouts at Mash Elite for over a decade now. Each year we incorporate the movements more and more. Strongman is a huge part of my latest book Do What You Want. In the book I show how easy it is to make strongman work a core element of just about any workout plan. This article is about the benefits of strongman work. It’s also to explain the “why” behind the movements we use, and I’ll also reveal the ones we leave alone.

COACH MASH'S GUIDE TO HYBRID TRAINING

The Art of Combining:

Weightlifting - Powerlifting - Bodybuilding

Strongman - Functional Fitness - Endurance Cardio

Learn the art and science of how to train multiple disciplines simultaneously. Get stronger, faster, bigger...
and DO WHAT YOU WANT.

Let’s start by looking at the Strongman movements we use and don’t use:

Strongman Movements We Use Ones We Leave Alone
Overhead Carries Stone Lifts
Farmer’s Walk Tire Flips
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk
Zercher Carry
Suitcase Deadlifts
Log Clean & Press
Axle Bar Deadlifts
Axle Bar Clean & Presses
Keg Toss
Weight Throws for Height
Sled Drags
Sled Pushes
Hand over Hand Car or Sled Pulls

 
My favorite reason for using strongman training within my programming is for carries. Carries are the number one way we strengthen the cores of our athletes. I have news for you, sit-ups and crunches are not that great for strengthening the core. The core is every muscle that supports the spine and pelvis. When you are carrying heavy weights for distance, you can be assured that every ounce of your core is being strengthened. Not only is your core being strengthened, but it is also being strengthened in a functional way.

Let’s Talk Functional Training

What do I mean by “a functional way?” I am talking about strengthening your core in a way that relates to strength sports, overall athleticism, and life in general. Carries strengthens the core with a vertical torso. Carries also strengthen the core while walking and vertical, which is even more functional. The spine is in a healthier position when it is vertical and neutral. The most important position to be in while carrying is vertical and neutral.

Unilateral carries are also important. Unilateral carries strengthen the core, while encouraging hip health. The quadratus lumborum lifts the hips up on each side. Unilateral carries are a great way to activate and strengthen these muscles that often become dormant hanging out too much at a desk. Unilateral carries can really help to stabilize the pelvis while encouraging proper movement.

Suitcase deadlifts are a great way to similarly strengthen the core by performing eccentric and concentric contractions. Carries on the other had focus on isometric contractions. It’s wise to always strengthen muscles and joints in a way that incorporates all three contractions. Suitcase deadlifts lead me to the other use of Strongman work.

I love movements that can be performed similarly to normal competition or accessory movements. This is the conjugate method at its finest. You can be performing the same plane, 99% a similar movement, and change the implement being lifted, and body will react immediately by trying to adapt to the new stimulus. Also when you are using implements that are slightly awkward, you will incorporate more muscle fibers especially in the core as it tries to balance the body.

An example is using the Strongman log for clean and presses. You still get tremendous hip extension, but the movement is awkward. This movement:

• Creates power
• Requires hip extension
• Strengthens the core
• Develops upper and lower force production
• Strengthens shoulder and overhead stability

The throws are amazing for force development and power production. You can perform throws for height and distance. When you throw for distance, you incorporate rotational force. Keg throws for distance are great for rotational athletes like baseball, softball, tennis, and of course throwers. The pushes and pulls are great for conditioning and strengthening without lots of muscular damage. That means you can still recover quickly from these movements mainly because there aren’t any eccentric contractions taking place.

The Movements We Exclude

There are only a couple of strongman movements I don’t like to use. The first one that we don’t use is the atlas stone. The main reason is because atlas stones force you to pick them up with a flexed spine. There is some debate about the safety of this type of movement, but when it comes to the spine, I am always going to defer to Dr. Stuart McGill. His whole life is dedicated to research regarding the spine and pelvis. His life is also been dedicated to treating some of the highest profile strength athletes in the world. That makes him pretty darn smart.

He doesn’t suggest trying to strengthen the spine in a flexed/rounded position. The spine isn’t designed to lift in that position. Some think that it will strengthen the back to protect it when it gets out of position. However, all that lifting with a flexed back gets you is a lack of capacity. When you train in that position, you weaken the back more and more each time. Eventually you destroy all the capacity that the back has to support the spine, and then injury happens. In reality, when you strengthen the spine in a neutral position, you increase the capacity the back has in a flexed position. That’s why we train 98% of the time in a neutral position. The only times we train with a flexed back is during max effort attempts that don’t go as planned.

The other movement that we don’t use at Mash Elite is tire flips. Personally I love tire flips, but there is one big problem with performing tire flips. The big problem is that they can cause bicep tears at an alarming rate. I love the triple joint extension that one reaches when performing this lift. They are a lot of fun to perform. However, the nature of the lift requires you to lift with a supinated grip. A supinated grip automatically recruits the bicep. You can tell yourself to relax the arm all you want, but the minute you supinate your grip the bicep engages. The bicep doesn’t do well with heavy and explosive movements, so the tire flip is a perfect storm for tearing your biceps.

There is one more thing that I want to mention about Strongman movements: they are a lot of fun! In a sport like Weightlifting where 80% of your time is spent snatching, clean and jerking, and squatting, athletes love the opportunity to carry or lift something differently. Keeping any type of strength training fun is the key to longevity. Too many people quit right before they get good. They miss the payoff for all their hard work because they got bored. I say give the Strongman movements a try. You will at least have more fun while getting better.

There is one last thing that I want to say before I go. When it comes to carries, drags, and pushes, here are the ways to progress:

• Load/ weight
• Distance carried, pushed, or drug
• Sets and reps
• Progression using any or a combination of these will lead to improvements

Now go carry something heavy!

We are here for you during this Coronavirus crisis.

Let us help with customized programming and coaching when you have limited access to gym equipment.

If you are financially able to join our online team for customized programming at this time, we would appreciate your support.

If you are financially struggling during this time, we still want to help. Email us and we will try to help out in any way we can.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

Mattie Rogers – The Barbell Life 196

I’m sure you’ve heard of this week’s podcast guest. Mattie Rogers is one of the most well-known weightlifters in America – and she’s got a total and a bunch of records to back up her popularity.

Her career didn’t start with success, though. The first time she jumped into CrossFit, she was weak and hated the barbell movements. Give this podcast a listen to hear how she went from struggling to setting records.

 

COACH MASH'S GUIDE TO HYBRID TRAINING

The Art of Combining:

Weightlifting - Powerlifting - Bodybuilding

Strongman - Functional Fitness - Endurance Cardio

Learn the art and science of how to train multiple disciplines simultaneously. Get stronger, faster, bigger...
and DO WHAT YOU WANT.

 

LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

  • The training change that added 30 kilos to her clean in a year
  • How breaking glass skyrocketed her popularity
  • Struggles with her weight
  • Dealing with fame and the issues it causes at meets
  • What young weightlifters need to understand
  • and more…

The Movement Continuum by Matt Shiver

There is a continuum on which movement patterns are developed. You must first develop or have mobility for a movement pattern. Mobility is the ability to get your body into the positions you want to train. You then must have stability. Stability in its broadest terms is your ability to control that range of motion/position. Once mobility and stability are obtained, then you have skilled movement. It is important to note that mobility and stability are always movement specific, not joint specific. You may have adequate shoulder mobility on the ground, but when you go to standing you lose some range of motion. The same goes for stability. Your core may be strong when you are doing planks but when you are squatting, you have no control over it.

Too often we skip the mobility and stability piece and go straight for the skilled movement patterns. For example, we want to snatch even if we do not have the capability to keep a PVC pipe over our head while doing overhead squats. We end up using the weight as counter balance and force our shoulders and spine into a compromised position to get the range of motion and stability that we cannot generate ourselves. All exercises should be able to be done with no weight. If you cannot do it without weight, you probably shouldn’t be doing it with weight. If you continue to do so without an effort to fix it, you are just reinforcing a bad movement patterns.

Protocols for Aches and Pains, Muscular Imbalances & Recovery

Work Harder. Train Longer. Prevent Injury.

Prevent injury, reduce pain and maintain joint health with Travis's specific corrections for your individual muscular imbalances.

Case Study

This past week I had my barbell class do air snatches and clean and jerks in their warm-ups. What surprised me most was that I could see their movement flaws even better with this warm-up. For those who used an early arm bend, it was still apparent with no weight. For those who had a hard time locking out their snatches or jerks, I could see their arms were still bent with no weight. For those who could not get depth, it was even more apparent here. For those who could not stabilize in the bottom (back rounds with heavy loads) I too could see that here. It was very eye opening! I think my progression/regression model will change after this experience. I want people to get to using added resistance on the barbell as fast as they can on the weightlifting movements. I want them to load it to get stronger, faster, etc. But we have to take it one step at a time. Constantly cuing and cuing and cuing may not get your athlete to the positions that they need if they are lacking mobility and stability.

We need to move well before we move often.

When cues don’t work we need to give “corrective exercises” to improve one’s mobility or stability. Mobility is the easiest to get. If done right, a lot of time you can get it really quick. Especially if you are working with younger athletes. It is thought that they have tissues that are more pliable than older adults. They have not been in compromised positions like sitting all their life yet. They are typically easier to see a change on.

How to Increase Range of Motion

My favorite models for trying to increase range of motion at a joint include soft tissue mobilization with hard objects while forcing my body into end ranges of motion. Often once I take the object away, I find that I have more range of motion before I get started. Another well studied technique is the PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation). This includes the hold and relax techniques that you may have seen being done on hamstrings, shoulders, hips, etc. This can be done all over the body. It doesn’t have to be a specific protocol either. I often implement the soft tissue work with PNF as well. I can lay on a ball, push and contract hard onto the ball, and then relax to push my body into a further position. Other methods include classic static stretching (only after the tissue is warmed up, don’t stretch while you are cold that is wasting time).

Most mobility drills and techniques are only temporary. You are most likely not actually stretching tissue. Your nervous system is most likely getting comfortable in a new position and relaxing your body and soft tissue to allow you to get into this position. The benefits of foam rolling shows to only stick around for about 10 minutes. Some static stretching research shows that the effects can range to 30 minutes. With that, we must follow up mobility work with stability work. Once we get that new range of motion we must learn to control it. This can increase our chances of keeping the new mobility we just gained.

My favorite forms of stability work include isometrics (static holds) and tempo work. Let’s say you just improved your ankle range of motion and your sport/desired movement pattern is the squat. What we are going to do is follow up the mobility work with movement specific stability drills like pauses in the bottom of the squat pushing the knees out further over the toes. If that is too difficult we can do the same thing in a lunge position working on one leg a time. We can include some tempo work to further improve that tissues function. We can do a five-second eccentric working on proper technique, a five-second pause at the bottom, and then another three-five seconds on the way back up. SLOW IS FAST. We will make more progress going slow out of the gates when trying to achieve mobility than we will going fast.

Now We Can Load the Movement

Once the stability work is under control, then we can start to load the movement as long as our standards for the movement are agreed upon. Every movement has different movement standards that should be in place. Once you or your athlete breaks those movement standards, you must stop there until you have improved the stability of the movement pattern to add more weight.

In most athletic beginners, I commonly see they have plenty of strength to do the movements. Their strength is high coming from another sport or activity. Yet they don’t have the stability needed to get into the positions or hold the positions when the weight increases. It is important to create a buy in system with the athlete to show them where they will be in a few months. In training, it should be everyone’s goal to prevent injuries, not compromise positions for performance. Work on easier movement patterns that require less stability to maintain or increase your strength while you are working on the stability of the positions you are trying to improve.

It is important to note that this continuum will always go back and forth. You may have the stability to lift the weight you are lifting today, but in a few months you may get stupid strong (you probably are if you are following a Mash program) you may need to re-evaluate your stability in these positions. Same thing goes for mobility. If you experience an injury or you begin a new job that forces you to sit more or use your body in a different way, your body will adapt to the positions that it is in most of the time.

Want to train with Coach Matt? Check out the Mash Mafia online team!

We are here for you during this Coronavirus crisis.

Let us help with customized programming and coaching when you have limited access to gym equipment.

If you are financially able to join our online team for customized programming at this time, we would appreciate your support.

If you are financially struggling during this time, we still want to help. Email us and we will try to help out in any way we can.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

The Great Cardio Debate: Is it Good for CrossFitters and Strength Athletes?

I just released my latest E-Book, “Do What You Want”, which is all about concurrent training. The book combines:

  • Weightlifting
  • Powerlifting
  • Strongman
  • Bodybuilding
  • CrossFit
  • Endurance work – specifically 5K training

COACH MASH'S GUIDE TO HYBRID TRAINING

The Art of Combining:

Weightlifting - Powerlifting - Bodybuilding

Strongman - Functional Fitness - Endurance Cardio

Learn the art and science of how to train multiple disciplines simultaneously. Get stronger, faster, bigger...
and DO WHAT YOU WANT.

Most of the book is filled with information I already knew. However researching the endurance work opened my eyes to some pretty interesting possibilities. I grew up in an age where combining strength work with basic cardiovascular work was taboo. The thought process was that if you trained slowly, you’d be slow. There is some truth to that, but then again it’s all about the way you train. Plus there are a lot more benefits that outweigh possible negatives. Before you read this, I want you to know that Alex Viada’s work helped show me this new world. It actually completely changed the way I look at cardiovascular training. Alex directly influences most of my work on anything cardiovascular, so I want to give him credit.

Let’s Take A Look

It’s important that you know some basics about energy systems. ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is what makes the body do its thing. It’s the fuel necessary to make muscles contract. There are two main ways your body replenishes ATP for energy:  anaerobically without oxygen, and aerobically with oxygen. Here’s the way it goes:

  • For the first 10 seconds or so, the body replenishes ATP directly from phosphocreatine (PCr). This is the fastest way the body replenishes stored ATP. This is the alactic system as no lactate is produced.
  • After that, and up to a few minutes of high intensity activity we enter the lactate system. The anaerobic glycolytic system is the primary energy source.
  • After that, we are relying on the oxidative system. This is aerobic activity utilizing oxygen.

Aerobic training of course strengthens the heart. Aerobic training also increases the vascular network used to pump blood back to the heart. This allows it to have stronger and faster contractions for sustained periods of time. This should already be raising some eyebrows of you CrossFitters and even Strongmen.

The heart’s stroke volume (blood pumped per contraction) also increases. That means that with each beat the heart is sending out more blood to the body for improved performance and recovery. This doesn’t seem to be the case for HIIT or resistance training due to muscle occlusion and straining – no blood is flowing during muscle contraction and less is being returned to the heart. So even though your heart rate might increase, that doesn’t mean blood flow does. However, in highly trained aerobic athletes, they are still able to maintain blood flow during HIIT and resistance training allowing for increased performance and recovery.

Another benefit to aerobic training is the capillary network to all working muscle is increased dramatically. That means more blood flow to all the muscles of the body, which leads to increased performance and faster recovery. Once again this is why all CrossFit athletes should spend lots of quality time building their aerobic capacity. Basically, increased strength and improved aerobic capacity makes everything in CrossFit easier to improve upon.

One of the most significant adaptations of endurance training is an increased number of mitochondria. Mitochondria are responsible for energy production at the cellular level. They produce ATP from both glucose and fatty acids. This happens independent of anaerobic glycolysis. That means less glucose lost to the lactate production. Lactate is a fast source of ATP Production, but it is limited in two major ways:

  • Increased acidity that can actually slow down of stop muscle movement.
  • Lactate production of ATP runs through glucose stores much faster with the same amount of work being produced.

The Bottom Line

Here’s the bottom line: if the aerobic system runs more efficiently, you are able to handle more work for longer because you can to tap into fat more efficiently. After the first 8-10 seconds of resistance training, you tap into the lactate system. You also start to use the aerobic system. The more efficiently your aerobic system fires the lesser the depletion of the body’s glucose stores. You’re able to perform more work and the same fatigue level, or the same amount of work with less fatigue. Either way, a strong aerobic system is important.

The only negatives I found in my research of aerobic training are the rule of specificity and aspects of recovery. If you are an Olympic weightlifter, long distance running or cycling might be a bad idea. Your goal is to be as explosive as possible, so running slow could teach the body to be slow. A better choice might be swimming. If you want to perform sprints, recovery becomes a major concern due to muscle damage caused from sprinting. It’s very similar to high repetition squats with extreme eccentric and concentric contractions of similar muscles and acute joint angles needed to perform these activities. You could perform sprints with the workout if you took them into consideration. However, you wouldn’t want to perform sprints the day before a major squat session. The same would go for bench pressing and trying to perform the ski erg. You probably want to perform the stationary bike.

So whether you are a CrossFitter or strength athlete, there are some obvious benefits of performing some cardiovascular work. Man, I wish my professors in college had realized this. I remember so many arguments between Dr. Stone (all about strength training) and Dr. Niemen (all about cardiovascular training). If they had come together, we could have learned a whole lot more a whole lot sooner. If you are a CrossFitter, I would spend a majority of my off-season on cardiovascular work, strength training, and practicing skill movements. This would help build a better overall anaerobic glycolytic system. If you are a strength athlete, I would do the same thing for better recovery and more work capacity. Of course, you want to taper off the cardiovascular work when a competition nears. Now we can all be fit and strong. I hope this leads to a healthier lifestyle for all of my strength athlete brethren.

COACH MASH'S GUIDE TO HYBRID TRAINING

The Art of Combining:

Weightlifting - Powerlifting - Bodybuilding

Strongman - Functional Fitness - Endurance Cardio

Learn the art and science of how to train multiple disciplines simultaneously. Get stronger, faster, bigger...
and DO WHAT YOU WANT.

Coach Mash Takes a New Path

In the middle of a new book I am writing about concurrent training, “Do What You Want”, all of a sudden it dawned on me to try a new plan of my own. I’m 44 years old, and I still thrive on goals. I simply can’t workout just to workout, and that’s ok. It’s who I am, and I am ok with that. The problem is that I needed to find something new to intrigue me.

Determining My Goals

It took me a while, but I finally came up with my new goals. I decided to perform a SuperTotal, which is something that I enjoy and have done in the past. The kicker is that I also decided to train for a 5K road race. There is a part of me that wishes that I had chosen a rowing for distance goal, but it’s too late – I am in it now, so maybe next time. Some might say that the SuperTotal isn’t very challenging for me, but you would be wrong. Last year, I tore my triceps tendon completely from the bone twice: once lifting and once from falling down the steps like a fool. I thought for the longest while that I would never snatch again, but I hate the word ‘never’. That word literally freaks me out, so I’ve decided to not let some silly injury dictate what I can and cannot do.

My overhead stability needs a lot of work. My left side is compromised from fracturing a cervical vertebra in 2007, and my right arm, the triceps tear. That leaves zero good arms and a lot of work to do. Week one has been fun and challenging, but it’s obvious that this isn’t going to be easy.

Notes on The First Week

The powerlifting portion isn’t quite as challenging, but wow it crushed me. I’m training the same as I did when I was in my prime; the volume is just as hard, but I am being a lot smarter on max effort days. I am not going to go to absolute failure. The goal is to listen to my training partner of over twenty-five years, Coach Chris Ox Mason. If he tells me to stop, I am going to stop. We have told each other that we are going to stop one to two sets before failure, and simply progress like that. This will take a lot of discipline for me, but my priority is my family, not working out until failure during training. That realization will keep me in check.

I am getting a pump every training session with a focus on my weaknesses like glutes, triceps (obviously), and shoulders. Plus, I’ll be 100% up front and tell you all that I want to get some pumps for the coming summer months. Yep, I too like to look good in my swimsuit.

The one piece of equipment helping to make all of this possible is the Westside Barbell Belt Squat Machine. I perform some type of movement on this machine 100% of the time that I am in the gym. The glute activity the machine promotes aids significantly in keeping my hips healthy. This glute activity, required for hip extension while using the belt squat, helps to keep my femur in a position that alleviates the hip pain that I feel most of the time. This machine alone has kept me out of surgery. I was scheduled to get a hip replacement at the end of last year until I started using this miracle machine.

Believe it or not, my favorite part of this new workout routine has been the added cardiovascular work. I’m using the assault bike for interval work, which ends up being the hardest part. On Fridays I am performing a recovery row with the Concept 2 Rower. Saturday afternoons I am taking a run/walk for 20+ minutes while keeping my heart rate at around 75% of my max. This is the key to increasing cardiovascular capacity without requiring lots of downtime for recovery.

I am also using information that I have gathered from Alex Viada. If you haven’t read his book “The Hybrid Athlete”, you really should. I refer to that book on a regular basis. It forever changed the way I look at concurrent training.

The mileage, time, and distance of my run/walks continues to increase for the next twelve weeks. The program is designed to peak me for a 5K, which is frankly something I thought I would never do, especially with this wrecked hip. However here I am looking forwards to cardio days. Who the heck am I?  Alex what have you done to me?

Do What You Want

The whole point to all of this is to show you that you can do pretty much whatever you want. I hope this teaches you that no one should define the way that any of us looks at fitness and strength other than ourselves. The key is to enjoy what you are doing. I suggest challenging yourself in new and exciting ways on a regular basis. My new book is filled with a limitless amount of workouts designed to challenge you in several different ways. I am going to show you how to combine:

  • Olympic Weightlifting
  • Powerlifting
  • CrossFit
  • Endurance Work
  • Bodybuilding
  • Strongman

It was so exciting fitting these disciplines together in a way that coincides with the body’s energy systems and muscle fiber recruitment. It was like several big puzzles, and I used science to fit the pieces together. I am enjoying this new workout more than I have enjoyed a workout in over a decade. I look forward to pushing my body over the next twelve weeks. I intend to report back major success. I hope that all of you report back the same from challenging your own body in ways you never thought possible.

COACH MASH'S GUIDE TO HYBRID TRAINING

The Art of Combining:

Weightlifting - Powerlifting - Bodybuilding

Strongman - Functional Fitness - Endurance Cardio

Learn the art and science of how to train multiple disciplines simultaneously. Get stronger, faster, bigger...
and DO WHAT YOU WANT.

Here’s a little sample of Week 1:

Accumulation Phase
Day 1 Week 1
Hang Snatch  below knee 3RM 7 RPE, then -10% for 3
Box Squats 75%  7×3 with 60-90 sec rest
ss
Seated Box Jumps 7×3
2″ Deficit Snatch Grip Deadlift  w 5 sec eccentric 5RM 7 RPE, then -10% for 2×5
1a. Belt Squat RDLs 3 x 60 sec
1b. One Arm OH Fat Grip Dumbbell Carry 3x25yd ea arm
Day 2
Airdyne or Row Sprints 2 min warm up
45 sec on and 60 sec off x 8
5 min cool down
Day 3
Wide Grip Bench Press (wider than normal comp grip) 10 x 3 at 80%
Push Jerks 5RM 7 RPE, then -10% for 5
Pull-Ups 5 x submaximal reps switch grips ea set weakest to strongest
DB or KB Upright Rows 5×10
Dips  with Eccentric Slower Than Concentric 5 x submaximal (if ten reps plus add weight)
Banded Rows 4×60 sec
Day 4
Hang Clean 3RM 7 RPE, then -10% for 3
Front Squats 10 x 3 at 80%
Sumo Deadlifts 75%  7×3 with 60-90 sec rest
Rear Leg Elevated Split Squats  stay at a 7RPE 4 x 15ea leg
Unilateral Farmers Walk 3 x 40yd ea arm
Recovery Row 10-15 minute recovery row
Stay in zone 2 or 75% of Max HR
Day 5
Snatch Complex P. Snatch double work heavy
Clean & Jerk Complex P. Clean and push jerk double work heavy
Closegrip Bench Press 5 x 10 at 60%
Incline DB Press 5 x 10 at 60%
KB Bottom Up Z Press 3×10 ea arm
Preacher Curls 3×10
Long Slow Run 20 Minute run/walk
Stay in zone 2 or 75% of max HR
with a 5 minute warm up & cool down

Preventing Injuries with Movement Physicals by Matthew Shiver

Each year we are strongly encouraged to get a physical done by our Primary Care Physician. They access our general health and common health risks at a given age. It is our annual check-up to make sure that we are still in good shape medically. If we are not looking good, they will refer us out or have us come back in a few weeks to make sure that we are making progress. We all can agree that physicals can be extremely useful for monitoring our health on a macro scale.

One thing that is often not ever addressed until it is too late, is our movement quality. We typically don’t look at it unless we have pain or it limits us from being able to perform a task. If we hope to reduce the number of debilitating injuries we have and reduce the amount of money we have to pay for surgeries and rehabilitative services, we need to change the current strategy. Instead, we need to be proactive about it. We need to seek out our limitations before it becomes too late.

Protocols for Aches and Pains, Muscular Imbalances & Recovery

Work Harder. Train Longer. Prevent Injury.

Prevent injury, reduce pain and maintain joint health with Travis's specific corrections for your individual muscular imbalances.

 

Check movement quality each year

Professional and Collegiate athletes have caught onto this. If they can catch a movement problem before it becomes an issue, the team will have fewer injuries, perform better, and win more games. Where we don’t see these proactive screens is in recreational athletics and youth sports. I would argue these individuals need the movement screens the most. They most likely have not developed the proprioception and kinesthetic awareness that the professional and collegiate athletes have from competing at a high level their entire life. Athletes who are at a high level typically move well. If not, they don’t last very long in their respective career.

In the future, our coaches, athletic trainers, and physical therapists need to do a better job at screening athletes’ movement qualities during the preseason. We need to have a system in place like we have our annual physicals. At least once per year we need to be given a screen to assess our movement quality. We can monitor the movement quality to make sure that it improves and does not get worse. Like the physician refers out if the medical screen doesn’t look good, coaches should be able to refer their athletes out to a local specialist.

 

The Functional Movement Screen

At Duke University, I am part of a student organization that practices giving free movement screens. We go into the Recreation Center monthly to give the students, faculty, and staff movement screens. We also work with NC State’s DI athletic teams and have screened numerous professional baseball teams. We use the Functional Movement Screen as our main screen. 

It screens 7 movement patterns to allow you to find limitations. The scoring is pretty simple (0=pain, 1=unable, 2= can do movement modified, 3= optimal movement).  Those who come to screen will get an email a few days later explaining their score and giving them 2-3 corrective exercises. We encourage them to come back the next month to see if they improve their score.

The FMS test takes about 10 minutes if you have an athlete who has never done the test before, and if you have someone who has completed the screen before, it can be even shorter. The FMS screen does have a certification course, but the founders encourage everyone to use their system regardless if you have taken the course or not. They have a book available on Amazon which is a great resource. The system is not hard, it just requires some practice. I can teach someone how to use the FMS in one afternoon!

The FMS is just one of the many movement screens that have been developed in the recent past to take a more proactive approach to injury prevention. Regardless of how teams are screened, they need to be screened! The earlier athletes are screened the better. We cannot let athletes get through high school while playing competitive sports without screening them.

 

Screening Is Not Just for Athletes

The same goes for CrossFit gyms. We need to do a better job of screening our members as they join our gyms. This is something that should be included in all of the Foundation and On-Ramp classes. We should be able to do a quick 10-minute screen to tell them what they need to spend some time on before and after their workout so they can avoid injury and continue to come to the gym and benefit from all the great things that our gyms have to offer.

I cannot tell you how many people have told me they are scared of CrossFit because they are worried about getting injured. If we can set up something in every gym that screened all new members, it would help break down the fear of injury barrier and it would help our members improve their movement quality. We all open or work at a gym to help others live a healthy life and have fun getting fit. It is our responsibility to make them better movers!

Matt Shiver

1 19 20 21 22 23 25