Learn Yourself

This page is intended to be a jump-off point for all you athletes (yes, you are ALL athletes) to help figure out what your movement dysfunction is and how to improve it in order to move more efficiently as human beings.We want you to better understand how and why your body functions the way it does. We’ve all got some sort of issue that we’re dealing with at any given time, and the better equipped we are to remedy that, the quicker we can get back on the path to improved performance in the gym and in life. Basically, just like you should know how to change a tire or your oil in your car/truck/SUV, you should know how to do some fairly basic maintenance items on your body.

So the story goes like this: your body is a system of systems, and when one is not working optimally (overstressed, injured, etc.), it will usually manifest that dysfunction (via movement compensation, injury, tweak, etc) in one or more other systems. Knee or ankle feeling a bit wonky? Check your hips. Wrist or elbow pain? Check your shoulder mobility. We don’t want that happening. We want to shift from the traditional paradigm of “if I’m not broke, and I’m kicking butt in the gym, I don’t need to fix anything.” The question you should always be asking yourself is not “how good am I?” but rather “how much better can I be?” Sure, you can run with crappy form, squat like a duck, and pull with a crummy back position and not get injured…for a little while. But you will get hurt, eventually. No more being reactive, it’s time to be proactive. Think of this stuff not as rehab, but prehab. And no, I did not make that up, as much as I wish I had!

What you will find in the pages to follow is a brief anatomical description of the musculoskeletal systems and their functions:

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You will also see at the bottom of each page some mobility videos courtesy of Kelly Starrett of SanFrancisco CrossFit. He is the go-to mobility guru when it comes to getting folks back out onto whatever playing field they come from – homefront, battlefront, ball field, rowers, runners, etc. The goal of the videos is to provide you all a starting point from which to improve on. Are you “squats with duck feet guy?” Check out the Hip and Ankle Sections. “Poor overhead position guy” or “chronic shoulder pain gal?” Click the shoulder tab above and then scroll down to some of the videos and try a few things out. “Tight Hammies Gal?” Spend some time with the back and hip/pelvis tab above!
These fixes are not instantaneous, but they darn sure work if you put in the time. Look, I realize that stretching and mobilizing is not as glamorous or fun as pulling heavy weights or jumping around, but this affects your performance tremendously. And seeing as how I have a great eye for everyone’s movement patterns within the gym, I can say with absolute certainty that EVERYONE should jump on this stuff ASAP. There is no downside, only improvements to be made. And don’t be that guy or gal who tries to blame your poor positioning on injuries from years ago…the more help you give your body to work optimally, the better off you’ll be. Learn to mobilize effectively and I promise all your strength numbers will increase, your met-con times will improve, your WOD’s will be more efficient, and you’ll finally rid yourselves of all those nagging injuries you “can’t get rid of.”

*I’d like to give a quick shout-out to Forrest and Missy at CF SouthBay for being the inspiration behind this*

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