Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums General Best Class to take to address all mobility issues

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    • #70855
      Avatar[email protected]

      I’ve been working by myself for a year now on mobility and progressed a little.  I think this stuff is slightly over my head and need a coach to help me. Kelly seems to only be addressing ways to solve mobility issues after the individual has already addressed major issues like muscles not firing correctly because one muscle is stiff and another is not stiff causing your body to protect itself (never knew that until this forum– in fact i am surprised he hasn’t talked about this).  Where would the best place to go to help address my issues? Functional Movement Screen?  etc.

    • #74351
      AvatarNathan Richer
      Yes a great mobility coach can help you a lot. I am a lucky guy to live in the SF Bay and saw Roop a few times and seeing him live really did wonders.  Where do you live? Some of the MWOD crew are elsewhere besides SF Bay.

      I would also ask for a referral if possible. A lot of people may be very smart, have a lot of credentials, and be very good at what they are good at, but still can be unknowledgeable in this mobility work.

      As far as a class goes from an education standpoint, I’m heading for a CF Mobility Movement seminar in July. There are a lot of those around the country (and world) but they fill up fast.  But that is a general setting, and not focused on you.  You will however learn a lot about the topic in one place versus piecemeal in MWOD videos and forum posts.
    • #74353
      Avatar[email protected]

      It is funny, I am actually going to San Fran for vacation.  I live in Philadelphia.

      I think I definitely am a quad dominate person.  Like you said, my quads are on fire in the dead lift especially if I focus on keeping my butt down.  I guess I should just keep focusing on glute exercises like what Kefu is doing.
      I was thinking about going to a chiro just to have them analyze some structural aspects of my body as a starting point.  Seems like that is where to start if anything.  
      I think the main problem is that I have to spend too much time on mobility.  I get loose and then become stiff afterwards.
    • #74355
      AvatarNathan Richer

      If you are coming to our neck of the woods sometime, make sure you schedule a session with Roop at SF Crossfit. Well worth the time and bring a video camera to record the whole thing so you don’t forget. Then when you’re there, pepper him with all the other questions you have lol.  If you see him for the first time, ask him for a general assessment and then he’ll work on some things he sees wrong. If you’re going to be here for a while, you can also consider making more than one visit across the time you’re here.

      Glute activation tough and can be a long road to unwind our years of bad habits. Keep at it for sure.  It will come.  and stop sitting!
      Not sure chiro can do what you want effectively. If you get to Roop, his PT and coaches eye can evaluate you for sure from an athletic perspective.
      In the beginning, I would warm up with mob work. It would take 30 min, sometimes 45, or even an hour! and then i would work out for an hour after that! but I needed it. To fully loosen my hips and shoulders for a workout, I had to take the time. But now months later, I only need 15 min. 

    • #74414
      AvatarKatie Hemphill

      Yo, Matrone,

      Make sure you recall that the first and highest priority in the mwod approach is motor control. This is where the glute activation thing comes in. This is where quad dominance is dealt with. If your squat is restricted, your first thought should be “do I actually know how to squat as well as I think I do”. You need a good set of movement cues that will create the right patterns of activation in the first place. That is how those issues can be solved in the long term. 
      Once you have improved your proficiency in the movement, even understanding it just a little bit better, then you will also improve your understanding of and ability to apply the mobility drills. It then becomes a game of improving position and increasing your range of motion in the movement you are now more familiar with.
      In my experience, if you have a poor understanding of how to squat really skillfully (for example), your ability to effectively employ a lot of more complex mobilizations is going to be greatly hindered. At the same time, however, if you treat each mobilization (the position-based ones rather than the smashing techniques) as correlates for those movements (the squat mob positions closely resemble a squat, for instance) they can provide you with an opportunity to figure the movement out while restoring some mobility.
      In fact, the great majority of the time that I’m working with new clients (non-athletes) I won’t have them do any mobility work beyond some simple smashing stuff for recovery, simply because they are often learning to do stuff like squat and press for the first time. That’s complicated enough, and most of their improvements in position and range of motion are going to come just from learning how to do those movements more efficiently.
      Your approach to implementing the mwod tools cannot be the old flexibility model of stretch out all the tight stuff. It needs razor sharp intent, and a desire to constantly better your understanding of what you’re doing. These drills, even the smashes, are high-skill recovery and prep activities for a beginner, and the better you get at them the better they work.
    • #74415
      AvatarNathan Richer

      hey iron_tiger,

      what you wrote really resonates and provokes additional thought in me. truly awesome thanks!
    • #74420
      Avatar[email protected]

      Check out my post “the miracle of internal rotation”. Tiger, I think you are right totally, but I think I am pretty short in the hip and my anterior chain is very stiff. I’m not sure how much I can utilize the proper techniques of a squat with such stiff tissues.

      My main goals in performing a squat are

      Tight butt
      Tight stomach
      Don’t shoot knees forward first.
      Sit back
      Keep shins vertical

    • #74421
      AvatarKatie Hemphill

      That’s a good list of cues! But knowing the cues and understanding them are very, very different. You have to practice with razor sharp focus and great intent and realize what those cues mean. And even once you feel proficient in the movement, every so often you’ll hit an epiphany that brings one of those cues to life.

      At some point, with enough deliberate practice, you will understand what it means to screw your feet into the floor. You will understand the sensations, the tension, the strength that initiating the movement through the hips creates. The weight distribution will start to make sense, the breathing will start to make sense, but no amount of reading will fill in the blanks completely.


      But now my question is what are you doing daily to open up the front of the hip? It is as you say, that stiffness in the front of the hip can shut the glutes down, or at least make them very difficult to activate. What is your plan for combating this issue? If you don’t have a plan of attack, then that is exactly what we need to put together. Only through consistency will you be able to decide if and why your approach is working.

      Also, it is important to realize that movement technique is not an all-or-nothing thing. If you are a mindful athlete, you will be optimizing that technique for the rest of your active life (which will hopefully be all of it). If you’re missing a significant amount of your range of motion, of course you won’t be able to squat perfectly, or very deep. But you can always do something. Fixing your mobility issues won’t magically transform your squat. All it will do is provide a window for greater improvement.

    • #74425
      Avatar[email protected]


      That is my squat. I think I am focusing intently with the way I do the movement, but I could be wrong. Having a coach pick out my flaws in real time would be great as I would be able to always have those corrections in my head.

      As far as what I do all day is pretty active. I think I may sit for 4 hours a day. I don’t have a stand desk at work, but I don’t really need to sit longer then 10 mins at a time. I also don’t wear high heel shoes.

      As far as a plan goes I am going to clean up the internal rotation. So far I am on day 3 and I already am losing the tightness I once had. This is what typically happens. I take away tight tissue and never experience it ever again. For instance I could barely couch stretch my right side. Now it seems the only way i get a good stretch is if I internally rotate the couch stretch. I am going to also smash hard on the quad insertion to the it band. Smashing adductors also helps the wall squat. Sitting in the squat 10 mins a day will also be a goal as well.

    • #74429
      AvatarKatie Hemphill

      Man, video footage. That’s awesome!

      Judging from that video, the biggest thing you might be missing is a keen sense of when you hit hamstring end-range tension at the bottom of the squat. Getting the hamstrings lit up is one of the major benefits of leading with the hips back, and being able to stay connected to that tension throughout the movement is important for staying tight and stable when you hit the bottom.

      It’s hard to see with the rack in the way, but it does seem like you’ve got a little change in pelvic position happening at the bottom of the squat (the dreaded “butt wink”). The older video of you squatting 135# shows it more clearly, though old footage is old footage. What this shows is that you are trying to get lower in that squat than either your motor control or mobility (or both) allow.

      Now here’s the thing. Loaded squats with clean technique will do wonders to drive your bottom position deeper and open up the hips and hamstrings. It’s almost like magic, when you try a few air squats before and after your heavy sets. However, if you are unable to sense where that true bottom position is (or you are very eager to have a deeper squat), you’ll never nail the same kind of end range tension and be able to reap that awesome benefit.

      Here’s what I would strongly recommend for your loaded squat practice (assuming you’re not already doing it): slow eccentric reps, paying very close attention to how deep you can go without faulting (keep your hamstrings on tension); and pause squats (start adding a 2-4 second hold in that good bottom position). These things will necessitate a bit less weight, but that will probably only do you good.

      Also, something’s making think you’re losing stability coming out of the top position, and this may be related to how loose your arms are on the bar. You need to hug that thing tight to your back.

      Also, also, if you could get some footage from the front/back, both at full speed and slow-mo like the one you posted, that would probably offer even more insight.

    • #74430
      Avatar[email protected]

      Yeah, I want my hamstrings to be lit up more. And that knee going forward is a sign that my body doesn’t want to allow the hamstrings to be used.  I haven’t worked on my hamstrings in a few weeks because I am passing the hip flexion test, but now that I am improving internal rotation I can start working on that again.  

      I am not concerned about how deep I am going.  In fact, my true concern is how straight I can keep my feet.  I know what the feeling is like when I create torque.  I just haven’t experience it in a long time.  After cleaning up this internal rotation — I feel the restriction in my calves and ankles.  
      my assessment seems to be:
      I can pigeon pose especially high up on a desk (lower to the ground is harder).  I feel tightness but not to the point of it fully restricting me (I think).  My left side is worse then my right.
      My hip flexion is pretty good.  (bend 90 degrees with a flat back)
      My internal rotation is bad and I am cleaning that up.  I am feeling a lot more sore in my posterior chain as well as calves and ankles with doing it.  Is that possible?
      My ankles and calves have always been worked out, but I think that because I wasn’t fixing my hips fully they were going back to being stiff again.  
      And of course — my shoulders, well they are stiff too.
    • #74438
      AvatarKatie Hemphill

      I wouldn’t be overly concerned with keeping a perfectly parallel squat stance at this point, personally. Being able to squat with your feet parallel represents a nice ideal, as it does allow you to rip the floor up with huge torque production, but squatting effectively while maintaining that stance is incredibly demanding on your squat range of motion.

      Basically, you’re not going to be able to squat very well with your feet straight until your ankle, foot, and hip mobility (not to mention your understanding of and ability to apply good squat mechanics) allow it.
      This is why the FMS uses a parallel stance when assessing the deep squat: it makes the invisible visible. It’s much more difficult to compensate for missing ranges of motion and inadequate stability.
      I think what Kelly Starrett is preaching, as far as squat stance goes, is that most athletes should seek to earn a parallel squat stance, and use that stance for the majority of their training in that motor pattern (since it should have better transfer to skills like jumping and landing, running, etc). But I think that, until that parallel stance becomes available to you, you need to choose a foot position that will allow you to train your squat, train it well, and not result in further compensation (or, God forbid, pain).
      I still feel that, until you learn to approach your actual training in the squat with the attitude that THIS is the core of the solution, your gains in mobility will occur more slowly than they need to.
      A big part of this whole thing that I’m not sure you’re grasping (judging from the post that started this thread) is that mobility and motor control are both very interconnected aspects of athletic movement and position. Mobility problems and motor control problems feed into one another, such that focusing too much on restoring one aspect of the movement may result in short term improvement, but that quickly disappears as the discrepancy in the other aspect continues to reinforce the old, dysfunctional condition.
      It sounds like you are becoming very much in tune with where you are lacking mobility, but you have to become just as focused in how you approach training the squat itself. You need to understand how feeding more mobility into your ankles will affect your squat, do it, and then apply it deliberately.
    • #74439
      Avatar[email protected]

      Iron Tiger:  I appreciate your response.  A lot.

      There is my loaded squat from the back.

      I am wondering about “missing a keen sense of when hitting hamstring end range tension”.  Interpreting your approach — I am trying to practice the air squat intently and only going as far as I can with out faulting.  So in the sense of hamstring tension, I plan on coming out of the hole as soon as I feel tension on the posterior chain.  I don’t know if I can really “hold” the tension.  But I know that if I can any lower I lose any tension and my knees shoot forward.  
    • #74441
      AvatarKatie Hemphill

      Man, it looks like you’re doing a solid job on the whole “knees out” thing. It’s a bit hard to tell in the dim light, but it does look a little “winky” at the bottom. Which just basically goes back to the topic at hand. I think you have the rest in the bag enough to progress this thing.

      I wouldn’t necessarily revert completely back to the air squat as a learning tool on this, however. It can be useful, but I think it’s going to be hard to really feel what it’s like to put a stretch on the hamstrings with your bodyweight alone. I would even choose an easy 12-rep weight, and just slowly take it down to your bottom position and hang out for a bit, staying tight and squirming around a bit to feel where that tension’s at.

      Something I like to do (unloaded, this time), is just drop down into an air squat and just press my knees back (keeping a braced spine) and feel what it’s like to hit hamstring tension, kind of like when you’re hunting for tension in the bottom position of a deadlift. After I press back and hit tension, I try to “pull” it back with me into the squat bottom position, to be even tighter in the hamstrings. I almost think about that return to the squat position like I’m doing a hamstring curl against the floor. This really helped me figure out my hamstrings in the squat. Even try doing it while holding on to the squat rack, if you find yourself tipping backward a lot.

      With regards to using the back squat to learn and improve that bottom position, almost think of it as stretching the hamstrings at the bottom.

      Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that’s a lot harder to articulate than I would like. Just keep thinking about it, and a great epiphany will happen sooner or later. And I’d say sooner with the kind of drive you’re putting into improving this position.

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