Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums General No long-term improvement. What am I doing wrong?

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    • #71754
      AvatarLuke Rooney
      (In advance I apologize for any spelling mistakes, English isn’t my native language.)

      I am a 27 year old weekend warrior, trying to get some more awesomeness out of a not-so-superawesome bodily vessel. I’ve always been a “bad mover”, but despite much effort I can’t seem to do anything about it. I’ve spent hours and hours on a painball or a foam roller; with some sort of banded weirdness and voodooing over what has now become several years: but I am not improving. I can improve range of motion somewhere for the day and get through a (scaled) CF workout, and I wouldn’t still be doing these things without some momentarily gain of blood flow and reduced muscle cramping/stiffness, but nothing seems to stick. Despite hours of due diligence working on basic movements I am getting nowhere. My tissue health is crap, any joint where hyper mobility isn’t the dominating life force the surrounding soft tissue have decided it’s made of stone; I still cannot get into a decent full squat without collapsing – and no matter how many bracing sequences I do; I wake up the next morning as ruined as before I ever lifted a barbell. I literary have a sign in my house with “Brace yourself” as a reminder. Still, unless I am totally focused on my position everything falls to pieces and I become my super-alias: “Internally Rotated Girl”; cute but collapsed. 

      Good physios are hard to come by here in the Arctic, and so far I’ve been unable to find one who thinks bad posture isn’t some innate unfixable quality. 
      I am unwilling to accept status quo without a fight, so I’m very much looking for a different answer. 
      Here is my question, and I’d really appreciate some input: any ideas on why am I not improving? What am I doing wrong here?
      I am working hard, but I obviously need to work smarter. 
    • #76827
      AvatarPatrick Thomas

      Understand the frustration of not seeing improvement with the work you are doing.
      How long are you working on something before changing it up?
      What is your sleep quality like? Hydration? Nutrition?
      All impacting factors.

      Sounds like you are using a broad approach. Narrow the focus.
      Sounds like you are chasing symptoms instead of identifying the cause.
      Start with the spine first. Deviations at the spine impact the primary engines of the hip and shoulder.

      If you have hyper mobility that is addressed with a different approach.
      Programming for the Hypermobile Athlete | Pro Episode #70
      Mobility, Pregnancy, and the Hypermobile
      The Hypermobile Amongst Us: Spine Edition

      An episode which hits on doing work and not seeing change.
      Pro Episode # 21 – Pro-User Request Friday: Not Seeing The Change? You Need a Systems Approach.

      What are some thoughts after watching the videos/

    • #76830
      AvatarLuke Rooney

      Thank you for your reply Kaitlin! 

      You are absolutely right, I’ve been spending most of my time focus on putting out fires and not having a systematic approach to the (real) issue. It kinda makes sense how those “fires” wouldn’t stay out without a bigger and more pointed effort on improvement of spinal/pelvic mechanics. 

      Yes, I am hyper mobile, and comments from the videos about missing range/end range proprioception really makes sense to what I am struggling with, like finding stable positions. 
      I had seen two of the videos before, but watching all of them thinking “systems approach”(and taking notes) now helped me get a better grasp how to transfer that into my routine and programming. I’m thinking that putting my effort on improving pelvic position to give my spine somewhere nicer to live would be the first step, and at the same time putting all movement practice -focus on motor control with slow intent and cat 1. movements. 

      In regards to lifestyle/adaption errors I think I am doing well with hydration and sleep, but I am not a nutrition ninja, maybe going from my current 70% of clean/LCHF/real food to something like 90% could make some improvements? That being said, most of the time I’ve spent doing mobilitywork and CF has been combined with sleep deprivation; but that is currently not an issue. Looking through the adaption error -list from “becoming a supple leopard” I can see that stress and chronic inflammation could be contributing factors to why I haven’t gotten far, as well as the errors in programming. 

    • #76832
      AvatarPatrick Thomas

      Great to hear you identified a few places which need a different approach.
      This will  help stay on a good path.
      Good to hear re watching the hypermoble episodes helped.
      Review episodes help you to own the information and able to apply it to situations.

      Good to hear hydration and sleep are in a good place.
      Lifestyle can have impact especially when you aren’t see change when working on things.
      You identified places which need some attention.
      Make those changes and see how things are for 2 weeks.
      Look forward to seeing an update.

    • #76850
      AvatarLuke Rooney

      Two week update! (Well, almost.)

      First off I completely separated “firefighting” from planned/programmed mobilitywork. I still need to do a fair bit of it but it makes sense that few of the “whole system” problems get better by unspasm’ing traps or other shoulder/arm gunk. 

      Instead of following pain, as I have before, I’ve been focusing on my adductors, hip flexors, quads, glutes – based on the idea that enabling a better pelvic position would let my spine live somewhere less overextended. I startet out the first five days with an hour set aside to troubleshoot and try different things, and doing stuff like adductor smashing which is so bloody horrible that actually getting some relaxing at the end of contract-relax took some coaxing. Day 6-7-8 I only got half an hour in and the last five days it’s been more like 45 minutes. I am part trying to figure out of there is such a thing as the pinnacle of goats here, or if everything is just gunk, but I haven’t really come closer to an answer. I didn’t have the same equipment every day, but smashing has been a staple: foamrolling for adductor and sides, barbell smash for quads, painball for glutes(contract -relax with breathing from last weeks mwod episode), voodoobands for hip flexors, squats and banded squats for test – re test and to get a feel for range after. I’d say my quads feel less like stone, but other than that everything is much the same. 
      ..and I might have figured out why, or what, or rather something. Even an hour on the foamroller is little to the rest of the day spent standing/moving/walking/sitting. Trying to figure out how things connect I’ve been watching how I stand, and I got a hold of some footage from sundays archery practice, where I shoot, walk around, pick up arrows, etc. and there was a lot of things going on that I was noticing for the first time. First off, I am walking with my feet straight(ish), but every time I change directions I do so from a position of internally rotated collapse. Think “fifth position”(ballet) but with feet inward, hip and knees internally rotated, and every time I think I’m straightening up (like when I’m shooting or just trying to stand straight) – I am hanging back on locked knees with hip flexors half-way closed and pelvis tilted(and ofc back overextended, gut hanging out if I’m not in that exact moment thinking about bracing.) I mean, I know I am a bad mover but it was kinda disheartening, and to top it off I’ve found that my hip mobility is very asymmetrical. I have about half the external rotation on my left hip than my right, and trying to stand with the same amount of torque and weight in both legs (without locked kneed) is kinda like standing on the backs of two horses where one is at a trot and one at a gallop. 
      So, I’m thinking, is lacking proprioception and motor control the underlying goat here? Or does it just take longer to make a long lasting change on tissue because it’s been like this so long? To be fair to the statement that “I’ve been doing this for a long time” – I’ve only been off NSAIDs/APAP two months after fifteen years on/off to deal with chronic pain, and although I get 8+ hours of sleep now the average used to be 3,5-5hrs up until six months ago. Am I just being impatient?

    • #76856
      AvatarPatrick Thomas

      An hour is a long single dose.
      Are you able to do 2 shorter sessions?
      Make it more manageable task.

      What are you using for a tool on the adductors?
      Sounds like you are going too deep. May need to start with a different tool.
      Start chipping away at it.

      Awareness is key.
      Now that you are aware of what needs improvement your work has more direction.
      At first it can seem overwhelming, however, as aspects start to resolve others can start improve at the same time.
      Use what you have available each day.  Use this info as you are planning your week.

      Good to hear you are seeing improvements with your quads.
      Improvements are improvements no matter how big or small. All part of the process. Smaller gain lead to bigger gains.

      You may be addressing too much at once.
      Limit each session to 3 mobs.
      You don’t want to over work an area.
      A couple shorter doses throughout the day may work better.
      It can take some work before you see change.
      You may need to take another look at how you are addressing something.
      Pro Episode # 21 – Pro-User Request Friday: Not Seeing The Change? You Need a Systems Approach.

      Not a good/bad thing just something that is.
      Start working in movement break through out the day.
      Some examples from Stand Up Kids Breaking things up and resetting makes a difference.

      Becoming more aware of how you move throughout the day is a great start.
      Stay positive about what you find. It is information, a starting point.
      Seeing what is actually happening is a powerful tool. You can think you were doing one thing, however, something else is actually happening. Not good/bad just is.
      Start with small achieve changes each day.
      Small changes over time lead to lasting bigger changes.

      May need to go back and relearn some movements or positioning.
      There are many contributing aspects.
      Skill work
      Is there someone who can help you with this?
      Proprioception and motor control can be impacting factors.

      Unlearning one habit and rebuilding another habit can take some time.
      Engrained habits take more focus to break since it is so engrained.
      I’ve seen some things which say it takes 21 days of deliberate practice to form a habit.
      Don’t think a time period can really be put on it.
      Different for each person, and different by what is being addressed.
      Be consistent
      You are improving aspects such as sleep which is great.
      It may take a bit to get levels back to baseline, however, every night you are making improvements and things are moving to a better overall place.
      Chipping away at. Can’t ask for anything more.
      Keep up your to improve these aspects.

    • #76865
      AvatarGopal Raghunath

      I certainly agree with Kaitlin. I’m a bit older-68. I’ve found the whole process is a hunting expedition. I found spots that I never thought were a problem. It’s a life long pursuit. Keep hunting and have fun with it. I think the payoff is huge. There is one axiom: Sleep is Gold.

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