Categorized as: Mobility

I’m really sore! What can I do to be less sore?!

Most of you are sore. Really sore. You had a 2-3 week hiatus from hard vigorous exercise, myself included. So what do you do? Keep working out to the limit to flush it out? Do you take a week off and start all over again? I’ll share my go-to methods to recovering when you’re really sore.

1. Sleep and Eat!
Sleep is the MOST important thing in regards to recovering from exercise. Please don’t skip it! Sleep your soreness away. Also, you need to eat. Make sure you’re getting good protein sources to help your muscles recover. Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet should also help reduce inflammation.

2. Stretch and Mobilize
If you have a sore muscle group, stretching can help stimulate blood flow to the area supplying the damaged (Sore) muscles with nutrients. The same goes for foam rolling. In one STUDY foam rolling improved post-workout soreness dramatically. 

3. MOVE
Moderate intensity movements help reduce soreness as well. If you’re super duper sore, please don’t push your limits. If you do, you are sabotaging your recovery. The best type of movement is light to a moderate intensity which increases blood flow and helps flush the waste toxins from the muscles to be cleaned by the kidneys.

4. Hot Shower

This helps with soreness by softening the connective tissue. This is called the “thixotropic effect” and similar to softening plastic with heat. 

 

Better Squats – The Key to Unlocking Hip/Knee Pain

So you’ve been going at it for a bit…you got your back squat up, PR’d your FRAN time, cleans are starting to finally “click”, etc….basically you are starting to get ahold of this CrossFit thing. If only you could get that Overhead Squat to happen effortlessly, get rid of that stupid nagging knee pain, or just have a day where it didn’t take 45 minutes to warm up your hip to squat.

So let’s take a few steps back and see what we’ve done so far. You started foam rolling your quads (fist pound), you started watching some K-Star videos to help out with some of your mobility issues (high five), and you even got a standing desk at work cause you read on google it will help out your lower back pain (double high five). OHS still sucks? Knee pain? Getting to a full depth squat is still a chore?

Now before I start I do not want this to turn into a “knees out” squat debate…there is enough of that on the internet already.

Let’s talk about something else called Internal Rotation of the Hip, why you need it, how to test to see if you are lacking it, and a way to try to increase that range safely.

First up, why do you need Internal Rotation of the Hip joint. Having the right amount of Hip IR is imperative to having a strong squat, especially holding a strong position in the bottom of a squat. There are a ton of factors when looking at achieving the correct bottom position, ankle dorsiflexion, thoracic mobility, external rotation of the hip, to name a few. We are just going to dive into the IR portion as it is often overlooked.

If you want information on Thoracic mobility, ankle dorsiflexion, external rotation, and a world of information on those topics and more, check out guys much smarter than myself like K-Star, Brent Brookbush and Darkside Strength that have addressed these topics in great detail.  Read More…

 

TRY SOME SQUAT THERAPY TO IMPROVE YOUR POSITION AND FOCUS

Let’s take a moment to talk about how working some squat therapy into your life can help you not only achieve all the difficult positions of the squat, but also give you a focus point for each so that you can make more gains while lowering the risk of injury.

Squat therapy is not new but I venture to guess you don’t regularly work it into your routine, which is why I want to encourage you to start incorporating it into your warm-up on a squat day.

How to Perform Squat Therapy

1) Start by facing the wall with your feet in squat stance (under the hips) and standing about ten to twelve inches away from it. Focus on tight abs and squeezing your glutes.

2) Extend your arms above your head and activate your lats and scaps by pulling your shoulders down and toward the center of your back. In this position, you should be focusing on: keeping the chest up; staying tight in the upper back, and keeping the lats engaged so that they form a shelf for your arms to rest on.

3) Initiate the movement by sending your hips back slightly before you begin to pull yourself toward the floor with your hamstrings. Everything you focused on in the first two steps should still be a focus as should be keeping the weight toward the back of your foot and externally rotating the hips. If your knees touch the wall, you probably initiated with them instead of the hips. Keep practicing this step until you get the hang of sending your hips back and down. Read More…

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF VOODOO FLOSS

Ever wonder why so many athletes are hooked on their Voodoo floss? Are you trying to decide if you should get some? Not sure how to use yours? Hopefully you already know all of the wonderful uses for Voodoo floss and it’s amazing benefits for your mobility and recovery but just in case you do not, here’s a summary of why this tool is so magical along with some examples and ideas for making the most of your floss.

OUT WITH THE OLD & IN WITH THE NEW

Voodoo Floss helps break up intramuscular junk to allow for greater mobility and blood supply to an area. By squeezing the muscle in a tight wrap, then forcing it through a full range of motion (ROM), friction between muscle fibers helps break up fuzz, scar tissue, lactic acid and other junk in those tiny places that foam rolling and lacrosse ball techniques can’t address. You will only leave the Voodoo floss on for about two minutes.

Example: TIGHTLY wrap the calf and do calf-focused self-myofascial release (SMR), stretching, squats, lunges, etc. Read More…

SMASH YOUR CALVES!

 
If your calves aren’t conditioned to specific amounts of movements and volume they might be a little sore and tight. I’ll share with you my favorite “at home” mobilizations for your calves.
 

1) Foam Roll your calves for 10 minutes+

  • Can be done watching tv or movies at home
  • Focus on one leg at a time and occasionally roll both
  • Find a really tender spot, and hang out there for a minute or so
  • Add more tension by overlapping one leg over the other
Foam rolling helps loosen tight structures and gets them working with less resistance. It can also increase blood flow (hence aiding recovery) to targeted areas. If done correctly, you can really minimize the soreness and tightness in your lower legs. One of the best things you can do right after a workout with jumping and running!
 

2) Wall Calf Stretch  4-5 minutes

 
  • Stand about 2-3 feet away from the wall on one foot. Lean forward and make contact with the wall. Keep your knee locked out and squeeze your butt forward for best results
  • Spend 2 minutes on each calf
This stretch will really benefit you if you have super tight ankles. If you struggle to hold good positions in most squats, this is something to do daily.
 

Get Your First Pistol: The 3 Requirements

 
Today in our training session we have programmed Pistols (aka single legged squats). This is an excellent movement that tests many different physical skills including balance, strength, and flexibility. Pistols are rated as a high-level gymnastics skill that requires many pre-requisite skills in order to complete. In my opinion, with a little practice and training, they aren’t too hard to achieve! 
 
Here are my recommendations to help you achieve your first Pistols:
 

Requirement 1: Flexibility

– You must be able to sit in the bottom of your squat for long periods of time effortlessly. 
– You also must have enough ankle flexibility to sit in the bottom of your squat one leg at a time.
– Hamstring flexibility must be adequate enough to help counterbalance you during the movement.

Requirement 2: Strength

– If you have a Backsquat that’s 25%+ more than your body weight, you probably are strong enough for pistols. (Sam weighs 100lbs and squats 130lbs, she probably has enough strength for a pistol)
– If you can do 50+ air squats in a minute, you also are probably strong enough.
 

Requirement 3: Balance 

– If you have strength and flexibility needed for a pistol and still can’t do it, you need to practice.
– Practicing any movement will help reduce any extra movement, hence improving balance.

 
Hopefully, this helps give you an idea of what it takes to achieve your first pistols. Like anything, with a little bit of practice you’ll have this skill in no time!
 
Other resources:

CrossFit Pistols (video)

3 Best Squat Drills (video)

The Pistol (video)