A core element of any CrossFit box, and one that Modig Fitness emphasizes daily, is the importance of mobilization. Whether it is CrossFit, a 3 mile jog or mountain biking, everyone should be mobilizing their bodies before, after and in between workouts. As Kelly Starrett of MobilityWOD says, “All human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves.” We recently asked a friend of the Modig Fitness family, Lindsey Fairchild, PT, DPT, to contribute some professional insight to ways that we, as CrossFitters, can be even more proactive with injury prevention. Please enjoy the following from Lindsey.
It is no secret that pain and injury can be associated with any athlete, and as CrossFitters, you are no exception. You might not consider yourself an athlete, as typically we associate that term with competitive sports. But according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition, it is “a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.” Few would argue that CrossFit certainly falls into that definition!
If you take nothing else away from this post, know this: HEALTHY, COMPETITIVE ATHLETES ARE ACTIVE IN INJURY PREVENTION EVERY DAY. Yes, every day. Meaning those who are not participating in activities that focus on injury prevention are setting themselves up for an injury.
Injury prevention is not one specific thing, but rather takes many forms. Even things like diet and hydration are parts of injury prevention. As a physical therapist, I focus on movement patterns and physically active ways of preventing injury. In my opinion, the two things that all CrossFitters should be actively participating in for injury prevention are foam rolling and muscle stabilizing exercises.
FOAM ROLLING: You’ve heard your coaches say it over and over again. And they are right. Foam rolling and mobility work are effective ways to keep your body healthy. Foam rolling is an easy and effective way to improve tissue flexibility. It is designed as a self-myofascial release that allows you to use pressure to release muscle tension and muscle layers, break up scar tissue and toxin build-up, and release trigger points. The article titled “What is a Foam Roller, How Do I Use It and Why Does it Hurt?” by Jeff Kuhland, does a good job of explaining why muscle tension and trigger points occur and how foam rolling can effectively be used to stay healthy. Click on the title to read the article in full.
MUSCLE STABILIZATION: CrossFit is fun because you get to participate in explosive activities and lift heavy weights. In order to do this effectively, your body needs to recruit small, stability muscle groups. In a recent continuing education course, I learned that 50-80% of an athlete’s strength comes from the core muscles. This includes scapular stabilizers, abdominal core muscles, and gluteal/hip stabilizers. If these muscles are not properly firing and coordinating while lifting, other muscle groups compensate…ineffectively. This will likely lead to two things: plateau in progress or injury.
Working on things like crossover symmetry for scapular and rotator cuff stability, which enhances shoulder health and performance, deep core stabilization exercises and small muscle hip workouts will not only help prevent injury, but will also help improve your CrossFit workouts. Modig Fitness regularly demonstrates a myriad of exercises that mobilize the above mentioned areas and has a variety of bands, foam rollers and other mobility equipment to assist each of you.
The best way to stay healthy and continue to progress in your CrossFit goals is to be participating in injury prevention. Please free to contact me with questions or ideas about ways to improve your workouts and fitness at [email protected]
By Lindsey Fairchild, PT, DPT