MOBILITY!!!

Published June 29, 2012 by coachkatriel

I get really excited about things sometimes.

For the past year, I’ve been really excited about selling my car in July and buying a bike and being able to bike to work and to the gym and get in a couple extra miles of exercise each day.

Well, now July’s just around the corner, and I’ve got to go bike shopping. and I’ve got to sell my car.

But more importantly than that, I’ve got to work on my mobility.

See, ever since I start walking, I’ve always walked on my toes. And when I’d get bored, I’d bounce around on my toes. And when I got to high school, I all of a sudden got into wearing high heels. I hadn’t worn them really ever in my life previously cause I was already a good foot taller than all of the guys my age, but when I got to high school, some of the guys had hit puberty and grown, so all of a sudden I could wear high heels without being a giantess. I wore heels almost every single day, no matter where I went. If they got uncomfortable, I’d take them off and walk on my toes. I was also always heavy growing up anyway so my calves were these massive slabs of muscle (and fat…) Summer after my junior year of high school, I had knee surgery and didn’t really do my physical therapy (bad Katriel. BAD) and I started walking with my toes pointed slightly outward while my knees still pointed forward. All this led to some incredibly shortened achilles and lack of ankle mobility, which makes squatting and pistols incredibly difficult (But I rock at double unders..go calves)

As I’ve lost weight and worked on toning my lean muscle mass, it seems that everything is shrinking, except my calves. I consider myself an aspiring athlete. I may not be as cool as Azadeh Boroumand, but I’d LOVE to qualify for regionals. It’s becoming increasingly more obvious to me that my lack of mobility is a big downfall for me and could lead to serious injury in years to come if I don’t address it.

And then one day, I casually powercleaned 160#

And then one day, I casually powercleaned 160# (notice my toes are angled outward…I really struggle keeping them straight)

Mobility is one of the least fun aspects of fitness to work on it, and one of the most commonly under addressed by the athletes at my gym. Our head coach has started programming mobility work into the daily workout routines to try to get our athletes to focus on it more. Yet still, some people are letting it slide. I’m one of those people. I’d so much rather be doing a crazy intense metcon or getting some crazy good personal records on my deadlift or powerclean.

Yeah, I pulled 305#, the week after getting a personal best at 285.

Yeah, I pulled 305#, the week after getting a personal best at 285.

But I’m learning more and more that if I want to be able to even have a shot of keeping up with some of my CrossFit heroes and qualifying for regionals next year, I’m going to have to spend some quality time working on my mobility. Things like box jumps and pistols are serious weaknesses of mine because of lack in the ankle mobility. I lack confidence in the olympic lifts (which are some of the most fun) because I struggle with dropping under the bar in a healthy squat position. My squats are pretty weak in general because I hate practicing the things that I struggle with. I hate admitting weakness. I hate feeling inferior. But I know I could make substantially better progress in my fitness if I’d admit to weaknesses and work on them.

So, to all five of you who read this, I struggle with mobility. One of my biggest mobility struggles is my ankle mobility. Today, I went to Kelly Starrett‘s mobilitywod and searched simply for “Calf”. Two pages of videos came up. Each video has helpful information about why mobility issues exist and how to solve them from a long time coach and physical therapist. So if you see my doing any of these things at the gym sometimes, it’s cause I’m trying to work on my mobility.

One key thing I’ve learned about making changes in lifestyle is that it’s better to try to make one small change at a time than to overload with lots of new changes, especially if you want to make the new habits stick. But like I mentioned earlier, I have a bad habit of getting really excited about lots of things all at once. This month, at the top of my goal list is mobility. If I don’t accomplish anything else this month but improve my mobility and my positions, I’ll still be proud. So if you see me at the gym, feel free to ask me if I’ve done my mobility work yet and give me a hard time if I haven’t.

What mobility weaknesses do you have? How can you start working on them today?

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