Saturday, September 18, 2010

Links Beyond Well -- Get Mobile

If you've been following the fitness industry the last few years, you are probably aware of a growing body of evidence suggesting that static stretching before workouts does not prevent injuries and may actually hurt physical performance (see Phys Ed: Does Stretching Before Running Prevent Injuries  for a decent review).  However, it's reasonable to propose that if you are fighting against your own muscles to get in proper positions, you are wasting valuable energy.  The U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine (USACHPPM --go military acronyms!) Physical Training Injury Prevention Toolbox also reviewed much of the (lack of) current research on stretching muscles before or after exercise and summarized:
"Studies to date have not specifically targeted individuals with limited flexibility. Studies show that stretching can increase flexibility, although these suggest that the most efficient timing of stretching may be when muscles are warm (possibly after exercise). Additionally, epidemiological data indicate that both extremes of flexibility (too much or too little) are associated with increased injury rates."
Conversely, performing a dynamic warmup and gradually increasing heart rate, body temperature, and mobility through actual movement before a workout can be very useful to prepare for certain ranges of motion.

Athletes commonly compensate for tight shoulder musculature by hyper-extending the lumbar -- not under Mads' watch.

From the New York Times article (Phys Ed: Does Stretching Before Running Prevent Injuries) above:
"The best science suggests that an ideal preworkout routine “consists of a very easy warm-up, followed by a gradual increase in intensity and then dynamic stretching,” he said. Dynamic stretching, or exercises that increase your joints’ range of motion via constant movement, does not seem to invoke the inhibitory reflex of static stretching" 

Additionally, mobility can be an all day endeavor -- work on it day and night, not just before or after your workout.  The below resources are full of excellent articles and videos explaining concepts of anatomy, stretching, mobility, stability, and more.  Spend some time and explore your mobility.

Thames CrossFit Mobility -- Great articles and videos on mobility, stretching, nutrition and more from London-based Jami Tikkanen.
"We all know to take our hips back as we descend to a squat or a deadlift but the problems arise when we run out of space at the hips. This is the point where most of us start to push our knees forward or lose our lumbar curve (but then again, we didn’t like our knees and intervertebral discs anyway, did we?)."

Mobility Wod -- San Fransisco-based Kelly Starrett puts out a daily video demonstrating high quality mobility movements and bonus entertainment.
"Movement restrictions happen within the context of the entire kinetic chain. In an overhead squat for example, tight hips will challenge even the best shoulder positioning. Or conversely, restricted shoulders will force greater movement demands on the hips. The solution?
More of everything."

 Jamie's Blog -- Jamie Crichton discusses anatomy, mobility, stability, and more.
"Combining study of anatomy and biomechanics with in-gym experience to further comprehension of the relationship between science and performance."

The Importance of Shoulder Mobility and Scapular Stability -- Mark Sisson (Mark's Daily Apple) recently posted a series of articles discussing health in shoulders, knees, hips and more.  Start with the scapula and explore from there.

  • Perform a dynamic warmup before your workout--gradually increase heat and intensity and expand range of motion through actual movements ... prepare to move by moving.
    • If you have a mobility problem that hinders your ability to complete a needed movement, then spend some extra time opening up that movement before a workout that includes it.  For example, mobilize your hip flexion and external rotation before doing squats.
  • Complete functional movements in a pain-free, but full range of motion and you are less likely to develop tight muscles than someone doing "partials".
  • When you do static stretch, do it after your workout and/or throughout the day.  
  • Or work on your business in da club ...

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