Preparing for the Open

During the CrossFit Open, you need to be prepared for anything. Whether you’re scaling or going Rx, you will be challenged both physically and mentally.


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Preparing for the CrossFit Open

Preparing for the CrossFit Open​

The 2019 CrossFit Open registration has been released. Are you competing this year? Is this your first time or are you a seasoned Vet? To succeed at whatever level, it’s important to know what you’re up against and how to prepare.

What is the CrossFit Open?

The Open is the first Qualifying stage to make it to the CrossFit Games. It’s an opportunity for participants of all skill levels to pit their wits. Lasting 5 weeks, with a new workout each week, announced midday Friday (NZT). Athletes have until Tuesday at noon to complete the workout and register their score.

The format of qualifying for the Open has changed this year.

The Games are broken down into these stages:

The Open – Initial 5-week stage of competition, anyone can compete. The top 20 athletes qualify for the games.

Sanctioned events – 3-day invitational competition for the top athletes. The winners move on to The Games.

The Games – 4-day competition consisting of 40 men, 40 women, 40 teams. The Winner of each is earns the title, Fittest on Earth.

A large emphasis from the CrossFit brand is the community feel within each gym. The Open encompasses this on a global scale, as everyone can participate in the Open. It allows you to push a little harder, work on weakness’ and compare yourself against others.

What to expect from Open workouts

During a regular week of training it’s typical to expect the core foundational movements of CrossFit and WOD’s (Workout Of the Day) that you’re familiar with. The Open provides level of suspense in the wait for its announcement on the day. While keeping the foundational skills of CrossFit they always throw in unexpected movements to throw you off guard.

Sometimes they will repeat a workout from a previous Open, or use a new piece of equipment. In 2017 was the introduction of dumbbells to the WOD’s, which threw a lot of athletes off guard. 

How many times can I do an Open workout?

You have 4 days from Friday midday to Tuesday Noon to attempt the workout as many times as you want. This also depends on your gyms Open policy, as some only offer certain time periods.

Realistically though, you’re likely to attempt it only twice, sometimes three times depending on the workout. You’ll need time to recover from the first attempt by at least 1-2 days.

While it’s important to get the best result you can do. It’s also important to spend time at the gym to offer your mates moral support and help out as judges.

Prepare a workout strategy

If you’re doing this for the first time or just started training in CrossFit speak with your coach about a plan. Coaches will know your abilities and be able to offer you a realistic strategy to get the best result. The main thing for first timers, is to enjoy the experience.

For the more experienced athlete, you have trained long enough to know your limitations, your burn outs, you understand pace setting and max lifts. From this knowledge, whatever workout is announced you should be able to form an air tight strategy to get the best out of your ability.

Think about things like:

  • Where do I exert the most energy
  • How many reps before breaking
  • How to transition between equipment the fastest
  • What pace should I keep to maintain the best time
  • How long to take for a breather

Note: Once you’ve formed a plan let your judge know so they understand. You may also want to write it down to remain strict as you start to fatigue.

Being mentally and physically prepared

Preparing before the Open with only a few weeks to go, it’s unlikely you will learn new skills. Try to focus on the current ones you’re capable of and become more efficient at them. If you plan to do extra training, make sure you’re not over training. Try to focus the extra work on cardio, skill-based training or mobility.

The Open is equal if not more challenging to your mental capacity. This often is what sets two athletes apart. The ability to silence the voice inside that is telling you to stop. Strategies higher reps in your workouts leading up to Open before breaking. Also use visualisation techniques to be prepared in both mind and body.

Embrace the embarrassment or work on your weakness’

In CrossFit they call them goats. The movements you least enjoy and likely the ones your avoiding the most. The Open has the ability of exposing your weakness’. So rather than being exposed put in a little extra time after training to work on that skill. Whether it’s a double under you keep snagging or Olympic lift you’re struggling to catch. Getting better at these will improve your overall placement.

The Open does a good job at showing where your weak links are. Accept it and move on. The silver lining is that it provides you with an understanding of what needs more work for the new year.

Whether it’s your first or tenth time, embrace the experience. Put in a good effort have fun and support the other athletes.

How can Physio help

As mentioned the Open challenges you in so many ways and knowing where you’re failing already provides a tonne of information about which body part could be at fault and how to direct your treatment plan. If you find yourself struggling with an injury leading up to the Open or throughout the competition have a look online.

Throughout the Open as each workout is announced I will be uploading videos of mobility drills to help prepare you for the whats to come. Keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram. 

Copyright 2017 © All rights Reserved.

Managing an acute injury

Knowing how to immediately look after an injury for the first few days can speed up its recovery. In this blog we look at a more up to date protocol on how to help you manage it.

Many of us are well versed on the R.I.C.E acronym (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Which eventually was upgraded to P.R.I.C.E (P = Protect). Over the last few decades the advice on the management of acute injuries has rarely been contested. However, with growing research there has been a change in the way clinicians deliver advice on acute injuries to patients. With more recent research there is a new acronym called P.O.L.I.C.E. Standing for Protect Optimal Loading Ice Compression Elevation.

What’s changed?

The term REST can be completely misinterpreted. While it’s important to have a balance of rest AND loading. Too much rest can lead to
deconditioning of tissues, stiffness and weakness. By OPTIMALLY LOADING tissue it provides the right levels of stress to encourage tissue healing, while assisting with the drainage of swelling.

What is the right amount of load?

Firstly, you must listen to the pain and not try to push through it. But if in doubt seek advice from a health professional, whether it be a Dr or Physio. Assessing the injury will help clear any serious problems, like fractures or ruptures. After having the serious issues cleared, you can be guided on the appropriate movements or weight bearing exercises to perform.

If in doubt seek advice from a Health professional

Additionally, to help provide the right loading you may require a moon boot, crutches, brace or strapping for support. Before being gradually weaned off.

Ice

I’ve previously questioned the value of applying ice for reducing swelling. There is growing evidence that shows that we need some swelling to aid in the healing process and  by using ice to minimise swelling, we could be slowing down the rate of tissue healing. 

See: hold the ice in RICE

But using the ice instead to reduce pain, by limiting nerve conduction and lowering tissue temperature. This can be effective within 5-10 minutes of application. Doing this every hour will bring pain levels down allowing you to move or load the tissue as tolerated.

Side note: Make sure you regularly check tissue quality while icing to avoid frost bite.

Compression and Elevation

These two are the least controversial in their benefit of recovery from acute injuries. Having compression helps maintain swelling to a manageable level and the area can still move normally. Making sure the compression is tight but not causing pain or numbness. You can use crape bandaging or a tubigrip.

Elevation, particularly for the lower limb helps again at minimising excessive swelling. While elevated it helps to be gently moving the
area, which also assists with tissue healing and swelling.

Anytime you’re dealing with a new injury it’s important follow the most up to date advice to help you recover as quickly and safely as possible. By seeking physio, we can offer you that guidance and support as you progress. At Fundamental Physio Newmarket, you’ll be thoroughly assessed to identify the extent of your injury, then put on the right treatment plan to help you return to normal activity. 


References

Bleakley et al 2012 PRICE needs updating, should we call the POLICE? Br J Sports Med 

Algafly et al. 2007. The effect of cryotherapy on nerve conduction velocity, pain threshold and pain tolerance. Br J Sports Med

Malanga et al 2015. Mechanisms and efficacy of heat and cold therapies for musculoskeletal injury. Postgrad Med

Making your new years resolutions stick

The new years resolution are often dreams we wish to aim for. Often achievable, but without a plan of action we often see these ideas fade within the first month.

Happy new year to everyone. With the start of a new year comes the promise of something better. New year’s resolutions seem pretty cliché, but they do offer us the best time, if not the only time in the year to reflect on the previous year and a chance to set some personal goals to achieve in the coming year.

Whether its fitness goals of running a half marathon, a bigger lifting total or just getting up off the sofa and doing daily walks. Or weight loss, changing to whole food or starting fasting. Or mental goals, having more “me” time, doing mindfulness, meditation or being stricter with your work/life balance.

The list goes on, being able to achieve any of these goals won’t happen overnight but having the right strategy you should be able to achieve them.

Defining your Goal

Having a loose resolution with no direction or steps to achieve is not only disappointing if you fail but off putting to try again. Having goals instead of resolutions will give you structure, making it more likely for you to stick to and motivating once you hit your target. One of the best ways of structuring your goal is by making it SMART.

Specific – Clearly defining your goal. What do you want to achieve? Concentrate your efforts by making sure the goal is to the point.

Measurable – Track your journey along the way with milestones. If you cannot track it, you don’t know how you’re progressing.

Attainable – Realistic goals are important. Is there something else you must achieve before making the next step? 

Relevant – Make sure the goal matters to you in your current situation. Having goals that move in the same direction are more attainable.

Timely – Setting a deadline will make it more likely to be achieved and having the milestones along the way helps you get there.

Creating habits to achieve your goals

Goals are perfect to give us a sense of achievement. But for most of the common new year’s resolutions, they are huge life style changes and to achieve these it requires a change of habits.

Habits are only achieved through daily repetition before it becomes a normal part of life. If your resolution is to lose weight then creating new habits such as preparing healthy snacks and meals in the evening, regular sleep patterns 7-8 hrs per night, 1 litre of water per day, incorporate daily fitness that you enjoy whether its starting off with walking or a High Intensity workout.

Be prepared for road bumps and setbacks, but if you’ve seen progress focus on this to keep motivated. Let your family/friends know about your lifestyle changes, so they are prepared, and it holds you accountable.

Fundamental Physio Newmarket wants you to achieve both long and short-term goals. Whether it’s an injury free 2019, or that nagging injury you’ve been dealing with. The appointment schedule is open for the new year. 

How young is “too young” to lift weights?

There’s still controversy with regards to when it’s safe to begin resistance training. Find out the benefits of weightlifting for your child’s development.

In my last blog I covered the misconceptions of lifting weights as we get older. Today we go to the other end of the spectrum, which is as equally misinformed with regards to children starting resistance training.

Across social media we see a growing trend of children involved in barbell training. Whether it’s supplementary training for their sport or weightlifting for competition. But there still remains a stigma or controversy towards children and weightlifting. This can make it extremely difficult for a parent to make an informed choice if they consider enrolling their child into a programme.

What are the concerns?

The most common worries for parents is injury risk and belief that lifting weights may stunt their growth by causing damage to the bone.

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Injury risk is always there, in any sport. But statistically weightlifting has a fairly low injury rate when compared to other sports. In one study, the overall injury rate per 100 participant hours was 1.92 for rugby and 6.2 for football and 0.0017 for weightlifting.

The biggest factor keeping injury risk so low is supervision and good coaching within a structured setting. Especially with children, keeping them focused on correct technique and giving appropriate programming to match their ability.

Another common myth of children weightlifting is that it causes damage to growth plates of the bone which could stunt healthy growth. There has actually been no scientific evidence or case studies to show that growth plates become damaged from weightlifting.  The most common cases of growth plate damage come from popular high impact sports like football, hockey, basketball and volleyball.

What are the benefits?

Weightlifting has been shown to decrease injury rates by increasing bone strength, tendon strength and improving the strength of stabiliser muscles to prevent injury during practice and competition.

During preadolescence we have heightened neural proliferation and central nervous system (CNS) maturation. With increased load and stress on the body with resistance training provides an additional stimulus to the already natural proliferation taking place. This results in a boost in neural development compared to youth who do not partake in resistance training.

How and where to start?

  • Firstly this does not mean your 7 year old will be throwing around heavy weights. There’s a process to building up a child’s competence with functional movement.
  • Finding a gym that offers a programme for kids, which can be adapted to the ability of each child and that they’re supervised by a qualified coach.

Development of trainingTo begin with, every child needs to learn functional movement patterns without any weights to have competency and understand the movement. With repeated exposure it develops whats called their “training age”. This is not their physical age, the years spent participating in their chosen sport/activity. A child at 7 years old, exposed regularly to a functional skill movements programme will have a higher training age by the time they reach puberty. This gives them a greater advantage to grasp the more complex tasks and see greater fitness gains in later stages of development.

Hopefully this will give you more confidence entering your child into a weightlifting programme. It is safe for children of all ages to lift weight as long as it’s supervised by an experienced trainer. Understand that the reward far greater than the risk.

References

  • Hamill B, 1994 Relative safety of weight lifting and weight training.
  • Legerlotz et al, 2016 Physiological Adaptations following Resistance Training in Youth Athletes-A Narrative Review
  • Malina RM, 2006 Weight training in youth-growth, maturation, and safety: an evidence-based review.
  • Powell et al, 1999 Injury patterns in selected high school sports: a review of the
  • Neurological benefits
  • Negra et al, 2016 Effects of High-Velocity Resistance Training on Athletic Performance in Prepuberal Male Soccer Athletes

Resistance Training as I get Older

Including strength training into your exercise routine as your aging will not only improve your daily life but extend your independence long after retirement.

Treat strength training like your retirement plan

If planning your finances to have a good retirement in the future, you should also consider what your health and well being will also look like at that stage.

Once over the age of 30 we start to see muscle loss of 3-8% every decade. From 50+ this percentage escalates.Muscle loss as we age

How does Muscle loss effect my future?

Previously I wrote a blog on redefining “your normal”. It’s a continuously changing shape, molded by your own abilities and limited by fears, lifestyle and lack of challenging the boundaries.

Loosing muscle with age has shown that balance and walking pattern deteriorates, which increases the risk of falling. This reinforces fear and the walls of normal slowly close in.

The other factor with a decline in muscle mass is that bone density follows the same path. This is not a great combination; high falls risk and low bone density.  Leaving that next fall to be potentially the next fracture.

That’s got the doom and gloom out the way!

How does resistance training fit in?

Resistance training comes in all shapes and forms. Using the right type of training should reflect on the individuals health, abilities, mobility and understanding of movement to ensure safety.

It’s well known that resistance training helps to increase muscle mass and strength. To achieve these changes there needs to be a physical and metabolic stress to exceed the demand of the muscle. This increased demand helps to stimulate muscle growth.

By applying this type of training 2-3 times per week we can slow the effects of aging and maintain the levels of independence well into our retirement age.

Resistance training can be as simple as body weight movements, gym machines, free weights, all the way to TRX suspension or High intensity training such as CrossFit.

Be careful what you read about strength training

The distorted truth through the media, of weightlifting is that it’s not safe and will cause you to suddenly have super inflated muscles. While this might be true for professional lifters that have dedicated their lives to their sport, for the average person it will provide strength and improve body composition.

The deadlift and squat are compound movements and we use them in everyday tasks. These are essential movements, when we lift things of the ground or pick the kids up we use these types of movements. Getting stronger at them will protect us from injury.

Recently there’s been some outcries from highly regarded health professionals in the States after Readers Digest published a bold article listing exercises that are “dangerous” for individuals over 50 year old. Without evidence to support these statements.

Here’s to name a few:-

  1. Push-ups
  2. Squats with weights
  3. Bench press
  4. Burpees
  5. Pull-ups
  6. Deadlift

The above list of movements all have a level of function to play in your day to day life and completely avoiding them would only lead to further weakness. The video below by the institute of Clinical excellence shows the varying resistance exercises elderly people are able to achieve.

It’s never too late

As we age there’s still potential not just to maintain but also build muscle even going into your 60’s. It is important though to find the right level of training that matches your current level of fitness and not your expectations from years gone by.

If your at a gym, a trainer might be able to guide you with the correct exercises. You may want to get professional medical advice with a specific exercise programme to match your level of conditioning and prevent injury.

What’s important is that you put some resistance training back into your life and see the improvements in your general well being.

 

References

Volpi et al (2004) Muscle tissue changes with aging

Ambrose et al (2013) Risk factors for falls among older adults: a review of the literature

Edwards M, et al. (2013) Muscle size, strength and physical performance and their association to bone structure.

Seguin, et al (2003) The benefits of strength training for older adults

Crossfit: Is it time to go Rx?

Are you at that point in your CrossFit training where you’re asking if it’s time to go Rx in a workout? Read on to make sure it’s safe and no risk of injury.

Have peace in the process and joy in the progress

For a seasoned athlete this question is almost a full gone conclusion in deciding to do the prescribed workout. But even then on any given day factors can play their part in deciding if they need to adjust the workout. For the newer athletes and the others that have just been plugging away and making progress on the scaled options, it can be tempting to move into the prescribed workouts.

What does “going Rx” really mean?

  • You can safely move with consistency even when under fatigue.
  • You understand the purpose of the workout and can complete it within or around the desired goal.
  • Your coach is confident with you doing the workout.

Safety and Consistency

It’s the main concern for anyone attempting to workout at a prescribed level for the first time. Developing your competency of individual skills in the strength phase of training is vitally important. But also being able to match it with consistency when doing multiple reps. It’s important to be honest with your ability.

Moving either your body or heavy weight inefficiently and inconsistently over multiple reps only increases the risk of injury. If it means you continue building strength with the scaled options, so be it. Most workouts will repeat 2-3 times per year, giving you another opportunity for the next one. 

Understand the purpose

Every time you walk into the gym and see the new workout on the board consider that there is a purpose to each one. Workouts are not just slapped together. The coach has programmed each workout to compliment the type of strength work you’re doing and the stage that you’re in, within the program.

Each individual workout is designed to expose your body to different metabolic demands. A workout designed to be a short 5-8 minutes is expectant for you to be able to train continuously during this time at a weight you can keep going. If you’re going Rx and taking long breaks, this defeats the object of the session.

The other side is doing a workout that’s meant to be long in duration testing stamina. If you’re scaling too low, this could get you through the workout much faster. While this looks good on the whiteboard you won’t get the intended aerobic demand to your body.

If you’re unsure about where your expected to finish or what weight would be appropriate….

Speak to the Coach

Coach has been watching you week by week and is aware of your abilities. They also understand the stimulus of each workout. So if you’re still unsure of what level you’re at, ask the coach. They’ll guide you on appropriate weight, pacing, expectation of finish time and offer scaling options if you’re injured or still not ready for a particular movement.

If the coaches decision is lower than your expectation, leave the ego at the door. This is for your own safety and you’ll still end up getting an effective workout.

Gradually you’ll find there’ll be days you can Rx and others you won’t. Remember that you can’t force the process. Keep working to your ability and progress will come.

Complex movements and a neutral spine

Being aware of what a neutral spine feels like is a good start. But when incorporating it into more difficult movements, it requires patience and consistency.

Let’s start simple before making it complicated

Moving with integrity is essential to getting the best output from your exercise and with that, understanding the principals of neutral spinal position play a primary role. You could be pushing off to sprint or jumping up to block a shot or preparing for an Olympic lift, finding a neutral spine provides your limbs with a stable base to engage.

Maintaining a neutral spine

What is a neutral spine?sPINE

The design spine provides a wide range of movement in different directions, helped by having 25 mobile vertebral segments. This allows you to be highly functional. But not all spinal positions are efficient. It’s a neutral spine that evenly distributes stress through the complex tissue structures of the spine. This reduces the risk of injury when challenged and provides a strong platform for the arms and legs to work from. It also provides the least amount of tension on the nervous system as it branches out from the spinal column.

Looking at the supportive network of the spine, it’s made up of 3 arches. A slight inward cervical arch (neck), an outward thoracic arch (mid back) and inward curve at the Lumbar (lower back). Underneath the lumbar is the sacrum connecting to the pelvis.

Cannons being fired from a battleship have more power, stability and accuracy than once fired from a canoe.

Why do we need a neutral spine?

Physically it’s the most efficient position, but it doesn’t mean we need to be fixed in this shape at all times.

It does however become important when we throw complex movements into the mix. A complex movement is something that requires speed, power and timing from multiple muscle groups across multiple joints. Lacking the coordination of maintaining this posture during difficult movements not only compromises the spine but offers poor performance output.

An easy example of poor spinal position can be the dead lift. Often people race to get a heavier lift while ignoring the potential risks to the tissues of the spine. Finding a neutral position will not only be safe, but will offer better outcomes in developing strength.

Another example I see is the pull up. Coming over the bar there is often excessive chin poke and neck extension to clear the head over the bar. This compromises the neck, shoulders and upper back.

If you’re struggling with maintaining this spinal shape when doing complex movements you might want to remove an element of difficulty, such as weight, speed or scaling the movement. Develop better body awareness before making it more more challenging.

How to find your neutral spine

On the floor – 

  • Lying down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Tilt your pelvis up and down to feel the top and bottom of your sacrum, at the back of the pelvis.
  • Then you want to feel the middle of the sacrum, adjusting your pelvis, it will lie between the top and bottom of the tilt.
  • Then tuck your chin in without fully flattening your neck to the floor.Finding neutral spine

Once you’re confident with the shape, get up into standing and attempt to maintain it through movement. The video below, using a stick will provide feedback to keep you well positioned.

… and then once you’re confident with keeping this shape, slowly start incorporating it into heavier, faster movements. This will put you in a safer position and improve the results of your training.

 

Takeaways from the CrossFit Open

The Open has finally closed and with it comes a range of experiences at all levels. But using your results in training could help you become better athlete for next year.

The struggle you are in today is developing your strength for tomorrow.

The 2018 CrossFit Open has finally come to a close. From seasoned veteran to first timer, the last 5 weeks have physically pushed you to new limits. We have all gone through it together but each of you will have experienced it differently. The Open provides us with a milestone, a measure of our fitness from the past year and offers us with data moving into the new season of training.

Finding weak links

CrossFit HQ gets more creative every year with their programming. This exposes weakness of skills, abilities and fitness. Whether it’s strength and endurance or struggling with certain gymnastic movements. The aim of the open is to not only select the strongest in the pack and gain a sense of achievement, but also offer individuals an insight into their weaknesses.

Spending a bit of extra time on movements you’ve struggled with throughout the year will help you develop into a well rounded athlete and become more equipped for the following Open.

Developing a strategy

Running head first into a workout, like a bull in a china shop is not a great strategy for success. Understanding your abilities for each movement will help you form a strategy, like how many reps you’ll do before breaking? how long your break will be? etc.

This knowledge doesn’t come cheap. You’ll have to train through the year and learn your max reps for each movement and apply it to your training.

Overcoming your own doubt

For those entering the open for the first time, it can be quite daunting, with personal expectations and the competitive nature of the event. But when coach recommends you to go Rx, how many of you were surprised by the result? Who got their first pull up or handstand pushup?

Just going beyond those comfort zones gives you a glimpse of what’s possible for the rest of the year with regular training.

Small things can make the biggest difference

Looking after yourself during the open was crucial to getting the best result. How was your sleep quality? hydration? nutrition; pre and post workout? breath work? Did you spend time warming up and mobilising before the workout?

If any of these areas were neglected it will work to your advantage by making it a regular part of your regime in the new season.

Leaving the ego at the door

This years prescribed workouts got more technical from the 3rd week onward. For many who’ve just started CrossFit it’s important to know if your abilities lie within Rx or still need to be scaled. Coach might even advise you not to Rx if unable to maintain form or safely lift the weight. Try not to be discouraged by this, it was only to save you from the threat of injury, allowing you to carry on training following the Open.

If you struggled to reach Rx for a movement, use this as motivation to develop the strength or to practice the skill to be ready for the next open.

Having Fun

Isn’t this what it’s all about? Accept the suspense of waiting for the new workout to be announced. Enjoy the friendly competition between other members in the box and the drive that gives to achieving more than you thought possible. Enjoy the feeling of support from the community to get the best out of each other.

Well done with everyone that took part in the 2018 CrossFit Open and good luck with training for the new season.

Upper Crossed Syndrome – A foundation for failure

Are you aware of upper crossed syndrome? Does this postural shape look familiar to you? If yes, then you take a look at the corrective exercises I’ve included in the blog.

Posture follows movement like a shadow

Are you being double crossed by your posture? There is a chronic condition called Upper Crossed Syndrome (USC) which is expressed by the rounding of shoulders, forward chin poke of the head.  Mostly seen with elderly, but with an accelerated escalation of sedentary lifestyles and work environments, it has become a common sight for all ages.

Upper Crossed Syndrome Anatomy

The position of your head and shoulder is orchestrated by various opposing forces. These muscle balance forces vary depending on the positions we regularly find ourselves in. With UCS there is usually a weakness of the deep neck flexors and overactive/tightness of the upper traps and levator scapulae. This causes a forward head position with a hinge point at the lower cervical spine.

Lower down with weakness of rhomboids and lower traps, matched with overactive/tight pectoralis major and minor causes a rounding of the shoulders.Posture

The muscle imbalance can affect multiple joint levels of the spine, the glenohumeral joint, the acromioclavicular joint and scapulothoracic joint. These might all lead to dysfunctions and result in injury.

How does this impact me?

Well that depends on how you live your life. This is a chronic condition that affects multiple joints and progressively over years they become stiff or weak. This closes the window on living an active lifestyle and increases risk of injury.

With less mobility and stability, comes greater risk to injury. 

This is typical with most office workers, students or driver’s. Their neuromuscular system has adapted to the UCS shape for years. But the injury risk increases when activity and movement levels are pushed higher than normal, for example overhead lifting, throwing sports or freestyle swimming that requires a wider overhead range of movement and ends up putting undue stress on the upper body.

Have you got the following?

  • Chin Poke: Is your head sticking so far out it’s at risk of falling off! Next time you stop at traffic lights take a look at the other drivers posture, it’s common to see the drivers head stuck at least 12 inches from the head rest.
  • Rounding of the Shoulders: Due to a weakness of scapula retractors, the lower traps and rhomboids, the super tight Pec muscles draw the shoulders forwards. Look at overly developed bodybuilders for a great example of rounded shoulders.
  • Winging scapula: When the scapula lifts away from the wall of the rib cage, it’s usually the result of a muscle imbalance. This might take a friend to spot this one for you.
  • Creasing in the neck: It’s the last places you want to see a crease. At the base of the neck and accompanied by the start of a hump in the thoracic spine.

Change starts now – How do I get there?

Expecting to do an overhead squat or chest to bar pull up straight away might be unrealistic if you’ve spent years holding a UCS posture. But there are ways of getting there…

  • Scaling the new movement that your practicing and working within the ranges that your body allows. Giving the joints time to adapt, without risking injury.
  • Working on individual muscles that developed the weakness and tightness over the years. This requires specific strengthening and stretching exercises.
  • Muscle tightness in your neck and chest may benefit from soft tissue work to release the muscle, like massage or dry needling.
  • Correcting form, sometimes we don’t have the body awareness to identify poor technique. Having the coach or physio look at your movement to correct where it’s needed.
  • Change can only be enforced through repetition and habit. The positions you’re in most of the day dictate your posture. At work, in the car, or at home, try to change your posture regularly.

Below are some basic examples of exercises to get you started with organising the shoulder and head. Try following them regularly to give your body the opportunity to change.

Continue reading “Upper Crossed Syndrome – A foundation for failure”

Top 5 Posts of 2017

Entering the new year here’s a look back at last years 5 most popular blogs.

Happy New Year – 2018 is already under way. Hope you all had a great break.

Last year was a busy year with the blogs. Here are the top 5 posts from last year in case you missed them.

5. The Office WOD

  • How many of us at work get stuck in the same position and forget to move?
  • This post was offering some general strengthening and postural awareness exercises to follow regularly at work.
  • Try getting into a routine with these types of exercises. It should help prepare you better for training.

4. Trigger Points – what are they?

  • Those knots felt in your traps after a busy day at work are more than likely trigger points.
  • This blog goes into explaining what they are, how they’re caused and how they’re treated.

3. Recovering from DOMS

  • This was a popular topic as we all love a bit of DOMS.
  • Understanding how to manage your recovery and training while in the DOMS phase will make it more tolerable.
  • Also knowing the difference of pain between DOMS and an injury will help avoid making anything worse.

2. Improving front rack position

  • After doing many mobility assessments, the front rack shape is what most people struggled to hold passively without a bar.
  • This was one of a 4 part series of shoulder shapes we should be achieving to help make movement more efficient.
  • It offered a range of mobility exercises to open the shoulder into the front rack.

1. Anterior knee pain in CrossFit

  • One of the most common injuries in sports and top 3 with CrossFit athletes is a knee injury.
  • This blog looked at anterior knee pain and the common causes. It offers some basic suggestions to self managing the injury.

The purpose of these blogs has been to provide a wider understanding of your body and give you more control of it. Wishing you all an injury free 2018 and keep checking for the new blogs.