January 16, 2010
Can’t get into a squat? Lacking power in your snatch? Daniel Christie suggests that aggressive bodywork may help you unlock your full potential.
Trainers often see horrible, awkward movements that limit performance and can’t be corrected with a simple cue. Why? It can often come down to poor strength and stability levels or poor memorized motor patterns, but it can also result from short, tight, facilitated musculature.
The sight of a forward head position, rounded shoulders, internally rotated arms and anterior-tilted pelvises is commonplace in gyms, offices and CrossFit boxes. If these patterns are left unchecked, recovery rates can be impeded, injury rates increased and performance diminished.
The combination of postural traits listed above is commonly known as “upper crossed syndrome” and “lower crossed syndrome, descriptions popularized by Dr. Vladimir Janda. Via research, Janda identified a predictable pattern of muscles prone to tightness or shortness and weakness or inhibition. The muscles that predictably tighten reduce the ability of CrossFitters to adopt ideal postures during the deep squat, clean and jerk and other such exercises. Common inhibition patterns can also be detrimental to midline stabilization during heavy axial loading, as well as stability around the shoulder and knee.
In Part 1 of this article, I’ll talk about how a therapist can help address upper and lower crossed syndrome, and in Part 2 I’ll illustrate several highly effective self-stretches and soft-tissue techniques to help with the muscular-imbalance issues highlighted here.