Rebuilding Khalipa: Part 3

By Kelly Starrett

In Medical/Injuries, Videos

March 17, 2010

Video Article

You may not be Kelly Starrett, but you can still use some very basic assessments to discover tightness in your athletes.

Working with Jason Khalipa at San Francisco CrossFit, Starrett puts the owner of CrossFit Santa Clara through several basic mobility tests to discover exactly where he’s tight. Once those sticking points are discovered, Starrett can form a plan of action to correct the problems and unlock improved performance and optimal movement mechanics.

In Part 4, Starrett uses manual therapy techniques to start rebuilding Khalipa.

Starrett is a doctor of physical therapy and the owner of San Francisco CrossFit.

7min 10sec

Additional reading: Tuning the CrossFit Athlete: Part 2 by Daniel Christie, published Jan. 28, 2010.

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15 Comments on “Rebuilding Khalipa: Part 3”


wrote …

I wish that I could get that kind of attention and assessment from Coach K-Star... I wish that I knew better self-assessments AND what to do with the results of those self-assessments.


wrote …

I feel like this is a re-mix / re-hash of part's one and two and is coming out in dribs and drabs; I wish a part would come out that would actually show the recommended stretches / movements for Jason to improve his flexibility and what that is exactly and I wish to see an "after" part that shows what measurable improvement he got in flexibility and also what measured improvement it created in his performance.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all skeptical, just impatient. This is a great topic and I like many others judging from the earlier comments suffer from similar problems and I'd like to see some solutions to try and how effective they were for Jason.


replied to comment from John Cardinal

Good point.

Freaky thing happened to me the other day: I hit a strength workout (heavy squats, presses, and power cleans 5x5) and felt great. Finished up, put away the weights, went downstairs to my classroom, and got changed to get ready to teach my class. All of a sudden, as I was standing there, I felt something like electricity hit my lower back, and everything tightened up. It was not a good feeling. I spent the weekend stretching and doing SMFR, and came back able to squat the same heavy weight I did on Friday, but my back has felt tight and my hips have felt 'fragile' since then. Flexibility is a major issue for me, and I'm trying to be intentional about it, but I want to know what I can do to improve my hip mobility, hamstring flexibility, and quad tightness. I know the basic ways to stretch it out, but would love to know what I can do to assess my current situation, measure my progress, and then maintain my more flexible body once I get there.


replied to comment from John Cardinal

thanks john so i don't waste my time downloading and watching. i'm so looking forward to actually learn something new.


replied to comment from John Cardinal

Looks like this stuff is coming out every Thursday.

I reckon that they have to start providing red meat next week. There's only so much assessment that's possible.

But looking at this episode, clearly JK needs to work on at least his hamstrings and quads, if not his hip capsule also. That could be 3 more episodes, plus a possible recap.

Actually, the recap would be EXTREMELY interesting. Imagine split-screen showing how much Jason's range-of-motion increased over a couple of months (this series was filmed in Feb or earlier, so there would be two months of stretching by the time the series is finished going out.) I'd also like to see Jason talking about which exercises worked for him, and which didn't.


Dane Thomas wrote …

A commonly accepted Physical Therapy documentation model for this series would have looked something like this:

Part 1 would focus on the subjective aspects of Jason's situation: He has no problems with strength or stamina but feels a bit range-limited with certain movements. Which movements? Where does he feel most limited? Where does he have the most to gain? We might not be able to use the term "weak", but what are the least strong links in the chain of his overall fitness?

Part 2 would focus on objective measurements. How limited is he? In which movements? Are there side-to-side differences? Is he evenly limited in both flexion and extension or more one than the other?

Part 3 would be the assessment based upon the combination of the first two parts. What problems are most glaring and most easily addressed.

Part 4 would be the treatment plan based upon the assessment. What are we going to recommend, what are we going to measure, how often, what goals do we have, etc. How we quantify progress and what positive results to expect. What to watch out for, etc.

3, 2, 1 - GO! ;-)


replied to comment from Adam Carlson

Hey Adam,
You may have some biomechanical and/or neurological issues a good chiropractor(preferably upper cervical) could help you with. Shoot me an email at if you want more information.


wrote …

Its all part of getting a full understanding of where the restrictions are, and identifying the compromises that are being made consciously or subconsciously. Having an assessment of it in different positions identifies more of what is coming into play. You are not by any means wasting time downloading and watching part 3. What Jason and Kelly do to address the issues is the next step. You gotta know what you are dealing with first then look at ways to address it.
Attend a Mobility & Recovery cert and you will learn how to start addressing different issues and how you address them would depend on your situation.
I have personally worked with Kelly and am seeing tremendous improvements on all aspects of performance-- with CF wods as well as sport specific performance. There is no one better when it comes to looking at performance and identifying what is needed to allow you to perform at a higher level.


Hollis Molloy wrote …

These videos are designed for the CrossFit athlete as well and as the CrossFit coach.

The hope is to make it possible for coaches and athletes to assess human movement in functional movements. To put better eyes on simple movements such as the squat.

To develop the eye that a great coach like Kelly has takes time and effort. Simply fast forwarding to the solution will not provide to tools necessary to fully understand the complexity of what is going on.

I filmed, and edited these clips, and have watched this footage more than several times. Each time I see something new. As I develop a better understanding of what Kelly is seeing and talking about, it makes me better at explaining to my athletes and my coaches how to spot faults and correct them.

Each clip has a unique value.

These clips are not meant to make physical therapist out of trainers or fix one problem for one athlete. Hopefully it draws our attention to the nuanced peices of coaching and provides information that can be used by CrossFit athletes and coaches to produce better movement and in turn better performance.


wrote …

Hollis, thanks for your post. It got me thinking.

The question "What stretches should we do to improve our (insert muscle name here) flexibility?" comes from the same line of thinking that brought us the now-infamous lateral raise machine. I've been guilty of it most of my life - my model of fitness used to be "get as fat as you want, as long as you can life a house." But I have happily emerged from the forest.

Should we stretch to improve mobility and flexibility? Absolutely. That's the essence of functional fitness. Joints move in multiple planes in response to forces exerted by wickedly complex muscle groups, attached at genetically variable bone insertion points. We want all the parts to move unimpeded through their entire range of motion.

That brings on the next question, "What stretches should we use to improve flexibility?"

I think the answer is simple: All of them. Every reasonably safe stretch you can think of. In fact, as a result of a capitally frustrating lower back/SI rehabilitation journey, I am a raving fan of yoga. I'm aware of the "flexibility beyond that which is required for functional movement is called contortion" quote, and I happen to agree. It's the same argument that says a 5-minute miler probably has a weak squat and a guy with an 800# DL probably can't finish a mile by sundown. But the cool thing about working at a variety of functional fitness elements to the best of your ability is that you'll never get so good at one that the rest suffer. But your capacity in all areas will improve synergistically.

Yeah, I know. Yoga is completely uncool. I'm over it.

I've ignored flexibility most of my fitness life, and I have paid the price for it (lumbar traction really does suck). I'm not alone, and even up to this point there's not been a great deal of attention paid to flexibility improvement in the functional fitness community. My sense is that it's been mostly an "on your own time" approach. But I think we'll eventually come around to collectively realizing its importance in long-term health and activity extension, particularly as Father Time and entropy begin to catch up to the super-humans of our sport.

Will we ever see videos of Amundson, Everett, Khalipa, or other rock stars mastering a difficult stretch pose? I don't know. But I'm relatively convinced that functional flexibility will remain the not-so-cool "silent partner" until we do. It's a bit too bad - the benefits of improved flexibility are just as life-altering as the benefits of lower body fat, greater strength, and better endurance.


replied to comment from John Cardinal

Yeah, I did not expect this, its like your trying to sell something and teasing. Why so many parts when the whole video is already complete? I don't understand why so many parts without any correcting, only assesing.

Physical Therapists in so cal are too expensive and there are not enough good ones like K star. Went to two and the one that knew her stuff just kept me coming back for more "insurance appts" went to one from USC one and he said my shoulder was fine after 3 visits because i had full range of motion, yet same pains continued.

After months of searching for what my shoulder pain was really about, I found out about Eric Cressey and the TNation articles. Turns out there are different kinds of shoulder impingements and there are different treatment approaches to each of them.

I think we deserve the full series at this point. K Star has such great knowledge in everything Ive seen so far, but I would really like to see things to completion rather than the little snippets that always keep me wondering. Uggh.

Frustrated yet thankful for what Ive seen so far,



Hollis, looks like we are both commenting on this from Stockholm. Thanks for the filming and editing. Sorry to have missed your workshops last weekend, but best wishes for a great sectional this weekend!


wrote …

I am curious to know from KStar about how much performance enhancement type of therapy they were taught at school. I am currently in Chiropractic school but want to focus on sports performance like he does. KStar, if you read this, can you comment on whether you got this knowledge more from school or from your experience post graduation?


wrote …

I think you're doing yourself a MAJOR disservice if you don't watch every one of these videos. Saying you're going to fast forward through video 3 just because someone says it's a rehash of the first two is ridiculous. It's not. You should be listening and gaining the knowledge that's put out there via this journal by actually watching the content, not reading people's reactions to it. Like Hollis said, you can gain something new every time you watch one of these. I'm sure in the vids to follow there will be exercises/PNF/IS for Jason to do as homework, but the point of these videos is to be able to diagnose your athletes dysfunction.


wrote …

If you go through everything K-Star has recorded for the CFJ, you can put it all together, like a class, and understand what needs to be done.

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