Rebuilding Khalipa: Part 1

By Kelly Starrett

In ExPhysiology, Medical/Injuries, Videos

March 02, 2010

Video Article

Jason Khalipa may not be working at his full capacity—and how scary is that?

The 2008 CrossFit Games champ clearly has the capacity to do a lot work very quickly, and he’s incredibly strong. He’s also very inflexible, and how much better would his performance be if he could achieve more favorable starting positions and didn’t have to waste energy working against tight muscles?

On the table at San Francisco CrossFit, Khalipa is evaluated by Kelly Starrett, who immediately finds problems. Using a simple movement test, Starrett shows Khalipa just how much energy he uses to fight tight hamstrings and suggests that energy could be put to better use moving a barbell.

The owner of San Francisco CrossFit, Starrett is a doctor of physical therapy who works with professionals and Olympic-caliber athletes. According to Starrett, even some top competitors are only tapping 75 percent of their potential due to movement limitations, so he’ll assess the situation with a number of tests, then formulate a plan to correct the problem and unlock hidden work capacity.

10min 26sec

Additional reading: Tuning the CrossFit Athlete: Part 1 by Daniel Christie, published Jan. 16, 2010.

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53 Comments on “Rebuilding Khalipa: Part 1”


wrote …

I am psyched to watch this series. Great info.


wrote …

I hope Kelly addresses tight shoulders next. I can't get my biceps next to my ears and it kills my over head lifts.


wrote …

Hands down the best lecturer, most knowledgeable person I have ever seen - KStar.

Keep these coming please.



wrote …

I just attended the Mobility Seminar this weekend. K-Star is a Quality coach and a really funny dude. Every trainer should seize the oppurttunity to learn from this guy.


wrote …

Wow, great stuff, as always, from Kelly. I definitely have neglected some of this aspect of fitness.


wrote …

Excellent start... so want to see more!
Already knew K-Star was amazing from L1 and his cert, but want to know the "simple solution" for Khalipa's emergency brakes.
PNF at proximal and distal insertions?


wrote …

Kelly is. the. Man.


wrote …

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G Material right there!


NOW! :)

*high-five* K-Star for keeping the bar so incredibly high since the beginning!

Thanks a ton for all the intel you share with us :D


wrote …

Love KStar's stuff, he is the man!


EC S wrote …

kstar! we need you back in boston ASAP!


Bradley Forbes wrote …

I wish the videos that are posted in the CrossFit Journal were subtitled/closed captioned. I am hearing impaired and can pretty much only learn from the articles. I have noticed there has been a increase of videos the past year or so. Is there any possible way to do this? I know it is probably WAY too much to ask for. There is a wealth of knowledge that I am missing out from the videos. CrossFit is powerful stuff. I'd like to get all I can out of it. Thanks


wrote …

I felt like I was watching myself during the tripod test! That is one of the most uncomfortable positions to sit in. I can't wait for the rest of this series so I can work towards passing the tripod test.


wrote …



wrote …

Really looking forward to more on this series. I tried sitting up straight and extending my legs: EPIC FAIL.


wrote …

Anyone know the song played in the video??


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wrote …

Ahhh another amazing K-Star video filled with the usual amazing comments. What an asset! As usual, can't wait for more...


Alex Margolin wrote …

K-star's advice is the bomb! Keep 'em coming Kelly. I loved your mobility course and the videos are fantastic!


wrote …

I have poor hamstring flexibility (probably much worse than Khalipa) and I am yet another to fail the test, I thoroughly loved this video can't wait for the rest of it!


wrote …

I have the same problem and can't wait to see the rest of this.


wrote …

Solutions...more solutions! I can't wait to see how to start resolving these issues and what to incorporate into my stretching routine!


wrote …

please put the rest up as soon as possible. I need to work on myself as well.


Adam Kayce wrote …

Ugh - I just went to register for K-Star's Mobility cert, and it's sold out (except for the one in Hawai'i)! Curse my metal body, I wasn't fast enough!

I totally dig these videos - everything K-Star puts out is gold.

Re: closed-captioning - if someone knows a way to do it easily on a mac, I'd be willing to do it for K-Star's videos. If nothing else, a transcript... but closed-captioning would be awesome. Ideas?


wrote …

For the 46 yo Firefighter/Crossfiter this is valuable info. Does Crossfit keep a list of coaches that have been through the mobile cert.? This would be very productive instruction.


Jim Pascucci wrote …

Great video, as are all the rest of yours. How can we get you to come out to Colorado?


wrote …

My sister is a young stenographer...HQ if you need someone I can talk to her.


wrote …

Whoa, real good stuff here! I pretty much have the same flexibility issues as Jason, looking forward to rest of this series!


replied to comment from Bradley Forbes

You might try checking out a speech-to-text software program. There are a few of them for free,,
These are just a few I found on links from wikipedia, so I don't know how well they work.


wrote …

Kelly is such a wealth of knowledge. I love seeing people break down issues with such certainty instead of "lets try this, lets try that."

Gives me some great insight for myself and others.

I'm excited to see where this goes in pt 2.


wrote …

What kind of schedule are the next segments going to be published on? I've got a lot of the same issues as Jason (without the corresponding 2008 Games trophy), so I'm looking forward to Kelly's solutions.


wrote …

Wow there are people just like me out there. I need more info!!


Erik Miller wrote …

That was one of the most informative vid's I have seen on the journal or main or anywhere for that matter...and there is more to come. :)


wrote …

On his site, Kelly says only 1 in 5 males can properly do the long sitting position.


wrote …

KStar is the man! His cert this past weekend was awesome! If you get a chance to go, do it.

He used me to demo some shoulder mobility drills using a lacrosse ball, and only about 10 minutes worth improved an unbelievable amount of range of motion.
Now to work on those hamstrings...


wrote …

That was great but you always leave me wanting more. That is some great information, keep it coming, Thanks.


wrote …

really cool, needs a new intro song


wrote …

Kelly Starrett is the man. I owe a lot to his blog and videos. Anyone know what song that is playing in the beginning and end of the video?


wrote …

I expect nothing less than grade-A from K-Star...

As for the song, it took some searching but its called "Legend in the Making" by Alpha & Omega


To be fair K was only referring to that particular photo, but it wouldn't surprise me if it turned out to be close to that in the training population. I know I'm one of the four. :-P


wrote …

Just subscribed to the journal and already hooked on the great video's from Kelly, this serie is spot on because I have the same tightness. Please post part 2 ASAP.

Greetingd from Holland.



wrote …

Great video! Its a shame that mobility (distance traveled and quality/skill of movement) and starting position lever orientation (posture) is often overlooked in our training. These are the basic building blocks that ensure success to keep our system, muscles and joints operating efficiently so that our tissues can be best prepared to handle the accumulated mechanical stress of any exercise we do.

A key point that I have learned and would like to share is what is called the Prime Directive of the body...
1. The preservation of the macro structure in order to stay alive. (fight/flight)
2. The protection of micro structures (i.e. joints) due to trauma, pain, inflammation – in order to preserve the ability of the macro structure to continue to produce movement serving the volitional will (crossfit, et al).
...with that said its key to tend to mobility/posture like Kelly stated to best preserve micro-stucutre integrity over time especially with increased duty cylces/work demands on muscles/joints.

I'm not sure if the crossfit community knows much about Muscle Activation Techniques, MAT, but what Kelly presented is right inline with the MAT approach of addressing (identifying, correcting and reinforcing/progressing corrections) biomechanical/muscular imbalances and limitations that might hold athletes back from reaching their full potential.


wrote …

Ok, so Crossfit has a very specific definition of fitness and has 10 components to the definition. 1 of them is "Felxibility". I've always take flexibility to mean "range of motion" rather than flexibilty for the sake of flexibility as in Yoga. I feel that for all the strength and metcon training we do there is very little "coaching" on stretching or improving range of motion. Now Jason, who won the Crossfit Games in 2008, and damn near did again in 2009 if it wasn't for the run, is arguably crossfits "worlds fittest man". Using the definition of fitness that crossfit uses, Flexibility is a component. But Jason cannot touch his toes! (I can't either...) But clearly with strength and determination a great athlete can push through physical limitations.

So is there a way to incorporate more flexibility in our training? Should it be something we do "after" the workout? Could it be included somehow?


wrote …

If I wanted to go to a local professional for similar help should I look for a physical therapist, sports physiologist or something else? Are there special accreditation or certificates that I should be looking for?

I'm enjoy these vids and get a bunch out of them. It would still be nice to get some one on one coaching.


wrote …

Holy hell... I do not have 1/2 the capacity of Jason Khalipa, but I have VERY similar imbalances. I feel like that entire video could have been me sitting there. The tripod test, tight hamstrings, erectors that give out before everything else, shoulders forward in the posture, can't touch my toes, etc.

I am very much looking forward to seeing this series. I need to work on this majorly.


replied to comment from Bradley Forbes

It may not be all that difficult to do CC at all. They may need to start a youtube channel though. I just read this today. Check out the link wfs


wrote …


for professional help in the "fitness" industry for indentifying and correcting these biomechanical inefficiences/specific areas of tightness and weakeness try a trainer certified in Muscle Activation Techniques, MAT. Also a Resistance Training Specialist, RTS, is another accredidation to look for.

Active Release Techniques (ART) and Active Isolated Stretching are other useful modalities. Z-Health is also worth looking into.

Obvioulsy Physical Therapists can be great, but you as a crossfitter may not have pain symptoms yet. I doubt Health insurance companies would be excited about you getting treated for movement deficincies, even though with time theres a good chance it would lead to some type of tissue degredation and pain. Thats why MAT is great, it fills in the Gap between rehab and fitness for those that still have biomechanical limitations.


Bradley Forbes wrote …

Trevor, that looks very promising. If they could set that up, that would be extremely helpful! I hope HQ has been looking at this and hopefully will implement this soon!!


wrote …

For weak glutes/hamstrings why not try:

SLDL 45kg x 5
Clean 1st pull 45kg x 5
Split squat unweighted x 5 each side (front foot on 150mm high box for extra glute stretch)
OH squat 20kg x 5

as a warm up? 5 reps of each with a light weight in a circuit x 3.

SLDL and 1st pulls to stretch and activate the hamstrings and split squat to stretch and activate the glutes. By the 3rd circuit the range of movement will be much better and the OHS will seem easier.

I think Jason's problem is that he has been let loose on cleans and snatches with very poor form. He probably can't get into a good starting position for the clean. No chance with the snatch. Maybe he should start with the weight up on low boxes and work his 1st pull from there and progress to lifting from the floor then gradually widening his grip to a snatch grip. He should work on form and range of motion before loading up.


replied to comment from Joel Woods

Thanks Joel


wrote …

Still waiting for part 2. When's it coming?


replied to comment from brian diez

I have the same problem...hopefully it gets addressed. Kelly is the MAN!


wrote …

when we gonna see part 2?


replied to comment from Kevin Wong

i am dumb. i found the rest of the series now.

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