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Exposing Problems by Kelly Starrett - CrossFit Journal

Exposing Problems

By Kelly Starrett

In Medical/Injuries, Videos

May 04, 2010

Video Article

You can’t round out your physical capacities across broad time and modal domains while ignoring physical limitations and going for broke in each workout. All athletes, even world champions, have some limitations due to lack of flexibility, mobility or injury. Kelly Starrett contends that movement troubles are best exposed by CrossFit, diagnosed by a trainer, and treated by the individual.

But where do you begin?

“Start with what you know,” Starrett says.

CrossFit trainers are given a wealth of information at Level 1 Certifications. Establishing a firm grasp of the nine basic lifts is the key to helping clients identify and remedy mobility and flexibility issues. By taking this basic knowledge, one can facilitate better movement just by assessing some deficiencies.

In the first installment of a multi-part series, Starrett explains how he feels flexibility—or lack thereof— affects all athletes and shouldn’t be ignored.

10min 14 sec

Additional reading: Squat Clinic by Greg Glassman, published Dec. 1, 2002.

Free Download


17 Comments on “Exposing Problems ”


wrote …

Thank you k-Star for all your helpful info. Ican't wait to learn from you up close in Toronto late this month! Don't worry I'm the little guy with some big shoulder problems.
I always look forward to your videos.
You make me want to be a better strength and conditioning coach.

See you soon.

coach craig from crossfit eclipse


wrote …

Couldn't agree more with the comment on mobility/flexibility being the most common and significant limiting factor in performance and longevity; Crossfit providing a template that will undoubtedly expose such issues; and it educating on proper human motion/GPP. I hope all affiliates see this video and grasp/reinforce the importance of pre-WOD mobility training and post-WOD recovery training for increase performance and, most importantly, longevity of the athletes.

Always fun to see/hear Kelly in action... keep it coming


replied to comment from Craig Descoteaux

I'll be in Toronto for the cert as well; I've been looking forward to this one for a LONG time.

Every video of Kelly on here is gold, without exception; dude knows his stuff.


wrote …

Standard Kelly quality. Brilliant. One video from Kelly is enough for me to know my money was well spent on CFJ subscription.


wrote …

You're the MAN Kelly! I can't tell you how much your videos have informed/enlightened me on my own joint problems. Please come to Georgia for a mobility Cert!! Thanks again!


Frank DiMeo wrote …

Thanks Kelly!
Very helpful information!


wrote …

I have really enjoyed listening to Kelly's pieces on the site. I Just really began crossfiting 1.5 months ago. One of my biggest issues is my lack of mobile flexibility, particularly in my shoulders. Fran absolutely kills me because of this. What a great idea to have a mobility cert to address these issues. I would definitely agree that crossfit will absolutely bring out your weaknesses. Kelly, thanks for bringing the professonal piece that crossfit needs as it relates to care and prevention of athletic injury. Keep up the good work and I agree coffee is one of the most awesome substances on earth.

Thanks for all you do.


wrote …

Great stuff Kelly, as usual. I'm looking forward to part 2. One question: you talk about injuries in CF being a "good thing'" or a sign that CF brings out the issues that were there prior to starting CF. I'm on board with the fact that each individual has their own structural issues that will become evident with CF. Don't you think that the nature and intensity of these WODs alone, not taking into account a person's pre-existing structural issues, can cause injury? It seems to me that doing 100s of pull ups or push ups or whatever in a given week is gonna create some wear and tear, regardless of individual issues.(age, structure, job, etc)

Don't get me wrong, I agree that if people address their limitations they are much less likely to get hurt.

My gut feeling is that some of these injuries we see go with the territory, especially since no one is "perfect" or symmetrical. I know that many of my assymmetries are very functional.

Your thoughts?

Brad Jones


wrote …

what a great presentation! lots of great points, delivered with charisma and passion. excellent.


wrote …

Kelly has a knack of pinpointing truth within the body. Many of us have been lying to ourselves until we try some of the flexibility/ mobility tests KS points out. I love his videos. His work with Khalipia was great. He is my first choice for watching Crossfit Journal. keep em comin'

Steve Brown


wrote …

Starrett sings to me ;) The man inspired me to shift my major.


replied to comment from Charles Tabary

That is great... lol... I'm going back to school cuz of him too. I have to know more after I see his videos.


Richard Meurk wrote …

Really nice vid kstar!


wrote …

Great video Kelly. My question for you and the community is do you do the hip mobility drills and the shoulder mobility drills (from your previous cfj videos)every warmup or do you alternate or just base it on whatever the wod is for that day? I'd love to see different pre-workout mobility routines from athletes like speal and jason kalipha. Depending on the wod I tend to skip the CFWU and do mobility drills, burgener wu, POSE drills and/or skill work to warmup. Any thoughts would be appreciated.


wrote …

oh gosh....I want in the toronto cert so badly...somebody cancel....please...


replied to comment from Brian Hassler

I think KStar said even in that video or perhaps in the comments to vary your warm-up and not get trapped into monotony. I think you can take two general approaches:

1) Warm up to best prepare your body for what you'll be doing that day, using a variety of drills/methods to tackle your junk over the course of the mesocycle. This is analogous to switching up your PWO stretches for continued progess. See OPT's take:

2) Focus on learning a skill for several months/years. This could mean doing the Burgener warm-up + skill transfer exercises for several months, or practicing handstands before the WOD until you can hold one for a minute or whatever. I feel that unless this warms up your entire body, a bit of #1 is in order too. For example, a bit of squatting or leg/hip drills would be useful before a 3-3-3-3-3 front squat if you only practice handstands.


wrote …

i cold listen to k-star all day. and he's pretty easy on the eyes as well :)

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