In Mobility, Videos

February 13, 2012

Video Article

Join Kelly Starrett, owner of San Francisco CrossFit and creator of MobilityWOD, as he teaches coaches and their athletes how to evaluate movement at CrossFit South Bay.

Working on the hip, Starrett delivers a “shaman’s blow” of a test: a three-part quick-and-dirty movement drill designed to instantly assess hip mobility.

The test, of course, is not the be-all and end-all of movement analysis, because it’s staged unlike the natural movements of a squat or deadlift. But the test can very quickly identify issues including imbalances between legs. According to Starrett, side-to-side imbalance is the No. 2 predictor of low-back pain, so evidence of imbalance can be very important info.

From there, Starrett advises against some mobility techniques that put athletes in bad positions or cause numbness or pain.

“What’s the rule? Don't mobilze in a bad position.”

8min 35sec

Additional reading: Hamstrung by Kelly Starrett, published July 1, 2007.

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17 Comments on “A Correlate Test for Hip Flexibility”


wrote …

Thanks again K-star. I lost touch with you but I'm back! ps I see you have not lost your sense of humor. Great information we are grateful


wrote …

"you're an elegant meat machine!"

Another K-Starr classic!


Olly Goddard wrote …

K-Starr so awesome


wrote …

Crossfit South Bay, nice! "Don't go in the pain cave." Greatness.


wrote …

Really good stuff as always only one thing that puzzled me.
If resistance inhibits stretching (as you showed it with the bisep).
Why does Dara Torres and other olympians promote resistance stretching? Dara Torres actually attributes restistance stretching as the reason for her being able to compete at her age because it helped her recover so well.


wrote …

so informaive just wish KStar could finish a train of thought before racing through the witty oneliners


wrote …

All I can say is that if you have not gone to this seminar, you should. Flexibility is one of the 10 General Physical Skills for a reason. (and if you don't know what the other 9 are, read the "What is Fitness" article) Thanks for the info, Kelly.



replied to comment from Patrik Karlsson

Hey Patrik,

Resisted stretching definitely works and Kelly actually advocates a variation of it (PNF stretching) which uses temporary muscle contractions to help the nervous system release the range of motion in the tissue.

However, to use continuously resisted stretching to actually increase tissue range of motion, the amount of force used to stretch the tissues must overcome the amount of force the muscle is capable of. I might be wrong, but this seems to make it extremely challenging to do on your own (imagine someone who can deadlift 300+ trying to use resisted stretching for their hamstrings, it would require using 2-3 people to do it properly).

- Cody


wrote …

Until this video I never really knew what you meant by the pain cave. Glad I watched this.


wrote …

Semantics/mechanics question for mechanical/biological engrs (or moonlighters)..."You can't stretch a muscle that's under tension"??? That doesn't make sense as stated because, under external load, a material is either under tension, compression, or shear. I take something, apply an external load by pulling on it, it is now in tension and is elongated to some degree...If I hold it there, a biological equivalent of stress relaxation and/or creep occurs, which I imagine is the basic mechanism for muscles becoming looser over time (flexible implies bending, so I didn't use that term).

Does he mean to say that you can't stretch a muscle that is contracting? Again, I can have internal pre-stresses in a material, which correlates to the nominal contractile strength of the muscle being resisted by tendons (assuming the muscle is the weak link, which may not be true), but still overcome them by applying a larger external load.

Can anybody explain where I'm misunderstanding? I don't want to walk around telling people that if I can't explain it or if it's not entirely true...And I also don't want to be "that guy" who asks at the mobility cert. Thanks.


Chris Sinagoga wrote …

Thanks as always Kelly.

One thing I have trouble distinguishing with clients is what is sketchy, and what is normal mobility pain. For instance, the first time I jumped on the wall for the couch stretch, it was possibly the most painful thing I have ever done in my life. At the time, it felt very sketchy because I was not used to "stretching" like that.

So any help on telling the two apart would be nice. Thanks


wrote …

Anyone know what kind of jeans he wears? He seems to get a lot of flexibility out of his jeans. They don't make anything for dudes with legs these days so it'd be nice to get some jeans I could move around in.


replied to comment from Jordan Derksen

Jordan, don't be fooled. K-Star is uber flexible, but the pants aren't... he ripped a pair at the seminar I was at! I also agree with Pat's comment about attending one of these seminars; so glad my fiance and I went as it was fantastic.


wrote …

I want a "I'm an elegant meat machine" t-shirt. K-Star, this is your moment from Forrest Gump when the guy gets the "_hit Happens" t-shirt idea. Go make your millions.

Great stuff.


wrote …

Just like K Star says, "...test and retest", I have watch and re-watch his videos in order for the info to stick and to get past bad habits. We're very lucky to have the K Star.


Ted Carr wrote …

what do you need to stretch to get your heel closer to your butt? is it hamstring?


replied to comment from Francisco Agzarian

I'm still unsure of what it means "don't go in the paincave"
can you please explain to me it so I'm not in the dark =)

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