Mobility 2.2: Shoulder mobility and downstream wrist problems.
Over the last few weeks, we saw a few of our athletes struggling during WODs that were heavy on the shoulders or wrists. Whether it is a disappointing performance or just plain pain, the first step to take when addressing these issues, is watching for decent movement mechanics. These mechanics are specific for every movement, but basics are covered in fundamentals and during skill and drill sections of every WOD. A little extra attention never hurt anybody, so besides our coaching and tips, coaching your fellow WODders or doing some extra skill work is the way to go.
Most shoulder or wrist issues occur in the overhead, front rack or bottom of a push up/dip position. As always: mobilize at the position of restriction. So if problems occur overhead, fine-tune your overhead position. If problems occur in the front rack position, fine-tune your front rack position. If problems occur in the bottom of a push up… You get where I’m going.
Success comes fastest to those who take a methodological approach to their tailored mobility work. Start at the spine, address joint capsule and work on muscle dynamics as a finisher. Local extension of the T-spine, 3D movement of the cervical-thoracic junction or some soft tissue work over the ribs is a good place to start from (see Mobility 1.2 insert link). The joint capsule of the shoulder can be worked with a kettlebell or by doing the infamous “Bully Stretch”, the joint capsule of the wrist benefits greatly from banded distractions. If all these names sound like some magic curse to you, Google and Youtube are your friends. Kelly Starett from mobilitywod.com (insert link to youtube channel) has posted hours of free videos for you to watch and learn. Muscle dynamics can be addressed all the way from the neck, down the arm, to the hand. Examples are in abundance but ask anyone who attended the seminar or your coach for a few examples.
Last but not least keep in mind a few basic rules.
• 2 minutes per MOB is the minimum effective dose, but you can continue as long as you notice any change.
• Go for quantity over quality.
• Test and retest! If you don’t see result or feel result, there is no result.
• Always go after pain first.
• If it feels sketchy, it is sketchy.
• If it’s uncomfortable it might be okay, but if it gets really painful use your common sense and adjust the MOB you are doing.
I wish you all some very supple holidays!
Thaddeus Knops first studied human movement sciences, before taking up sports physiotherapy and manual therapy. Since December 2013 he gets his ass handed to him every single WOD. After completing the Level 1 and CrossFit movement & mobility course, he will now occasionally share his thoughts on performance enhancement through anything other than a regular WOD.