February 19 , 2012
Yesterday Aaron and I went to the Crossfit Movement and Mobility Instructor course in Seattle. The course is taught by Doctor of Physical Therapy, Crossfit coach, and movement guru Kelly Starrett. He also owns San Francisco CrossFit, one of the first 50 CrossFit affiliates, where he treats patients and trains athletes on a daily basis. His MobilityWOD website has given him world-wide recognition as it’s teaching athletes of all sports to take control of their own health and to systematically conduct daily maintenance on their own body. We’ve been fans of Kelly’s work since we first heard about MobilityWOD and we’ve personally incorporated many of his tools and techniques on ourselves and on many of our clients with excellent results.
Unfortunately getting the desired result with certain clients often takes much longer than it should.
Here’s an example: On average, we typically see a client for two, 60-minute sessions a week. Out of a 60-minute session, we work only 20-mins on corrective exercises and the rest on strength and conditioning. After the session the client goes home and reverts back to their old habits (e.g. poor posture driving or sitting at the desk, not doing the prescribed 10-mins/day of maintenance, or not properly warming up before their round of golf). Change is going to take much, much longer to occur with this cycle. It’s all about creating a culture of Supple Leopards. The supple leopard is a term coined by Kelly where it describes an individual who is supple both physically and mentally. We all know that if we do daily physical maintenance on ourselves we’ll become more supple. That’s obvious. The problem is clients and athletes typically don’t want to do this daily maintenance on themselves even though we’ve taught them it will improve performance and help them become less susceptible to injury. They’re not supple mentally and that’s the fundamental problem. The human body will adapt to their physical limitations by “going the around problem” and creating a compensation strategy so that they can keep going.
So how do you create a culture of supple leopards? Kelly taught throughout the seminar that there is no rest when it comes to proper positioning and set up during your daily life. In other words you have to want to develop new habits in the way you sit, stand, set up for squatting, or performing daily maintenance. Sometimes we have to challenge the ego of the client so that they will want start to change their habits. Kelly also taught us to remember to provide the connection between these daily habit changes and the expression of movement that the client actually cares about (e.g. their sport or the reason why they’re training in the first place). It all takes time for change but it’s our job as coaches and professionals to keep coaching and to keep on the clients until supple leopard status is achieved. This video I took shows a lesson on scapular stability and how proper positioning is achieved through daily habits:
The seminar moved quickly and Kelly provided tons of information. If an individual didn’t have a background in movement knowledge they could definitely become easily overwhelmed. Kelly not only taught us his simple and effective system of spotting movement inefficiencies and dealing with them, he also discussed how to link the change we achieved with his drills and techniques to movement patterns that the client actually cares about. That to me was the most important lesson of the seminar. Kelly is a great speaker and truly knows how to engage his audience with stories that are funny and applicable. He stuck around after the seminar to answer our questions and to provide some more of his knowledge. He’s scheduled to teach this course at Fitness Town Burnaby in August and he told Aaron and I to come by and say hi. We’ll definitely be there.