Fundamentals Are Always First!

Fundamentals Are Always First!

The Crossfit community in the Lower Mainland here is an amazing and supportive one and consist of some extremely fit athletes who push themselves super hard.  Every once and I while I like to meet up and “throw down” with my friends in the Crossfit community and one of the best places to do that is at Fitness Town Burnaby, coached by Dai Manuel.  A few weeks ago I attended one of Dai’s fun “fire-breather” training sessions and met up for the first time with local Crossfit athlete Ana Cooper.  She’s in unbelievable shape and truly an inspiration.  She was also wrapped in more Rocktape than I’ve seen on any athlete in quite a while.  I asked her about it and she mentioned was relying on Rock Tape to alleviate the pain and discomfort in her neck and shoulders.

Before we warmed up for our workout, I offered to quickly screen her shoulders and check her T-spine rotation.  She scored bilateral 1’s on the shoulder mobility and was severely limited in T-spine rotation. I prescribed some rib grabs and arm sweeps for her to perform for warm up and I recommended she perform them daily.  I told her I can help her so we then said we’d meet up again in a couple of weeks so I can do a full screen session.

When we met up again to do the full screen she ended up scoring a 14 but with asymmetries.   The thing is, Ana is so strong she nailed the first 3 functional movement patterns of the screen (deep squat, hurdle step, and inline lunge) but was very limited in most of the fundamental patterns (shoulder mobility, truck stability push up, active straight leg raise, and rotary stability).  She’s been able to successfully compensate for her dysfunction with her strength but a score of 14 with asymmetries means Ana is at risk for injury if she continues on the same path.

I was however, surprised of her shoulder mobility score which was an asymmetrical 3/2 but was a huge improvement from the bilateral 1’s she scored 3-weeks prior!  When I asked her if she had been doing the corrective I gave her, she told me she was actually doing her homework!  After a full assessment, I prescribed a couple more correctives for her to perform on a daily basis.  I’m confident that if she continues to do them and I re-screen her after the holidays, she’ll be a 14 with no imbalances and more importantly less-likely to become injured.

Gray Cook says: “Whenever possible, we must separate movement dysfunction from fitness and performance. Aggressive physical training cannot change fundamental mobility and stability problems at an effective rate without also introducing a degree of compensation and increased risk of injury”

He also says:  “Screen movement patterns before you train them.  Training poor movement patterns reinforces poor quality and creates greater risk of injury”

The best health and fitness practitioners consider fundamental movement before specific movement and agree on one wise: fundamentals are always first.

Engineered Bodies - Ana Cooper rotary stability Engineered Bodies - Ana Cooper shoulder mobility Engineered Bodies - The Amazing Ana Cooper!

A very special thanks to Ron Sombilon for taking pictures of our session.  You can see more on our Facebook page here.  He’s a true professional and I’m excited to be working with him in a future project of Engineered Bodies Strength & Conditioning.  Stay tuned.  Check out his amazing portfolio.


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