squat mobility ates boran

How to Help the 5 Most Common CROSSFIT Complaints of Pain

Optimise your body and minimise pain.

2. “Why does my shoulder “CLICK” when I raise my arm?”

REPEAT AFTER ME: “Clicking is NOT normal.”

This is another complaint for those athletes who,

  1. Like to raise their arm overhead.
  2. Sit behind a desk or who have enjoyed way too many sets on the bench.

WHY: This is another one that be answered much like the PINCH in the hip example. The shoulder is just a ball at the end of your arm that sits in a socket on your scapula. Problems start for athletes when they do too much horizontal pressing (push-ups, bench press, etc) or sit behind a desk/steering wheel. When this happens there is a lot of rounding that occurs in the upper back. This changes where the shoulder blades sit and cause a bit of crowding for that ball to move around. The sound could be a collision of bones or a tendon that isn’t moving a correctly. Tendons are connective tissue that attach bones to muscle. When a muscle contracts it pulls on the tendon to allow the joint to move. As the muscle contracts, it is supposed to travel along a groove that is made in the muscle. Often times that “click” is a tendon not traveling on the “groove” correctly.

WHAT TO DO: Either way, there are some muscle imbalances. If this is an issue of a tendon, there is a muscle on one end that is pulling too tightly and forcing the tendon “off track.” Sometimes we can use simple massage techniques and force it back in place. It is great if this helps, but remember there is a reason why this is occurring.

WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO DO: Get your posture assessed and determine if your shoulders are rolling too far forward.

Shoulder mobility in Crossfit

Shoulder pain in Crossfit

© RX'd Photography

3. “Why is my back always STIFF when I get out of the chair?”

First thing we need to understand is that STIFFNESS is not always a bad thing. For us to the ability to move, one end of a joint needs to be stiff so the other end can move. Stiffness in the back gets to be a problem when it takes more than just a few steps loosen up after sitting for a length of time.

WHY: We have to understand that we are talking about the lower back we are really talking about your spine. When we talk about your spine, we must remember that your spine ends as your tailbone. Since your tailbone sits between your two pelvic bones, when we talk about the arch in your lower back we are really talking about the position of your hips. Remember what we said about your tailbone living between your two pelvic bones. If your hips tilt too far forward, your lower back is forced to arch to keep your eyes level with the horizon. (in other words, you would always be looking at the ground if your back didn’t arch.) That STIFFNESS many times is either one of two things:

  1. The muscles/connective tissue connecting from hips to lower back just working too hard to keep you upright.
  2. The bones of the pelvis and lower vertebrae locking together.

WHAT TO DO: Either way, we have to remember that this conversation is about your spine. Since your spine is you tailbone and your pelvis but also your upper back, rib cage and shoulders, we really need to get them moving better if we want to “free up” our lower back. 

WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO DO: Get a better understanding for which muscles and/or habits are responsible for pulling your hips too far forward.

4. “Why are my ankles so TIGHT when I get to of the bottom of a squat?”

This seems to be a particularly big complaint for female athletes for a couple of reasons,

  1. Footwear
  2. Babies

WHY: We already confirmed that your ankle isn’t just your ankle. When we understand the function of the ankle during the squat then it gets pretty easy to understand how footwear can have an impact on ankle tightness. Your ankle can do many things but for our purposes, we are concerned with two movements; your ability to point your toes (plantarflexion) and pull your toes towards your shoulder (dorsiflexion). When we squat we need the ability to dorsiflex at the ankle. Tight calf muscles prevent this from happening.  Proper dorsiflexion gives our calf muscles the length they need the ability to control our knee into bottom position of our squat safely.

If the muscles of our lower leg get too tight, then we get really good at standing on our toes but not so good at lower into the bottom position of our squat. Footwear with a raised heel (particularly high heeled shoes, even running shoes, etc) raise us up on toes more and tighten up our calves. We really need to appreciate the interconnectedness of the body to fully appreciate how pregnancy can influence tightness in the calves. During development, a pregnant mothers center of gravity will change. More weight in front, essentially means they are falling forward more. This can create many imbalances throughout the musculature system as the brain tries to keep the body upright. It ends up being the responsibility of the feet and the muscles of lower to prevent one from falling face down on the ground!!

Squat mobility flow

Squat movement

© Heartcore Athletics

DON’T BELIEVE IT?!?!? Try standing in the best posture that you possibly can. Now keeping alignment from head to toe, lean as far forward as you can without falling. You should feel just how hard your lower body has to work to prevent the crash to the ground.

WHAT TO DO: Before we can get the calf muscles t0 fully lengthen out, we really need to relax them. This is where is the foam roller and lacrosse/tennis ball come in handy.

WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO DO: Slowly ditch the high-heeled shoes, but get a better understanding of why you are out alignment and “falling forward.”

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