Crossfit London UK Mobility Mash-up

04 Dec

One of the many reasons why I fell in love with Crossfit back in 2005 was it’s down to earth attitude towards flexibility and that whole murky area that, at times, seems to be dominated by Pilates, therapists and a plethora of quasi-religious fringe medical regimes available.

Greg mentioned, in one or two paragraphs in an early Crossfit Journal, that you probably needed to do a bit of flexibility, and to go and get the interesting book by Bob Anderson about stretching called (in a flash of inspiration, no doubt)  “Stretching”.

I think what Greg  really wanted to do was to emphasize the gross movement patterns that make Crossfit what it is, and get away from the attitude of  the  poor yoga fanatic who, when he discovered he could not squat, declared  “more downward dog for me”. My answer, which is going to sort of give away part of  the theme of  the Crossfit London Mobility Mash-Up Programme , was this.  “No, it’s less downward dog, more squatting for you!”

The Crossfit key to movement  is movement  practice: always has been, always will be.

Put it this way: I’m a creative chap and I’ve got me bits of paper from Chek, Intelligent Training Systems, My PEA (gosh, thats going back a bit) I’ve writhed on the floor and wobbled on a swiss ball with the best of them. I’ve even had my legs cranked up over my head as an amateur Thai fighter. I’m currently  having great fun studying with Mel Cash at the London School of Sports Massage, and I’m still (slowly) plodding through a Sports Science Degree with all the urgency of a lazy sloth, while still managing to keep my lunch down in the dissection labs during cadaver studies. In fact, a lot of what I will be talking about also comes from examining cadavers under the guidance of some quite brilliant anatomists.

In short I could, and probably will, come up with loads of clever moves and stretches, and my sick imagination can think of lots of places in which  to stick a golf ball. I’ve got a pile of physiotherapy/general therapy  books and thus access to the hundreds of little “tests” that not even the physiotherapists who designed them bother with.

But, here’s “The Thing”:  The only thing any of these people/books/courses have to say that made any sense was this: A lot of whats called dysfunction, isn’t dysfunction at all. It’s your body responding and adapting to your major training regime. Unfortunately, your major training regime is hunching over your desk for 8 hours at a go, then sinking into a gorgeous armchair for the evening. With a beer.”

It is any surprise then, that when you come to a Crossfit London session for 2 to 6 times  a week that you cannot adopt a totally alien position properly.

On the whole you have 40 hours of wrong postural training versus  2 to 6 hours of Crossfit training (call that being nagged by a Crossfit trainer). And that’s assuming that your Crossfit training directly attacks your “dysfunction”: lets say it’s shoulder flexibility…. you could do as little as one hour shoulder mobilising  training a week, hopelessly   swamped under 40 hours plus of  stooped posture.

This is part of   the real problem. The second part of the problem is this: do you really want to cure the problem? Well if you do, use your sense. There are very few quick fixes and you know it. Most of my clients are very well educated and would not fall for this sort of advertising. Would you?

“Become  a law graduate in less than 5 minutes a day! Yes, for a mere £XXXX I guarantee to turn you into a leading lawyer. Just follow my 5 minutes a day programme and you too will be rendering opinions and wearing a wig….

Utter nonsense! But, lets use some  “algebra”, and substitute the terms

“Become flexible in less than 10 minutes a day! Yes for a mere £xxxx… follow my mobility programme”. you get the picture

So the 1st principle Im going to give you on the “Andrew Stemler Mobility Mash Up Programme” is this. You are what you do. If you beat your partner up for 23 hours a day, but are ok for an hour, you are still a wife/husband beater. I’m Sorry about that. Deal with it.

If you want to be mobile and flexible, you need to act and be, mobile and flexible. Mobility is for life, not just christmas: or is that puppies


Watch out for the next post!!

6 thoughts on “Crossfit London UK Mobility Mash-up

  1. Two excellent Mobility resources, KStar and Jami’s websites respectively:

    The MWod can be done each day and only needs to take about 10 minutes. It’s a great way to improve your flexibility and ability to improve your positions on lifts etc. A great aspect of it is you test the area before you perform the drills on it and then retest after…and you can nearly always see immediate improvements whether it be in your overhead position or your hips.

  2. I can’t give enough praise for K-Star’s Mobility WOD. It’s made huge differences for myself and others in my gym. I would have invested in lacrosse ball company stock had I known how popular they would become as a result! Get yourself some lacrosse balls (if you can find them there)) and a stretch band and spend those 10 minutes a days on the m-wod!

  3. Hi Andrew

    I’m always a little surprised by your maligning of Pilates. I kinda understand it in that sometimes it uses exercises that isolate the core muscles but I have been doing Pilates for about 4 years and I honestly think that it seriously contributes to the quality of my lifting and my posture (not that I’m claiming to be really good or anything). The objective isn’t to develop flexibility but strength through the core. I’d be really like to see what you think of the type of Pilates I do – it’s called Stott Pilates and it focuses on maintaining the natural curves of the spine throughout, rather than crushing your back into the floor, which, I agree, is a false, unnatural position. Can I give you one of my DVDs to have a look at?

  4. actually, i have a mass of Pilates stuff ramming its way through my door over the next week, including a lot of Josephs original stuff.

    I think I’ve had the misfortune to come up against “leisure centre” Pilates or Pilates taught by people with no grasp of fundamental movements like the deadlift.

    Would love to look at your Stotts dvd. Yes please. and thanks

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