Archive For: mobility

Mobility: Thera Cane

Have you ever seen those giant green canes around the gym and had no idea what it was or how to use it? Introduce yourself to the Thera Cane.

Thera Cane is a self massager that lets you apply deep pressure massage to hard-to-reach muscles on your own body. Developed by a chronic pain patient to help relieve muscle soreness and discomfort from neck surgery and a herniated disc, using the Thera Cane in conjunction with stretching has provided long-lasting pain relief.

The Thera Cane is an extremely versatile tool that allows for mobilizing almost all parts of the body. Grab one at the gym for $35, or better yet, test it out tomorrow, Thursday March 7, in Megan’s very special Margarita Mobility class at 6:30pm. Don’t miss it!

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Mobility Monday: Toe Tuck

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WHAT: Rolling down and up on the toes to release the fascia in the arch of the foot as well as the connective tissue into the toes

WHY: We use our toes all the time, walking, running and just standing. When toes are held in one position too long the muscles tighten and have trouble returning to normal length. Toes need to be able to move through a full range of motion independently from each other to ensure balance, agility and healthier movement. Toes, connecting to the bottom of the foot, can contribute to foot pain if not taken care of properly

HOW:
1. Sit down with your shins on the ground and rear resting on the Achilles
2. Shift your weight forward, putting your palms on the ground in front of you to tuck your toes up under the feet so they are the only part of the foot touching the ground
3. Slowly, with a strong and flat back bring your knees off the ground, rolling your weight up on to your toes sitting up straight as much as possible. Put some pressure in the tips of the fingers if needed for balance
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4. Shift your weight left and right, feeling out the toes and bottom of the foot as weight is distributed differently
5. Repeat entire complex from beginning for 5-10 rounds

Mobility Monday: KB Achilles Roll

KB achiles1 WHAT The KB Roll uses the kettlebell to work out knots and trouble spots, as well as increasing flexibility in the Achilles tendon and low calf. WHY Calf mobility is needed to reach the bottom of the full squats: back squats front squats, overhead squats, full snatches, full cleans, wall ball, thusters, pistols (!), etc. Not to mention running, double unders, box jumping, toes-to-bar, among others. The Achilles in particular often gets so tight the skin around the tendon can hardly move. It’s a crucial spot that is easy to forget. HOW 1. Start with the KB handle at the bottom of the Achilles where it attaches to the heel 2. SLOWLY, and with much control, do about 10-15 reps per position of: pointing the toe straight down, rolling the ankle outward externally (pinky toe's direction) so it is facing away from your resting leg, rolling the foot to point internally (big toe's direction)

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3. If you find a knot, breathe deep and let your muscles relax over the KB handle. Do not try to mush it down. 4. Slowly move up the Achilles (toward the knee) to the bottom of the calf repeating the above. Feel free to go all the way up the calf to right below the knee joint. 5. Spend about 2-3 minutes per side. Retest and enjoy!

Mobility Monday: Down Dog at the Wall

For all the great KB swings, clean and jerks, pull-ups and snatches on deck this week we all need to make sure our shoulders are nice and mobile. One easy mobility exercise that can be done at home is Downward Dog with the help of a wall.

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WHY: The position stretches the pectoral muscles and chest. Increases overhead range of motion without putting weight on the shoulders.

HOW:
1. Facing a wall, step your feet back until you have to lean forward in order to put the palm of your hand flat against the wall. Make sure your feet are hips width distance apart with the second toes turned forward.
2. Lean forward to place your hands flat on the wall, shoulder height. The hands should be as wide as the width of your outer shoulders.
3. Keeping the hands shoulder height with the fingers spread wide, release the chest down between the biceps as much as possible (aka. put your head through the window).
4. Hold for 2-5 minutes or work up to that length of time in small bursts.

MODIFICATIONS: Bend the knees as much as you need. Turn the hands out slightly if shoulders are very tight. You may take the hands wider than shoulder width if you have severe limitations. You can also bend your arms at the elbow against the wall as seen below:
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12 Days of CrossFit: Mobility Accessories

I’d happily argue that mobility is the most important element of CrossFit. No just DROM in the beginning of class, but finding your sticking points and addressing them. The very core CrossFit is about functional movement and our gyms pay particular attention to doing those movements RIGHT. Without base level of mobility you can’t go though the proper range of motion. Without the proper range of motion you can’t do the simplest of movements correctly.

The best part is mobility can be done at home with small bits of equipment (although I personally prefer the FCFCFSLU mobility classes with Leslie and Jared). Here are some great stocking stuffer ideas for the person in your life that needs a little more range of motion.

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Lacrosse Ball
Yup. The basic, key foundational tool. Get one for home and one for work! (Pick one up at the gym for $3)

Double Ball
Tape together two lacrosse balls, through them together in a sock or stocking for a less permanent solution, or get more fancy with a pre-made product. This little tool is great for rolling down the sides of the spine, releasing tension in the neck and hitting multiple spots at once. ($25-$35, Rad Roller, MobilityWOD Gemini)

Yoga Strap
Yoga straps can help you get that extra push in stretching positions. Also, they add stability and support in precarious poses. ($10-$18 Manduka, Giam, Prana and sporting good stores)