Strong WODs for CrossFitters

Strong WODs for CrossFitters

CrossFit is a very demanding sport that places great amounts of stress on multiple parts of our body. These stressors are designed for joints, muscles, and ligaments that are in a healthy state and able to accept it appropriately. However, when just one joint or body part is in a dysfunctional state, it can create a cascade of negative consequences that could lead to injury. Here at Body Gears Physical Therapy, we will address the entire body using techniques from Functional Manual TherapyTM to assess the Mechanical, Neuromuscular, and Motor Control systems of your body. In a nutshell, we will leave no stone unturned when it comes to addressing your pain, and more importantly, why that pain began in the first place!

Here are a few examples of how a trained Body Gears Physical Therapist can help an athlete who is having difficulty with certain movement patterns:

Power Snatch / Overhead squat:

  • Often times with these lifts, athletes may feel impingement within their shoulder joints. This could be driven by many things, including a tight glenohumeral capsule. However, this is very likely NOT the only issue. The biomechanics of the entire shoulder complex rely on proper movement of not only the glenohumeral joint itself, but also the cervical spine, thoracic spine, scapula, and even the ribcage. Take into account all of the muscles that correlate to these areas as well, and one can see how there are multiple paths of possible dysfunction.

Squatting / Deadlifting:

  • Low back pain is a very common occurrence amongst the general population, and it is no different within the CrossFit realm as well. With low back pain, it is important to look at the entire lower extremity Kinetic Chain, and that means going all the way from the low back to the ankle/foot. Often, the driver of that pain is somewhere else than the back. For example, if someone has an ankle that is limited in dorsiflexion, then that will begin a cascade of compensations up the leg. The knee will then have to likely flex further at the bottom of the squat, creating the femur to sit differently in the hip. This creates reduced hip mobility, and thus possibly further extension in the lumbar spine. Then, with a loaded bar on the person’s back in this excessively extended position, compression of the tissues can occur and thus lead to pain. This is just one of many examples of how the mechanics of the lower extremities can be thrown off by a simple, fixable restriction in the system.

Pullups (Kipping) / Muscle-ups:

  • Similar to the overhead movements of the snatch and overhead squat, you need adequate mobility in the shoulder joint, along with appropriate stability, to ensure these movements can be performed safely. On top of that, these movements involve a lot of motion from the thoracic and lumbar regions as well. By addressing these regions, it can help reduce the stress and strain that the shoulder joint feels it has to do to make up for the lack of motion elsewhere.

Finally, one aspect that traverses all of the above movements as well as everything else you would be doing in the box, and that is the strength of one’s core. This is a fundamental aspect of stability for one’s body, and should be addressed daily. Without the appropriate core activation, strength, and endurance, often time the athlete will look for stabilization in other areas of the body, including the large global (or phasic) muscles of the spine. When these fire first, instead of the local (or tonic) muscles, it can create compression in the spine as well as other areas of the hips and pelvis. This compression does not necessarily lead to stability, and thus the spine and other joints become susceptible to injury.

A CrossFit athlete should feel that every time they come in for a WOD that they are in a position to get stronger. They should not have that inkling in the back of their mind that their shoulder may be irritating them, or that their back is sore, or the ankle is chronically tight. That takes away from the effectiveness of the workout, and can even kick off the vicious cycle of compensations that can lead to further injury.

At Body Gears Physical Therapy, we can assess these aforementioned dysfunctions, along with numerous other reasons why an athlete may be hurting. Furthermore, we can help in being PRO-active in regards to in injury, instead of RE-active, in hopes that your athletes are healthier, fitter, and coming back day-after-day, week-after-week, year-after-year.