Motor Control and the Battle against Complacency
I know what you’re thinking…. Maria’s writing a blog that doesn’t have to do with food? What’s going on?! Is everything ok?! Never fear CFSLers – this is not the apocalypse, all is well and She Cooks She Cleans will return with a tasty recipe for stuffed burgers (as requested by my mom) next Friday. This week, I wanted to take the opportunity to share a bomb I dropped on my last Sunday session class…
As you most likely know, I run an Active Recovery and Mobility session every Sunday at noon, a great opportunity for you to dedicate an hour to your mobility goats and also learn some new tips and tricks. When I plan these sessions, I take in to consideration the previous week’s training to help you recover, the next week’s training to help you prepare, and sometimes I add in things that we just don’t take enough care of on a regular basis (your wrists and calves, for example. I’ve even had my athletes use a lacrosse ball on their feet!)
Many of my pieces come either from my own training and experience, articles and videos I come across on the internet, or from the incredibly useful website, mobilitywod.com. In one video I was watching recently, the Supple Leopard himself, Kelly Starrett, was detailing the checklist they use whenever addressing a mobility issue with one of their athletes. They look at ‘stretching’ (for lack of a better term); distraction pieces for the joints (banded work); soft tissue release (mashing and lacrosse ball work) and finally, the most important piece, they address motor control. Motor control refers to how the athlete moves when they are training. This is what I want to address with you. People often point the finger at a lack of mobility for their movement issues, but sometimes the reverse is actually true: the movement can sometimes cause, or at least perpetuate, an athlete’s mobility issues.
We can spend hours on end on mobility. I could permanently glue a lacrosse ball to your pecs and you could barbell mash those knotted quads until your face is permanently set in that twisted expression I see so often on Sundays, but nothing is ever going to change unless you address the way you move as well. If you keep letting your elbows flare out when you press, neglect to set your shoulders when you bench or deadlift, you squat on your toes, or if you don’t take a few seconds throughout the day to adjust your posture when sitting in front of your computer at work or checking your phone, I’m afraid your mobility issues will continue no matter how hard you work on them.
This is not to say that you should throw in the green band and give up completely on your mobility endeavours – I would never utter such blasphemy! Instead, I am simply asking you to fight against complacency in your movements. Take the time before you lift to make sure you’re moving as well as you can. This few seconds of preparation and focus on motor control, combined with regular mobility work in and out of class will help improve your mobility and, as a result, your performance.
Keep fighting the good fight CFSLers!
Coach Maria x