Suicide by stretching

July 5, 2011

I came across this post on the MobilityWod website yesterday and the title caught my eye.  “Mobility is about position. Stretch with purpose, not to warm up.” Since my coach, Sandy Sommer, always says “Train With Purpose” I thought I’d give it a look.

It was awesome and included a great stretch for the hip flexors and for me, my quads fo sho. He talks more about stretching to get into position, rather that just warming up. Said another way, if you cannot get into a certain position, how do you plan to get there. Here’s a good quote from his post

“Don’t confuse mobility work with warm up.  You may need mobility work to be able to actually get into your                 movement positions, because sometimes squatting light does not actually prepare you enough for squatting heavy (in a good position).”

I took that to mean, that just going through the motions of the work you are going to do, won’t necessarily prepare you for that work. Can you get into the position you need to be in, to do the work you want to do?

My hips and glutes are tight. Getting into, and staying in a deep squat, as in what I’m attempting for my 10 minute squat test, isn’t easy. That can be an easy one to assess, stretch those problem areas and it should help me get there, right? Maybe. What about my knees? Lower back? Also, my left shoulder is a problem area. Do I work that joint? Sure, but what has given me the most relief is using lacrosse balls between my shoulder blades. I found ugly knots I didn’t know I had and BOTH shoulders are benefiting from that work with increased range of motion.

Take this episodes stretch and test.

It’s called the suicide chair, or couch stretch. It’s bad and showed me how tight my quads are.  Click on the link above and give it a try. Then grab a roller and work your quads like Kelly says in the video, slow, slow, and slow all the way from the knee to the hip. I’ve not gone that slow, that long, and yeah, it hurt, but when I redid the suicide chair, it was much better. Then, I dropped into my full squat and it was much easier. My heels didn’t come up off the floor as far as they have been and it was a lot easier to stay down there. Who would have thought a stretch and rolling like that would help a deep squat.