Mobility ≠ Stretching

Kelley and Juliet StarrettKelly Starrett wants Affiliates, athletes and Coaches to understand that you have to be perfect to be safe.

While he recognizes the “old, old debate” about stability versus mobility, however Starrett believes Coaches need to implement both, at the same time, into his or her program.

“It’s not about injury-prevention. It’s about optimization of performance. What I am obsessed with is physical self-optimization. Starrett said that if he simply chases injury prevention in his coaching, athletes would not see gains.

Starrett believes CrossFit constantly forces Coaches to reconcile changes, losses in capacity and the capacity to be strong, but he says Coaches should never have to compromise between refining movements and refining their skill as movers. In other words, he says it’s all about mechanics, consistency and intensity.

With the three of these aspects combined, Starrett has found through his MobilityWOD, which has been running for almost a decade, that good mechanics come as second nature when they are practiced.

“As Rich Froning gets tired, his mechanics get better, because those are his default practice positions. When he’s fatigued, he’s able to immediately call up the least metabolically expensive and mechanically most efficient position there is,” Starrett says. “Second nature is the same thing as practice. That’s why we practice.”

While he has this ongoing joke with Brian MacKenzie, the founder of CrossFit Endurance, that they “find out who you really are” in terms of stress, metabolism and your limitations, he states that it’s not solely the Coaches’ responsibility to “fix” their clients.

In recent years, Starrett said that he has seen Coaches grow to become very competent, sophisticated and able to teach many programs, but they are not responsible for a client’s transformation.

“The Coach is not the only person responsible for your mechanics, and this is a crucial aspect. You can’t show up and just be like ‘Coach me. Fix me.’ You have to be responsible for wanting to fix yourself,” Starrett said.

And, according to Starrett, the way to get people there is through their egos, which is why Coaches do not have a learn a whole new language when they start implementing mobility into their programming.

“We have developed a mobilization language based off classical strength condition – that the positions and the mechanics that we use should be familiar and based on what you’re already doing. And we love the fact that we remain program agnostic,” Starrett says.

What differentiates mobility from stretching is the motor control and technique to express good biomechanics, which achieves normal function. According to Starrett, that normal function just happens to be the most efficient and safest function.

Photos by Brian Slaughter

Hayli Goode
Hayli Goode is the former digital editor for Peake Media.

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