Kelly Starrett’s MobilityWOD started a decade ago, in 2005. And contrary to popular belief, his obsession is not with safety or mobility, but instead with self-optimization.
“What I’m defining mobility [as] is someone [who] has the motor control and technique to express good biomechanics,” said Starrett. “Second is to actually have the biomechanics to achieve normal function. And that normal function also happens to be the most efficient function. It also happens to be the most effective function. And it also happens to be the safest function. Those are all three the same. We don’t ever have to pull out technique away from longevity. Good technique is good biomechanics.”
A year after he started CrossFit, Forrest Jung began feeling an odd pain in his knee. After “Googling it left and right,” he found a foam roller and began learning mobility. Jung, the Affiliate of CrossFit South Bay, ended up needing knee surgery, but said learning mobility and continuing with the foam roller saved him from a second operation.
Over the years, mobility has grown into a class at CrossFit South Bay. “From a business standpoint, it increased the longevity of our athletes, so it decreased injuries. And from an athlete’s standpoint, it helped people become more aware of their deficiencies and how to fix them,” said Jung. “And the longer you have an athlete who’s healthy, the longer you have a paying member.”
While Jung said he’s learned a lot from Starrett, he likes to expand upon his MobilityWOD videos and turn all of the information he uses into a program.
Sean Emery, the owner of Old City CrossFit, runs a monthly training program in which all Coaches come together and take an hour to get trained in something new. It is not always focused on mobility, but often on mobility assessment, or how a Coach can help the form of their athletes during a workout.
“I sort of took a whole bunch of K-Starr videos that he sprinkled out over the years and put together a mobility assessment. It’s not perfect, but it’s a pretty good snapshot of what people are missing … and you can find where their limiting factor is,” said Emery.
Jung said Coaches are doing a disservice to paying customers if mobility is not practiced. Starrett agreed, stating the Coach is the person who is finding all of the problems. “They can program and make corrections for people to be able to get the most out of the training for where they are today. What’s happening then is that if we maroon people and don’t continue to refine their position and get to the bottom of what the problem is with the mechanic, we often see that people will continue to compensate, and that ultimately will be the limit of their performance,” said Starrett.
Contrary to popular belief, Starrett is proud that his MobilityWOD is agnostic, meaning Coaches do not have to learn another language when he or she learns mobility. “We have developed a mobilization language based off bar and strength conditioning. The positions and the mechanics that we use should be familiar and based on what you’re already doing,” said Starrett.
Emery admits that while he and his Coaches are not physical therapists, podcasts, videos and books have helped him to teach his Coaches, and therefore his clients, mobility. He believes any Affiliate or Coach has the resources to implement proper technique in his or her Box. X