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Proper shoulder posture while standing?
Posted: 30 December 2010 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Metric - 01 April 2010 12:04 PM

It looks pretty good to me too.
Just don’t get all tied up in trying to address imbalances through a grocery list of isolation movements. If you follow mainsite programming you’ll be exposed to a pretty good balance of gross movements that will keep things on a fairly even keel.

I would agree with this for the most part.  But I wouldn’t be too quick to exclude the usefulness of some of those movements for a lot of CrossFit athletes.

Sorry in advance for how long this is.

Since Chad (our box’s head trainer) has started working through the Poloquin Certification process we have had a bit of a foray into sort of a “CrossFit Structural Balance Bias”.  We went through about 6-8 weeks addressing the most common imbalances (upper and lower body) that we deemed to be affecting our clientele’s performance.  A workout would still contain functional movements either in a Max Effort or MetCon format, we simply adjusted the length of those efforts and added some assistance work in the form of some isolation movements either mixed with the Max Effort, or Pre/Post MetCon.  Most of our focus was on the the Vastus Medialus Oblique for lower body (Poloquin’s big culprit in poor knee stability and tracking) and the mid and lower portion of the Trapezius in the upper body (very applicable to the current thread topic).

Although I had a pretty open mind for Chad’s programming, I have to honest and that at the outset I was skeptical that it was appropriate for me.  I did not perceive that I had any of the issues that the programming was designed to correct.  I was wrong.  All the lift/movements that may have been neglected to make room for the isolation movements improved over this period, and in ways that I didn’t expect.  For example, my ring dips improved even though they didn’t show any obvious problems due to a shoulder strength imbalance.  Poloquin would attribute the improvement on the ring dips due to the strengthening of the antagonist muscles (in this case Trapezius 2&3) being able to handle more stabilization and allowing the agonist muscles (pecs, anterior delts, etc) to contract harder/longer.  So, in my experience, focused Pre-Hab work of these typical imbalances can help even those athletes that are asymptomatic of obvious imbalances.

In the case of an acute problem, the need for the use of this type of exercise for Re-Hab comes down to the severity of the problem and the speed of which one wants to address the problem.  The balanced complex movements traditional to CrossFit will help even out mild imbalances causing problems, but that can be very long and gradual process during which other performance factors are being affected.

To exacerbate the issue, often times the imbalance leads to poor motor patterns in those complex movements which the body adapts to work around the weakness or pain.  Any Oly Coach will tell you that poor motor patterns, once well ingrained, are extremely hard to correct even in well-balanced athletes.  It makes it doubly hard to attempt it without first addressing the root of the problem (the imbalance in question).

The problem with using the iso-movements is avoiding the laundry list at the expense of no longer “doing CrossFit”, as Metric mentioned.  This takes some skill in programming, and isn’t always as simple as tacking some external rotations onto the end of a WOD (although that might help in some cases).  Sometimes these Pre/Re-Hab workouts were a pretty intense WOD by themselves.  Try 5 Rounds: 12 x Front Foot Elevated Split Squats/leg @ 4320 and 5 x Snatch-Grip Deadlift @ 5050 Resting 90 Seconds between sets and tell me you didn’t get a workout… I dare ya. =)

Bottom line is that this is a complex issue and can be hard to tackle on your own.  As always, and like some other have recommended, find yourself a good physio-therapist and a CrossFit box with trainers who know what they are doing to check in with and assess your specific issues.  Those two things will go a long way.  I would even say that finding a Poloquin Certified Strength Coach and working the Re-Hab exercises they give you in with WODs wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Just my 2 cents.

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