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CrossFit® / April 2016
Kelly Starrett, Co-Founder of MobilityWOD

#AskTheExpert: Kelly Starrett

When it comes to fitness and human movement, there's a wealth of content on the Internet. With so much available, it's difficult to decipher which sources you can trust. The best solution? Just #AskTheExpert.

This month, in light of the launch of Reebok partner Kelly Starrett's third book, Deskbound, we teamed up with him to answer your burning questions. 

@Reebok posed the ask to the Twitter world.

Got a question for Starrett? He's got an answer ... and a very credible one, for that matter.

Here are some of our favorite responses from Starrett.

Your spine, like the rest of your body has it's normal ranges of motion. Often when people have unusual stiffness in their spines, it's a result of some basic movement errors and resulting protecting compensation.

Usually when people are talking about "back flexibility" they are referring to stiffness in the lumbar or low back.

While most athletes work on the soft tissues of their primary engines, they fail to consider the hard working musculature and tissues of their trunk. Athletes should regularly be talking to muscles like the obliques as often as they are talking to their quads.

A stiff thoracic spine can cause a host of down stream problems, too. Bottom line, stiffness in the spine can be a cue that you might need to clean up your spinal mechanics or simply address the quality of your trunks engines and tissues.

Tennis elbow is straight up nasty. Preventing it is largely about maintaining rotational range of motion in the elbow/forearms and upstream at the shoulder.

A quick test is hanging from a bar in both the chin grip and the palms away grip. Most people will feel pretty uncomfortable in the full hang with palms facing you. 

Another quick test?  Get into a push up/plank shape. Now turn your hands around so that they are facing fingers towards your feet. What you are seeing now is that your forearms might be stiff.

Intramuscular/stiffness in the tissues of the forearms is an easy fix. And as always, making sure that your forearms and elbows are primed and full of blood before adding a bunch of high speed loading.

We always start with the idea that motion is lotion.

I'm sure you are already managing the aspects of your life that can exacerbate degenerative changes in your joint surfaces, like poor hydration and sleep quality for example.

In cases of bad arthritis, your doctor should definitely be part of your movement plan. 

We know that long distraction through the hip joint can ease post movement discomfort, and addressing compensatory muscle stiffness/guarding can improve symptoms.  

There are many ways to slow movements down and reduce joint surface loading while still maintaining muscle mass and available range of motion. Some days will be worse than others, but the goal is to keep moving.

This is a common problem with athletes whose shoulders are internally rotated and sitting in the front of the joint capsule.

The quick check is that the front of your shoulder should not be out in front of your nipple. When the head of the shoulder translates through the tendon of the biceps at the shoulder joint, little slack is left in the system to extend the elbow to straight.  Failure to lock out on a dip or inability to finish a bench press is good example of this problem.

A little thoracic spine mobilization and re-centrating the shoulder joint usually takes care of this problem.

CrossFit® / April 2016
Kelly Starrett, Co-Founder of MobilityWOD