Hip Mobility / Flexibility / Stability Drills 6 – Dynamic Hip FADDER

This is my favourite. I can turn up, do some bear crawls and these and I will be good to squat in 5mins or less.

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Hip Mobility / Flexibility / Stability Drills 5 – Child’s Pose Complex – Level 1

This Child’s Pose Complex – Level 1 is a nice way to integrate a lot of different movements.

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Hip Mobility / Flexibility / Stability Drills 3 – Sciatic Nerve Mobilizations

OK…this is one of my “go-to” exercises.

If you have back pain or an easily flared up nervous system, just check with your health professional first please. Having said that, I use this exercise with people in pain all the time but I am very careful not to aggravate or stimulate pain.

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Hip Mobility / Flexibility / Stability Drills 2 – Scoops v2

This drill is is another variation of the Scoops exercise – again, it is a sciatic nerve mobilisation.

Keep the movement primarily in the hips and then reach for the feet. This will ensure your sciatic nerve will get a good mobilisation. Don’t hold the position – there shouldn’t be any pins and needles, numbeness or pain when you do these. Just move through and keep working on improving your range slowly.

Again, follow the 30secs rule – do 30secs and retest whatever movement you are using. If you get improvement, do 30secs more, if not, just stop and move on.

Thanks to Rom Riad from Live Active Personal Training for modelling.

Have a read of the theory post here or below the video.

***Remember the competition*** post a video on youtube, instagram or facebook and tag me on it – Do all 10 in a one shot sequence and if you produce the best video, I will give you a free 1hr Skype consultation worth $180.

I wish my overhead lunges look that good...

I wish my overhead lunges look that good…

So the upcoming 10 exercises will publish over the next 2 weeks are to help improve how your hips move. These are some of the most commonly prescribed exercises I prescribe. This post is about explaining why I give these exercises and the principles behind the process. You can take these principles and apply them to the many different exercises you do. This list of 10 are not exhaustive nor even the BEST because for some of you, these exercises won’t do much…but many of you, it will make a difference.

My post yesterday explained a bit about them…this has a lot more information…

***COMPETITION INFORMATION BELOW***

 

 

 

 

The Principles:

Here are the principles behind the order I am giving them to you and the guidelines for their use.

open-uri20130831-29662-14c6afg1. Neural system first.

The neural system is what powers your muscles, controls your joints and basically oversees the whole operation we call “our body”. Quite often (most of the time) a restriction in our mobility (our ability to move freely with the normal range of motion we have), flexibility (how far we can move at best without damage), and stability (how well we can control our posture, position and movement) is the reason why the brain causes our muscles to “lock up” our joints. Most people who come to me reporting their hip flexors are “tight” are actually too tight posteriorly in the hip and it causes a shunting of the femoral head in the hip socket. The hip flexors are just trying to protect you from dislocating your hip out the front or at the every least trying to stop you banging hard on that labrum that might be getting sore.

So work with the body and listen to it. The first step in improving your mobility/flexibility/stability is to calm the nervous system down – that is what a lot of these exercises are doing, NOT stretching muscles. They are gradually exposing your body to different neural stimuli to help develop trust and motion in the body – you will notice that the first few are quite simple before we head into the more complicated “complexes”.

The nerves in these exercises will be those in the diagram…the brachial plexus, spinal nerves, intercostal nerves, femoral nerves, sciatic nerves in particular. Treat nerves nicely and tenderly or they will really flare up any pain you have…you have been warned! NO PAIN.

 

support2. Supported movements

Exercises 1-8 are somewhat supported and exercises 9 and 10 are are a lot more active. None of them are truly passive because flexibility without control is dangerous. It is far better that you take a scaled option and move comfortably through these exercises…it doesn’t matter if you can’t go as deep or feel it as strongly…what matters is that you move through that range of motion without pain, feeling safe and stable. This is the key to allowing your brain to go from “protection” mode into “adaption” mode.

If you feel pain, discomfort, a strong stretch, unsteady, unstable, off-balance, whatever…if you feel any of that, your brain will try to protect you and WILL NOT let go of the very muscles that you are trying to target.

You problem is that those muscles are overactive and acting as stabilizers when it IS NOT THEIR JOB to be a stabilizer.

Retraining the brain is what we are trying to do here. If you want the brain to cooperate, make it feel safe and supported.

active3. Active movements

I have lots of variations of these exercises which include more twists and turns – feel free to improvise – there is no WRONG way to do things, just that there are some ways better than others.

A common saying I have is “which way do I want you to do this exercise (like a squat)? ALL of the ways”. I want your brain to have access to a positive experience of mobility/flexibility/stability/strength in end of ranges positions and throughout the WHOLE range of motion. This is the key – V A R I A B I L I T Y is the king. If you can competently squat with a narrow stance, wide stance, hips back, knees forwards, deep, shallow, mega-upright, low bar, high bar, front, OHS, safety bar, belt, air, dumbbells, barbells, plates, split squats, etc etc etc, then you are most likely to be as insured against problems as you can be. If you can only squat a few different ways, you have less variability in your game and will be prone to problems.

Overcooked4. #tensiontotask

This concept is simply applying JUST THE RIGHT amount of tension to complete the task with good posture, positions and movement. Don’t “overcook” it. Don’t be loosey-goosey. It is virtuosity i am after, not how hard you can squeeze your muscles!

5. #spreadtheload

This concept is about breathing and holding your breath (Valsalva if you will) – I don’t care how you breathe or hold your breath. It is harder to breathe throughout these movements but if you have to hold your breath, consider it a scaled version of the exercise and progress towards breathing. if you do hold your breath, make sure the tension from holding your breath is spread around the whole of your chest, abdomen and back like a cylinder. More on this concept will be coming soon.

 

30-seconds6. The 30-seconds Rule

This means that you choose a movement you want to improve – bending over or squatting or lunging are good ones for the hips. Then you do 1 rep on 1 side of these exercises or maybe you can do 2 reps on one side. Then you retest. Then you do the other side for 30secs and then retest. If you progress in your movement quality, you have permission to go again for 30secs on each side. You repeat until there are no more gains. This rule applies to foam rolling, using a lacrosse ball or any other stretch or exercise you like to do as a warm-up.

 

 

 

 

rx_symbol_black_italic_plain7. Prescription for these drills

  • Do them in order for the best effect but each can be done on their own – remember the principles above!
  • I recommend following the 30secs rule – sometimes twice through is enough. As many as 5 reps or more might be needed (if so, it’s time to speak to someone about the stress in your life!)
  • NO PAIN – I mean it. That goes for anything you are trying to learn or retrain the brain in. Sometimes my techniques might hurt but I really do carefully weigh up why I am doing it and I try to minimise the pain as much as possible. There shouldn’t be pins and needles, numbness, soreness, discomfort etc etc. It should be a comfortable effort/stretch. if it makes you pull a face, it is too much…scale back!! You will get much better results this way in the long run.
  • If you have any hip or back or shoulder pathology or pain, please check with your health professional about these exercises…they are meant to be as a guide for healthy people but with guidance for those with pain or pathlogies, they can be extremely effective in helping you get out of pain. These exercises are for informational purposes only and DO NOT take the place of seeing your health professional
  • NO PAIN – read that bit again!

 

keep-calm-its-almost-competition-time-5Competition Information:

I want to see your attempts at these exercises – tag me on instagram or twitter with @physiodetective or post it on my FB page at http://www.facebook.com/physiodetective. Just one rep should be enough on one side (15secs won’t be long enough for some of these exercises!). Thanks again to Vicki Smart from Peacock Dreams – Yoga With Vicki Smart and Rom Riad from Live Active Personal Training for being great models.

I will give free feedback (as humanly possible) for anyone posting their exercises.

I would like to use the best ones as examples of how to do them and any variations you have on them please – I will cite/reference your name, business (any business) and website for those that I choose.

I am offering a 1hr Skype/in person appointment consultation (Value $180) for the person that can produce the BEST video that has 1 rep on each side of each of the 10 exercises IN ONE TAKE (no editing). That video (it will have to be on YouTube or Vimeo) will be featured in a blog post with your details on it.

 

Last Words

OK gang – I hope you are ready for the release of these exercises with video! I’m glad to be sharing with you some of what works for me and my clients.

Remember…what I do is not rocket science…it is simply specific for you and for your body. If you don’t find these exercises are good or helpful for you, that’s ok…book an appointment in with someone (or me) and get something specific for you.

Have a good weekend and check your email or this blog at 7am Monday morning Australian Eastern Time.

Hip Mobility / Flexibility / Stability Drills 1 – See-Saw Walks / Scoops v1

This is a great exercise for getting the Sciatic nerve warmed up as well as learning how to dissociate your hips from your back.

Be sure to bend from the hips to load up the legs before allowing your back to bend. It is ok to let your back and neck round when reaching because it will mobilise the spinal cord. If you are doing this for stability, remember the 3 points of contact with a stick behind you – back of head, mid back and tailbone should all be in the one line.

This exercise requires mobility, flexibility and stability so it is a great warm up drill. Really flexible people will find this exercise easy – try to stay square through the hips and keep the flexion at the hips only.

Remember: this is about the neural system first of all. Keep it pain free and do 30secs at a time.

Thanks to Vicki Smart from Peacock Dreams – Yoga with Vicki Smart for modelling.

Remember the key points as per the theory post here or below the video

***Remember the competition*** post a video on youtube, instagram or facebook and tag me on it – Do all 10 in a one shot sequence and if you produce the best video, I will give you a free 1hr Skype consultation worth $180.

Here is the text from the Theory Post

I wish my overhead lunges look that good...

I wish my overhead lunges look that good…

So the upcoming 10 exercises will publish over the next 2 weeks are to help improve how your hips move. These are some of the most commonly prescribed exercises I prescribe. This post is about explaining why I give these exercises and the principles behind the process. You can take these principles and apply them to the many different exercises you do. This list of 10 are not exhaustive nor even the BEST because for some of you, these exercises won’t do much…but many of you, it will make a difference.

My post yesterday explained a bit about them…this has a lot more information…

***COMPETITION INFORMATION BELOW***

 

 

 

The Principles:

Here are the principles behind the order I am giving them to you and the guidelines for their use.

open-uri20130831-29662-14c6afg1. Neural system first.

The neural system is what powers your muscles, controls your joints and basically oversees the whole operation we call “our body”. Quite often (most of the time) a restriction in our mobility (our ability to move freely with the normal range of motion we have), flexibility (how far we can move at best without damage), and stability (how well we can control our posture, position and movement) is the reason why the brain causes our muscles to “lock up” our joints. Most people who come to me reporting their hip flexors are “tight” are actually too tight posteriorly in the hip and it causes a shunting of the femoral head in the hip socket. The hip flexors are just trying to protect you from dislocating your hip out the front or at the every least trying to stop you banging hard on that labrum that might be getting sore.

So work with the body and listen to it. The first step in improving your mobility/flexibility/stability is to calm the nervous system down – that is what a lot of these exercises are doing, NOT stretching muscles. They are gradually exposing your body to different neural stimuli to help develop trust and motion in the body – you will notice that the first few are quite simple before we head into the more complicated “complexes”.

The nerves in these exercises will be those in the diagram…the brachial plexus, spinal nerves, intercostal nerves, femoral nerves, sciatic nerves in particular. Treat nerves nicely and tenderly or they will really flare up any pain you have…you have been warned! NO PAIN.

 

support2. Supported movements

Exercises 1-8 are somewhat supported and exercises 9 and 10 are are a lot more active. None of them are truly passive because flexibility without control is dangerous. It is far better that you take a scaled option and move comfortably through these exercises…it doesn’t matter if you can’t go as deep or feel it as strongly…what matters is that you move through that range of motion without pain, feeling safe and stable. This is the key to allowing your brain to go from “protection” mode into “adaption” mode.

If you feel pain, discomfort, a strong stretch, unsteady, unstable, off-balance, whatever…if you feel any of that, your brain will try to protect you and WILL NOT let go of the very muscles that you are trying to target.

You problem is that those muscles are overactive and acting as stabilizers when it IS NOT THEIR JOB to be a stabilizer.

Retraining the brain is what we are trying to do here. If you want the brain to cooperate, make it feel safe and supported.

active3. Active movements

I have lots of variations of these exercises which include more twists and turns – feel free to improvise – there is no WRONG way to do things, just that there are some ways better than others.

A common saying I have is “which way do I want you to do this exercise (like a squat)? ALL of the ways”. I want your brain to have access to a positive experience of mobility/flexibility/stability/strength in end of ranges positions and throughout the WHOLE range of motion. This is the key – V A R I A B I L I T Y is the king. If you can competently squat with a narrow stance, wide stance, hips back, knees forwards, deep, shallow, mega-upright, low bar, high bar, front, OHS, safety bar, belt, air, dumbbells, barbells, plates, split squats, etc etc etc, then you are most likely to be as insured against problems as you can be. If you can only squat a few different ways, you have less variability in your game and will be prone to problems.

Overcooked4. #tensiontotask

This concept is simply applying JUST THE RIGHT amount of tension to complete the task with good posture, positions and movement. Don’t “overcook” it. Don’t be loosey-goosey. It is virtuosity i am after, not how hard you can squeeze your muscles!

5. #spreadtheload

This concept is about breathing and holding your breath (Valsalva if you will) – I don’t care how you breathe or hold your breath. It is harder to breathe throughout these movements but if you have to hold your breath, consider it a scaled version of the exercise and progress towards breathing. if you do hold your breath, make sure the tension from holding your breath is spread around the whole of your chest, abdomen and back like a cylinder. More on this concept will be coming soon.

 

30-seconds6. The 30-seconds Rule

This means that you choose a movement you want to improve – bending over or squatting or lunging are good ones for the hips. Then you do 1 rep on 1 side of these exercises or maybe you can do 2 reps on one side. Then you retest. Then you do the other side for 30secs and then retest. If you progress in your movement quality, you have permission to go again for 30secs on each side. You repeat until there are no more gains. This rule applies to foam rolling, using a lacrosse ball or any other stretch or exercise you like to do as a warm-up.

 

 

 

 

rx_symbol_black_italic_plain7. Prescription for these drills

  • Do them in order for the best effect but each can be done on their own – remember the principles above!
  • I recommend following the 30secs rule – sometimes twice through is enough. As many as 5 reps or more might be needed (if so, it’s time to speak to someone about the stress in your life!)
  • NO PAIN – I mean it. That goes for anything you are trying to learn or retrain the brain in. Sometimes my techniques might hurt but I really do carefully weigh up why I am doing it and I try to minimise the pain as much as possible. There shouldn’t be pins and needles, numbness, soreness, discomfort etc etc. It should be a comfortable effort/stretch. if it makes you pull a face, it is too much…scale back!! You will get much better results this way in the long run.
  • If you have any hip or back or shoulder pathology or pain, please check with your health professional about these exercises…they are meant to be as a guide for healthy people but with guidance for those with pain or pathlogies, they can be extremely effective in helping you get out of pain. These exercises are for informational purposes only and DO NOT take the place of seeing your health professional
  • NO PAIN – read that bit again!

 

keep-calm-its-almost-competition-time-5Competition Information:

I want to see your attempts at these exercises – tag me on instagram or twitter with @physiodetective or post it on my FB page at http://www.facebook.com/physiodetective. Just one rep should be enough on one side (15secs won’t be long enough for some of these exercises!). Thanks again to Vicki Smart from Peacock Dreams – Yoga With Vicki Smart and Rom Riad from Live Active Personal Training for being great models.

I will give free feedback (as humanly possible) for anyone posting their exercises.

I would like to use the best ones as examples of how to do them and any variations you have on them please – I will cite/reference your name, business (any business) and website for those that I choose.

I am offering a 1hr Skype/in person appointment consultation (Value $180) for the person that can produce the BEST video that has 1 rep on each side of each of the 10 exercises IN ONE TAKE (no editing). That video (it will have to be on YouTube or Vimeo) will be featured in a blog post with your details on it.

 

Last Words

OK gang – I hope you are ready for the release of these exercises with video! I’m glad to be sharing with you some of what works for me and my clients.

Remember…what I do is not rocket science…it is simply specific for you and for your body. If you don’t find these exercises are good or helpful for you, that’s ok…book an appointment in with someone (or me) and get something specific for you.

Have a good weekend and check your email or this blog at 7am Monday morning Australian Eastern Time.

Hip Mobility / Flexibility / Stability Drills – The Theory

I wish my overhead lunges look that good...

I wish my overhead lunges look that good…

So the upcoming 10 exercises will publish over the next 2 weeks are to help improve how your hips move. These are some of the most commonly prescribed exercises I prescribe. This post is about explaining why I give these exercises and the principles behind the process. You can take these principles and apply them to the many different exercises you do. This list of 10 are not exhaustive nor even the BEST because for some of you, these exercises won’t do much…but many of you, it will make a difference.

My post yesterday explained a bit about them…this has a lot more information…

***COMPETITION INFORMATION BELOW***

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more of this post

Is The Stork Test For The SIJ Useful Or Relevant?

stork testPlease note…in this article, I will give away yet another clinical “secret” that has contributed to my successful treatment of SIJ conditions…this post is mainly for therapists today but patients can get a lot out of it as well.

Ah, the stork test. It goes by a few names – the Gillet test and one leg standing test are some of them. This test has been used by therapists for many years and I have been personally using it for 15 years. in this blogpost, I will explain what the Stork test is, how I use it and still stay true to the intent of the original test and the interpretation from neuroscience.

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How to Activate Your Pelvic Floor With Breath Holding For Lifting / CrossFit / Everyday Life!

IMG_8511This blog post is for EVERYONE – Men and Women!!! It will improve your performance and improve your symptoms.

Everyone knows you should activate your pelvic floor…but why?

You do your Kegels but you still leak urine…why?

You saw a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist…but you still want to keep squatting 220lbs (100kg)…did they teach you how?

In this post, I will be using Maria Hogan as an example. Maria is one of the “old guard” of CrossFit in Australia. She is an ex-rower who competed at a high level. She had a 150kg (330lbs) deadlift, 112kg (246.5lbs) back squat, 83kg (182.5lbs) power clean and 64kg (141lbs) snatch…at 3 months post partum! She is married to 3-time CrossFit Games athlete Chris Hogan and runs CrossFit 121 with Chris in Melbourne, Australia.

All of these are fair questions. I hope to briefly explain how to combine the good work that Pelvic Floor therapists have done over the years and combine it with the knowledge I have gained in the Musculoskeletal and Sports Physiotherapy field I have worked in.

For more information on the Pelvic Floor, I have written this one for CrossFitters and as a general explanation.

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Why 99% of people misunderstand “Stability” – are you one of them?

Stability. It could be that you lack it. I am sure you have been told you don’t have it at some stage of your life. Maybe you don’t have a good “core”. Or maybe you need better “midline stabilization”.

I began my Physiotherapy career right when Paul Hodges et al were writing about this thin muscle called transverse abdominis. I hadn’t heard of this stability mechanism before then but there it was. Then “core stability” took off, Swiss ball training became all the rage, Pilates became popular and modified by physios and the rest is history.

I also witnessed a lot of the pelvic floor changes to exercise and have been able to watch the development of pelvic floor training and different approaches…

…and then the integration of the pelvic floor into the “core”…

…and then watching the slow train wreck that became “core stability” as different professions got a hold of the idea and basically bastardize it…along with some researchers who didn’t help.

For the past 20 years, I have been training all sorts of patients, from Olympians and Paralympians, all the way through to beginners and children. I have treated world champions in different types sports and been able to improve their performance and pain. I have trained people using gym based exercises, weights, body weight programs, Pilates, Swiss balls and all sorts of devices and gadgets. I have been around the block a few times now.

All of this introduction is to say that I have a fair idea how to improve stability in my patients…and I believe that so many people have the WRONG idea about stability – even physios, doctors, chiros, osteos etc etc.

The common belief is that “the core” is all important but really, you have local stabilization muscles at every joint. They all work to prevent shearing and excessive motion in the joints.

The local muscle system provides the firm foundation for the big force/torque producing muscles to generate their force (torque is simply force x radius).

Let’s take 3 common examples – the “core”, the shoulder and the hip.

The core is defined as the diaphragm, the pelvic floor, transversus abdominis and lumbar multifidus. It is promosies that they work together to maintain lumbopelvic stability. But now every other muscle is being included – abs (obliques and rectus abdominis), lats, glutes, erector spinae etc etc. But these other muscles don’t stabilize. They may hold position but the control of shear and segmental stabilization is the work of the 4 core muscles.

In the shoulder, we have all heard of the rotator cuff but why don’t people claim the lats, teres major, pecs and deltoids as stability muscles? We seem to understand how the shoulder stability at the glenohumeral joints work…maybe not the scapulothoracic stability though 😕

In the hips, we go back to being bipolar again. The hip “cuff muscles” get augmented with glutes but the TFL is a problem muscle even though it is similar to glute medius. We claim glute Maximus as a stabiliser but not the quads or even just rectus femoris. We claim psoas as a back AND hip stabilizer but piriformis is a problem muscle.

It is all so confusing isn’t it?

And here is why…

…stability is NOT a rating of 0-10 where 0 is no stability and 10 is the most stable it can be. This is WRONG! If you can understand how this works, you will realise how screwed up the subliminal education, the beliefs of your teachers and coaches and the whole fitness industry in general is screwed up. I call this strategy “Harder-er is better-er!” (…I deliberately want to make it sound stupid!)

You see, people (probably you), think that stability is like this. You think that if activating the glutes a bit makes me stable, then activating the glutes MORE will make me MORE stable! And I can understand this. We are used to working hard for our gains. We believe that in life, you get what you put into it. We want a good meritocracy where hard work is rewarded. We ridicule those who don’t work as hard in the hope they will work “harder”.

All of your cues that have been taught to you have been like “knees out”, “shoulders down and back”, “back straight and chest up” etc etc. The problem with these cues are that if you haven’t been coached about them, you can end up “overcooking” the cues and end up with your knees too wide out past your feet and ankles (this Diane Fu photo of squats).

Stability is much more like a target. A range to hit. It requires the Goldilocks principle – not too little and not too much…just the right amount of stability at just the right time and with just the right amount of force.

Rather than stability being a scale of 0-10, think of it as being a scale from -5 to +5. You are trying to get the right amount of force happening. Too little and it won’t stabilize you. Too much and you will be overly compressed and unable to adapt to changes in loading requirements at all your joints.

Touch your nose. Your brain sorted it all out. You don’t have to think about contracting ANYTHING because your brain has got all that figured out for you! You don’t think of every muscle, every joint, how many degrees each joint has to move nor the ability to change the angles and adapt to load differences…you just think “touch your nose” and it happens!

Try this one. Get a dumbbell that is 5-10kg. Front raise it (straight arm forward flexion to 90deg). Now context your glutes as hard as you can, or tense your core, or put your shoulders down and back, or turn on your pelvic floor, or do whatever thing you want to test as a stability cue and front raise that dumbbell. If the cue is helpful, it will feel lighter. If it feels heavier, your AUTOMATIC strategy is BETTER than contracting the muscles. If it feels the same, it isn’t helping…you don’t necessarily need to do it!

I genuinely feel that this misconception about stability is rife. I know you are sitting there reading this going “duh, that’s pretty bloody obvious”…but then why do I have to retrain coaches, elite athletes, amateur athletes and basically everyone every day about this? Why is it that people tell me they understand stability the way I talk about it and want it but then when I watch them do the exercises, I have to sort out all the erroneous stability strategies they have.

This is part of the reason why I have been talking about matching the tension to the task (#tensiontotask) and relaxing before movement…I test to see if the brain can sort this out BEFORE I give you a cue to do!

If you disagree with me, let discuss it. I am keen to learn more and love a good debate!

Summary: Harder-er is NOT better-er!” Stability is a target to achieve with the Goldilocks principle – not too little and not too much…it has to be JUST RIGHT!

So You Wanna Get To Regionals? Let’s Think About That For A Sec. A Guest Blog By Brent Fikowski and Antony Lo

Wanna get to The CrossFit Games Regionals? Let’s think about that for a sec… Written by Brent Fikowski…with some editing and opinion from Antony Lo at the end.

It is my pleasure to have Brent Fikowski guest write this blog about making it to Regionals. in case you don’t know, Brent came in 6th in the Australian Regionals with only 3 points between him and 4th placed Matt Healey. He is now competing in Canada West and killed 14.1 with a score of 443…

What Brent wrote:

Trying to make it to Regionals? How many people have you heard say “I think I’ve got a shot this year” or “I’m training for Regionals”? I know I have heard everyone and their uncle tell me this. Do some have a shot? Absolutely! But some are being unrealistic.

Lets go over some things you need to realize before you make this lofty goal.

  1. Every year it gets more and more competitive. If you have been doing CrossFit for a while and you haven’t made it yet, you need to have made some VERY large improvements in the last 12 months. Or if you are new you need to have a background in power/endurance/strength and have learned all the skills quickly.
  2. Last year the 48th placed individual male in Australia finished with 372 points. So on average he placed 74th in all the WODs. Now compare your previous Open scores to the 74th rank score. How close were you? Which one were you the farthest off and why? Are these weaknesses gone?
  3. Still think you have a shot? Pick your two worst movements and decide whether you prefer short or long WODs. Put those two movements together in your least ideal WOD length. How well would you place in that WOD against the best in your region? Or make the same comparison but with your ‘perfect’ WOD. Would you rank in the top 74 with your performance? Remember these are Open-Style AMRAPs, 4-17min long with repeating movements, standard equipment, easily judged.
  4. STOP FOCUSING ON YOUR 1RMS! Quit comparing your strength numbers to Games athletes. You need to spend your training time becoming better for The Open. If you can’t do 50 unbroken double unders because you have spent every extra minute this year increasing your PRs by 5kg, you probably failed miserably at 14.1. When you qualify for Regionals, focus on becoming stronger so you can be more successful at that level. Until then become good at Open workouts. Do lots of wall balls, burpees, and high repetition barbell movements with medium weight.
  5. 48 individual athletes qualify each year… but realistically how many spots are there available? -In each region there are probably 10-20 individuals that are a LOCK into Regionals. The top athletes. The athletes that have been to the Games, the athletes that have been to Regionals three years in a row. The ones who were in the top 10 last year. The ones sponsored by some brand. Make no mistake, they WILL qualify. -Then there are the other 28-38 athletes that qualified last year to Regionals. They made it last year, they know what it takes to get there, and they have been training to try and get there again. -After that you have 20-30 athletes or more that have made Regionals in previous years. Maybe they were out due to injury, a new life commitment, or they ranked a few places too low last year. But they are training hard all year, and are ready. -Don’t forget the individuals that have never made it, but have been very close to qualifying. Maybe they would have made it last year if their muscle-ups were more efficient, or their overhead strength was better. They’ve worked all year and you can bet those weaknesses are but a memory now.
  6. Lastly there are all the unknown newbies! Every year there will always be a new face at Regionals. This is one reason why The Games process is so exciting. -So be honest with yourself, where do you fit in? Can you beat enough of those other athletes to steal one of those 48 spots? Because you do not have to ‘qualify’ in the top 48, you have to beat out the rest to get there.

This is not meant to discourage but rather to give you a realistic look at what lies ahead so you can enjoy the most exciting time of the year as a CrossFiter. Stop staying up late ‘Leaderboarding’ and just enjoy exercising with your friends. Getting upset after the 3rd week because you are 200th is not where you want to be right? All you can do is give 100% in the Open WODs. That is it. In an interview with Chad Mackay at Regionals 2013 they asked him about what his goals were halfway through the weekend. Did he say win? Got back to the Games? No, he said he was just trying to give his best every WOD.

Brent Fikowski

What Antony thinks:

I back Brent 100% on these points. What I would like to add are the following points as a PT who specializes in improving the performance of CrossFitters from Games-Level Athletes to the newbie…

  1. Technique, technique, technique. I simply cannot stress this enough! I have seen seriously good competitors (Games Level Athletes) improve simply because I corrected their movement a little or gave a different cue. These little things might be awkward to start with but they are for training…if you train to move well, you will move well during competition time. Far too many people trying to break into Regionals push themselves to go harder and faster and rarely consider that they need to back off the weight and intensity and fix their form issues. When you get your house in order, your performance will soar!
  2. Stop wasting time on routines that can take an hour to get through because you are “prehabbing” this and “rehabbing” that. In my experience, I can usually cut down your accessory work and “mobility” work down to about 15-30mins per day. When you combine that focused, mindful training, that is what will help you achieve high-level performances. You need to see someone who can pull all the threads together and consdense your warm-up, rehab, prehab and accessory work into a tight, focused program. If you can’t find someone, ask me…I now do Skype consults!

Let us know what you think. Brent and I are happy to take any questions or comments you have.

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