Today I want to talk about three stages in my athletic career that I have experienced with relationships between strength, stability, hypermobility and hypomobility. I will use my journey in CrossFit because it is the easiest way to explain measurable performance. Coming out of Jujitsu I was hypermobile throughout my entire body because it was a requirement in the sport. As I entered the realm of CrossFit I was strong; however, I was unable to express my strength through lifting because of my lack of stability in joints. One of two things would happen to me going for one rep maxes: I would either complete the lift or end up injured in some sort of matter due to my lack of stability or I would miss the lift because muscle apprehension would not allow me to complete the lift. Again this was due to my lack of dynamic stability around my joints.
Fast forward to six months later, I was hitting personal bests every time I attempted to hit one. This is because I had developed optimal ROM (Range of Motion) with all movements, and had now developed dynamic stability throughout all of my joints. As I continued down this path, I became obsessed with the training portion of the athletic hierarchy. I didn’t care about the nutritional aspect, I didn’t care about the recovery aspect, and I never gave mobility a thought. Enter the hypomobility era of my life. Sitting in a desk at school or at home for hours on hours at a time coupled with working out only to immediately go back to sitting tends to turn the musculature and fascia in the body into a giant slab of beef jerky. I plateaued in every aspect of performance in crossfit and in a lot of lifts I actually digressed: Snatch, overhead squat, front squat, clean and jerk all digressed. This all happened because my body was so stiff, it was fighting the movements I was trying to force it to do which also ended in missing lifts or injuring myself. This process continued for another year.
Here I am today, out of school working with and learning from Dr. Eric and Dr. Tamara Hefferon at Impact Physical Therapy, and they have given me a new found appreciation for mobility as well as stability. I had spent a good amount of time after graduating trying to fix the mobility issues I had developed for the past year and a half and was happy with the progress I was making with my performance and my lifts were going back up. It wasn’t until I scheduled a couple of appointments at Impact Physical Therapy and performed the homework he gave me did I really start to see my Ah-ha moment. Two weeks after my last appointment with Dr. Hefferon and two weeks of devoutly doing my homework I saw major improvements in performance. Here are the numbers:
Snatch: 220 to 235
Back Squat: 385 to 405
Front Squat: 305 to 330
Clean and Jerk: 295 to 310
Clean: 305 to 315
Split Jerk: 330 to 341
Push Press: 245 to 265
Power Jerk: 265 to 285
What is my conclusion? A lot of times (myself included) athletes tend to fall prey to thinking improving mobility and developing dynamic stability is a waste of time. Sure it is usually not fun, its painful, and it feels tedious, but it is a necessary part of performance based athletes. It is one of the most overlooked parts of athletic hierarchy and it is also the biggest untapped well for increasing performance, as well as injury prevention, and quality of life.
Optimal mobility+stability= increase in performance
Hypermobility-stability= decrease in performance and injury
Hypomobility= decrease in performance and injury