Kelly Starrett’s Mobility Seminar

Yesterday I took part in Kelly Starrett’s one-day mobility seminar, hosted by CrossFit Invictus in San Diego. I’ve been following Starrett’s MWODs ( since late December. After more than two decades as a runner and triathlete, I have to say I wished I had discovered this, or something like this, sooner. Central to Starrett’s message is that tissue disfunction, improper posture and all the physical “holes” that come along with what we hit our body with–be it sitting at a desk at work for hours each day or the training load we hit our bodies with each day–results not only in increasing the likelihood of injury but we leak away potential athletic performance and well-being. “There are no days off,” Starrett said at the seminar, explaining that while we should take days off from active training, we should never leave behind us a day with our maintenance time for our bodies. At the seminar Starrett went through the core thinking behind his view on movement, mid-line stability, testing and re-testing after mobility work to see if there’s progress, and through a number of techniques that he teaches daily on his site.

Going through my notes after the seminar, I was amazed at the amount of valuable information delivered in such a short amount of time. I walked out knowing that I needed to increase the amount of maintenance work from one short session today to several—particularly since I’m going into my fifth consecutive week of Crossfit Endurance training and the load is gradually increasing too.

A few of the things I learned:

1. How much work I need to do in making sure that my first step before any exercise, WOD or training run requires a thorough warm-up. I’ve been doing a little bit but I received a warning shot last Monday when my warmup was insufficient before a CFE WOD that included box jumps. On one of the very last jumps I felt a slight tweak in my lower back. Starrett talked about both the need for a proper warmup before this stuff but also how we need to ingrain mid-line stabilization into all our movements before, during and through the workouts. The box jump that almost got me was explained in one of Starrett’s talks—because I allowed my core muscles to relax and my form became gummed up and “broken” I opened up a window for my spinal nerves to get a good thrashing.

2. Near the end Starrett talked a lot about compression as a way of dealing and preventing injury. He even said that via the research he’s seeing, compression may be superior to ice–and he’s a big fan of ice treatment. Definitely want to look into this more.

3. During a session on myofascial release with a lacrosse ball, and later teaching us how to use a band to increase the value of stretches like the couch stretch with distraction, he talked about how he and fellow coaches at Crossfit San Francisco are always trying new things to get mobilize and release by essentially playing around with ideas on a daily basis. He encouraged us to do the same, saying that only we really know where the deeper tightnesses are in our muscles and joints. He was emphatic about empowering the attendees at the seminar to be empowered when it comes to applying the ideas at the seminar.