Workout of the Day

Joint-by-Joint

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Sometimes it takes some simplification to understand something incredibly complex. Renowned physical therapist Gray Cook and coach Mike Boyle developed a way of looking at the human body that provides us with a simple framework for understanding movement, assessing dysfunction, and addressing injury. The joint-by-joint approach views the body as a series of joints or joint segments, alternating between functions of stability and mobility. The concept is rather remarkable in its simplicity and its utility: successive joints serve differing functions, with a stability-priority joint being surrounded upstream and downstream by a mobility-priority joint, and vice versa.

Starting from the ground up, the ankle is a mobility joint, the knee is a stability joint, the hip - mobility, lumbar spine - stability, thoracic spine - mobility, scapula - stability, gleno-humeral joint - mobility.

This simple framework provides us with a way of looking at demands of movement, and the causes of movement dysfunction and injury in a way that gives us a starting roadmap to finding our linchpin -- the piece that serves as the nucleus to a functional movement, or in the case of dysfunction, the piece that is insufficient and letting things fall apart.

In the event of injury, we look to the joints upstream and downstream of the injury and assess whether those joints are meeting their essential function. In the case of low back pain, we must first ask: Is the hip mobile? Is the thoracic spine mobile? If the answer to any of these is “no,” we have our target for improvement. If an athlete demonstrates instability in the knee, we can reverse engineer where our dysfunction lies by looking downstream to the ankle and upstream to the hip for mobility.
In addition, we can follow this path in the opposite direction and predict areas of necessary focus to prevent injury and dysfunction. If an athlete demonstrates a lack of stability in the scapulae, we can venture to say that it will be important to address this stability to allow adequate mobility and function of the shoulder and thoracic spine.

The human musculoskeletal system is incredibly complex and its function goes far beyond this joint-by-joint model, but armed with some simple tools and understanding, we can set ourselves along the most likely path to solving our movement problems or preventing them before they even start. You have the tools -- make the change!

- PS


6/16/17

  • Spend 15 mins on skill/strength work for ring muscle-ups

  • 12 min AMRAP

    • 1 ring push-up

    • 1 strict chin-up

    • 2 ring push-ups

    • 2 strict chin-ups

    • 3…