Exercise

Active Shoulder and Core Workshop Recap

First off, we would like to thank those who were able to come to our Active Shoulder and Core Workshop yesterday! This was part of a monthly series where we go in-depth on a region of the body and how to increase performance and function. In case you missed it or you just want a refresher, here is a quick recap of a few of the things we went over.

Dr. Kyle working cueing movement in the upper spine.

Dr. Kyle working cueing movement in the upper spine.

 

Neck Stability

We started off with a quick lesson in how your neck and upper back posture can greatly affect your shoulder function. After running through some baseline shoulder movements, we went into an exaggerated poor posture. The forward head and shoulder position and the overly rounded upper back immediately limited movement and a lot of the participants found that shoulder movements with exaggerated poor posture caused some familiar stiffness or pain.

The exercise that we used to find out if you could use some work on your neck stabilizer muscles was the head lift with the chin tucked:

A lot of shaking, or the inability to hold that chin-tucked position indicated that some targeted neck exercises would be a great addition to your daily movement habits. Perform 2-3 seconds holds of the chin retractions while lying face up on the ground, and then progress to lifting your head up off the ground while keeping the chin tucked for sets of 4-6 holds.

 

Breathing Dysfunction

We then went demonstrated how proper diaphragmatic breathing was able to help relax some of the muscles in the neck and shoulders. The crocodile breathing exercise focused on feeling the air going down towards your pelvis, and the pressure of the air pushing your abdomen into the ground. We will cover more ways to practice diaphragmatic breathing in future workshops as well. 25 breaths performed 2-3 times a day can go a long way in alleviating tension in your neck and shoulders.

 

Upper Back Mobility

Next, we explored a few exercises to improve the mobility of your upper spine. We demonstrated with the wall angel evaluation how limitations in the upper back movement can affect how well you can control your rib positioning and your arm movements. To get more movement in that upper part of your back, the modified sphinx position can be used. Perform 10-15 repetitions alternating between bringing the spine up towards the ceiling and then bringing your chest down towards the floor with an emphasis on moving just those top few segments in the back.

The side-lying windmill exercises builds on that by adding in some critical rotation to the thoracic spine. Really striving to reach the fingers away from your body, and leading the movement with your eyes are important. Strive to perform a few sets of 8 repetitions throughout the day or prior to a workout.

 

Integrating the Shoulder and Core

We ended with the banded wall walk exercise. This exercise really challenged everyone's ability to integrate proper core positioning with movement of the arms. Things to strive for with this exercise was to maintain the rib position over the pelvis as well as resisting the tendency to dive the head forward or shrug the shoulders up towards the ears.


This was just a quick recap of some of the evaluations and exercises we did at our Active Shoulder and Core Workshop. Keep an eye out in the future for information on our next Active Workshop series focusing on the hip hinge pattern and the posterior chain!

CrossFit... Maybe not so dangerous after all

Rates and risk factors of injury in CrossFit: A prospective cohort study   

 by Dr. Kyle Bangs

Nervous about getting injured during your journey with CrossFit? Well, more research says that the health and performance benefits of CrossFit outweigh the minimal risks.

A study published in early 2017 in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness followed 117 CrossFit participants for 3 months, to determine the injury risk of CrossFit, and identify the pre-existing risk factors among participants. The overall rates of injuries for CrossFit were found to be very low at about 2.1 injuries per 1000 training hours; comparable to many other forms of training including running, triathlons, and weightlifting and much lower than most amateur team sports. When injuries did occur, most involved the low back, knees, and wrists. They usually occurred during weight lifting movements, especially the squat but also deadlifting and overhead pressing exercises. Other studies have found the shoulders are more frequently injured with CrossFit, as well.
 

gym.jpg

 

Are you at an increased risk for injury? The study suggests that any one of this factors may put you in greater risk of injury.

  1. Are you a man?

  2. Do you have previous injuries?

  3. Do you have asymmetries with the “Functional Movement Screen” OR “FMS”

 

By the way, did we mention Dr. Kyle is offering Functional Movement Screens at Function Performance.

 

Male athletes in this study (and in previous CrossFit injury studies) were found “very likely” to have an increased risk of injury compared to females regardless of other variables. Previous research has investigated this heightened male risk.  They found that men are less likely to ask a coach for help during lifts, resulting in poor form, or progressing too quickly to higher loads.

Participants with a prior injury (within the last 6 months) was another strong risk factor for increased likelihood of injury. This is no surprise as injuries and pain can alter the way the body moves, even after the injury subsides. Often times the factors that lead one to get injured are not adequately addressed during the healing and rehabilitation phases after an injury. This may have something to do with the next risk factor as well.

                                                                   Don't do this.    

                                                                  Don't do this.

 

The last factor that could lead to an increased risk of injury was found to be the number of asymmetries on the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).  The FMS is a short assessment of your quality of movement and is able to show where your personal movement quality falls short. FMS screening scores have been shown to be associated with injury risk in several sports and activities, especially when athletes demonstrate asymmetry in movement.

Bottom Line? When considering the evidence, CrossFit is considered as safe as most fitness related activities. What can you do to reduce the risk of injury even further?

  • Focus on the quality of your lifts before you start pushing for number (weight/repetition) goals. If you’re unsure about a movement or lift, ask the coach for some 1 on 1 help with it before attempting to load it. If you ever think “I wonder if I’m doing this right,” then it’s time to ask for some feedback.

  • If you’ve had an injury in the past, get it evaluated by a healthcare practitioner that you trust. Pain alters your quality of movement, and those movement changes can persist long past an injury is healed.

  • Have your movement screened. An FMS screen can be a quick way to determine how your body moves and will find the big differences between your right and left sides that could increase your risk of injury. With an FMS screen, you’ll get a few corrective exercises that you can work into a warm-up to start addressing these issues on your own.

 

References

Hak, P. T., Hodzovic, E., & Hickey, B. (2013). The nature and prevalence of injury during CrossFit training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000000318 [doi]

Klimek, C., Ashbeck, C., Brook, A. J., & Durall, C. (2017). Are injuries more common with CrossFit training than other forms of exercise? Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, , 1-17. doi:10.1123/jsr.2016-0040 [doi]

Moran, S., Booker, H., Staines, J., & Williams, S. (2017). Rates and risk factors of injury in CrossFit: A prospective cohort study. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, doi:10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06827-4 [doi]

Weisenthal, B. M., Beck, C. A., Maloney, M. D., DeHaven, K. E., & Giordano, B. D. (2014). Injury rate and patterns among CrossFit athletes. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, 2(4), 2325967114531177. doi:10.1177/2325967114531177 [doi]