Functional Movement at its Core

I have been an athlete my whole life and have competed at an elite level in sports that have tested both my strength and endurance.  You could say that I definitely have competitive blood in me.  About 4 months ago, I stumbled across CrossFit Los Alamitos just a couple blocks from my office.  I have always been intrigued by CrossFit, but never taken the plunge to actually join a gym, aka “box”.  I have plenty of experience weightlifting but have never had any professional coaching on Olympic style lifting, so I must admit, it was a little intimidating at first.  However, since joining this CrossFit “box”, it has completely changed the way that I train, and in only a few short months I am in the best shape I have ever been in.  The definition of CrossFit is “Constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement.”  In my mind, the key word in that definition is “functional”.  Each workout is comprised of a Mobility portion, a Gymnastics movement and a Strength component with the ultimate goal to make you move better.  Most of you already know how much of a fan of functional movement I am…. “Move Well. Live Well.”   Essentially, any healthy person should be able to perform every single exercise that is required of a CrossFit athlete because they are all functional in nature.   If you are having trouble with a specific lifting technique it is most likely that you are battling a muscular imbalance that has created poor biomechanics and movement patterning.  Most of my patients will perform a Functional Movement Screen at some point during the initial stages of their treatment plan, which is a great tool to assess overall movement control and expose any muscular imbalances that may be present.  In my mind, CrossFit is a great test of your functional capabilities.

About six weeks ago, one of my patients and a fellow Crossfit athlete, convinced me to sign up for the CrossFit Open.  This is a 5 week Standardized Competition where you are ranked both world-wide and in your region, based on how well you perform each workout.  An average Crossfit class always ends with the Workout of the Day (WOD).   The WOD is usually a grueling, high intensity, 8-20 min workout that usually incorporates a technique that you have been working on that day.  However, the WOD’s for the Open Comp. are taken to a whole new level of intensity, and they really make you dig deep to find out just how much work you can physically and mentally handle.  Every week of the Open, I managed to far surpass what I thought was a realistic goal.  I think most CrossFitters would tell you that the feeling they get when accomplishing something that they just didn’t think was even possible is what keeps them coming back for more.  It is the same feeling I get after crossing the finish line of a hard triathlon, or even when I summited Mt. Whitney last year.

I guess what I am really trying to say here is that as long as you have a strong foundation for functional movement, it is completely healthy to step outside your physical comfort zone.  Test yourself by training for something that is a little above what you thought was physically possible, and set new goals each and every year.  I would love to hear what your goal is for this year.

In Good Health,

Dr. Jack

“Move Well. Live Well.”