Injury and Imbalance: Part 2

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Last time we talked about getting hurt. Or, more importantly, why we get hurt while doing CrossFit. The long and short of it is that we are creatures of repetition and patterns and the activities that we do most frequently and for the longest time will determine how we move.
We are also creatures of imbalance. We (usually) have a dominant side and we think and act with that side by reflex. Now, taking into account the body’s ability and habit of adapting to repetition, try and think of everything that you only do with your dominant side. The side you hold your fork on, your toothbrush, your phone, your steering wheel, etc. Over years the tendency to put the same foot forward first or reach with one hand can add up to some impressive repetitions.
With all that taken into consideration, this week we’re talking about perhaps the most important physical attribute when it comes to a sense of wellness and fitness… Balance.
While I acknowledge that there are many skills to work on at CrossFit, and many of us only have so many hours in a week to get fit, balance side to side and front to back in our musculature and strength is something that we NEED to be working on.
Here is a quick list of ways to get working on bringing yourself back into balance:
1) Get Tested
I recommend going to see a Physical Therapist and asking about imbalance from left to right, top to bottom and front to back. They can have you perform some basic movements that will highlight if you have any serious imbalances.
2) Get Homework
Once you have an imbalance identified, work on it daily. The key there is DAILY. Even if you’re not making it to the gym, build yourself at least a morning and nightly ritual of movements that will restore stability and improve activation in the major joints.
3) When in doubt, work on the muscles you can’t see
Everything that you can see in the mirror will take care of itself (because we all have an ego and will forever be working on abs, chest, arms, etc.). The back is what gets neglected. Find exercises that work on the muscles from the back of your head to your heels. Be persistent and obsessive about it. There are very few things in life that can’t be fixed by more back, butt and hamstrings.
4) Mobilize
Whatever feels tight or whatever you think may be causing you pain, look it up on the internet followed by the word “mobilization.” So; “hip mobilization”, “ankle mobilization” etc. Pick something and do it DAILY.
5) Do it and then get tested again
Ideally at least 4 times per year (once a quarter). Have a good relationship with your physiotherapist, chiropractor and massage therapist. Also, don’t balk at the cost. If you can afford to workout you can afford to do some preventative maintenance on your body.
So there you have it. The big take away from this two part article is to be cognisant of how we move and to actually try to correct our imbalances. With these two things in mind you’ll be better armed and armoured against the rigours of CrossFit, athletics and the dangerous activities of everyday life.
Good Luck!

-Jesse Kirkeby
CrossFit Newmarket Central & CrossFit Aurora Central

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