As athletes, especially those just starting out, we don’t always focus on the details of jumping and landing. The idea is to use the full potential of the human body. From box jumps to double unders and even running, proper mechanics of jumping and landing are required
"Ifyou master jumping and landing with good mechanics, you will put the critical movement pattern involved in running under the microscope and start to lay the new foundation of quality movement---of moving the way your body is designed to move." (Kelly Starrett - Ready to run)
Ok, lets talk about some common faults associated with poor mechanics.
1. Knees forward and shins not vertical. You lose connection with your posterior chain and hammer your knees.
2. Toes pigeoned inward or fanned outward, duck-like. You’re out of good position and ripping your knees with rotational shear.
3. Unbraced midline and disorganized lumbar spine. The muscles of your trunk are not engaged, and your pelvis is in a sloppy position. Power from your posterior chain is lost. Your knees get hammered and so does your lower back.
Do we notice a common theme here? Your knees are getting or will be getting trashed the longer your mechanics are off with this skill.
Let’s see what good form looks like when we jump to a box.
If you will notice that Dr. Kelly Starrett starts with his feet forward and weight centered on his feet, not just on his heels or toes. He also lands the same way, allowing his ankles and knees to work as the body intended.
Above is a comparison of good and not so good landing form. Again, this all translates to different movements we do in the gym everyday and especially running. Just one of the many ways we can work to be better athletes.
There are two main types of kinetic chain movements – open and closed. Open chain movements allow the hands and feet to move freely in space. Closed chain movements fix your hands or feet to an immovable surface. Open chain movements are purely motor control. There is no help from external forces. Closed chain movements react to the environment. Feedback from the surface propels the joints into ranges of motion beyond what the brain alone can provide.The easiest position for the scapula to mobilize is when the shoulder socket sits axially. Shoulder blade position is tied to shoulder socket position. Centered along a perfectly vertical or horizontal plane, the glenohumeral joint allows the shoulder blade to move freely.
There are two main types of kinetic chain movements – open and closed. Open chain movements allow the hands and feet to move freely in space. Closed chain movements fix your hands or feet to an immovable surface. Open chain movements are purely motor control. There is no help from external forces. Closed chain movements react to the environment. Feedback from the surface propels the joints into ranges of motion beyond what the brain alone can provide.
The easiest position for the scapula to mobilize is when the shoulder socket sits axially.Shoulder blade position is tied to shoulder socket position. Centered along a perfectly vertical or horizontal plane, the glenohumeral joint allows the shoulder blade to move freely.
What is so important about the hip flexor?
The hip flexors are a group of skeletal muscles from all around the pelvis that work together to flex the femur, ie pull the knee upward. They all work in unison to achieve the intended movement, which is why it is important to do total body workouts as opposed to isolation. (High Five Crossfit) When you run (especially sprinting), box jump, step up, or walk, these muscles are acting to move legs and hips.
In descending order of importance they are:
1. Iliopsoas (inner hip muscles):
2. Anterior Compartment of thigh:
3. One of gluteal muscles:
4. Medial compartment of thigh:
Although all of these muscles make up the hip flexors the iliopsoas and the iliacus are the big men on campus. The iliopsoas, the strongest of the hip flexors, attaches to the lower back while the iliacus attaches to the hip bone. Without the iliopsoas muscles, flexion in a sitting position is not possible across the horizontal plane.
Why do most people's hip flexors hurt?
Since these muscles are dominated by slow-twitch fibers they are susceptible to shortening or contracting. Sitting down contracts these muscles into a shortened position, which can lead to not only pain in the hips and upper legs but severe back pain as well. Such shortening can lead to increased anterior pelvic tilt and lumbar lordosis (i.e. big ass, beer gut) and limitation of hip extension.
Chances are most of us have some tightening in the hip flexors and have experienced the effects without even noticing it. Just raise a hand if this sounds familiar.. You stand up from a chair at work and your lower back starts quivering, and then before you know it you walk down the hall and your knees ache. Both of these symptoms can originate from tight hip flexors. Crazy right?! Our body is a sneaky little thing. Now while a little tightening may not be a big deal to the average person, for crossfitters it can greatly inhibit performance and progress.
Government statistics suggest that almost 50% of people report sitting more than 6 hours a day; 65% say they spend more than 2 hours a day watching TV.
OK we get it.. SO now what?
First and foremost.. Prevention! For those of you who have jobs where you sit all day it is important to get up as often as possible to move around, stretch and even show off doing some wall squats. Here are some exercises and stretches for loosening your hip flexors.
1. Overhead Lunges
This is possibly the best exercise you can do for opening up your hip flexors. It is basically a normal lunge with the addition of holding a medicine ball or light plate over your head. Why make it harder by holding something of your head!? Well the fascia, which is a sheath that runs over the muscle, acts as accessory to the crime of muscle tightness. Holding something above your head while lunging stretches this bad boy out which is an added benefit.
2. Reverse Lunges
When you step back you activate your butt which relaxes your hip flexors. The key to this exercise is LONG LUNGE. Reverse Lunge.
3. Overhead Squ
1. Foam Roller
2.Couch or Wall Stretch