Welcome to another dose of Monday Mobility.
Today’s post is largely inspired by one of my lads, Sebastian. Seb is a motorcycle enthusiast and bit, shall we say “over-enthusiastic” about life.
About a year ago Seb and his enthusiastic motorcycle riding ended with a abrupt stop. The stop was provided by a lamp post.
Seb tore, ruptured and pretty much mullered everything in his knee. In surgery they had to rebuild his ACL, his PCL and his LCL ligaments. He was told by the Doctors that his BJJ career was over and he’d never regain full range of motion in the knee.
They were wrong.
They were wrong because thay didn’t know Seb and how determined he is. They also seemed unaware of the Alternating Joint Theory put forwards by Grey Cook and his team.
The Alternating Joint Theory is a simply model for looking at the joints and their function. It essentially states that they are laid out as follows:
- Foot – Stability
- Ankle – Mobility
- Knee – Stability
- Hip – Mobility
- Lumbar region – Stability
- Thoracic Region – Mobility
- Scapular – Stability
- Shoulder (Gleno-Humeral) – Mobility
Simple, elegant in fact.
It’s not perfect, but it gives a great start point for any coach to asses people with. You know that if a joint isn’t doing what the Theory says it should be, then the joint either above or below (sometimes both) has to take up the slack.
So in Seb’s case we had an extremely unstable knee, which meant were running the risk of losing the mobility of the hip and ankle, which would destabilise the foot and lumbar which would potentially cause gradually more and more problems.
This would be unacceptable.
So the very first thing we did was to ensure we maintained as much mobility as possible within the mobile joints (yes, I know ALL joints are mobile, thats the point of having them, the ones that are immobile tend to be fused, think Skull & Coccyx).
We also promoted stability in the knee joint.
I’ll address stability of the knee in another post dedicated to that, but right now I want to give you the method that I gave Seb to maintain mobility and tissue quality in his leg. This has also been used to great benefit by several more of my crew, all have benefited greatly.
You will need:
- A small hard ball, such as a Sliothar, Lacross ball or similar.
- A Foam / Rumble Roller
- A Stretch Band
We start from the ground up:
- Roll the sole of your foot with the ball. Concentrate on any sore points you find.
- Foam Roll the calf, then stretch it. To stretch, simply put the ball of the foot on an elevation and push the heel towards the floor, maybe hook a strap around the ball of the foot while lying down and pull the toes upwards with it. Whatever style you use hold it for around a minute.
- Roll the Quads, front, inside and outside. Look for sore spots and get right into them, use pressure.
- Stretch the Quads. Here’s probably the best option available for stretching the quads:
- Roll the Glutes, then Stretch the Glutes. Noticing a theme here? Roll then stretch, roll then stretch.
To roll the glutes simply sit on the roller, rock onto one cheek and put that same side foot on top of the opposite knee, so you make a figure 4 shape. It’s the same shape you’ll be stretching in:
- Activate the Glutes / Inhibit the Hip Flexors
This is a great drill that I wish I’d invented but I didn’t, I stole it from Tom Furman so I’ll let him explain this one then I’ll give you a tweak for it:http://youtu.be/iFY4Azsg5tA
This is where you need that stretch band, you want that band wrapped around just below your knees. Now as you bridge up, you also push out against the band. As the glutes are responsible for both the lifting (hip extension) and the pushing out (external rotation) we’re going to skyrocket the amount of tension we get and send far stronger signals to the hip flexors to shut down. You only need to hold the bridge with the band for about 30seconds at a time, but be sure to get at least three sets done of both exercises in an alternating fashion.
Seb has done this nearly every day, this allowed him to maintain the mobility in the hip and ankle while we concentrated on rebuilding the strength in the knee.
Next weeks “Monday Mobility” I’ll discuss knee stability, as fitting the Alternating Joint theory.
Oh, and before we go, the Kettlebell/Bodyweight workshop in Tramore on the 9th November is nearly sold out. If you’re in that area and want to learn how I combine these two powerful training modalities, you better get yourself booked in: https://www.eventbrite.ie/event/8108194829