Now it is time to make some changes. Change is HARD, there is no way around that. BUT, if we keep adjustments to our routine very small and simple, we create the best environment for them to stick and then for the real, physical change to be made. This will be a common theme to our recommendations as we make our way through all aspects of the Olympic lifts; small, simple moves, and with priority and purpose. We will continue to Assess and Assign, then Repeat (Reassess and Reassign to adjust and/or add to the work you are doing as needed.)

Once you have identified any mobility/flexibility restrictions it’s important to consider any potential roots with what I like to call “Ground Zero.” Ground Zero is anything you do on a daily basis outside of the gym (your habits, your day job, etc.) that could be contributing to any limitation(s) exposed from the assessment tests. For example, if you stand and/or walk with your back arched or your toes turned out to a 45-degree angle all the time, these can affect the hips. Maybe you are lifting all day (boxes, or children) in a poor position? Sitting at a desk all day commonly leads to tightness in the hips, and/or t-spine; I discovered this the hard way. After years of sitting in front of a computer more regularly myself (writing, programming…Candy Crush…on average 6 hours/day) and training less frequently, I discovered all that sitting had impacted my internal hip rotation: it was completely blocked. My feet began to compensate in the reception of my snatches and cleans by turning out more than normal. It was also causing a recurring low back tweak and this is what motivated me to re-assess and pinpoint the specific issue.

Ground Zero is the first and most critical part of your routine to adjust (if necessary). I challenge you to think about your own daily routine. Is there anything that could be holding you back from the types of changes that you want to make, your goals, and ultimately your health and longevity? In many cases, without addressing these daily positions we spend most of our time in, it will lead to spinning wheels inside of the gym.

What about your life/day outside of the gym might be contributing to the tightness found in the assessment? Whether you found a few or many habits in this regard, pick one to focus on and overcome at this time. (If there are many, let’s narrow the list with a few considerations: 1) What was your major area of tightness and is one of your daily habits contributing to that? If so, then that is the habit you’ll commit to changing. 2) If your major area of tightness doesn’t match up with a habit, then what “bad” habit do you spend most of your time doing? Once you have that pinpointed, this will be the habit you’ll commit to changing.) See the examples below for some ideas of how you might address your one most in need area in this regard.

General recommendations:

    1. Overall: In general, if you have a desk job, you’re going to need to QUIT! Ok, Ok, I realize that’s likely not an option, but at least consider getting a standing desk to use for part of the day instead of sitting 100% of the time.

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      I also like to recommend setting an alarm on your phone that goes off every 1-2 hours that says “get up.” This will remind you to stand for at least a few brief moments or to work in a different position. These different positions can be sitting against a wall or unsupported with legs straight out, in a lunge position (alternating sides), or laying face down propped up with your elbows or a pillow (think cobra position in yoga). An alarm can also be used to remind you to perform a stretch or mobility drill throughout the day (from a list of drills that we’ll recommend for your warm ups/cool downs and throughout the day where/if possible).
    2. Tight hips: If you found limited hip mobility with the prior testing, you likely sit or stand excessively throughout your day. If this is you, set an alarm on your phone that reads “hips.” This is to remind you to move! If you sit, stand up and go for a walk and move around for a few minutes (performing a deep lunge stretch is a great example). If you stand for long periods, use this time to sit in a deep bodyweight squat. Regardless of how you spend your day, move well and move often. 
    3. Thoracic tightness: Sit with a device behind your back that forces you in an arched position for at least part of the day (I do this on and off on long road trips).
    4. Get out of your shoes often: Your feet are the foundation for your whole body. Having healthy feet allows you to move better and sense when you get into bad positions. Unfortunately our feet stop functioning well if we’re ALWAYS in shoes. Modern footwear weakens the foot, blunts its ability to sense position, and leads to problems like flat feet and ankle mobility restrictions. Getting out of your shoes and moving barefoot as often as you can will allow your foot to function as it was designed.

Now, what is the one piece of your routine you’re going to work on changing? Do you need to commission Amazon Prime to deliver that standing desk? What will be the reminder word for your alarm? Be ready to commit to this for four weeks, along with the daily warm up we’ll begin to help you construct in the next post.

Until next time,

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Chad Vaughn,
2-Time Olympian, USAW
_______

With

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Dr. Aaron Horschig, PT,
DPT, CSCS, USAW
_______

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