Kelly Starrett is a strength and conditioning coach as well as a physical therapist who has clients from and has consulted with organizations from the NFL to the NBA to all of the branches of the military, not to mention some of the top athletes in the CrossFit universe that show up in his gym - San Francisco CrossFit, which Kelly has been co-owner of since they opened the doors in 2005.
Kelly is a strong believer in that everyone, not just athletes, should know how to move properly as well as how to conduct basic maintenance on themselves in order to live up to your full physical potential for as long as possible. This book has over 500,000 copies sold and Becoming a Supple Leopard has made a huge influence in the worlds of physical therapy and professional sports.
Kelly's mobility program is based off of 7 archetypes that are used for all basic positions that are used throughout every day life as well as in the gym. For example: the way you set up for a squat should be the same way you set up when picking up a heavy box and the way you set up for a deadlift should be the same way you set up to pick a baby out of the crib. Kelly goes from teaching you how to:
These mobilizations involve basic stretches as well as variations of rollers, resistance and compression bands, and balls. Kelly believes that if you lay on a lacrosse ball and roll around, whether you are on your back or stomach, any area where you feel pain is a tight spot that you need to work on - so, as you can imagine if you know how stiff a lacrosse ball is, some of these techniques are pretty painful until you get used to it.
I came to appreciate how this book shows you what basic forms everybody should be able to get in (without actually saying that). For instance, if you can squat all the way down with your feet together as a child, there's no reason you shouldn't have that same capability when you are 20 or 30 years old. He also helped me correct my form on things like my bench press and push up so that my elbows are forced not to move away from my body and to appreciate the quality of my form over the amount of volume (weight and repetitions) I can do. At the end of the book, he teaches you how to create your own 14-day mobility plan (which includes 10 to 15 minutes of mobility work) - I will show what mine looks like at the bottom of this post. I like to do these at the end of the day or any time I would normally be sitting on the couch. I based my mobility program on the fact that I need to improve my ankle range of motion, to minimize pain in my feet and lower back (and possibly gain some arch in my foot), and to work on the pistol archetype. I also organized the days to prepare myself for the next day's workout.
Anyone would benefit from reading this book and trying out Kelly's mobilization techniques. Kelly has other books as well, which are somewhat similar to this but more specific toward certain lifestyles. If you have a desk job, I highly recommend his book Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World (which I am currently reading). His other books include: Ready to Run (teaching you how to run properly) and Waterman 2.0 (for paddling and surfing).
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