Monday, March 26, 2012

My Games WOD 12.5 recovery

Well, the Crossfit Games Open 2012 is over.  Finally.  

Those of you who aren't crossfitters, or who just might not have been participating in the games, listen up - these recovery stretches and exercises can still be relevant for you, too.

The last 2 workouts of the games have actually used a good bit of the same movements...squats and pressing weight overhead.  As such, a lot of my recovery stretches and movements are going to be the same as the ones I posted last week.  I'm adding just a couple stretches and a mobility activity.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Knee pain...

...and something you might actually be able to do about it.

Knee pain can come in many forms and can come from many sources.  It can mean big problems, or it can just mean wear and tear.  There is a fairly common cause of knee pain, which we can manage on our own, and largely relieve with just a little manual intervention.

The truth is that the kneecap doesn't quite move in a perfectly straight line when we bend our knee, and the muscles in our lower quads are responsible for helping it along its path properly.  They do so by having almost a tug of war in a left/right direction to keep the kneecap on track.  If those muscles are in an imbalance, and one side begins to win or lose the tug of war too much, then the kneecap mistracks, and pain ensues.  The pain ensues because the kneecap really does move along a track of cartilage, and if it's pulled off track, it's kind of like getting the fabric of your jacket caught in the'll go, but it's not smooth, not easy and not right.

Mostly, we tend to discover that the inside quad muscle is unable to keep the kneecap on track for whatever reason.  Often, that reason is that the outside quad muscle (vastus lateralis) is too tight.  It's holding on to too much of a resting contraction to allow the inside quad muscle (vastus medialis) to pull the kneecap into proper tracking.

That's a picture I took of myself.  Or not.

Luckily if this is, indeed the case, it's a pretty easy one to treat on your own.  You need to get the vastus lateralis to release some to reestablish the balance between it and vastus medialis.   You need to get a self massage tool of some sort, either The Stick, or a foam roller, or just your hands, and work out that vastus lateralis.  It will probably take a good bit of pressure, which can be hard with The Stick, and you might have to work through some serious discomfort and trigger points on a foam roller, but stick with it.  Give it some time.  Work on it a couple days in a row.  If it is a patellar tracking issue, you may feel some degree of relief in a single effort of just a few minutes, but it could also take a couple days before you really notice a difference.

If you are having knee pain when you  are coming up out of a squat, or running or standing up at the end of a movie, then give it a shot.  The odds are that you're not going to do yourself any harm whatsoever.

My Games WOD 12.4 recovery

I think I might have been the first one to get to do WOD 12.4 at CFSQ this week, as I did it at 6am yesterday morning.  Ouch.  So, I thought I'd post some of what I've been doing throughout the day to aide in my recovery.  I'll keep it short and sweet with the assumption that you'll know what movements or stretches I'm talking about.

First, right when you finish...fall on the floor and catch your breath a little.  It's OK, I won't tell you to keep standing while you cool down!  But then, it's time to stretch for healthy resting muscle length and to do "cool down" work with the muscles to continue to gently pump that metabolic waste (soreness) out of there...

- Hip Flexor Stretch
- Deep Quad Stretch (couch stretch)
- Pec Stretch
- Upper traps stretch
- any of the Hip Girdle Stretches that seem most appropriate at the moment

"Cool Down" movements (but really, do these throughout the next day or two)
- Air squats
- pushups (on the knees, we're recovering, here - don't be a hero)
- Once of my all-time favorites, the Hip Mobility Sequence

It's certainly not a comprehensive list, but it's what I've been doing so far, and should give you someplace to start once you finish 12.4.

As always, if it feels wrong, don't do it.