Assess don't Guess

               “My hamstrings are so tight”, “The reason I can’t overhead squat is my ankles”, “I get shoulder pain when I do kipping pull ups.” Have you ever caught yourself saying one of these statements or anything like it? There is no shame in it, all of us have. When it comes to fitness and health, us as humans are always diagnosing ourselves because of the newest “study” or YouTube video we watched last night. Guessing is not the only option that we have before seeking help from a clinician for your painful hip when squatting or pain in the kipping pull-up. There is a shift in the healthcare system, where coaches are becoming knowledgeable and empowered to make a legitimate difference in the lives of athletes at their gym, through assessments.

               Movement assessments are not a new thing, but in the mind of the layperson, they have been reserved for the medical professionals or the exercise physiologists. There is a momentum shift happening right now where there are avenues that teach the common coach and athlete different assessments to perform on others to help prevent injury. There is no need to guess about your pains or lack of performance in and outside of the gym. Prior to contrary belief, being in pain is not a norm and should not be considered the norm. Yes pain does happen and yes it happens often, but the difference is, are you doing something to help prevent it? It does not happen overnight and it truly is a daily struggle/ practice, but mindful practice will create a long-term change. Exercise enthusiasts are always eager to get better at exercising but few times do you find someone that is eager move better first and then after they have learned good movement they move more often. So now the question arises, why is assessing your movement necessary to stay healthy?           

               First and foremost, it is important to always define the terms in which you are using to display an idea that is standardized and repeatable. In the CrossFit realm we hear the terms “flexibility” and  “mobility” thrown around a lot, I mean even this blog has it in the title, but what does it all actually mean anyway? In this circumstance, we are going to define flexibility as the passive range of motion of a specific join, and mobility as the active range of motion of a joint. Flexibility is how far can a joint be taken in general and mobility is how far can you take that joint through your own movement. An easy example would be to grab your knee and bring it to your chest, that is flexibility, and how far you can raise your knee up yourself is mobility. These two terms are so widely talked about for one major reason, that most people understand, they are important. These two joint motions have a lot to do with either preventing injury or causing injury, whether we like it or not. You might hear people argue that these are not actually that important, that the only way to actually get better is to perform the movement more. While part of that can be the case sometimes, for the overall majority this is not how it works, Imagine a hip that does not have full flexibility, should that person be squatting extremely heavy to full depth? Some of you might be saying yes, and all I want you to do at that point is to have an answer why. But a joint that does not have the full range of motion is almost always at a high risk of degradation if taken to end range, especially with the addition to heavy weight (weight on the bar, bodyweight, Kettlebells, Dumbells, etc.).  The good thing is that getting assessed is easy, all you have to do is know where to look. Start asking around, ask your healthcare provider, ask your chiropractor, your physical therapist, or your coach. Assessments are one of the best ways to prevent injury or to maximize your athletic potential, so what is holding you back?

             If you are interested in learning more about how to assess athletes or if you are looking to be assessed feel free to email me at and I will help you, however, I can.Try searching different styles to see which assessments interest you the most such as FMS, Mobility WOD, Active Life RX, OPEX, and figure out who around you can teach you in a specific style. All assessments offer both positives and negatives, so do not just settle for one and think that is the only way, explore the options, combine multiple, and ask a trusted professional! When it comes to keeping you or your athletes safe, adding assessments will make you an invaluable addition to the team.Always