As part of our pre-workout warm-up and mobility, we will often use a rubber band (usually the medium-sized green one) to assist in mobilizing our shoulders, hips, or ankles. Do you ever wonder why we use the bands?
Our joint capsules – the ligaments, bone, and cartilage that make up a joint – can get tight and short when the joint is held in a bad position for long periods of time. Imagine that you sit at a desk or in a car most of your day. Your shoulders are likely rounded forward and the fronts of your hips are likely short and tight. Sit like this for long enough and it becomes difficult to get the shoulders into a stable, externally rotated position and to fully extend the hips. Sound familiar?
We can use the mobility balls, the foam rollers, and stretching to try to feed slack to the shoulder by getting some space in the pecs, and we can work on lengthening the front of the hip (couch stretch), but that only addresses the musculature around the joint and not the joint itself.
To address proper functioning of the joint capsule, we need to create space within the joint to allow movement. Physical therapists like Dr. Kelly Starrett, friend of the gym and creator of Mobility WOD, whose work our coaches have studied in depth, do this manually for patients, but Kelly believes that all humans should be able to perform basic maintenance on their own bodies. Thus, Kelly has introduced the banded distractions to us as a tool for creating this space for ourselves.
When we use the mobility bands, we can set them up so they pull the joint surfaces apart so that we can reset the joint into a good position. We can use the bands to encourage motion through the joint capsule to help restore good articulation of the joint. We can also use the bands to force the joint into a good position and then add rotation or movement of the joint in the good position.
Once we’ve addressed the positioning of the joint, we can then train and strengthen the joint through good movements in good ranges of motion. Doing this consistently over time is essential for proper joint function and the health of the joints.
(For more details on the role of joint distraction in joint mobilization, see Dr. Kelly Starrett (2015). Becoming a Supple Leopard, p.136-137.)
4 Thrusters (95/65)
1 Rope Climb
2 Rope Climbs
3 Rope Climbs
4 Rope Climbs
*8 Minute Cap*
5 Rounds For Time:
50 Air Squats
3 Minute Rest