The CrossFit athletes: The importance of identifying muscle imbalance which may lead to poor techniq
The elite “sport fitness” phenomena, CrossFit has swept the nation with its addictive and “must try" personality. Participants from a wide range of athleticism are required to master the Workout of the Day (WOD) and beat Personal Records (PRs). The WOD and PRs are a series of calisthenics that are time sensitive, and so speed plays an important role. CrossFit, for the most part, encompasses Olympic Weightlifting, dead lifts, and calisthenics, which dominantly applies the squat in most of its exercise routines. The CrossFit Games is a designated competition that establishes the best of the best CrossFit athlete worldwide. In my opinion, one of the main components missing from the sport is the analysis of Speed Strength (Power Output). A more strategic speed-strength-training program will help the CrossFit athletes become better at the sport. Again, CrossFit utilizes the SQUAT in most of its exercise movement and routines. In addition to the squat, Dead Lifts and other Olympic lifting like the SNATCH and CLEAN AND JERK are most popular within the sport. I have found a significant lower extremity imbalance amongst its beginner and some pro athletes during performances mentioned above. To help Crossfitters become better athletes I believe the Power Output, High Speed Directional Change, and Technique Form are the main areas for improvement. For the purpose of this blog, let us focus on Power Output and three out of the six testing assessment tools. To test Form and Technique we use our 8 camera Postural and Movement Analysis. Ground force, corrective posture, the gluteus, quads, and hamstrings are the areas to be tested and improved if necessary. It is understood that The Dead Lift is the single most important measure of an athlete’s ability to exert a high amount of ground contact force. The second most important strength and speed test is the Single Leg Kickbacks, which examines and compares the force exerted through individual legs (4 Hamstrings and Gluteus Max, Medius, and Minimus, TFL, and Pectineus). The Single and Double Leg Press identifies a key strength-weight ratio that can be evaluated and altered to improve imbalance, strength, and speed. And finally, The Leg Extension test measures quadriceps strength and The Leg Curl measures hamstring strength. According to Dintiman et al., 2011, the most valuable tests of strength, and power are those that measure ground contact force. The speed-strength tests provides information about an athletes strength-weight ratios and ability to exert force against the ground (Dintimam and Ward 2011).