28 August 2013

Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance

Becoming a Supple Leopard: Movement, Mobility, and Maintenance of the Human Animal29. Becoming a Supple Leopard: Movement, Mobility, and Maintenance of the Human Animal by Kelly Starrett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Highly recommended if you are an athlete, trainer, coach, or someone with a physically strenuous job. I don't really fall into any of those categories but the book was for me too.

If you weight train, I'd call this book essential. You need to know you're performing your lifts correctly to both maximize your potential and to prevent injuries that can be exacerbated by repetitions over time. The book is full of photographs demonstrating a variety of exercises and common faults to avoid.

How does this relate to me? A lot of the gym exercises are models for movements we use in everyday life. Picking up laundry, your kids, or any lifting really. How many times do you sit down and stand up in a day? Squats are a model for how to do that without ruining your knees.

If you don't want to be a hunched over, pain-ridden person when you get older, this book matters to you.

I first saw Kelly Starrett on a segment of a Creative LIVE workshop. He has a doctorate in physical therapy, owns a CrossFit gym, and has worked with thousands of athletes to resolve injuries and improve their performance. He has seen his work in action.

I was intrigued by his talk about mobility and started watching and trying his free Mobility Workout-Of-the-Day videos from the beginning.

I've been doing what I call easy yoga for years with little change. I've always been inflexible and figured that's just how it was. After doing some of Kelly's MWODs, I noticed some improved flexibility. Kelly believes we can all improve our mobility, and I am on board.

It's not fast or easy, but with his test, do a mobilization, and retest approach, you can see the results. Even if I skip the test/retest, I can usually feel the difference.

Chances are you don't realize how matted down your tissues are and the amount of mobility you are missing. A lot of us spend a lot of time sitting in front of computers every day. That takes a significant toll on the body.

The book contains over 170 pages of mobilizations broken down by parts of the body with text and photographs demonstrating the actions and what they help or improve.

Many are scaled for different levels of ability, which is good because even when I look at something and think, "Oh, I can do that," I often find I'm too stiff.

There are a lot of different actions to try. I found myself reading, then going back a few pages to try something out before continuing. It's a great reference that I will be using often.

I'm committed to his 15-20 minutes a day for mobility work. The beauty is you don't even have to do it all at once. You need to do 2 minute chunks to effect change generally, but you can split it up and fit it into your day.

I dinged it a star for typos and no index though the contents are pretty good. I also wish he'd put his basic approaches for the mobilizations in the glossary for easy reference (e.g. smash & floss, pressure waving, paper-clipping). I bookmarked that section so I can refer to it as I assimilate his vernacular and try out his MWODs.

The book is a lot of info to take in, so might want to see what his Mobility WOD videos are like to see what you think first. I really like that he loves the scifi movie Dune even though he's a big, athletic, flexible guy. I also enjoy reading and hearing about how the body's muscles, bones, and fascia interrelate. His content is smart and accessible.

If you're not ready to put in some effort (2+ minute chunks!) that may be uncomfortable to effect change, you might not be ready for this book. I still recommend it though since there are things you can incorporate into your day.

6 years ago on TTaT: One true fan

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