Working on Weaknesses: Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That

By Corey 0

Written by Dr. Hays Estes, Premier Physical Therapy & Sports Performance

So, the 2021 CrossFit Open has passed and you survived – barely. But, could you have survived a little better? Probably. I’m sure you’ve had one of your coaches tell you to work on your weaknesses or do things you don’t like doing because they’ll make you better. 

“Do front squats because they’ll make your deadlift better.” 

“Do hollow rocks because they’ll make your kipping better.” 

“Do wall walks because they’ll make your handstand push-ups better (and because we like to see you cry).”

No one likes working on their weaknesses, so why do it? Why put yourself through the misery? Well, let someone who works with preventable injuries all day provide some insight (backed by evidence) on why we should all improve our weaknesses.

First, let’s start with the physical aspect.

Muscle imbalances that are identified through functional movement screens have been shown to have a positive relationship with injury risk. This means if you score poorly on a movement screen, you have a higher risk of injury when it comes to participating in sports or exercise. Specifically when it comes to CrossFit athletes, the use of the FMS screen has been shown to be a good predictor of injury if you are shown to have limited shoulder mobility or decreased trunk strength. AND those CrossFitters who religiously performed the MobilityWOD training program improved their score on the FMS, making them less likely to have an injury or get hurt doing CrossFit.

Second, let’s address the psychological aspect.

So maybe you work diligently on your FMS score and then go perform accessory movements on your own time so that you can set a PR or advance to the next stage of the Open, but are you going to be miserable doing it? In short…NO!

Studies say that working on your weaknesses (while still working on your strengths) not only does NOT diminish your life satisfaction but actually may INCREASE it. Yep. Mind = BLOWN. Notice that those studies do not suggest ignoring your strengths. Keep working on those. Give yourself some small victories because those will go a long way in overcoming any struggle you may have working on your weaknesses.

Now before you go grab a PVC pipe and a lacrosse ball and crank on your shoulder, it’s still possible that your problem is lack of stability versus lack of mobility OR that you have an actual musculoskeletal injury that needs to be addressed. That’s where someone like a Doctor of Physical Therapy who also has a USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach certification comes in. 

Whoa…is that the bald guy who comes into the gym every so often and laughs at Ryan? Yes, yes it is. My name is Dr. Hays Estes. I’m the owner of Premier Physical Therapy here in Clearwater. My staff of fellow Doctors of Physical Therapy and I love working with CrossFit athletes and helping them decrease pain and improve performance. If you’d like to die a little less at your next competition, let us help you.

Now through the end of May, Dr. Hays Estes is offering free movement screens to CrossFit ABF members. Visit www.ptandsportstherapy.com to set your first appointment and be sure to mention this article!

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