Osteopathy and Cross Fit – A Personal Perspective

When I moved to Vancouver I decided that it was time to get fit again as my exercise regimes of the past had gone out of the window. On arrival in Vancouver I went straight to the Running Roomand was given excellent advice on the type of shoe I needed to get me pounding the streets. Even the weather seemed conducive to outdoor activity and so I started to do several gentle runs and walks around the seawall. After a few weeks though I had tired of this and returned to my slothful state.On moving to Yaletown I noted that there was a gym near our building and on recommendation of a friend I went to visit the Cross Fit centre on Richards. I had a chat to a couple of the instructors and was impressed with their knowledge and their attitude to exercise. I decided to sign up for an initial induction session which was absolute agony, my poor old body didn’t really know what had happened to it. The first session involved doing Tabbatha squats, 8 sets of squats for 20 seconds with rests of 10 seconds between each set, preceded by a run carrying a medicine ball.I’d always prided myself on having strong quads and hamstrings after years of rugby and skiing, always putting large weights on the leg press at the gym but this was something different. Despite the pain I was in after working my muscles so hard I decided to sign up for their bootcamp under the tuition of Troy Straith. So far it has been superb despite the pain and I feel that I am getting stronger and fitter with each session. What is Cross Fit? Cross Fit is a core strength and conditioning program that integrates ten key skills for peak athletic performance: – Cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. It uses a variety of exercises including biking, running, swimming, and rowing in an endless variety of drills. The clean&jerk, snatch, squat, deadlift, push-press, bench-press, and power-clean.Jumping, medicine ball throws and catches, pull-ups, dips, push-ups, handstands, presses to handstand, pirouettes, skips, cartwheels, muscle-ups, sit-ups, scales, and holds.. This combination leads to an interesting and varied workout that utilises the whole body in each session. Cross Fit can be undertaken by anyone from elite athletes to their grandparents and the workout is tailored accordingly to each individuals abilities.CrossFit and OsteopathyAll osteopathic practitioners are concerned with the structure and function of their patients’ bodies. To this end I feel that Cross Fit is an excellent exercise for my patients to try. As an osteopath I often see injuries to the lower lumbar spine caused by poor lifting technique. These injuries are often made worse because a patient already has a poor posture and weakened core strength.Cross fit works on the principal of strengthening the core first and then working out to the extremities. This can help strengthen weakened lumbar spines and prevent further injury. One vital component of Cross Fit is the squat technique and this teaches us to move correctly using the ankles, knees and hips to bend down rather than just flexing the lumbar spine. An important aspect of any osteopathic consultation is working with the patient to improve their posture and movements to prevent further injury, teaching them to look after themselves.

Anyone considering starting a program such as Cross Fit can benefit from osteopathy before and during their training. An osteopathic consultation can help identify any potential weakness in the musculo-skeletal system that may lead to injury. Osteopathy is also beneficial for treating sports injuries and can get patients quickly back to their training program. Finally and most importantly if you are considering taking up Cross Fit always use a qualified instructor who can teach you how to perform the exercises properly and safely. Most of the gym injuries I have treated over the years go back to poor technique.

Alex currently practices in downtown Vancouver BC and further details regarding treatment offered can be found on his website http: http://www.downtownosteopathy.com

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