Mobility, Mechanics And Movement For Runners

Kelly Starrett teaching at Crossfit San Francisco.’s fitness star, Kelly Starrett, is on a mission to prove that mobility work is a gateway to high-performance.

Kelly Starrett’s physical therapy office is not a mauve-carpeted affair, equipped with humming electro-therapy computers and XM radio streaming soft rock through Bose speakers. Instead, his office is a mobile container unit in a parking lot behind a sporting goods store, surrounded by Paleolithic training equipment,like tractor tires, squat racks and beer kegs.

“I like things gritty,” he says.

When required he will invite you inside—into the metal container that has an 800 number stickered next to the door should you want to rent or buy your own storage container. If Starrett decides to work on your injury-induced scar tissue, rather than reaching for an ultrasound machine or muscle stimulator, he will snatch a multi-colored chunk of rubber and, before digging in, address the curious look on your face by identifying the mysterious gadget in hand as a “premium dog toy.”

If you’re not confused enough, he will then launch into the following allegory punctuated by his flair for action-packed sound effects:

“I went to Mexico once and rented a car and abused it, playing ‘Gas-o, Brake-o.’ To play Gas-o, Brake-o I keep the gas pedal pegged to the floor and accelerate and decelerate with the brake. WHAM! I’m redlining. WHAAAAAH! until the car is about to blow up. So I swing into my hotel and park the car and a guy comes running up to me and says, ‘Señor!,’ pointing at the rear tire because it’s erupted into flames.”

Why is he telling you this?

“If you’re a runner with really tight hips and poor sliding surfaces in your joints, you’re running around revving your engine with the brakes on. Your playing Gas-o, Brake-o. And now your knee is on fire.”

And now you start to get it.

This is what Kelly Starrett needs you to know: With a few simple rules—a few basic ideas—you, the athlete, can be empowered and take responsibility for your body and health by using 10 minutes a day for mobility work, dousing the flame-erupting friction with “motion-is-lotion” movement.

“You cut your finger and you know what to do—you clean it up and put on the Band-Aid,” Starrett said. “Why not be able to work with your muscle tissue?” He emphatically adds you can learn to take care of your body in a way that will minimize injury risk, unleash untouched powers of performance and boost your quality of life until you’re “110 years old. BAM! World domination.”

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