To CrossFit or not to CrossFit?

That is the question that regularly pops up during our Physiotherapy sessions from clients.

CrossFit (CF) is a workout methodology created by former gymnast Greg Glassman in 2001. It consists of a variety of exercises such as Olympic-like lifts, cardio training and multi-joint movements (like box jumps, pullups and jumping rope). This method of training and community has exploded worldwide over the last ten years and definitely in the last 5 in Singapore. . This can be reflected by the amounts of CF ‘boxes’ which have propped up in Singapore and the amount of people we encounter in the clinic who are now doing CF. Read more

Calf Strains

The soleus and gastrocnemius muscles make up the calf complex or ‘baby cow’ as it’s sometimes called. Calf strains are quite a common injury that we see in the clinic. These can occur during sprinting (such as running after a loose ball in soccer), during a strong push or drive movement (such as scrumming in Rugby), and also due to jumping and landing (such as in netball or basketball). Small grade 1 strains take 10-21 days to settle down, grade 2 injuries about 3-5 weeks and bigger grade 3 with muscle retraction (common) can take closer to 8 weeks to recover.

Treatment and management

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The Popliteus enigma

The popliteus is a small flat triangular muscle that sits in the back of the knee joint.  Its primary motor roles are knee internal rotation (twist inwards) and assists with knee flexion, and it can also externally rotate the femur and leg when the foot is fixed on the ground.

Causes of injury

It is usually injured due to a large force on a weight bearing knee that may also injure ligaments and capsule leading to a  potentially unstable knee.

The popliteus may also be injured due to repetitive compression and tension due to particular types of knee joint motions such as when practicing Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ).

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The safe deadlift

Most professional athletes and recreational gym participant have at one point used deadlift as part of their training programme.  This is an excellent exercise as it requires various body parts from head to toe to work in unison to perform the movement.

Looking at the picture of two different lifters at the set-up phase lets quickly analyse the male lifter first: he lacks hip flexibility thus can’t get low enough, his Thoracic spine is kyphosed (rounded) and it is obvious to see that his abdominals are not braced and ready for the lift. Furthermore his shoulder blades are not pulled back to start the movement. He will be prone to injuring his neck, shoulders and lower back.

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Improving your overhead shoulder control to reduce injuries

Overhead athletes such as tennis players, swimmers, cross fit athletes and volleyball athletes need to put their hands above their heads repeatedly for long period of times. Problems arise when the muscles that control the scapula get fatigued leading to shoulder instabilities, tendinopathies and impingements.

The predominant muscles that are involved in repetitive overhead motions such as required by a badminton player are the Serratus Anterior, Upper and Lower Trapezius.

A simple and great rehabilitative exercise with a kettlebell can be done to improve control and endurance in the Serratus Anterior and Upper Trapezius muscles.

  1. Start with a 6kgs Kettlebell and increase the weight as much as you need to be able to do three sets of 15-20 reps comfortably.
  2. Hold the kettlebell with a neutral wrist posture (no extension or flexion) with your thumb touching the chest.
  3. Press the kettlebell straight up and turn the arm out fully.
  4. At the top of the movement, actively reach the hand towards the ceiling as far as you can.
  5. Hold for a couple of seconds then slowly lower the weight back to the start position and repeat.

If you have any issues with your shoulder and are not sure what to do to resolve them then, we at In Touch Physiotherapy would be more than happy to look at it.

Happy lifting!