Lessons learned at the core
My name is Brook Bedell and I am a Major in the Army. I have been Crossfitting for the last year and have seen tremendous results. Initially, I lost forty pounds in seven months and maxed out the Army Physical Fitness Test for the first time in my fourteen year military career! I drank the kool-aid for Crossfit and I have not stopped since.
I have noticed that there is a "trinity" out there for Crossfitters. You have the power lifters, the gymnasts and the cardio killers. However, based on where you live and whether you are box or garage type , you generally can do two of those realms but generally not all three. When I was stationed at Fort Gillem, GA, I was focused on gymnastics and cardio because the bumper plates were not available to me. Then I moved to Fort Leavenworth, KS, where there is a box and I focused on power lifting and running while gymnastics took a back seat and that's where the trouble started for me.
When I came to the Crossfit Leavenworth gym I was exposed to power lifting and fell in love with it. I took the level one certification course and could not wait to get started on developing my squat cleans, OHS, HPCs, etc. I did heavy lifting three times per week until one day my back quit. I went to several doctors on post and got x-rays and such but all they gave me were more meds. I finally got a real diagnosis from the Physical Therapy assistant and not all the doctors.
She told me that I have extreme inflammation of my minor muscle group in my lower back. She said it has been there for a while but my major muscle groups were compensating for the minor muscle groups thereby creating an "unstable back". I have been working the major muscle groups so much that I failed to see the minor groups that require attention as well.
Specifically, the Transverse Abdominal muscles and the Quadratus Lumbarum muscles.
The aforementioned two muscle groups are essential to one's core. We in Crossfit continually promote core stabilization exercises and always advocate tightening the core before initiating the exercise. I think I was doing it wrong in what I thought was a tight core and thereby I was developing my major muscle groups and ignoring the minor ones. My therapy is basically no crossfit for a month and focus on building my core in order to return to the regime I love so much.
The point of this blog is to relay my experience as I am sidelined for the moment. I wanted to convey to trainers out there that core stability is a core competency. What I thought was a good core stability was actually an over compensation by other muscles. The moment of clarity unfortunately is after the fact but hopefully I might pique a thought in someone's mind about a friend, client, or colleague who you want to re-look at their core position while conducting these safe, functional movements.
Thank you for your time and God Bless.