As each year passes I find myself reaching for resources that I should have started my career with, and thought of myself more as the soil of which the seed can grow (training adaptation). Meaning I should have spent more time making sure that my body was in the best shape  in order to ad the load of training on to it.  With this in mind I have looked into FMS and for this article more into mobility in general, as I’m sure every athlete and especially us Ageing masters athletes are getting that little bit stiffer as we age.
At the end of this summers training as we buildup our training in the goal of the World Championships in Toronto, take some time to reset your bodies and make it ready!
K-Star, as he is known, has been actively pursuing the field of athletic performance and resolving pain through aggressive self-care. He began his website, MobilityWOD, as a project to distribute high quality information to “take care of your business,” meaning give individuals ways to mobilize and get their soft tissue moving properly again. MobilityWOD has provided detailed information on how to manage individual movement and performance through the test and retest method

kelly starrett, kstarr, mobilitywod, supple leopard, crossfit mobilityIn my mind, MobilityWOD is great to experiment and figure out restrictions, tights areas, and other limitations, however it has one major weakness. The test-retest model can provide good information, but it is a trial and error method rather than a system of standard operating procedures to diagnose and fix movement. Having a procedure and methodology can ensure quality results and consistency, guessing about mobility fixes is simply that – guessing.

My personal test for K-Star’s new book, Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimising Athletic Performance, was to see if K-Star has taken his work is easy to understand and of course actually use in our daily routines

Becoming a Supple Leopard first begins with the basics and reinforces good posture while standing or sitting. This rings home with me, especially given as I said earlier, my body really inst the best soil it could be. Kelly then goes through a comprehensive bracing strategy on how to first level your pelvis, and then retain a neutral, supported spine throughout any movement. Beyond that, he addresses situations where a neutral spine may be compromised to complete a movement or lift, or in everyday life. Translating movement patterns from the gym to life is a critical piece that many people miss.


kelly starrett, kstarr, mobilitywod, supple leopard, crossfit mobilityHave you as a coach or fellow athlete seen an individual execute a set of lifts in the gym or even drills on the track with perfect form and then turn around to put their plates or walk back to the start with horrible posture? It is more common than we may wish to recognise, but transferring movement patterns and mindfulness to real life doesn’t always occur. Taking ownership and achieving successful movement is a life-long journey. Successful movement starts with correct posture and understanding how the human body is supposed to move. In K-Star’s book these concepts are outlined through Chapter 2 with “Mid-line Stabilisation and Organisation” and then followed up with Chapter 3 & 4 referring to the “One Joint Rule” and the “Laws of Torque.”


From here K-Star takes us on a journey through three categories of movements. To become an effective athlete at all you should become a student of movement. This comes more naturally to some people, who have moved often and received coaching from a young age, but it can be learned at any age.


K-Star evaluates movement by starting position, the tunnel, and ending position. The tunnel is what occurs from start to finish. Evaluating movement begins with the start position. If you can attain the start position successfully, you can rule it out as the issue. Next you can evaluate the finish position and see if you are able to attain it. If you are able to find the end position effectively, you can assume the tunnel or transition from start to finish is the issue. From here you can assess mobility to see if that is the issue. If you have full mobility and can attain the start and finish position, it may be an issue of motor control – actually learning the pattern – or achieving the strength to complete the movement. Using the movements as the screen themselves allows you or the athlete to assess ability on an individual movement basis.


By first evaluating the category one movements an athlete can later progress to category two and then three movements. This provides a great platform, and K-Star is correct that great positions and understanding of movement is transferable to everyday life and also when complexity, metabolic stress, and speed are added.


kelly starrett, kstarr, mobilitywod, supple leopard, crossfit mobilityBecoming a Supple Leopard also addresses the lifestyle component of movement. If you spend more time sitting, you will need to spend additional time focusing on posture. Also if you wear high heels or stiff dress shoes it’s appropriate to spend additional time on calf mobility and foot flexibility.


Where this book doesnt really fit is giving a systemic approach in testing. There is not a systematic outline and approach to screen athletes on intake of a fitness program, nor a physical therapy client. To evaluate movement there is not a standard protocol of starting with specific movement, and then progressing. This is where I beleive elements such as the FMS Functional Movement Screen can fit hand in hand with this and I will cover in another article review soon

“Becoming a Supple Leopard” is available at

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