Movement Compensation Panel

ByCrossFitSeptember 28, 2022
Found in:220929,Health

Mike Giardina sits down with Dr. Kelly Starrett, Stephane Rochet, Dr. Meghan Helwig, Jesse Burdick, and Dr. Jason Garrett to discuss the potential causes and effects of movement compensation in training. Movement compensation occurs when an athlete attempts to borrow capacity from other areas to solve a problem.

Seeking out movement compensation in your athletes is important, according to Starrett, because efficiency- and technique-driven training reduces the metabolic costs of the session, allowing athletes to use energy more effectively in sport and life.

You won’t see poor technique be more efficient, Rochet says, so it is imperative for coaches to determine where the fault is, when it is happening, and why.

Burdick says coaches need to seek out the root cause of movement inefficiencies, and sometimes the best place to spot them is when the athlete is walking through the door, picking up a weight, or unracking a barbell. This is when they are off guard and it can be easy to pinpoint movement inefficiencies they are working hard to hide under load.

Once a coach determines an athlete is moving inefficiently, there must be clear lines of communication with the athlete, Dr. Helwig says. These coaching interactions should be positive and not fear-based.

The panelists provide common examples of movement compensation in the CrossFit affiliate and what to look for as a coach. It is up to the coach to push the athlete until the athlete makes mistakes, and then we coach, Starrett says. This is an example of the CrossFit method of threshold training, which involves pushing an athlete to the intensity where movement starts to falter, then improving their movement before pushing them to greater levels of intensity. This is how we balance technique and intensity to get optimal results.

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Jason Kamora
September 29th, 2022 at 10:57 am
Commented on: Movement Compensation Panel

This was fantastic. As a new, CF-L1 I often find myself trying to learn as much as I can as often as I can from others and this was a great way to sit down and listen to some of the experts in CrossFit. Thanks, Mike for formulating such great questions. My takeaway was in changing the language from fault to movement compensation which I feel fits the description of what is happening with the athlete a lot better. I know personally with having both shoulders replaced I often struggle with some movements due to limitations in the range of motion I have that the coaches have been helping me with. I also liked the comment that responds to the decades-old argument of is CrossFit safe: the gym has the least risk of injury versus when you are playing your sport or in your daily life. If what we coach is functional movement then it would be safely assumed that these movements are being replicated in actual life and without coaching to help correct them. I live in the north where I see a lot of back injuries as a result of movement compensations when people are shoving snow and haven't worked on their core stability throughout the year. Thanks, CrossFit HQ for bringing the knowledge and skills to the field.

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