Plateaus are the worst…. Stagnancy can do a number on your energy and performance.  Even though you might feel frustrated and weak, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are. Sure, you can do extra strength and accessory work or take some time off but if you don’t have sufficient mobility, chances are those plateaus are gonna hang around.


Have you ever considered your lifts aren’t going up, not because your technique sucks or you aren’t quick enough, but because your joints don’t have the space and capacity to support the lift?

Maybe you don’t have a sufficient amount of shoulder flexion and external rotation to catch the bar in a snatch in the first place, or maybe your ACTIVE hip flexion isn’t quite as deep or strong as you thought it was. Maybe your spine moves more like a log than a wave.

Maybe you need to slow the f*ck down and tune in.

As far as plateaus are concerned, we offer a different approach to overcome them. The human body is incredibly efficient at adapting to new stimuli. But what happens when progress stalls, despite our best and most concerted efforts? It calls for a time to take a step back and consider all the variables that impact our performance that we are reticent to give credit to. We will talk about diet, sleep, and nervous system down-regulation in another post, but the point we really want to drive home here is movement variability.

Movement variability does not mean varying movements, like changing up your back squat to a front squat. Movement variability is your ability to vary your movement to complete a task. Consider the question, how many ways could there be to complete a task? For example, if I have only trained my squat position to have my knees tracking directly over my toes and my hips just below parallel then that is the only position I am strong to complete a squat in. This is called the principle of specificity: you are prepared for what you have trained for.

If I vary up my approach to complete a squat: feet together, knees in, knees out, max internal rotation torque, max external rotation torque, etc. then I am going to be much more efficient in completing the task of a squat because I have more tools in my toolbox to recruit. However, if you are lacking in the prerequisites needed to complete the varied options i.e. ankle dorsiflexion, tibial internal/external rotation, hip internal/external rotation, hip and knee flexion and extension, then these options are unavailable to you. That’s where we come in… By introducing a training regimen to increase your movement variability, we continuously challenge the nervous system to adapt to new demands, which then widens our scope of movement while reprogramming the nervous system to “turn on” areas that have been “turned off,” which then allows us to recruit more muscles and joint power that have been “turned off” to complete the task, thereby mowing down plateaus and riding on our merry way, shirtless on horseback to the cloud 9 of gains.

In our Kinstretch classes, you will learn how to assess your own joint function and find out where you are lacking so that you can train it appropriately. We start every class with CARS (controlled articular rotations) to assess how our joints are feeling. Cars are KEY. They can be used as an assessment tool, to warm up for your workout, or strength training to keep the range of motion you do own strong and safe. You’d be surprised how differently they can feel day to day! The great thing about CARs is that there is always something new to learn or discover, including the illumination of the limitations that might be holding you back from reaching your optimal performance goals or enjoying a healthy range of motion.

After completing CARs, we hop right in to training. Depending on the class, we might be looking to expand a range that is limited like hip internal rotation (most people are limited here) or we might look to strengthen the ranges we already have with holds and hovers. Either way, plan to work up a sweat and be surprised how you can be working so hard without actually moving at all. Strange.

Once you hone in on where you need work, it’s just a matter of getting in there and doing the work every. damn. day. Like any other facet of fitness, it takes time,  dedication, and focus on your goals. Mobility training is likely the missing piece of your overall performance optimization. Come try us out at Barbell Strategy Strength and Conditioning, behind CorePower Yoga off of 27th Way in Boulder: 2576 Baseline Rd, Boulder, CO 80305 every Wednesday at 7:30 am, and Saturdays at 9 am and 10:15 am. See you then! 🙂

By: Vital Roots Movement: Bridget McElvain & Traci Bennett

Traci Bennett
Vital Roots, LLC
Functional Range Conditioning mobility specialist
Kinstretch Instructor
CF-Lvl 1
Bridget McElvain
Vital Roots, LLC
500 CYT
Functional Range Conditioning mobility specialist
Kinstretch Instructor