Physical Therapy and Mobility Services for athletes recovering from an injury, looking to prevent injury or improve performance.
Reach Mobility offers Physical Therapy, Mobility and Injury Prevention Services . All sessions are one on one with a Licensed Physical Therapist. This personalized patient care will allow you to see improvement in a shorter time frame than a traditional outpatient clinic setting. You will be given a thorough evaluation of your injury and personal movement dysfunctions. The remaining time will be spent on treatment including; manual work (soft tissue and joint mobilization), Kinesiotaping, and exercise/mobility prescription as needed. The owner, Karen Anderson has been a Physical Therapist for over 20 years and a CrossFitter since 2012. To schedule an appointment, email Karen at [email protected].
It's closing time...
The time has come for me to move on from my clinic at Reach. It has been a fun and educational 3 years. You have all taught me an amazing amount about CrossFit specific injuries and preventative training. I appreciate the trust you put in me from the very beginning.
I am closing my business for personal reasons, but am still practicing in the area (and still working out at Reach!). I can be found at Achieve PT in Bedford, MA and I am working with Stephen Bosjlie, a PT at the Acton location to get him up to speed on the unique injuries, abilities and personalities :) of the CrossFit athlete. Stephen in a great PT, knows Olympic lifting and enjoys working with higher level athletes.
Karen Anderson, Achieve PT Bedford 781-275-4111
Stephen Bosjlie, Achieve PT Acton 978-263-0007
If you still have a session from a package you bought from me, I am available most Wednesdays and Saturdays until the end of March at Reach. [email protected]
This is a repost, but I've had a few patient's ask me this week about why they keep getting injured and if CrossFit is to blame...
Stop Blaming CrossFit for Your Injuries and What Your Pain Can Teach You
All of us have listened as family, friends and even our doctors tell us to be careful, “you will get injured doing CrossFit”. Or maybe you have an injury and were told that you need to take a break from CrossFit and rest.
Let’s set a few things straight.
Most people show up at CrossFit the first day with their own personal movement patterns. Often these movement patterns involve muscle imbalances; poor mobility combined with small specific weaknesses.
You are then told the WOD today involves S2OH (shoulder to overhead), 10 reps for 8 rounds. Your brain takes over and your body is really good at producing the end result. Despite imperfect form you were able to get the weight overhead the requisite number of times and didn’t feel any discomfort during the workout. Later that day you feel a sharp pain in the front of your shoulder when you are taking off your sweatshirt. The pain continues over the next few weeks, especially with overhead movements and reaching across your body. Unfortunately, you now have a rotator cuff impingement injury.
Did CrossFit cause this injury?
I think not. You were predisposed to a shoulder injury because of poor posture, weak scapular stabilizers, tight pecs and the inability for your shoulder joint to pass through a normal balanced motion on its way overhead. This injury probably started a while ago while sitting hunched over at your computer, driving the hockey carpool or holding your baby in one arm while making dinner with your free hand. All of these motions tend to put your shoulders in a poor position, tightening the top and front of your shoulders (upper traps and pecs) and lengthening and weakening the muscles between the shoulder blades (scapular stabilizers).
Another way to think about this is that both your left and right shoulders went through the same motion during the S2OH workout, so why is only one of your shoulders painful? The answer is that one shoulder moves better then the other or has less muscle imbalances, probably due to your daily movement patterns.
Most athletes are pretty upset when their body causes them pain, but it can be a valuable learning tool. You usually seek medical attention, are told to rest, ice and take Advil. You may see a massage therapist, physical therapist or chiropractor to help alleviate the pain.
The key is not only alleviating your pain in the short term, but asking the harder question of why did this happen? This was not a fluke traumatic one-time injury. It was caused by a movement pattern ingrained in your brain. Take the time to learn why it occurred. Seek out a healthcare professional who is interested in not only getting you out of your immediate pain, but who understands your movement patterns and muscle imbalances and can teach you why you ended up with shoulder pain in the first place and how you can prevent it from happening again.
Of course, it is then up to you to do the work of correcting the imbalances and relearning the movement patterns. Remaining injury free so you can get on with tackling your next PR should be enough motivation!
Karen Anderson, MSPT
Doing a little reading between patients today and I came across this little gem. THIS is how you squat! The big take away from this is, look at those knees driving out, he almost looks bow legged. His feet create an arch, his knees drive out as he enters the movement. This creates torque at the hips and is a very stable base from which to move a lot of weight. I can help you look this good!
Email me at [email protected]
[04/25/18] Think you don’t have time for PT? This Saturday 4/28, I have a 9:30am appointment open just for you! We can work on mobility and injury prevention or start repairing an injury you have been ignoring. Let me know if you want me to save it for you. [email protected]
After today’s WOD you will ask yourself, “Why are single handed overhead dumb bell squats so @&$?& hard?” The answer is, your core strength and scapular stabilizers need some work! Turkish getups are a good starting point or maybe just more OH squats with a dumbbell. Thanks to Jim Reach for the photo and Dan Dumont for the programming.
Questions? [email protected]
Grab a chair and work on better squat form!
While standing with feet shoulder width apart and in front of a chair that is facing you, bend your knees and lower your body towards the floor. The chair seat is a guide so that your knees do not pass over your toes. You should be maintaining a vertical shin.
Knees should drive out, in line with the 2nd toe and not pass beyond the toes. Your body weight should be directed through the heels of your feet.
Hold 5 seconds. Return to a standing position. Repeat 10 times.
Questions? [email protected]
Gifts from the Mobility Gods! Thanks Robby Blanchard! If you want a quick tutorial on how to use these great tools, I’ll be around after the 8:30 WOD Saturday 2/10 and before the 7:00pm WOD on Monday 2/12. [email protected]
This is my new favorite CrossFit term. Any guesses what it stands for?
It’s a modification on the AMRAP and it is an amazing training tool. It will highlight flaws in your movement patterns like nothing else you do in the gym.
Think about this, most of the time we are trying to do As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP) in a set amount of time. What if we switched it up and did As Few Reps As Possible (AFRAP) in the same time?
Let’s use a front squat as an example. Say you put 65# on a bar and did a front squat AMRAP for 2 minutes. You’d probably log quite a few reps, but 90 seconds in, when you begin to fatique, your core will disengage, your legs will weaken and your form will dissolve into an unorganized mess.
Now, try doing ONE front Squat with 65# for the whole 2 minutes. It’s hard! You’ll have to maintain perfect form the entire squat.
My guess is that most of you won’t be able to control one minute of lowering and one minute of coming back up. It will be a long 2 minutes, plenty of time to think about reengaging your core, pushing your elbows up, pushing your knees out and keeping your weight in your heels.
The modification would be reducing the time to one minute, 30 seconds down and 30 seconds up or reducing the weight.
Try it! See if I’m right. Then try it with an OH Squat, a Thruster, and a HSPU, lots to work on!
Questions? [email protected]
Sitting all day tightens your hip flexors and weakens your abs and glutes. Stand up and use your chair to do this stretch a few times a day and you'll be amazed at how good you feel walking out of work and into the gym.
Questions? [email protected]
“I just thought I slept on it funny.”
“I thought you would tell me I needed surgery.”
“I thought it would go away on its own.”
“I didn’t want to admit that I was hurt.”
DO NOT procrastinate when it comes to your body! You can rest and avoid things that hurt, but that won’t change a faulty movement pattern. Muscle imbalances and poor movement doesn’t go away with rest, it just waits until you start back up to come back and haunt you!
In my 25+ years as a physical therapist I have learned that the longer a person waits to seek help, the longer the injury takes to get better. This translates into more time and money spent doing PT, instead of doing the activities you want to be doing.
This is especially true for shoulders, but applies to all body parts. If I can see a person with a shoulder impingement in the first few weeks of the initial pain, they get better in a few weeks and learn enough to prevent further damage to their joint. If they ignore, avoid and compensate for the pain over months or years then the fix becomes much more long term and difficult to correct.
Please make my job easier (and your recovery!). DO NOT IGNORE YOUR PAIN!
Patients who come to see me in the acute stage (within 2 weeks of the pain incident) need 1 or 2 visits to feel a lot better. This not only saves time, but makes a lot less of an impact on your wallet.
Email me to start the conversation: [email protected]
Two Minute Squat Challenge! Try to stay in each position for one minute. On the left, let yourself go as far down as you can, knees can fall in, it should feel pretty relaxed and easy. The right side is an active squat, hips still below the knees, knees driving out, creating torque at your joints which translates into POWER and less injuries! Time yourself. Did you make it through the full minute on the second squat? If not, do yourself a favor and practice this. Your coach and your joints will thank you!
I have seen numerous teen athletes as well as older adults with similar symptoms lately. Waist line low back pain, sometimes one sided, stiff in the morning or after prolonged sitting, better with gentle movement, painful after a hard workout or game.
On exam they all have similar muscle imbalances, commonly referred to as "Lower Cross Syndrome". The main cause of this syndrome is the amount of sitting we do everyday. Hip Flexors and Lumbar Spine get tight and Glutes and Deep Abdominals weaken. The good news is some manual therapy and a few simple exercises can help correct the imbalances.
For more about info or to schedule an appointment:
I'm back from my latest adventure! I'll be in my office Thursday 8/10 after the 9:30am WOD and again 5:00pm-7:00pm. I have a few patients, but feel free to grab me to ask a question or make an appointment.
Did you know I see most of my patients 2-3 times and they start to feel better. Better yet, they are fueled with tons of knowledge to help them prevent further injuries and continue to correct muscle imbalances so they can exercise stronger and smarter.
Happy Fourth of July! I'll be out of the office through 7/5. Ready to take on your aches and pains starting Thursday morning 7/6.
Sunday's with Karen, June 4th at 9:30am, after the 8:30 WOD. FREE! We will do some neck and upper shoulder stretching and mobilization for 15-20 minutes. Then for anyone who wants to stick around I will go over some basic principles of using the Crossover Symmetry bands. A stable scapula makes for a happy shoulder joint! Questions: [email protected]
The next "Sunday's with Karen" event will be Sunday June 4th after the WOD at 9:30am.
I was thinking of scapular stabilization and a review of Crossover Symmetry. Other ideas or things you'd like to cover for 30 minutes? Ankle/calf, shoulders...Let me know by posting in comments below or email me:
This is a repost from last year, but it still holds true. Read it and make a Murph recovery plan. It will get you back in the game faster and stronger!
Exercising at high intensity for long periods of time will deplete your energy, diminish your fluids, and break down muscle.
What you do in the moments immediately after an event like Murph will determine how quickly your body will rebuild muscle and replenish nutrients. Hydration, the right fuel, sleep and active recovery are all key components.
If you plan on doing Murph on Monday be sure to read below and PLAN your recovery.
1. Hydrate and Fuel within an hour of completing Murph.
2. Take a nap Monday afternoon or at least go to bed early on Monday night.
3. Stay active Monday afternoon, it may feel good just to sit, but try to keep moving a little. Walk the dog, swim with your kids and, of course, MOBILIZE, foam roll and stretch (see below).
4. Tuesday, depending on how sore you are, you may want to go for a bike ride, yoga class or swim instead of tackling the WOD. MOBILIZE, foam roll and stretch (see below).
Both Monday and Tuesday’s MOBILITY PRESCRIPTION:
Foam roll quads, pecs and lats. Spend some time laying on the foam roller and stretching lats (arms overhead) and pecs (arms straight out). Stretch hip flexors and quads with the couch stretch. Repeat 1-2 times each day, holding each position 30-60 seconds.
Happy Memorial Day!
Questions? Email me at [email protected]
Great, easy to follow progression for scapular strengthening.
A stable scapula=a healthy shoulder.
Healthy scaps equal healthy shoulders – especially if you spend any time with kipping movements. Start incorporating these three progressions into your warm-up or supplemental routine to see results with your posture, rid yourself of pain and dysfunction and progress much more quickly toward your strength and gymnastics goals.
instagram.com 1 Likes, 1 Comments - Karen Anderson (@reachmobilitypt) on Instagram: “If your squat doesn't look this good then you have no business loading up the bar! Key points are:…”
Sundays with Karen is back! This Sunday 4/23 at 9:30am, after the WOD. This week we will discuss the illiotibial band which is tight on everyone! A tight ITB can manifest itself in hip or knee pain. Come learn how to floss, stretch and roll it.
Questions? [email protected]
Bottom of the Squat, Part 2:
Keep the 1-2 inch heel prop and grab a PVC pipe to work on mobility and stability at your hips and shoulders. This is challenging! You may want to work on balancing at the bottom of the squat with your hands overhead for a few days before doing the full sequence. Once you feel comfortable, repeat the sequence 10-15 times every day. This is an excellent warmup for overhead squatting or full snatches. Questions? [email protected]
Thanks to the folks that stayed after class today to work on their mobility! Next Sunday session will be 4/23, 9:30 am. Focus will be Illiotibial band, but bring questions or suggestions. Shoulders and upper back/neck coming in May.
SUNDAYS with KAREN:
FREE EVENT, Sunday April 2nd, 9:30-10:00am
Come hang out on the turf with me tomorrow after the 8:30am workout. We will go over ways to loosen up a tight lumbar area. Learn a hip flexor release, quadratus lumborum and piriformis smashing and some basic hip stretches to help free up your low back. I'll announce these sessions periodically over the next few months. My plan is to focus on a different body part each session, suggestions welcome.
Questions? [email protected]
Bottom of the Squat, Part 1:
As promised, the first installment of drills to work on mobility and stability at the bottom of your squat. You can complete this whole complex in less than 5 mins, 2 complete sets in 10 minutes. Try to do it every day for a week and I'll send out the progression next Monday.
Questions? Post comment below or [email protected]
The Bottom of the Squat
Let’s talk squatting. You first learn to squat when you are 10-12 months old, before you stand or walk. One day you are crawling on all fours and then you rock back to a squat, a nice deep squat. It’s comfortable down there, comfy enough to dig in the sand all afternoon or pull all the pots out of the cabinet and bang on them for a while!
You eventually learn to stand up from the squat and walk. Notice that developmentally you learned to do this from the bottom up, squat to stand. Not the way we try to do it as adults, stand to squat. I think a lot can be learned about mobility and stability at the bottom of the squat and I CHALLENGE you to start from the bottom and see where it takes you.
Starting tomorrow and continuing for the next few weeks I will post Bottom of the Squat drills adapted from Gray Cook’s book, “Athletic Body in Balance”.
These are simple, small, ego crushing movements that will amaze you if done properly. Try each one daily for a week and then continue with the posted progressions each week. The drills should take less than 10 minutes/day.
Hopefully at the end of a few weeks you’ll be squatting like a baby!
Questions? [email protected]
Come get a great workout and take your babies and toddlers along! We meet at Teamworks Indoor Sports or NARA Park depending on the season!
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