Disclaimer: I have not met Dr. Kelly Starrett (though I would love to) and he has no clue I am reviewing his book. I only promote things that I find of real value and this book is no exception.
Every once in a while there will come a book that once you read it, you decide to stop in your tracks, take a moment to reflect and re-evaluate everything. This is one of those books! I have a love hate relationship with these type of books because they will really challenge you to evaluate your approach and potentially convince you to adopt a whole new approach to achieving a similar end. This process involves being uncomfortable and willing to look at things in a different way.
I am truly convinced that basic mobility needs to be a primary focus when developing today’s athlete. That doesn’t mean I don’t think strength and power is what makes great athletes. It just means I think that today’s athlete is best served when we put an emphasis on the thing that will put them in a position to maximize that strength and power by encouraging proper movement patterns and unlocking full ranges of motion.
OUR CURRENT STATE
If you have been training athletes for any decent period of time then you have to have noticed a trend with each new class of kids. As society grows and human innovation advances the childhood you once knew becomes a thing of the past. We all have heard it before, so I won’t beat the dead the horse too much. Hours of free play like, climbing trees, pick-up games, capture the flag, or whatever activity that you use to do that kept you outside for hours on end until you heard that siren like call from mom or dad as they yell your name out the back door or from down the block, have diminished or in some cases disappeared. Our adult lives haven’t fared any better. Many careers have us sitting and mostly inactive for hours at a time.
It is hard not to notice most of today’s life is spent sitting. We wake up to sit down for breakfast, then we get up to sit in our cars while we travel to work or school, from the car to the cubicle or the school desk, then back to the car, perhaps to the gym for an hour, then back to sitting, but now on it’s on the sofa. I understand this is a gross generalization, but evaluate your day or the days of those you know and there will be a striking resemblance. This type of living has real consequences and we see it every day. The majority of the athletes I see have a very hard time getting into very basic and fundamental positions required for everyday living let alone high performance sport. Joints become stiff, surfaces glued down, and muscles and tendons stiff and shortened. Many of these undesirable adaptations can be battled by making better decisions throughout the day.
Some questions to think about: What are you doing to restore the postures and positions that your body was meant to utilize? If you can’t get into those ideal positions, then what are you sacrificing when your body must to find a new way to get the job done?
The basic premise of the book is…
“All human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves.” -Starrett
The book sheds light on the type of adaptations these lifestyle decisions cause. He highlights the basic movements that we should be efficient at and has created 12 standards that we should achieve for a long life of pain-free and power packed running. He also goes into intriguing detail about the flaws in our footwear, hydration, and recovery along with a host of other valuable insights. The best part of the book is that not only does he give you the why’s but he gives you the how’s. He do so in extraordinary detail, so that when you turn the last page you are ready to start your journey to unlocking your full athletic potential.
My Favorite Part:
This book promotes personal responsibility. This resonates with me as an individual and as a coach:
“It is not the job of a sports medicine professional, running or shoe salesman, to take care of your tissues and joints, the positions you practice throughout the day, whether you hydrate or not, and whether you’re actively working to retraining normal ranges of motion in your feet, ankles, legs, hips, and back. IT’S YOUR JOB.” -Starrett
”When you visit the chiropractor, physical therapist, sports medicine clinic, or other body worker, go in with some hard-won knowledge to share.” -Starrett
Something to Think About:
In the chapter on hydration he mentions a method to check your hydration level. You can evaluate your urine by using a Rapid Response Urine Dipstick or RRUD. He goes into detail about how it measures not only hydration, but it can also detect the presence of leukocytes and protein, which are present in the urine after really hard training. He suggests that if they are still present prior to the next training session, then you are not fully recovered.
I have heard of many techniques of assessing readiness each with varying costs, but I have never heard of this up until now and I couldn’t help but see the implications. Best of all was the affordability! You can purchase about 100 strips for $15 on amazon. Just something to think about for those looking for affordable and accurate ways to assess recovery and readiness.
I hope you all enjoyed the review and decide to go pick up the the book. Most of all I hope you start making great decisions for your body throughout the day, everyday to ensure the long lasting freedom of movement and performance.
Special Thanks to Dr. Kelly Starrett:
Thanks for all the information you so graciously provide free of charge on your website and YouTube page. Additionally, thanks for the awesome resource, which is Ready to Run. Bravo.