Self-Assessment – Where’s the real problem!
By Dr. Bryan Hapka of Active Spine and Sport
In the world of injury prevention much can be done to decrease your chances of getting hurt but more
importantly to help you improve your performance. This is especially true in Olympic lifting. Today, the
best Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, and Athletic Trainers perform movement assessments to find
the source of your problem. By doing this we are focusing on function. That is, does everything work
properly and work together. By finding the areas that are not working properly we can get a better
picture as to why you have pain or why you keep missing that PR on your lifts. Sometimes the problem
is not where the pain is and this is why you’re still hurting or still not lifting as heavy as you want.
In the past year or so we have been introduced to what is called the SFMA or selective functional
movement assessment. It breaks down basic movement patterns of the body to see what is not
moving properly. One of these tests is a great tool for self assessment. We are talking about the Deep
Overhead Squat! It’s fairly simple. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, toes forward and
hold a broom stick or wooden dowel about 8-10 inches above your head with your arms fully extended.
Perform a squat as deep as you can go and watch yourself in the mirror. What happens? Do you toes
rotate out, heels come off the floor, knees move towards each other, arms go forward in front of your
body, your back rounds, etc. What you see in this test can be very likely lead to injury down the road
but for the time being could be limiting your performance.
Here are a few suggestions as to what to try when you see the following:
1: Arms go forward: Your lats or shoulders are tight and you need to work on lengthening them.
2: Upper back rounds: You thoracic spine is very immobile. Start mobilizing it with the foam roller
3: Knee(s) move in: You lack flexion and external rotation of your hips and your adductors are possibly
tight. Get on the foam roller and use the jump stretch bands.
4: Your heels come off the ground: Either posterior chain tightness or immobile ankles. Foam roll or
perform ankle mobilization
5: Your low back rounds at the bottom: You have very tight hamstrings/posterior chain. Get on the
If you try these things and still have no idea what do or how to fix it, just ask Dutch or come see any of
us at Active Spine and Sport Therapy. We will get you back on the right track fast!
Snatch Pull x 3
30 wall balls
3 min rest