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Could It Be Something You Haven’t Thought Of…

January 24, 2011 01:29 PM

We would all like to think that we have thought of it all in regards to the one thing we spend the most time with – our bodies. But as the old joke goes: “I know that like the back of my hand…Wait I never noticed that before??”

We are actually most blind to what is most familiar. Assumptions creep in and before you know it something you haven’t thought of could be causing quite a problem.

A good example of this occurred recently at an RKC when we called up a volunteer that was having trouble with his squat. All the cueing and exercise drills were not making a dent in his form faults. And when someone gets called out in front of Pavel and 70+ other RKC hopefuls they are not trying to do something wrong I assure you. So when proper cueing and exercise corrections are not getting you to where you want to be you need to look beyond the exercise to the movement.

While the rest of the RKC hopefuls went off to practice a drill or two related to the Front

Squat (and without the time for a full FMS screen) I had the young man in question perform a very simple movement. Get into Half-kneeling and while keeping the heel of the front leg on the ground move the knee as far past the toes as possible (no compensating by shifting the hips, collapsing the arch or moving the heel and repeat on the other side to apprise symmetry). 

The results? He couldn’t get his knee past his toes – at all! Normal ankle mobility should allow for moving the knee 4 inches or more past the toes. (This is demonstrated in my DVD set Corrective Strategies and Movement Screening) All the tips, cues and exercise corrections were not going to “Coach” him out of this ankle restriction – period!

Notice the shin angle during the Pistol. Could a lockup at the ankle be the reason it continues to elude you? What do you do if you cannot get your knee past your toes WITHOUT compensation?

In Kettlebells from the Center – Dynami, Gray and I provide a Movement Prep exercise that can assist in regaining ankle mobility. Important to note at this point – If you are either assessing your ankle mobility or performing the Movement Prep drills and you feel a pinch or pain in the front of your ankle you need to get your ankle evaluated by the appropriate medical professional for referral to a manual therapist or physical therapist for assistance in clearing your ankle restriction. If, however, you feel a stretch in the back of the lower leg you may need to perform some soft tissue work like the Foam Roller, Stick (by RPI) or Tiger Tail.

Open ½ Kneeling Ankle Mobility Drill

Begin in a tall kneeling position, then move the left leg up and open to the left so that the left foot and leg line up with the right knee. The left knee is at 90 degrees with the foot flat and is up pointed straight away to the left. The hips stay squared off and straight ahead with the right shin pointed straight back. Move forward into the left ankle, bringing the left hand to the ground just inside the left foot. Perform 10-20 small movements forward and back, rocking into the ankle without collapsing the arch.

So what is the thing you haven’t thought of?

Do you have a consistent “form” issue that doesn’t respond to cueing and exercise corrections? See a CK-FMS RKC for a full FMS screen and corrective strategies so you don’t end up missing what you didn’t think of and remove the negative before it becomes a bigger issue.


Brett Jones is a Master RKC, CSCS and co-creator of the CK-FMS program and a National and International lecturer. He has co-authored multiple DVDs which can be found on - such as: Kettlebells From the Ground Up - Kalos Sthenos, and Kettlebells From the Center - Dynami. You can reach him by email at: