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Sunday
May052013

Becoming A Supple Leopard by Dr. Kelly Starrett with Glen Cordoza

This may be the most important book published in many years - for my body’s health and fitness. Stack up my extensive library of volumes relating to athletics, weight training, nutrition and health, and I’m crowning Becoming A Supple Leopard with the top spot. 

Kelly Starrett has been helping me take care of myself for a long time through his hundreds of instructive videos about mobility and freedom. I used to think he was a bit crazed - now I’m confident he’s a mad genius. Who else devotes a three-video series to the box jump (of course I watched all of it too!).

Supple Leopard is the result of a couple of years of Starrett’s working to compile and sort into one big ‘ol volume his teachings. Subtitled “The ultimate guide to resolving pain, preventing injury, and optimizing athletic performance,” I quickly found the book to be so much more. Don’t be afraid this is a dense textbook you’ll get lost in; don’t fear you need a couple of college degrees to understand Starrett and benefit from this book. Dive in and I assure you fog will clear. Hell, my shoulders began to feel better just reading the introduction!

The longer I work to improve my life and athletic performance, the more I realize it all comes down to movement patterns. Kelly Starrett figured this out long ago. As I’ve aged, dysfunction has crept in when left unattended; injuries follow. My rotator cuffs have been my weak points, for example, after decades of weight training, followed by a few years of CrossFit. Some brief videos Starrett shot over the years in his garage, posted on his mobilitywod.com site, helped me with one issue or another at different times.

Equipment, supplements, sleep, training, food: none of these matter if your body cannot physically perform properly. Kelly Starrett is devoting himself to teaching everyone who cares about how to maintain and enhance their health and fitness, whether they are elite CrossFit competitors or experienced strength-training athletes. After several years of doing so through his website, seminars, and videos on the CrossFit site, he’s taken one of the next gigantic steps with this immense, comprehensive book.

The first chapters of Leopard drew me in immediately. What I anticipated was going to be a casual dip into the introduction resulted in more than an hour of deep concentration; I felt under a spell. I’m going to go ahead and credit Glen Cordoza with assisting Starrett in putting his thoughts, ideas and philosophies into such compelling language. However they teamed up for this process, they nailed it.

Here’s the big picture. Kelly Starrett has a worldview of form and function in his head and he’s working to guide everyone with an interest in rectifying disfunction and optimizing performance on the road to achieving this. Becoming A Supple Leopard is one platform for teaching, for introducing Starrett’s worldview, what he calls the “New Human Performance Epoch.” I get excited reading how Starrett has organized movement and mobility systems and explains what an adaptable machine the human body really is. Basic adaptation and learning proper mechanics are key; undoing thousands of reps of wrongly performing a movement is tough. Worse, lifts in the gym and in competition, done wrong, can be handled by the human body for years, with no consequences noticed at the time. However, Starrett makes a good case that there’s a cumulative series of effects piling up that often cause seemingly abrupt injuries later in life. Amen to that, my shoulders say!

Hundreds of photographs, with many asides clarifying and making points, help Starrett work through every movement associated with using the human body in the gym and in sport. He’s guiding us through proper and improper set-up,  and execution. I found myself re-thinking exercises and moves I’ve performed for many years, never suspecting I was doing them wrong. Or in some cases wondering why they hurt now, or didn’t have the effect they used to. Kelly Starrett in most cases has the answer.

I could ramble on and on, but I’ll spare you. Physical culture enthusiasts of all callings should study Becoming A Supple Leopard. Chances are if you’re reading this blog and have come so far in this writeup - you spend a decent amount of time in the gym. You must enjoy lifting heavy stuff, taxing yourself metabolically, paying attention to what you jam into your mouth, and most critically, want to learn more about your physical body, limitations and horizons. It’s here. The keys are contained within these 400 pages.

This isn’t a book about stretching and becoming limber. Supple Leopard is a blueprint for enhancing your entire life, beginning with your physical self, aiming toward enhanced athletic performance. Who doesn’t want that?

@mobilitywod, @victorybeltinc, @marksmellybell, @iamunscared, #kellystarrett, #mobilitywod, #crossfitmobility

$59.95  Victory Belt Publishing

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