Introduction to the “Mirrored Joint Model”, Part 1

The “Mirrored Joint Model” Part 2, Shoulder and Hip
October 5, 2018
Fixing CrossFitters’ Elbow: Beyond Mobility, Rest, and Ice
October 5, 2018
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Introduction to the “Mirrored Joint Model”, Part 1

Understand and conceptualize human movement and mobility at a whole new level with the “Mirrored Joint Model”. This is the first of a 5 part blog series to introduce fitness coaches to a new perspective of the human body.  Stick with us during this series and we guarantee a deeper understanding of how the body works and how to utilize this knowledge for more effect mobility and rehabilitation strategies.

The mirrored joint model is a concept derived from the idea of dividing the body at the level of T6 or mid-thoracic, and comparing the joint systems at varying distances from the dividing point. The mirrored joint model creates analogous joints or joint complexes with very similar and unique properties. These analogous joints are: Upper/Lower thoracic spine, Cervical/lumbar spine, shoulder/hip, elbow/knee, and the ankle/wrist.

Each of these analogous joints have very similar properties that we can exploit for more effective mobility strategies. Below is a depiction of the “Mirrored Joint Model”:

Mirrored Joint Model


As you can see in the above figure,  the body is divided in the mid-thoracic region.  This gives us 5 sets of joint with very similar properties, and thus allows us to derive strategies and principles to guide our mobility and rehabilitation efforts.

For instance, two VERY commonly found mobility restrictions in CrossFit athletes are wrist extension and ankle dorsiflexion, but have you ever considered that the mechanism behind these restrictions is very similar?  Both the wrist and ankle are subject to developing an enormous front to back strength imbalance.  Want to create lasting improvement in wrist extension or ankle dorsiflexion? If so, then you better address the underlying strength imbalance.

How about overhead shoulder mobility and hip flexion mobility?  Both are limited by less than ideal dynamic positioning of the joint.  An anteriorly positioned scapula on a stiff, rounded back will limit shoulder flexion, and similarly an anteriorly positioned ilium on an overly kyphotic sacrum will limit hip flexion.  This gives us the first principle of improving shoulder and hip mobility: 1. improve dynamic joint positioning.

This has been a quick introduction to the “Mirrored Joint Model”.  Stay tuned for parts 2-5 as we break down each analogous joint complex in greater detail and show you how you can use this knowledge in the real world to improve your athletes mobility in a much more effective and lasting way.

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