Physical Therapy for the Crossfit Athlete and Power Lifter- Success Story

Physical Therapy for the Crossfit Athlete and Powerlifter


I wanted to share a story how physical therapy helped a powerlifter and current crossfitter continue to lift.

Rob came to Restore PT with complaints of weakness in his left arm and difficulty finishing his reps with pull-ups, push ups and other overhead exercises that he typically completes during his workouts at Crossfit. He didn’t have major pain but some limitations and a “tightness” feeling in his upper back and shoulder blade region that sometimes radiated into his neck.

He had a thorough evaluation of his neck, shoulder and back that encompassed his strength, mobility, and movement mechanics. Rob was very strong but had some muscular imbalances in his scapular musculature and rotator cuff. He really just needed to work on the smaller muscle groups that stabilize the shoulder and play an important role in the proper mechanics during bigger lifts.

Muscular imbalance is one of the number one things that cause pain or injury. Luckily, Rob came in early enough where there was no damage to any structures in his body, but just needed time to work on the smaller muscle groups to prevent the trigger-point pain and muscular tension he was feeling.

As the rotator cuff, middle and lower trapezius gets stronger, your bigger lifts get easier and your form is less compromised. If you are an athlete, crossfitter or powerlifter, you tend to dominate in the lifts such as bench press, snatches, deadlift and power cleans. It is imperative to balance out those bigger muscles that provide you with the power with strength in the smaller ones that give you segmental joint stability. Together they work together to get the results you are looking for, but also prevent injury. A physical therapist is a great person to talk to you about your mechanics in these lifts and address specific movement patterns in your joints.

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Rob’s treatment included hands on therapy, deep tissue massage, dry needling and joint mobilizations. We used some taping techniques in the beginning of his treatment to bring awareness to his posture and what muscle groups to activate. His exercise program addressed areas of tightness and weakness.

Rob is back working out and his body is feeling better, stronger and more balanced. For any crossfit athletes out there that are feeling something just isn’t right or feels tight and achy, you would benefit from a hands on therapist who will work out the kinks. Most importantly getting an analysis of your joint mechanics during power lifts. Don’t wait for muscular imbalances to lead to a more debilitating injury. Be proactive and call us today for more tips or schedule a free discovery session.  


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Cranston, RI 0290