Ready State / MWOD Certification Review Movement & Mobility 101

The MWOD Certification Review by Paul on Movement & Mobility 101.  Kelly Starrett’s Movement & Mobility certification is my fifth certification in mobility.  Here’s my review of the certification, plus a list of new things I learned from the man himself, Kelly Starrett.

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If you are a mobility and movement coach, the MWOD Movement and Mobility Certification is a must have. Yes, it will take some work to finish, but it will help you become a better personal trainer.  You will be able to take care of your athletes better and keep them moving safely for years to come.

Ready State / MWOD Certification ReviewMovement & Mobility 101

The MWOD certification is extensive and long.  It took me maybe 50-60 hours to complete it.  It wasn’t nearly as boring as many of the online certifications I have taken.  Starrett does a decent job of keeping the material interesting.  I learned a great deal from taking the certification, and so I recommend it.  Some of the more interesting topics that the Movement & Mobility Certification includes spinal organization, torque, occlusion training, joint distraction, and exercise complexity.

Aggregate Rating 8/10

Verdict… It’s worth it.

Amount of Work


MWOD Certification Review on Torque and Spinal Organization

MWOD Certification Review - Primary Movement Patterns
MWOD Certification Review – Primary Movement Patterns

Through the MWOD Certification (and the Supple Leopard for that matter), Kelly Starrett talks at great about organizing the spine.  Starrett also discusses using the shoulder the hips to generate torque.  Organizing the spine is really a question of stacking and protecting the spine so that it’s rigid when heavy loads are applied to it.  Creating torque involves generating external rotation in the hips or shoulders to protect the cartilage encasing these joints.  So when you are squatting, you will want to generate external rotation in your hips to protect the hip capsule from impingement.  The same principle applies when doing push-ups or overhead press.  Externally rotate your shoulders to protect them from impingement.

⭐ Starrett makes a great point in the MWOD Certification Movement & Mobility 101 that many of the common cues and exercise guidelines in exercises correct a potentially unsafe pattern.  For example, CrossFit teaches cueing the athlete rotate their elbow pits up when pressing overhead.  This rotation at the elbow actually causes an external rotation in the shoulders.  The same rotational torque that is needed to protect the shoulders from glenohumeral impingement syndrome.

The Hip Debate on Squats MWOD Certification vs Starting Strength

Starrett says 10°, Riptoe says 30° — whose right?  They both are, and more specifically it depends on the biomechanics of the athlete.  Your hips will be more stables when you are feet are facing forward (so feet parallel with minimal external rotation.)  Keeping your feet more parallel makes maintaining external rotation of the knees easier, but makes it harder for the back to stay tight.  By screwing one’s heels into the floor before squatting (best done on a monolift), you create extra torque in a wider stance (making it easier to keep your back straight.)

At Sand & Steel, we teach 10-20° off parallel.  We utilize the smallest amount of external foot rotation that allows the athlete to maintain his or her back in a neutral position.

MWOD Certification vs Supple Leopard

Voodoo Bands, Core bracing, Fascia Tack and Turn, and Principles of Complexity.  Starrett covers some of the same material in both the Supple Leopard and the Movement and Mobility Certification.  If you have read the book, Kelly’s different approach to explaining the same principle may help you understand it better.  For example, Starrett demonstrates how one can use a simple kettlebell to mobilize the quadriceps.  While he shows this in the Supple Leopard book, it wasn’t until I watched him do in the Movement and Mobility Certification, did I appreciate how the mobilization should be done.  We use the techniques Starrett teaches in our Mobility Programming.

[icon name=”magic” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] How the Voodoo Band Works (theoretically)

Tissue blood and hydration perfusion through the rebound effect of releasing the pressure of the band help increase blood flow and hydration in the joint.  In addition, circumferential pressure around the muscle acts like a banded fascia tack, allowing the muscles fibers to slider more easily once the band is released.  They are called Voodoo Bands because they work like magic, and now you know how it’s done.

As for mobility exercises such as Voodoo bands and occlusion training, Kelly Starrett explains how to use these tools at great length.  For example, it wasn’t until I took the MWOD Movement and Mobility Certification did I appreciate how they worked.

One of the nuggets of wisdom Starrett throws out during the certification is that he has his athletes mobilize with Voodoo bands in the same exercises that one is going to do that day.  So wrap the knees or ankles if you are doing squats.  And warm-up your squats while mobilizing… brilliant. 💎

Bracing and Breathing Practical Applications in MWOD Certification.

Using a Big breath for squats.  MWOD Certification Technique.  Lay down and point your toes.  Activate your Glutes causing the Glutes to rotate your pelvis. Breathe in and on the exhale tighten your core around the spine.  Starrett calls this pressuring your spinal cannister.  Then with pelvis already tightened, cue big breath in.  This allows you to build additional pressure on the spine. If the spinal pressure is created by making a Buddha belly (e.g. pushing the psoas muscles outwards) then the athlete doesn’t really have room to inhale to build additional pressure.   In addition, pushing the stomach creates space between the spine and muscles.  So our core-bracing has two steps.  Step 1) breathe out and pressurize down flattening the core.  Step 2) inhale using the diaphragm to further pressurize the core.

⚠ Practice Tip.  Once you lose pressure under load it’s impossible to regain the position until you deload (and reorganize the spine).  This can be demonstrated by having a client organize their spine and pelvis (toes and Glutes active with breath.). Have them bring their arms all the way over their head (adding load).  He or she should note what his or her spine feels like as the arms move towards the ears.  Then have the client attempt to organize their spine after they lowered their arms to floor (so loading with a relaxed core.)  The client will quickly find that they cannot properly reorganize their spine once it’s loaded.

Muscle Engagement in M|WOD Certification

MWOD Certification Review Muscle Engagement
MWOD Certification – Muscle Engagement

Glute Muscle Connection.  Initial positioning and loading of a muscle can make it easier or harder to contract the muscle.  For example, glutes easy to engage when you are laying down, medium difficulty in the plank position, harder if your feet on the laces. Complexity in patterns leads to injury when one isn’t rigorous about form.  “Principles protect us from complexity.”

The Rowing Position. Slouching forward when rowing creates tensions in the neck and upper T-spine.   The athlete will often alleviate this tension by tilting their head-up — creating a neck fault.  Safe rowing form requires maintaining a neutral spine during the pull (like a deadlift.)

The Pull-up Position.  The MWOD Certification teaches wrapping your thumbs around the bar to that the athlete can generate torque through the shoulders. Rotational torque relieves stress on the labrum which can be stressed from hanging by one’s arms.  Technically speaking, the humorous should internally rotate.

MOBS in Mobility and Movements Level 1

MWOD Certification Review - Principles of Mobility
MWOD Certification Review – Principles of Mobility

There aren’t that many… especially compared to the vast number of MOBS (Mobility Exercises) that are presented in the Supple Leopard.  However, the ones Kelly does present are done with all the mastery and detail he is famous for.  For example, there is a lot of attention to hip capsule distraction and glute mobilizers.  Starrett presents various modifications to the MOBS as well.  My personal favorite was his Kettlebell Quad MOB and his variations on the classic pigeon asanas.

Even though there aren’t a ton of MOBS presented, Starrett does a better of explaining how MOBS shoulder work so you can invent and perfect the ones you know.

Chances are if you have read all the way down to the bottom of this post, you are really thinking about purchasing this certification… go for it.  Yes, it will take some work to finish, but it will help you become a better personal trainer.  You will be able to take care of your athletes better and keep them moving safely for years to come.

Moreover, if you read our Product Reviews on Certifications, Exercise Equipment, Meal Delivery Services, and Supplements, you’ll find I don’t write glowing reviews.  I am an unabashed tough critic when it comes to spending my money on certifications.  This is an excellent certification, so go ahead and do it!

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