"Tight" Middle School Athletes


Still New to StrongFirst Forum
So I'm currently serving as a strength coach for a middle school football team. A lot of the boys are "tight," particularly through the shoulders and hips. The head coach asked about taking 1 day/week to work on flexibility/mobility in lieu of lifting. They're currently lifting Monday-Thursday after school and playing games on Saturday.

I figured I could start with joint mobility and the Trifecta from Convict Conditioning 2. This hasn't been my main area of research so I wanted to ask for input on beneficial resources. I was gonna look for something FMS-related but didn't see that DD or Strong First is offering something along those lines.

I'm considering the following resources but I'm open to others as well.

- "Corrective Strategies and Movement Screening" DVD by Brett Jones
- "Restoring Lost Physical Function" DVD by Mark Reifkind
- "Working with Special Populations" DVD by Andrea Du Cane
- "Flexible Steel" book by Jon Engum
- Z-Health (maybe)

Thank you for any help.

Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Mobility for me requires high frequency and I haven't ever seen benefit only working on it once per week and I eventually drop that day as a waste of my time or change everything to include more mobility. Why not just make all the days different strength movements that emphasize more full range of motion. Deep front squats instead of back squats, incline dumbbell presses instead of bench press, deficit deadlifts, etc. They might not be putting up "the big weights" but they'll still get really strong while improving mobility. Additionally, goblet squats, leopard and crab crawling for a warm-up would help too.

Shahaf Levin

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Brett Jones is both chief SFG and one of the chiefs at FMS (I don't know the official title there) so I would blindly recommend his DVD.

From my familiarity with @Rif's writing here and from his videos I assume you can not go wrong with him neither. Nor woth Flexible Steel for that master.

I am familiar with Andrea Du Can or z-health so can not comment on those.

Why not get FMS level 2 certification?
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Denny Phillips

Triple-Digit Post Count
I suspect that there has been too much emphasis on the "mirror muscles" and the guys are in need of balance to go along with flexibility/mobility. Do they have the "apostrophe" look?


Still New to StrongFirst Forum
Hey, thanks for the responses.

We have about an hour/day to lift and then another hour for study hall prior to them doing football practice until about 8pm. The lifting program is set by the high school coach and he wants us lifting at least 3 days/week. The middle school coach asked about doing something 1x/week as a replacement to a lifting day to help some of the movement issues. I could probably squeeze in a second day on Friday after their game prep.

We have kids who can't get rock-bottom in a full squat, can't get complete hip extension for a sprint (looks like he's high-stepping), can't lock out their arms overhead for an OHS/push press, etc. I'm trying to teach them irradiation/tension techniques, too, but middle schoolers are hard-headed lol.

A bunch of stuff at DD is on sale, so I went on a bit of a shopping spree. (A Pavel KB DVD for $4? Uh, yeah!) Got Flexible Steel and all 3 RKC-II DVD's as well.

Did not know that Brett had his own FMS site! Checked it out and feel just as lost again with all the resources that they're offering lol.

I'm gonna post over at the FMS forum and solicit more recommendations.

Again, thank you for the responses.


Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Athletes who move like desk jockeys. It’s the curse of our age.

Collect all their TVs, phones, iPads, video games, etc, and dispose of them. Then they can use their suddenly discovered massive amount of free time to do the mobility work you teach them multiple times a day.

You my friend have a big task at hand.

Good luck!


More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
Doing a good dynamic warmup can work wonders.

Additionally - if you have identified areas of mobility that need improvement, try to add those in during rest periods of the lifts in an A2 or A3 type of mini-circuit.

A1) squat pattern
A2) UB pull pattern
A3) core/mobility/regression/whatever you think that the client needs

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
Setting the baseline with the FMS and using something like GFM for a team based session is a good combo.

"stiffness hides a stability problem and creates a mobility problem" as Gray says and how you address that can be more efficiently directed with the screen. IMO
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