Becoming A Supple Leopard – Book Review

becoming supple leopard kelly starrett

This is both an Operating Manual and a Troubleshooting Guide for the human body. I CANNOT recommend this book highly enough and I can’t believe I didn’t purchase it when it first came out.

Kelly Starrett is the founder of MobilityWOD, for those of you not familiar with CrossFit the WOD stands for “Workout Of the Day”. Originally posting some advanced mobility techniques (which I followed religiously as an athlete in 2010) he has now summarised his knowledge into one giant book.

The four sections work independently and you can jump in and learn exercise techniques or certain stretches to relieve tightness or pain without reading the rest of the book.

Book eight is…

Becoming A Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett

becoming a supple leopard

PRO TIP: Take notes! When you read a book, use a blank sheet of paper as a bookmark. Write down any interesting facts and information from the book. This condenses a whole book into 3-4 pages of key notes that are important and relevant to you. 

My Notes

Part 1: Principles and Theory
  • Prioritise good spinal mechanics.
  • A few vertebrae out of alignment causes shear forces and poor mechanics.
  • Tight musculature could actually be the body protecting itself from damage to CNS, known as neural tension.
  • Bracing sequence: feet straight, screwed into ground. Squeeze glutes Belly breath. Exhale and increase intra abdominal pressure. Head back in neutral position. Externally rotate shoulders.
  • For every 30 minutes continuous sitting you should mobilise for 4 minutes.
  • Stable hip cues: Screw feet into ground, Spread the floor, Shove knees out.
  • Stable shoulder cues: Armpits forward (overhead press), Elbows in, Break the bar.
  • Only create enough torque to avoid a bad position, not maximal effort.
  • Setting up with feet out in a squat allows more RoM but compromises ability to generate torque – up to 12 degrees rotation of feet is acceptable.
  • Get in a strong position before adding load.
  • To fix joint capsule use “banded distraction” (Page 137) or mobilise in end range (Page 138).
  • Flexion-gapping at knee and elbow joints help (use rolled towel).
  • When you increase Range ofMmotion you need to incorporate that in training. In other words, train in your new fuller Range of Motion.
  • Pressure wave – relax over the roller or ball, use body-weight pressure and go slow.
  • Contract and relax – PNF stretching, 5 seconds active, 10 seconds passive.
  • Banded Flossing – resistance band and move into stretch (distraction too).
  • Smash and Floss – similar to ART (tack and move).
  • Mobilise 10-15 minutes a day, work on a) pain points, b) your ‘problems’ list, c) 2 mins or more per position, d) 3-4 techniques per session.
  • Seven rules of mobility: test and re-test, know the difference between discomfort and pain, mobilise daily, make it real for positions you need, keep good posture while mobilising, explore positions for best stretch and don’t make a pain face.
Part 2: Categories of Movement
  • Part 2 is a detailed breakdown of movements used in the gym. Lower body exercises include the Back Squat, Front Squat, Deadlift and Kettlebell Swing. Upper body exercises include the Push-up, Bench Press, Dip, Strict Press, Pull-up, Rowing movements and the Muscle Up.
Part 3: Mobilisation Techniques
  • Part 3 breaks the body into 14 different areas, e.g. Area 6 is stretches for your Lower Back and Hip Flexors.
  • You identify problems in Parts 1, 2 and 4 and use the Index of Part 3 to find stretches to fix your problems.
Part 4: Mobility Prescriptions
  • In Part 4 Kelly talks about the Seven Archetypes, which are the seven movement patterns that form the core of all movements in the gym.
  • Beyond that there is an Index to diagnose stretches you can do based on a particular pain or injury you are experiencing.
  • There is also a 14 day stretching template with options to customise for your own requirements.

This book is INCREDIBLE for those of you who exercise regularly. It is like having a Personal Trainer safely coach you through every exercise and a Soft Tissue Therapist to help you recover. I deeply regret not investing in this book when it was first released, as I was initially put off by the price. Get a copy of this book and thank me later!

About Fraser_9to5 204 Articles
Site owner. I'm a graduate in Sports Science and have an MSc in Sports Biomechanics. I set up 9to5strength in 2015 as a resource for people interested in strength training, nutrition and fitness. I consider myself a fitness blogger and enjoy creating YouTube videos and trying out workout programs.