Most gyms have them: color-coded resistance bands with handles that are attached to the wall or the rig. There is probably a grey-colored chart nearby with pictures of different band exercises. Sound familiar? This setup is called “Crossover Symmetry” and it is a common sight in many CrossFit gyms. Crossover Symmetry is a set of exercises designed to mirror sport-specific movements. They target common deficiencies and muscle imbalances in order to improve athletes’ movement and athletic performance. With that being said, this program provides a functional way to improve movement patterns, not train specific muscle groups. The program relies on a specific sequence to the exercises which helps improve posture, scapula stability and rotator cuff function. So, now that you know what it is, how do you know if you should use it?
Shoulder pain can be caused by a number of different factors but one of the most common culprits is shoulder impingement syndrome. This condition can often be defined by what is hurt and referred to as rotator cuff tendonitis, biceps tendonitis, bursitis, etc. With all of these different names floating around, it can be difficult to understand the cause and the solution to fixing the pain.
There are two quick tests that you can perform on yourself to determine if you have some sort of impingement (see below). If either of these tests cause pain, then there is a pretty good chance that you have some sort of irritation and it is getting worse with impingement. It is possible that these tests may not result in any pain but that doesn’t mean you can rule out impingement as a cause. It may be necessary to conduct further tests or see a medical professional in order to successfully diagnose the root cause of pain. Regardless, Crossover Symmetry provides several different exercises that you can do to help improve the impingement pain.
There are two major steps that can help improve your pain and they both involve decreasing the degree of difficulty. You can start by lessening the loading and volume on your shoulder which allows time for healing. The best way to do this is to simply eliminate painful movements. The second step is to build shoulder strength and mobility. This not only improves shoulder mechanics to decrease impingement but also progressing through pain-free movement is an important piece of getting past the brain’s perception of pain. Here’s where Crossover Symmetry comes in: the specific sequence of movements that are prescribed help strengthen the muscles around the shoulder socket and improve the shoulder’s range of motion.