What is the coolest thing about CrossFit? Is it the feeling you get when you hit a PR lift and there are people cheering you on? Or is it when you're finally able to do a muscle up? When do you feel that sense of pride puff up in your chest that makes you want to jump and celebrate? I've heard of people loving deadlifting, cleans, muscle ups and even thrusters but I have yet to hear anyone say that their favorite part of CrossFit is working on their flexibility. In fact, it seems to me that this is an area that many of us are neglecting and I say us because I am one of the worst when it comes to this. I will walk into the gym, jump into the warm-up (try to get it done as fast as possible), train as hard as possible and then sit down to troll social media before calling it a day. Sound familiar? Before reading on I'd like you to ask yourself a few questions:
1. Do you warm-up a little extra before the class begins?
2. Do you cool down by foam rolling not just with the class but in the areas that give you trouble?
3. Do you take advantage of the free 10 minute tune-up with Ernie or get any other kind of body work done monthly?
4. Do you know where your range of motion is limited and are you trying to improve it?
If you answered no to any or all of those questions then I'll be honest in telling you that this blog is targeted towards you. If you're already getting defensive and coming up with responses like "I don't have time" or "It just hurts too much" or "I don't know what stretches to do" then hold on for a second while I break down some information for you. When Greg Glassman developed CrossFit he met with experts to decide what the ten components of the perfect athlete would look like. He argued that the fittest person would be well rounded and competent in all of these areas. Here they are in a fancy acronym (FACESPASSBY)
Yay! (This one is just so the acronym works)
Now I'd like to draw your attention to the first one on the list and you will notice that it is (drumroll please)...FLEXIBILITY! Why? Well in truth, our flexibility determines A LOT in CrossFit. If your hips are inflexible you're going to have trouble reaching depth in most squat movements like the snatch, front squat, overhead squat etc. If your shoulders are inflexible you're going to struggle in overhead positions, pull up positions etc. If you're ankles are inflexible then good luck doing pistols. In the beginning, having this limited range of motion is going to prevent you from completing CrossFit movements at an RX level but more importantly, if you continue to try and master the movement without first taking a step back and correcting your flexibility then you're going to put yourself at risk for an injury. If you've ever had a coach strip the weight away from you even when you KNOW you're strong enough to lift the weight then I am here to tell you it is probably time to take a step back and assess your flexibility. So hopefully at this point you've acknowledged that maybe you're coming up short in this area and you're getting around to the "now what?"question. Never fear because I've got a plan for you!
First things first, is for you to attend the mobility workshop we are hosting for FREE at the gym June 9th, 2019 @ 10AM Click HERE to register. Here you're going to learn some stretches that you can complete at home and I recommend that you set a goal for yourself to complete this type of recovery on any day that you're not coming in to the gym. It is so easy for us to see our rest day as a day where we do nothing but in order to keep our bodies primed and ready for training we need to start using our rest day as a day where we really care for our bodies.
Second, make sure that you're taking advantage of the ten minute tuneup with Ernie G. as a preventative method of care rather than an after the fact treatment when you tweak something during a workout. You can book a session with him by calling or texting 626-297-8725. He is great about working with your schedule and he knows the importance of caring for our bodies so that they can keep training at the level that we would like.
Finally, take some time to address where your flexibility or mobility issues are stemming from. I personally know that I have inflexible ankles, wrists and shoulders. If I don't take the time to work on that flexibility on my own then when we are doing movements that include high repetitions I can feel the soreness take over. Address your own problem spots now and know that this isn't something to feel embarrassed or ashamed about because when you correct the issue you're going to find yourself accomplishing movements you had previously thought impossible. If you need support in identifying where the mobility issues are coming from book a skill session with one our coaches and let them give you a range of motion assessment. That's right ladies and gentlemen I've said it, flexibility is a skill that needs practice and our coaches are here to help you.
The truth is we have members ranging in ages from their teen years well into their late adulthood but the importance of stretching and staying flexible remains the same no matter the age. The only thing that changes as we age is that it becomes more challenging to remain flexible and you need to increase the amount of time you dedicate to maintaining flexibility. So ask yourself now, how much time am I dedicating to being flexible? Now whatever the amount of time you said in your head was for the next month I want you to double it. Good luck and I'll see you at the gym!