Are you a crossfitter trying to find the easiest and most effective way to improve your range of motion? Are you wanting to learn what are the best stretches and mobility drills to do before your daily workout?
In this blog I will share with you:
- Why mobility is important
- Save you the 9+ years of testing and researching that I have done
- Educate you on why your mobility isn’t improving
If you are anything like me you played every sport under the sun growing up and never stretched or warmed up. It wasn’t until I got into crossfit in 2012 that I was even exposed to mobility, stretching, and flexibility.
But really though. I couldn’t get into these positions:
Hurt my wrist and I never could get my elbows up high enough.
I was taught to squat with your knees close and only to parallel growing up so going to depth was impossible without hurting my back.
Shoulder Press, Push Press, Push Jerk, Split Jerk
Getting the barbell to align with my spine? No chance. I played basketball for 20 years. Getting my arms to be “stacked” over my spine was nearly impossible.
Overhead Squat & Snatch
No way. My arms would fall forward and I could just never get into a good position.
I would try to do a pistol squat and then end up falling backwards.
Handstand hold, handstand walk, bench press, etc all hurt my shoulders. I couldn’t get into a good enough position so I would compensate in my lower back.
Proper positioning matters. Yes, watching video tutorials to master the form helps but if you don’t have the mobility you will be limited on what you can and cannot do, and that is not fun.
Mobility & Why It’s Important
Mobility def –
The ability to move or be moved freely and easily.
If you have any of the same issues from above or you are trying to improve your overall positioning then keep reading and I will share with you everything I have learned and put into place within our crossfit training programs.
When it comes to sports performance mobility and strength is the price of admission. Simply put if you have adequate mobility and the ability to move through full range of motion you will be at a mechanical advantage.
No more diving right into the workouts anymore. Now I spend 10-15 minutes warming up, working on my mobility and “freeing up” range of motion. Try these full body crossfit workouts and get an idea for what we are talking about.
Mobility Versus Flexibility
The ability of a muscle or muscle groups to be lengthened or passively through a range of motion.
The ability of a join to move actively through range of motion.
Okay So What Does That Mean:
This is generally what everyone thinks of when stretching. You do the standing quad stretch (photo above) for about ten seconds and you call that stretching. It’s the go to stretch right?
However stretching should like something like this:
- Choose your stretch let’s use the tricep stretch for example
- Set a timer for two minutes
- Focus on breathing and do this:
Get into your starting position and breathe in and out through your nose. As you inhale (try and inhale for four seconds) let your belly expand with air, then exhale and try to for four seconds. Another tip, as you exhale sink deeper into the stretch.
A common mistake that people make when stretching is getting into a position and just sitting there. In the photo you see that where we started compared to where we finished. Be intentional with your breathing and really try to get the four seconds in and the four seconds out. When you get deeper into your stretches you will really begin to feel the tightness in your muscles begin to release.
Mobility is something I never heard of until 2012 when I found Kelly Starett and watched everything on the planet he released. I bought his books, I took his courses, I paid for his mobility training programs. He inspired me to become the coach I am today. Thank you Kelly. Now I aim to provide the most comprehensive fitness program on the planet. You can try our program for just $1 by the way.
Back to mobility and what that actually means…it’s the ability to move the joint. Think of it like this..when you go to physical therapy and the PT is moving your arm, leg, etc to help improve or restore your range of motion. The crossfit community we use this mobility band method to replicate a Physical Therapist and here is how:
- Grab a mobility band and put it around the joint you are working on like the video below
- Set a timer for two minutes
- Contract and relax by doing this:
With stretching we talked about breathing and how you need to sink deeper each time you exhale. When you are using a mobility band you are getting assistance to get further and deeper into our stretch by “distracting” or pulling the joint back to allow the joint to move freely as it is supposed to. Try doing this:
- Take an inhale squeeze the muscle (agonist) this will cause the opposite muscle to relax (antagonist).
- Exhale and release for ten seconds
- Repeat this for two minutes
When you “aren’t flexible” it’s because your muscles are tight. When you squeeze your muscle it gets the muscle tired. When the muscle gets tired your muscles are forced to free up some range of motion on the antagonist (the opposite) side.
In the video below I’m performing the Banded Hip Flexor stretch. When I squeeze my glute it allows my hip flexor and psoas to be lengthened. Watch the video for further detail.
Mobility And Strength Workout – Here Is Why Your Mobility Isn’t Improving
Now that you have “created” the new range of motion you have to reinforce this position. Take the overhead position for example:
Before I stretched and mobilized I could only get my arms back this far (I’m exaggerating)
Doing things like:
Because your body is not used to this range of motion you want to challenge the stability of the exercise. This is why holding the new position is one of the most effective ways to reinforce and create strength in the new range.
If you are thinking this is all too complicated and just tell me what to do we got your back. Within each of our fitness programs before the daily workout we take you through:
Prep (Mobility Training)
Mobility routine for the muscle groups that will be targeted in the workout using mobility bands, stretches, and drills
Priming your body for the crossfit wod
Varies depending on which routine you are following
Daily workout and varies from intervals, endurance, emom, amrap, etc
Recovery (Mobility Training)
Mobility routine for the muscle groups that were targeted in the workout using mobility bands, stretches, and drills
Stretching (Mobility Stretches)
Now we guide you through passive stretches and want your nervous system to calm down and get into a recovery state as quickly as possible. We use mobility bands, drills, and every stretch is based on the program you did for the day.
We educated you on the difference between flexibility and mobility. We taught you what you should be doing to keep that range of motion so get out there and do it!
Our aim is to have the most comprehensive training program that doesn’t neglect the importance of mobility training. Try our program this week for just $1 by clicking here!