A touch of mobility – By Dave Mc Crea
As CrossFitters we are constantly reminded of the importance of mobility but for many of us we see mobility as an additional chore to the already grueling 1 hour sessions we love to challenge ourselves too. How can we approach and view mobility differently?
What is the importance of mobility?
For a beginner, mobility can be the fastest route to progression. Often as beginners starting CrossFit, muscle groups that are never used are called into action. Some simple maintenance work whether it is foam rolling or stretching exercises will allow the opening of joints and mobilisation of musculature, which is now being placed under new strains. An improved range of motion can lead to better competency in the major lifts, which can therefore increase your work capacity and allow you to ramp up the intensity that we all seem to crave in class. On top of this it will aid our recovery and simply improve our standard of daily living by avoiding aches and pains we can all suffer from.
For CrossFit athletes it can make a huge difference. For some it may be the one major pitfall in their ability. A lack of range of motion can stunt their progress in Olympic lifts and high skilled gymnastic exercises such as pistols and handstand walks. For those who have no major mobility issues, improved mobility will again only improve their work capacity during class by allowing them to get into better positions during lifts, which will in return result in higher efficiency and more repetitions.
A change of perspective of mobility:
Everybody in a CrossFit gym has goals, regardless. Whether our goal is to go to the games, loose weight or just be healthy we all seek the extra bit of knowledge that may help us. We’ve all looked at our training (hence the CrossFit), most will then have looked at nutrition especially if our goal is weight loss or performance based. So why neglect mobility? Mobility now needs to be seen as important as our training and nutrition in our greater training experience. We all need to establish the link between mobility and our ability to train and progress over time.
So, what can I do to improve my mobility?
Obviously, everybody is different and mobility issues will vary. However some simple tactics can be deployed to address mobility easily.
1. All strength sessions during class will have a decent rest period programmed between sets. Use this time to work on a mobility exercise specific to the movement that is being trained. We all focus greatly on what we are doing during our lifts and the WOD, so why not focus on our rest periods also?
2. Make use of the designated mobility area before and after class. Grab a foam roller and roll out any major muscle groups that have been used or will be used in the class, there is nothing stopping you having a chat while foam rolling!
3. Talk to your coach, if you’ve identified an issue and don’t know how to fix it, ask coaches for such exercises. Likewise, if your not sure of a mobility issue your coach will have a clearer idea of what you need to work on.
For those looking to fix a few mobility issues I will link a few videos at the bottom of this article for specific muscle groups. They are all only about 5 minutes long, take about 5 minutes to do yourselves and can really help you out!