People unfamiliar with CrossFit may believe that it’s about lifting as much weight as possible as quickly as possible, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, many of the most successful CrossFit athletes in the world find success because they take a more well-rounded approach to fitness, which includes flexibility.
While there are plenty of CrossFit workouts that can result in increased mobility, there are also exercises and stretches athletes can do before and after a WOD to increase their flexibility and improve their performance. In fact, getting the most out of certain workouts practically requires a good warm-up and stretching session beforehand.
The following are some flexibility exercises that not only will open up your range of motion but will also get a nice sweat going before your actual workout begins:
The Samson stretch is basically an exaggerated lunge, where the athlete raises both arms overhead, opens up their hips and stretches their hip flexors. These can be stationary, or for those that want a little more movement in their warm up, they also can be done with long, slow steps forward that include the stretch.
To perform this stretch, start in a plank and pull one of your legs to the front and lay it perpendicular to your body. The idea is to get the glute muscles as close to the ground as possible by pushing your weight into your front leg and holding the move for five seconds. Then relax for ten seconds and switch legs.
Wrap a band around the bottom of a rig pole, step through and face away from the rig. From your knees with the band around your stomach, make sure the band is pulled taut. Engaging your core and ab muscles, bend forward at the waist, then use your glutes to get yourself back to an upright position.
Squats in all their forms are great for increasing mobility, but these are especially good for your hips and posterior chain, as the squat drops with your legs facing outward in the bend. Keep your elbows on the insides of your knees to press them out as far as you can while in the bottom of the squat. You’ll feel this stretch in a lot of different places.
These don’t look like much to the casual observer, but before engaging in pistols or squats, a simple stretch of the calf can go a long way toward increasing your flexibility. Simply press your foot up against the wall or rig with your toes pointed upward and your heel on the ground. Next, push your knee forward and feel the burn in the lower half of your leg.
These exercises may not sound like much in terms of building strength, but to get the full range of motion you’ll need to excel in your workouts, flexibility training is important. Make sure you use your Wodify app to record your exercises so you can start tracking the correlation between increased mobility and better CrossFit times and scores.