We are CrossFit Unyielding. And we live up to our name. When I looked at a list of synonyms for “unyielding” I couldn’t help but be struck by the irony: immovable, inflexible, rigid, stubborn, uncompromising, unbending, stiff, and the list goes on. And we are those things in terms of our resolve: working hard and not giving up until we raise the bar and shatter our old PRs. Yet, mobility plays such a critical role within our workout regime. CrossFit is all about functional movement, but without good mobility it is hard to perform the basic movements correctly.
What is Mobility?
Mobility is how a joint moves- the range of motion a joint can achieve. It is different from flexibility which is the length a muscle can stretch. Flexibility is an important component of mobility, because it is difficult to move a joint if all of the muscles surrounding it are short and tight, but they are not the same. Even if you are flexible, your mobility can be hindered by other factors such as inflammation, subluxations (spine misalignments), previous injury resulting in fascial adhesions, etc.
Why does mobility matter?
Plan of Attack:
1. Identify Weak Areas and Commit to Mobilize Your Entire Body
Identify the areas in which you are restricted and begin to work on them. You know the lifts at which you are weakest. You should also know which parts of your body are tighter than they should be. Tight hips will affect your squats and lunges. Tight shoulders will affect your overhead squat, snatch, clean and jerk, etc. If you are looking to improve your technique and speed, as well as power, mobility should be a critical part of your plan.
It’s obvious to mobilize problem areas, but you can prevent other areas from becoming tight and losing range of motion if you commit to mobilizing your body as a whole. Just as you cannot “just tone your stomach” because your body does not discriminate its fat loss to one region, you cannot address one mobility issue and ignore the rest and expect to see the results you are chasing. It does not work that way. If you address issues solely in a reactive fashion, after they are already problems, you will not see the same level of benefit as you would if you address them proactively.
2. Perform Self-Myofascial Release
There is a high probability that each of us has at least some degree of fascial scarring or adhesions. The fasciae are the collagen-based connective tissues that wrap around the muscles to hold nerves, muscles, and blood vessels together. They act as a very thin and flexible net providing structure and support while also allowing flexibility of movement. Under physical stress as these connections are pulled past their limit, the body creates fascial adhesions. Instead of running parallel, the fascia become knotted and cannot glide smoothly which creates limitations to mobility. Think of it as a series bungee cords securing a bookshelf in the back of your truck. If the bungee cords run parallel they allow for stretching while still keeping the bookshelf secure. But if they were to become knotted up, they no longer stretch as far and the amount of give in the bungee is reduced. Learning how to perform self-myofascial release on tight areas with a foam roller or a lacrosse ball can loosen problem areas tremendously. Roll until you feel a sore area or “hot spot” and apply pressure until you feel it release.
3. Make Sure Your Spine is Aligned
If you know you have imbalances, chiropractic is also a great option. It can help correct and maintain alignment. Being poorly aligned can affect balance, and can cause strain on certain parts of the body due to overcompensating. If your neck is out of alignment, everything beneath your neck will follow suit. This will create a cascading imbalance effect. As bones are pushed out of their proper place, they are not as free to move.
4. Come When RomWOD is on the Program
There is a reason part of our weekly programming includes RomWOD. It’s easy to think, “Well, we’re just doing RomWOD. I’ll skip today and go tomorrow when we are actually doing something important.” But, if you commit to coming and putting in the work to improve your range of motion, it will translate over into other areas of your workouts as well. Your lifts will become easier and more powerful and you will be able to increase weight. It isn’t in our programming just for filler. It’s necessary it to get the gains! Training the muscles and joints to move past their current limits is one of the most effective ways to see improvements in your lifts. It does not have to be complicated or overthought- it just has to be done.
Now get to mobilizing. And we expect to see you all on Wednesdays for RomWOD!