Sharing tips for Crossfit mobility for hips and shoulders, Lisa of Fabulous in Fayetteville is guest-blogging today on injury prevention techniques. This super strong chickie has had her share of injuries in the past, so is excited to share what she has learned along the way with my readers. You can read more about her Crossfit experiences over on her blog.
Mobility is probably the most overlooked and underestimated part of Crossfit. I am guilty myself of undercutting the effort I should be spending on mobility.
All of the work we do at Crossfit will push our body to its limits. You can’t expect a machine to run perfectly without any maintenance. When you stretch properly and “break up” the scar tissue in your body, things will run a lot smoother. Trust me, I know!
I’m Lisa! I have been doing Crossfit for a year and a half and have endured my share of back pain, knee pain, and various other issues. Different bodies are affected by Crossfit in different ways so I would like to share a few of my favorite ways to keep my body running on all cylinders.
It would take a million years to explain how to mobilize everything (not that I even know….) so I just want to focus a couple of big problem causing hotspots: hips and shoulders! I like to spend time opening up my hips and shoulders before WODs so that I won’t feel all “junky” while I am trying to move quickly and efficiently through the movements. Here are some ways I do that.
Start by getting warm: row 500m or maybe just a walk from the car carrying a heavy bag in 95 degree heat if you’re short on time.
Crossfit Mobility for Hips
The “seven” stretch. I’m not sure what it’s really supposed to be called but that’s what I call it. Go into a deep lunge with your knee directly over your ankle. In this position I like to move my knee in circles both clockwise and counter-clockwise.
Then you roll out onto the side of your foot to get deeper into the stretch. Not pictured, but you can also rotate your shoulders towards your knee to help get a little deeper.
Once you’re ready you can pull your leg underneath you so that your shin is perpendicular to your body so that your leg is like a 7 on the floor.
One of the most popular stretches that people do at our box is called the “couch stretch”. You kneel in front of a wall and use it to stretch your quad and hip. It can take some getting used to–I like to put an ab mat under my knee for that one.
The photos of Brad show an easier version and deeper more intense stretch. Ideally, you should aim to hold this stretch for about 2 minutes per leg.
Next is band stretching. We find that the pull-up rig is a great place to anchor bands 😉 There are several things you can do with them for hips and shoulders. My motto with this is that if it feels like it’s doing something good, then keep doing it. Placing a band around your upper leg and kneeling is a great way to add another dimension to stretching the hips. You can face toward or away from the direction of the pull.
You could add another dimension by having a friend press their foot into the band which creates a stronger pull from a new angle. You can also put the band around your waist to get a nice pull on your squat position.
Crossfit Mobility for Shoulders
Now for shoulders! Let’s stay with the bands for a sec. Hang one from the pull-up bar, stick your arm through the loop and grab the band and then slowly bring your weight forward while your arm is overhead. You should feel it in your tricep, lat, and shoulder.
Try anchoring the band to your wrist and hold the arm straight for a little bit different variation.
This last shoulder band stretch is hardcore…. place the band around your shoulder and put our hand on your lower back and carefully lower yourself all the way to the floor if you can.
You might need to start with a pretty loose band the first time you do this.
It will pull your shoulders back. I love this one because I am in a desk for 8 hours a day and I feel like it helps counteract some of my bad posture habits. I tend to feel this one in my chest and the front of my shoulder.
This last stretch is a shoulder stretch you can do on a barbell in a rack, or any other bar that is anchored in one spot. This particular stretch was Brad’s idea, and not one that I regularly do because I just tried it for the first time, ha!
Stand with your back to the bar and place your hands on it with your thumbs facing outward. Lower yourself by lunging forward. The closer your grip is on the barbell, the more you will feel it in the front of your shoulders.
You can do an intense variation of this hanging from rings, but I haven’t quite worked my way up to that one yet!
There are so many other great stretches out there, it is completely impossible to sum them up in one article, so just keep trying new things and find out which ones your body responds best to.
Crossifit Mobility Equipment and Resources
Other stuff I do to keep the junk out: rolling around on a lacrosse ball. You’ve probably heard of the foam roller—GREAT tool, but if you really want to dig into the gnarly bits you need a ball. Lacrosse balls are perfect! They are super inexpensive and very portable and provide a nice firm grind.
Also I recommend getting a massage once in a while. It’s not something I am able to do often, but when my budget and schedule allow, it is a FANTASTIC way to get some relief.
Last, but not least, I am a big believer in the Active Release Technique or ART.
What is it? In a nutshell, the practitioner will press into the junky area while shortening and lengthening the muscle which helps break up the “strandy” part of the damaged tissue. If you are lucky enough to live near an ART practitioner then you should go see them! I am lucky enough that my insurance covers part of it. 🙂 The practitioner I found also does chiropractic which is an added bonus. It took a pretty gnarly injury to get me to go in the first place, but now I make a point to go once every two weeks for maintenance and it’s been extremely helpful for keeping me off the sidelines!
If you Crossfit you should use your fellow Crossfitters as a resource! It’s a great idea to ask around the gym. Where to people go for massages? Does anyone know a good chiropractor/ physical therapist/ acupuncturist?
Special thanks to my incredibly strong, talented, and intelligent boyfriend Brad for taking pictures and modeling stretches!
Do you do specific warm-up stretching before your workouts?
Have you ever used bands to stretch?
Do you have a partner-in-fitness?
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