Crossfit Mobility- Hips and Shoulders

by ~jenniferlynn on September 9, 2013

in CrossFit, Guest Posts

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!

Crossfit Mobility for Hips and Shoulders. For more resources on Crossfit, women's strength training, and more, check out!

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

Crossfit Mobility for Hips; a look at various stretches to help mobilize hips for Crossfit from @winetoweights blog. For more Crossfit-related posts, check out

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.

crossfit mobility hips seven stretch hip mobility

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.

crossfit mobility hips seven stretch hip mobility

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.

crossfit mobility hips seven stretch hip mobility

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.crossfit mobility hips couch stretch hip mobility

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.

crossfit mobility hips couch stretch hip mobility

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.

crossfit mobility hips band stretch hip mobility

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 hips band stretch hip mobility

Crossfit Mobility for Shoulders

Crossfit Mobility for Shoulders; a look at various stretches to help mobilize shoulders for Crossfit from @winetoweights blog. For more Crossfit-related posts, check out

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.

crossfit mobility shoulder mobility shoulder band stretch

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.

crossfit mobility shoulder mobility shoulder band stretch

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.crossfit mobility shoulder mobility shoulder band stretch

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!

crossfit mobility shoulder mobility shoulder barbell stretch

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.

crossfit mobility shoulder mobility shoulder barbell stretch

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.

crossfit mobility equipment mobility band foam roller lacrosse ball

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!


Your turn..
Do you do specific warm-up stretching before your workouts?
Have you ever used bands to stretch?
Do you have a partner-in-fitness?

Disclaimer: Some of the links above may be affiliate links in which I will receive a small commission to help support my blogging efforts.

Jill E. September 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm

great post! i am always looking for variations on stretches that go deeper. your 7 stretch the last part is called pigeon pose by yoga people ( and it rocks but that is a good way to describe it and like how you start that looks tough but good. on the shoulder stuff when facing away from the rig I bend my arm, so my elbow is near my ear, that feels good. and then i swing around facing the rig and bend and stick my butt out and pull away and circle my arm 15 or so times either way. I am going to try to last one but with a super weak band. Thanks!
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~jenniferlynn September 18, 2013 at 10:37 am

Love pigeon pose! I found there is a way that it feels comfortable though and have to make sure I am pushing myself to make the position feel like it’s supposed to feel.. like pushing your front leg more perpendicular to your body or not resting your forearms on the ground when you stretch.

I’m scared of the last stretch!

Danielle @ It's A Harleyyy Life
Twitter: itsaharleyylife
September 17, 2013 at 7:36 am

I hateeeeeee the couch stretch haha– thanks for sharing– there are a couple here that we don’t do at our box!

~jenniferlynn September 18, 2013 at 10:36 am

HURTS SO GOOD… ehh… lol. We’ll be doing some of these similar stretches in class and the coach feels inclined to help “push” us into proper position to make sure we feel it.. eek!

Caitlin September 17, 2013 at 11:25 am

Bookmarking for use at the gym tomorrow. I can’t believe how tight my hips have been getting as a result of all the riding and running I’ve been doing lately, and a bunch of these stretches look like they will help with that. Great post.
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~jenniferlynn September 18, 2013 at 10:35 am

Were you able to try any of these out? I definitely need to work on hip mobility myself!! The extra running I have been doing have been making for some unhappy hips!

simone March 13, 2015 at 6:03 am

I have tried to use the WTwL code at checkout and it no longer works

AlissaScharf May 1, 2015 at 3:04 am

Great post, as I just got through jamming a lacrosse ball into my front shoulder. I have a great cross fit box but mobility is not pushed much and I know I need to do it more, particularly shoulders and hips. I’m glad I found your site!

~jenniferlynn May 1, 2015 at 8:53 am

Welcome!! 🙂

Yeah – and this is something I know to this day I still need a reminder of often! I usually remember that I need to focus on it after I have an issue 🙁

~jenniferlynn April 7, 2016 at 10:48 am

Thanks so much for the link back! 😀

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