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Archive for the ‘Mobility’ Category

WOD Recovery Yoga for High Rep Wall Balls

Friday, July 25th, 2014

How many Wall Ball shots does it take to make sitting down impossible for a few days post WOD? I am going to say roughly 150.

So there you are walking into your Box ready to workout, and there it is on the whiteboard, Karen, for time. Cancel all your plans for the next few days because functioning like a normal human being will inevitably be quiet challenging. Most athletes, regardless of fitness, will find 150 repetitions of any movement taxing on the body.  Post WOD soreness isn’t immediate, which means the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) strikes hard around 24-48 hours. Knowing this, and knowing that this type of movement works almost all of the major muscle groups, it is important to take the necessary steps to keep the muscles limber and mobile before the peak of the soreness hits.

Think of Wall Balls as low weight Thrusters with an added rest. In both movements, there is a low squat, the drive for explosive power and a press, but unlike Thrusters, we have a second or two to rest our arms as the ball leaves our hands and prepare for the catch. Now one thing about High Rep Wall Balls is that at some point when fatigue overrides form, strange things can occur. Maybe you begin looking up, straining the back of your neck or your torso dips down when you catch the ball causing unnecessary load on the low back. In the days following the WOD take note of that for form corrections. For the purpose of this article, we will focus more on the main target muscles when Wall Balls are done correctly.

These 6 WOD Recovery Yoga Poses will focus on stretching the following; low back, quads, glutes, neck, outer hips, hamstrings, inner groin, deltoids and triceps. Run through this sequence 2-3 times in the days following the High Rep Wall Ball WOD.  Use the breath to release the tension in the body as you stretch by focusing on slowly breathing in and out through the nose.

**Since intense soreness and limited range of motion can play a huge roll in mobility post WOD, go slow, and only do what you can. It is best to do these poses once you are a little warm. Stay in each pose up to 2 minutes.

  1. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose)

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Starting in a table top position, hands under the shoulders, knees under the hips, bring your right knee towards your right wrist and begin to extend the left leg back. Then, roll towards the front of your left thigh so your hips are square to the ground. Walk the hands away from the front shin and fold forward. You will feel a targeted stretch in the right glute.

**Pigeon pose can create a lot of tension in the knee if you hip is very tight, so if you are feeling any pain, switch to, Sucirandhrasana  “Eye of the Kneedle.” See below.

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Start by lying on the floor. Bend your left knee and place the foot on the ground. Right foot will go over and above your left knee and while keeping the right foot flexed, draw your left knee into your chest. You can choose to grab the back of the left thigh or front of the shin. Continue to press the right knee away from your chest as you draw your left knee in.

2. Ardha Malasana (Half One-Legged Squat)

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Start by lowering into the bottom of your air squat. Extend the right leg out to the right, flexing the foot and pressing firmly through the right heel. Keeping your left heel down, let the hips sink down to the ground, slowly deepening the stretch in the right hamstring. Fingertips can stay on the ground for balance.

3. Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)

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Begin by kneeling on the ground. Bring the top of the head to the ground near the knees. As you begin to slowly roll towards the back of the head bringing the chin closer to the chest, widen the upper back, the hips will lift and the hands will reach towards the heels for leverage. The back of the neck and upper back is the target of this stretch.

4.Gomukhasana Arms (Cow Facing Pose-Arms)

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Start by sitting on the heels feet and shins together. Bend the right elbow and grab it with the left hand. Draw the right elbow in towards the midline, making sure that the right tricep is rolling forward. From here, reach the left arm around the back, palm facing out. Walk the left fingertips towards the right and claps them together if possible. If not, use a strap or band to modify.

5. Extended Baddha Konasana (Extended Bound Angle Pose)

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Start in a seated position with the soles of the feet together and knees wide. Extend the feet forward so that you make a diamond shape with the legs. On your exhale, bring the hands around the outside of the feet (for leverage), round the back and reach the forehead to the heels

6. Supta Matsyendrasana  (Supine Twist with Quad Stretch)

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Start by lying on your back and draw one knee into the chest keeping the other leg extended on the ground. Gently draw your knee across the body. Let the shoulders drop down to the ground.  From there, bend the bottom knee and grab the foot with the opposite hand.

Lower Back Mobility

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Another good video from MobilityWOD.

For those of you who refuse to watch videos, he’s putting his feet on a box to stretch the lower back muscles, then smashing them with a lacrosse ball by rolling laterally, just above the ilium.

Workout for May 23, 2013:

A) 5 Minutes shoulder mobility

B) For time: 20 right-arm dumbbell snatches (60/40lb) / run 400m / 30 pull-ups / run 400m / 20 left-arm dumbbell snatches (60/40lbs).  10 minute cut-off.

C) 12-12-12 standing barbell twists / good mornings / bent arm dumbbell flyes

D) Tabata sit-ups

E) 5-minutes hip mobility


A) 15 minute clock: run 800m, then AMRAP with remaining time: 5 deadlifts (50/35kg) / 15 sit-ups.

B) 6-min EMOM: run 50m / 3 burpees

CrossFit is a Sport…

Monday, May 20th, 2013

…and sports are dangerous.

This looks worse than it is.  But it looks pretty bad!

This looks worse than it is. But it looks pretty bad!

There’s an injury risk for any sport that you play.  And while it’s been said that sitting on the couch is way more dangerous than doing CrossFit, the fact remains that people get hurt doing CrossFit.  This is one of the biggest points that CrossFit’s detractors make on a regular basis.  ”Exercise isn’t supposed to hurt people, but CrossFit does.”

It’s a valid point that exercise shouldn’t cause injury, but the problem is that CrossFit isn’t just exercise.  Sure, we do movements that you see in other exercise routines, such as push-ups and running.  But we also do movements that are entire sports, such as weight lifting, and we do them in a competitive setting, constantly trying to beat our last time, or to win against other people in the class.

Just like many people play other sports, like softball, to get exercise and stay in shape, us CrossFitters “play” the sport of CrossFit to stay in shape.  It has the advantage of including a combination of functional movements from many other sports, so it gets us in good shape to play many other sports, but, like all other sports, it has a risk of injury.

So, my answer to people when they ask about whether or not CrossFit is dangerous is, yes, it’s a dangerous sport.  But so is soccer, cycling, track, and wrestling.  The key here is to remember that when you’re doing CrossFit, you’re participating in a sport, you’re not just working out.  This is one of the reasons that we’re including so much ancillary and mobility work: those things help keep you mobile and strengthen the parts that are most likely to get injured during the WOD.

Pay attention to your mobility and other work.  Avoid injury by training and playing smart.

Shoulder Mobility Trick from Amanda

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Here’s a really good shoulder warm up that Amanda learned a few weeks ago at the Olympic lifting seminar with Dianne Fu.  Check it out:

Workout for 5/16/13:

A) 5-5-5 Burgener Warm-up with a bar.

B) 5 minutes shoulder mobility

C) 12-12-12 bent arm dumbbell flyes / hip extensions

D) 10-minutes of ring work: supports, L-sits, inverted hangs, levers, ice cream makers, etc.  Tailor to athelete’s needs.

E) Tabata push-ups


3 Rounds of max reps in 1-min of the following: Jump rope / Ab mat sit-ups / 60′ shuttle sprints / burpees / rest. (Takes 15 minutes)

Mobility Trick of the Week

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Here’s a couple of quick tricks if you’re having trouble getting a good front rack.

Workout for May 9, 2013

A) 4 rounds for time: run 200m / 25 squats - 10-minute cut-off

B) 5 Minutes lower back mobility

C) Deadlift 3-3-3-3-3.  Go heavy and work your way up.  Rest 3-5 minutes between.  Work on pull-ups, chest-to-bar pull-ups, Icecream Makers, or muscle-ups during rest.

Forearm Mobility

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Here’s a MobilityWOD post suggested by Bill B.  Check it out.

Workout for May 2, 2013:

A) 10-10-10 single leg dumbbell Romanian Deadlift / 10-10-10 GHD sit up / 400m run (easy)

B) Ankle mobility

C) For time: 21-15-9 kettlebell swing (2/1.5 pood)/ 7-5-3 muscle-up - 7-minute cut-off

Sleep Mobility

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Here’s a very good MobilityWOD video that Narendra R. pointed me to a few months ago.  Sleeping like this makes a huge difference.

Good luck!

Thoracic Mobility Trick

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Here’s a great (read: painful) trick for some upper spine mobility.

If you’re constantly hunched over, or just can’t keep your elbows up in a front squat, try this.

External Shoulder Rotation

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

We’re going to be doing a lot of front squats in the next few weeks.  If you don’t have a solid front rack, now is a good time to start doing mobility every day.  Here’s a great MobiltyWOD video on increasing external rotation of those shoulders.

Don’t Stretch?

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Many people have brought to my attention this article from the New York Times, with the somewhat provocative title, Reasons Not to Stretch.



While I certainly appreciate the desire to educate people about fitness myths, I feel like the article left a lot to be desired.  Of course, that could just be my frame of reference.

First, most of us in the fitness community have known for quite some time that cold static stretching doesn’t really help, and could actually hurt your performance.  There have been a number of studies showing this and it’s pretty much widely accepted at this point.  The findings of these studies are slightly less applicable for endurance athletes and more applicable for people who require explosive power at near maximum capacity– people lifting weights or playing any type of combative or contact sports.

Second, while the article points out that warming up is important, in my opinion, it underplays the importance of mobility and dynamic stretching.  Performing some key dynamic stretches that put the joints through a full range of motion with some load are important not only for performance, but for increasing flexibility and preventing injury.  We do a lot of movements that are at the terminal end of our range of motion– squats to full depth, overhead presses where the shoulder fully opens, front rack involving rotation of the shoulder and extension of the wrist, and so on– and loosening up the muscles around the appropriate joints is necessary for proper technique, which leads to better workouts and less injuries.

Finally, the article underplays the importance of stretching after the workout.  Sure, static stretching after might not actually do anything aside from make you feel a little better.  But isn’t that enough?  I mean, why do you work out, if not to feel better?  On top of this, the article is only talking about static stretching, they say nothing about additional mobility work such as myofascial release, PNF, trigger points, etc.

So we’ll stick to this formula: Warm up. Work out.  Mobilize.