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Archive for the ‘Mobility’ Category

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.



Friday, April 5th, 2013

A good read on how parts of our bodies are interconnected. A strong tie between available dorsiflexion (ability to lift the top of your foot relative to your tibia, in gymnastics flexed toes) and low back pain. Those with more room in dorsiflexion tended to report less mechanical lower back issues. This ties in well with the post on calf mobility. A key point in the article is that most adults report low back pain at some point (some studies indicate 85%). So if you haven’t had low back pain you are lucky. This is why training movement and strength is so important.

Up the Chain It Goes