This CF Adaptations Series has already covered IWCABTMD, Cardiovascular/ Respiratory Endurance, Stamina, and Strength. Today is all about one of the most neglected aspect of fitness for most folks- Flexibility.
Flexibility is described as the ability to maximize the range of motion (ROM) at a given joint.
As a former distance runner, I know all about pushing my body for hours and then giving a cursory 30-90 seconds to my “stretching routine.” Many of you guys do the same- you run or WOD, stretch out the hammies and quads for a bit and call it a day. But if you’re a CrossFitter (or athlete in general)…could you, should you do better?
The answer is a resounding YES!
Because inflexibility will hinder your performance and/or cause injury, especially as it relates to CrossFit movements. If your shoulders/ pecs are tight you’ll have to work much harder in an overhead squat or press than another athlete that has good ROM. If your hamstrings are like steel cords, they’re going to overpower your low back in the bottom of a squat and tilt your pelvis. If your ankle joints are locked down and your calves are like rocks, you’re going to tip forward onto the balls of your feet in a squat clean.
None of these things are good. They all will cause upstream and downstream reactions in your body to adapt and overcome your limited flexibility. Undoubtedly, this reaction is not going to be an optimum position to efficiently produce force, especially long term (ie. you may get away with it 1-5 times but at high reps, no).
Best case scenario- the movements you do begin to increase your flexibility.
Worst case scenario- you get hurt.
You don’t have to leave it to chance. There are a TON of resources to help you increase your flexibility. I will list some for you starting…..now:
Kelly Starrett- His Mobility WOD project is just the ticket to fix what ails you. He’s a really big deal! -Mobility WOD
Gymnastics WOD- Learn, stretch, move your body. -Gymnastics WOD
There you have it! Now you know why flexibility is important and why you should work on it. Think of it like a 2nd WOD. It really is just as important as the workout you’re doing each day.
Stay Stretchy My Friends!
Dr. Chris Biles, DC is the head trainer and owner of CrossFit Waxahachie. He is a Level 1 CrossFit Certified Trainer and is passionate about all things fitness. He has competed for many years in adventure racing, mountain and road bike racing, and marathons. His main sport now is the new Sport of Fitness- CrossFit.