“Of course a leopard doesn’t stretch. A leopard has full physical capacity available at all times. It can attack and defend with full power at any moment. Unlike humans, it doesn’t need to prep for movement. It doesn’t need to activate its glutes; it doesn’t have to foam-roll; it doesn’t have to raise its core temperature – it’s just ready.”
– Dr. Kelly Starrett, Becoming a Supple Leopard
Unfortunately, you are not a leopard. You DO need to prep your body for movement. The beauty of it is that the more work you put in ahead of time, the better prepared you will be and the less work you will have to do when it’s time to get ready. You can become more of a “Supple Leopard”.
Mobility work is of vital importance for the Crossfit athlete. Whether you are a Games athlete or someone simply looking to improve his or her general fitness level, you should be doing mobility as a warm up and cool down to the WOD (Workout Of the Day). I would encourage all athletes to arrive at the box a few minutes early to start getting loosened up. Pre-WOD you should work on increasing blood flow to muscles and preparing the body for exercise. This can be accomplished through:
– Myofascial release via lacrosse ball or barbell smashing
– Dynamic movements focusing on movement patterns being used during the WOD
Don’t forget about cooling down after the workout though. This is the time that your body is most ready to make gains in flexibility and work on any areas that felt restricted during the WOD. Things to do Post-WOD include:
– Long-hold Static Stretches
– Dynamic PNF Pattern Stretches
– More dynamic movements focusing on areas that felt tight or limiting
Simply explore the end ranges of motion for a joint. If athletes are expected to achieve specific movement standards we have to get them moving in a way to reach those standards.
However, mobility work does not need to be limited to pre and post WOD. Mobility can be done anytime. Spend 10-15 minutes daily, in addition to your normal workout routine. In the evening while watching TV is a great time. The biggest thing is to do something every day, in order to increase your movement and improve performance.
We are all works in progress and need to constantly address areas that feel tight or restrictive. Do not be afraid to solicit feedback from your teammates at the box as well. I have noticed decreased range of motion in others that they didn’t even notice until it was pointed out and the same has been done for me. So just as you brush your teeth and hit the WOD, make mobility a part your daily routine too. Before you know it, you’ll be that much closer to being a “Supple Leopard”.