by Coach Fox
Mobility refers to the body's ability to actively move within a given range of motion. Our joints were made to move through full ranges of motion (reaching our arms straight overhead or lowering into a squat), but life can seriously affect our mobility in a negative way if we let it. Sitting in a chair with your upper body hunched over a computer and your shoulders rolled forward can lead to decreased mobility over time and a reduced ability to perform simple everyday movements that our body is supposed to do.
One of my resolutions for 2019 was to improve my mobility, especially in my shoulders, as I was tired of feeling awkward raising my arms to take off a T-shirt, twisting my arm back to put my jacket, or sometimes even just turning the steering wheel. So this is my year to change all that!
Committing to improving mobility will be beneficial in terms of your WOD efficiency and overall health. There are a ton of great shoulder stretches you can do with a headband, towel, PVC, or partner that will do wonders for your mobility (these can be another article), but here are a few of my favorite quick and easy shoulder exercises you can do anywhere without equipment.
Rotations: 10 repetitions forward and 10 repetitions back each
- Shoulder rotations - hands by your side, shrug shoulders in circles
- Arm rotations (external) - arms stretched out to the side, thumbs up, move arms in small circles in large circles
- Arm rotations (internal) - arms stretched out to the side, thumbs down, move arms in small circles in large circles
Dynamic stretches: 10 repetitions of each
- Shoulder swings (flexion / extension) - start with one arm at the side and the other arm extended above your head, gently swing the arm above your head and the arm to the side above your head. Gradually increase the speed of the swings.
- Shoulders- start with your arms at your side and elbows bent, then wrap your arms around your torso (as if you are hugging yourself), then pull your elbows behind your body.
- Wall slides - stand against the wall and place your hips, upper back and shoulder blades back and down, rib cage tucked in and keep elbows and hands in contact with the wall. From this position, gently apply pressure and slowly move up and down.
Passive stretching: hold for 1 minute
- Child pose - lower yourself onto wide knees, pull your belly button towards your spine and sit towards your heels, allow your upper body to bend towards the floor and extend your arms down, palms down.
- Thread the needle pose - in the child's pose above, slide your right arm under your left arm with the palm facing up. Let your right shoulder drop to the floor. Put your right ear on the floor and look to your left. Repeat with the left arm.
- Door stretch - stand in the doorway with arms at your sides and elbows at a 90 degree angle, slowly walk forward until you feel a slight stretch in your chest and shoulders.
What are your favorite ways to engage?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Coach Fox is a CF-L1 coach who enjoys sharing her passion for the sport with others. There is no better feeling for her than seeing someone become a better version of themselves through CrossFit. To learn more about her, see his biography.
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Don’t Be Afraid tera Ask For Clarification, Over and Over and Over Again. It’s your time, money, and most importantly, your health we’re talking about here. If you don’t fully understand something during class, ask. If you still don’t get it, ask again. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you don’t fully grasp the concept, or you think others in the class will get frustrated with you for taking up too much time… they probably have the same exact question. We were all newbies at one point. We’ve all been there. Learning the mechanics of certain movements like the squat, sdt, or any of the Olympic lifts takes lots of practice and critique from a trained eye. If you need help, just ask.
CrossFit Isn’t Everything. CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that focuses on building general physical preparedness ( GPP ). It is quickly evolving into a sport of its own, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be your sport or your lifeblood. A majority of people CrossFit so that they can do whatever they want : Go out, play sports, learn new things, etc. Having that GPP allows you to take on new défis. CrossFit doesn’t have to be your life. Many people CrossFit so they can have a life… and be awesome at it.
It Doesn’t Get Easier, It Just Sucks Less. The longer you immerse yourself in the suck, the less it sucks. You get stronger, build a greater aerobic capacity, and become mentally tough. All of these aspects, combined with experience, allow you to know when to push yourself and when to back off, so that you can attack each workout to the best of your ability.
You Won’t PR Every Day. Don’t mistake intensity for hard work. Even if you’re having a bad day and the intensity just isn’t there, you can still get a lot out of your time in the gym through hard work. Intensity and work are not the same thing. Don’t skip a planned session just because you don’t think you’re going to kill it and leave everything out on the table. Not feeling too strong that day ? Something is always better than nothing.
Introduce yourself to others in the class. How will this help you ask ? When you introduce yourself to someone you’ll feel more comfortable in the class and realize that you’re not the only one that’s new to CrossFit. So instead of feeling totally nervous and awkward holding a PVC pipe overhead, you feel a little bit more at ease and focus more on what you’re doing.
Keep a journal. Write down the warm-up, the skill, the WOD, and your results. This will greatly accelerate your progress. We often do workouts and lifts based on weights and reps that we have previously done. If you don’t know which kettlebell to use because you never recorded the weight you used last week, then you end up picking the wrong weight. Write stuff down and be able to reference it.
Listen to the Coach. He/she is there for a reason. They spent time studying the subject matter. They have coached hundreds to thousands of people on these movements. Your buddy that watched a couple of Youtube films is not lateral to that.
Firebreather. Beast. Rock vedette. You’ll hear a lot of different terminology used to describe those athletes who kill every workout, and blow everyone else away. Here in our gym, we consider every one of our athletes a rock'n'roll vedette. Hey, it takes huge cojones just to show up and do these insane WODs. Be proud of yourself and what you accomplish here. We sure as hell are.
Walk into any box ( that’s CrossFit speak for the gym itself ) and you’ll be greeted by clanging weights, clouds of chalk and whiteboards scribbled with acronyms like “AMRAP” and “EMOM. ” With insider speak that almost qualifies as its own language and raw, rough-around-the-edges spaces, CrossFit can definitely be intimidating to try. And even though many of the 10, 000 affiliate gyms offer your first workout free, beginners may still feel overwhelmed by the culture of the popular strength and conditioning program.
So what should you really expect if and when you dive into the world of CrossFit ? We turned to five athletes who’ve sweated through years of WODs ( aka workouts of the day ) for the advice they wish they’d gotten when they first started.
“Each culture, expert and [workout] space is very different, ” says Anna Willard, a CrossFit athlete at CrossFit Merrimack in Lowell, MA, as well as a constituer professional middle-distance runner. ( She snagged a world record in the steeplechase in 2008, but no longer competes. ) She recommends trying out a couple of different boxes before committing yourself — and your credit card — to one. “Don’t necessarily go to the place that is the most ‘convenient, ’” Willard says. Look for that one gym that’ll keep you coming back — so take note of each box’s programming ( aka the structure of workouts ) and study the overall vibe of the community before ponying up for a package.