CrossFit focuses on functional movements and daily physical development. Both of these aspects of CrossFit rely on mobility and range of motion. Mobility and a full range of motion allow you to keep your spine neutral, keeping everything stacked for a better "base," and it improves the effectiveness of every movement. Being able to move freely makes everything easier.
Below we will discuss what mobility training is, why it’s important in CrossFit, and the benefits mobility exercises bring to one’s overall health and wellness.
What Is Mobility Training?
Mobility training incorporates mobility exercises to broaden the range of motion and movements your entire body is capable of. The key focuses of mobility exercises include strength, balance, pliability, and flexibility. The best way to prevent injuries during a workout is to use mobility training as a warm-up.
There are a wide variety of mobility exercises to try, and a mobility training routine is easy to modify so that it fits your needs and schedule. There are many options, from a pre-workoutmobility exercise to a 10-minute full-body workout to a whole yoga practice.
However, it's crucial to pay attention to your body, especially areas like your hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors, which are more prone to soreness and aches. To increase your range of motion, slowly incorporate mobility work into your workout program. Instead of immersing yourself in a full-body mobility training session, start with one or two muscle groups as your focus.
Why Is Mobility Training an Essential Part of Crossfit?
Mobility exercises are essential if you want to reach your ultimate fitness goals, such as jumping higher, curling heavier dumbbells, swinging a heavier kettlebell, doing more push-ups, boosting your cardio endurance, and so on. When attempting to achieve peak fitness and functionality, it is essential to incorporate mobility and flexibility into your workout regimen.
Exercises that increase mobility assist muscles in major weight-bearing exercises, such as barbell bench presses and squats. Without hip flexion, the ability to keep your knees bent, and the ability to hold your starting position steady, doing more than a couple of reps of these exercises can be tough.
Luckily, mobility exercises can stop your major muscle groups from becoming tight, stiff, and generally immobile, which could result in weakness and injury. That means you won’t feel your low back or shoulder blades aching as much after you leave the gym.
Mobility and flexibility are particularly crucial in CrossFit. CrossFit is full of complex movements that put a major demand on your muscles and joints. If you have a lack of mobility in your hips, thoracic spine, or shoulders, you limit the complex movements you can perform effectively, such as an overhead squat or overhead lunge.
What Are the Benefits of Mobility Training?
As discussed above, there are many benefits to mobility training. Below, we will get in-depth and discuss some of those benefits in detail.
The goal of mobility training is to improve your strength and flexibility.
Your body's capacity to handle far more intense physical stress will improve with this kind of training.
Your muscles, bones, and joints become much more resilient with strength training and adequate stretching, which lowers your risk of injury. Mobility exercise also balances out your body's muscular imbalances, reducing your risk of injury even further.
Improper form is a major cause of injuries in the gym, and your form can be affected by decreased mobility in your muscles and joints. When an exercise is performed incorrectly, your complete body is not in the best posture for the exercise, which increases the likelihood of injury.
Improving Your Posture
By adding a focus on back and shoulder mobility to your mobility workouts, you can help improve your posture.
The center of your back, from the base of your neck to where your rib cage finishes, is called your thoracic spine. You may freely turn and move your arms over your head when your thoracic spine is mobile. Poor mobility can cause upper back pain, lower back pain, poor posture, and shoulder pain.
Increasing Your Flexibility
Though mobility and flexibility are different, they ultimately go hand in hand. When you improve your mobility, your flexibility will increase as well.
While flexibility focuses more on the ability of muscle or muscle groups to lengthen passively through a range of motion, mobility focuses on the ability of joints to move actively through their full range of motion.
Flexibility is a crucial aspect of mobility because it helps your muscles move more freely around your joints.
Increasing Your Pliability
Mobility training helps you become more pliable. By completing mobility workouts, you will develop suppleness within the muscles to help them easily stretch and bend to allow the joints to move in a wider range of motion.
What Are the Key Aspects of Mobility Training?
There are many key aspects to mobility training and CrossFit. In CrossFit, there are several notable overhead exercises and other functional movements that require you to have maximum joint mobility, both in your upper body and lower body.
To help increase your hip mobility, shoulder mobility, and mobility in other specified areas, try these mobility exercises:
Fast, precise movement patterns that typically mirror sports are what make up dynamic stretching. Static stretching is frequently used alongside dynamic stretching, or in some situations, in place of it.
According to some research findings, dynamic stretching can improve muscle performance. Because it closely resembles motions that take place during future exercise, it seems to be preferable to static stretching.
Many people disregard bodyweight movements and favor weights. However, bodyweight movements are very beneficial for many reasons, one of them being an increase in mobility.
Bodyweightmobility workouts help you build on those complex movements such as overhead squats, deadlifts, thrusters, and many others.
Bodyweight movements help you move in a more controlled manner, allowing you to get deeper into your movement and increasing your mobility and flexibility. Bodyweight movements also help you build strength while getting in a stretch.
Myofascial Work (Foam Rolling)
The connective tissue that covers muscles is called fascia.
Myofascial release is a technique for increasing flexibility that involves releasing tension and tightness in the fascia. Prior to exercising, it is advised that you engage in myofascial release for at least five minutes using tools like:
- Rolling foam
- Spikey balls
- Lacrosse balls
- Tennis balls
The Bottom Line
Incorporating mobility training into your workout regime is a simple way to connect your mind and body and increase your ability to complete those more challenging movements in CrossFit pain-free.
Though mobility training is beneficial, be sure to do your research before doing a mobility workout for the first time. If you have any health concerns that might affect your ability to do mobility training be sure to speak with a personal trainer or physical therapist for guidance.
Here at Haven Athletic, we want to keep you up to date on the most beneficial ways to reach your maximum fitness goals. When you are ready, try adding these mobility exercises to your daily workout routine to see if you notice a difference.