The “S” WordOther than eating well, gaining the right amount of sleep, and routinely hitting the gym, the single most important thing any of us can do to maximize our CrossFit performance is to stretch. Stretch (and roll!) everything…with bands and foam rollers and a lacrosse ball if you have one…every day.
Ah. Easier said than done.
Our experience is our members have less of a problem taking on an actual WOD then they do with the concept – or reality — of stretching. People simply hate to do it. This makes sense: we don’t like to stretch because it hurts. It hurts because we lack mobility. We lack mobility because we don’t stretch. What a vicious — I’d even say dangerous — circle.
Before and after every WOD, you are provided with the necessary equipment, space and time to warm up and cool down. We don’t mean sitting on a foam roller gabbing with your fellow CrossFitters (there’s time for that, too). We mean the real deal. If you are not taking advantage of this, what can we do to help? If you are not stretching, what is holding you back?
What about outside the gym? Do you stretch at home? A few minutes stretching your back, calves and hamstring right when you awake can set up your day. At the office, try getting out of your chair and standing (sitting = horrible for us). Watching a movie in your living room? Why not try the couch stretch? The movie may prove a great distraction.
Dr. Kelly Starrett is a name well known throughout the CrossFit community. His blog/website,MobilityWOD.com is a tremendous resource on the topic of, well, mobility. If you haven’t checked it out, do give it a try. Also, Kelly’s bestselling book, Becoming a Supple Leopard was published earlier this year. At nearly 400 pages, it’s loaded with a plethora of easy-to-follow information on how to “resolve pain, prevent injury, and optimize athletic performance.”
By building stretching into our daily lives, we have the opportunity to minimize injury, to move more efficiently, to improve our athletic ability and overall fitness. Just as everything in CrossFit, however, it only works if we DO it.