Let’s be honest, if fitness were money, mobility would be the paying taxes of the CrossFit world.
We all need to do it. We all know we would be better off if we did a little work all year long to be prepared. Yet we all wait until the last minute to begrudgingly do as little as possible in hopes of a big return.
But there is hope. . .
Mobility doesn’t have to be a chore. A well planned mobility program can provide a huge return on a relatively small investment. Here are some tips to get your mobility working for you.
Know yourself, plan accordingly
With any aspect of your training, if you want results, you need a plan. Mobility is no exception.
In order to have a plan, you need at least two pieces of information: where you are starting and where you want to end up.
Start by assessing your mobility to determine what limitations you are dealing with and, more importantly, why you have mobility limitations in the first place. Your mobility program should reflect the changes you want to see. For example, if your limitation is the result of a stability issue, but you only ever address flexibility, you are unlikely to achieve the results you want (more on this to follow). Strategic planning early on will mean more bang for your buck in your mobility sessions.
Many people I speak with think of mobility as a measure of their range of motion, in other words their flexibility. However, this is only one part of mobility. Motor control, or stability, is equally important to your mobility. If your brain deems a movement unsafe, it will do it’s best to restrict that movement, keeping you safe by creating a pathological stability response. In other words, your mobility is restricted in an attempt to prevent an injury, so don’t just stretch out tight things without asking why they are tight in the first place. Instead, improve your stability and grove better movement patterns (technique), so your brain learns to recognize the movement as safe, and your mobility will improve significantly. Consistently strive to move better!
Less is more
Frequently, I see people with a foam roller, a lacrosse ball, and a grimace on their face. Say it with me:
MOBILITY WORK SHOULD NOT HURT!
Pain elicits a sympathetic nervous response, a fight or flight reaction. If your mobility work hurts, your body will guard against it, diminishing the effect. Instead, work at a level of pressure that does not induce pain. Over time, your tolerance to pressure will increase and you can go deeper, but you can’t force this to happen by pressing harder on your lacrosse ball on day 1. You wouldn’t try to improve your squat by putting 1000lbs on the bar and hoping for the best. So why do that with your mobility?
Take home message:
Assess yourself to determine your weaknesses. Or if you are unsure, visit someone trained to perform this assessment. I might know a guy. Just sayin.'
Mobilize to address these issues. Don’t forget to include stability in your mobility program.
Less is more; work within your tolerance and build over time.
Contact Dr. Dwayne to learn more ways to improve your mobility
Visit our clinics at CrossFit Connection and/or CrossFit Streets