Jun / 10
Alright folks, it’s time to be honest with one another. How much time do you devote to stretching and improving your flexibility? No the yawn and stretch before bed or after waking up doesn’t count, and yes we incorporate dynamic stretches into the warmups from time to time, but beyond those times do you take time to stretch? For me, the answer tends to be no as I usually find some excuse to talk myself out of it or distract myself and conveniently forget to come back and stretch. Whether I’m too drained from the workout, my muscles are too tight and/or tired right now, I’m rushing out of the gym to somewhere else, or I just don’t have time right now I think I’ve used every excuse there is to avoid stretching. Sure I roll on the foam roller or use the lacrosse ball to help loosen up my muscles, but what am I really doing to help improve my flexibility beyond the workout I’m preparing for? Sadly, the answer is not much.
Roger Harrell discussed stretching and flexibility in a 2006 CrossFit Journal article. In his opinion, gaining flexibility is primarily about discipline (exactly what I didn’t want to hear). That’s right folks, there’s no quick fixes when it comes to improving flexibility, just like there’s no quick and easy way to get stronger either. If we want to get stronger, we lift. Well, if we want to get flexible we have to stretch…at least once a day, at a very minimum, is Roger’s recommendation…but shoot for multiple times per day in order to see quicker improvements. Also, he recommends that shorter, more frequent stretching is better than longer sessions, less frequently. That means that 7 ten minute sessions a week is much more beneficial than 1 seventy minute session a week. He also emphasizes some light, dynamic stretching mixed into a warm-up, but that stretching post WOD is where we’ll get the most bang for our buck because our muscles are warm, more relaxed, and are better able to work through their range of motion. That means instead of sprinting out the door as soon as you finish your WOD, consider taking 5-10 minutes to cool down by stretching off to the side.
Kelly Starrett of CrossFit San Francisco, PT guru and Recovery extraordinaire, has a wealth of knowledge in this area. He runs the CrossFit Mobility and Recovery Seminars and films video clips for the CrossFit Journal on the subject of improving flexibility and mobility. One such clip appeared recently in the Journal and may help many of us incorporate stretching into our workdays. In the Executive Stretching Series Kelly introduce some stretches that those of us who have desk jobs wouldn’t be embarrassed to do at work. It’s as simple as sitting up tall in our chair, crossing one leg over so that the ankle is on the opposite knee, and leaning forward to stretch. You can also stretch your hamstring by propping a leg on something and leaning forward in a similar manner. Kelly in a big proponent of contract-relax stretching whereby you hold a stretch for 10 seconds or so, actively resist for 5 seconds, relax, then sink a little bit deeper. We’re all extremely dedicated when it comes to getting stronger and kicking ass in our met-cons, so let’s show we’re disciplined enough to stretch at least once a day.
50 Thrusters @ 45#