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The Benefits of Mobility & Stretching

Lockdown has not kept me from pursuing CrossFit training, I’ve had outdoor space and some equipment to continue with my training. One thing, I have done over the past months is to integrate more stretching and mobility elements into my CrossFit training regime.

Some of the benefits I’ve noticed by continuously setting time apart to mobilise my body are:

Improved Circulation

Before or after an intense CrossFit session, it is beneficial to take approximately 15 minutes to stretch and mobilise your body to prepare your body for the movements or as a way of cooling down. Stretching allows the body to cool down and helps the heart return back to a normal heart rate. The use of stretching also breaks down the feeling of lactic acid that would have built up in your muscles, this then helps in your recovery.

Increased Energy Levels

By incorporating a stretching session into my daily routine, my energy levels have risen, and I feel more inclined to do a training session. Stretching is beneficial after a session because once the body cools down, the brain receives signals to release endorphins – the “feel good” hormones.

Increased Muscular Coordination

Regular stretches support muscle coordination and help your muscles work together in sync. I have found that stretching helps my mobility with movements that I usually struggle with, such as a snatch, just because it slowly gives me a better range of movement.

An example mobility routine for the whole body:

Hinge wall stretch (2 min)

– Hands flat against the wall
– Arms and legs tense, push pelvis backwards
– Maintain a natural lumbar curve

Back stretch (3 min)

– Soles of the feet together
– Arms go under the legs from the inside and reach for the tips of your feet
– Fully roll the back and head forward

Butterfly (2 min)

– Plant of the feet in contact
– Knees pushed outwards and downwards
– Back straight

Manual triceps stretch (2 min each side)

– Flat hand in the back, as low as possible
– Opposite hand pulls the elbow inwards and downwards
– Tightened abdominals

Shoulder external rotation with pipe (1 min each side)

– Straight torso
– Elbow pointed straight ahead
– Hand slightly open on PVC

Side to side shoulder stretch (2 min)

– Arms stretched out on one side, flexed on the other
– Shoulder width outstretched arms in contact with the ground
– Slow and controlled arm-to-arm transitions

Aimee Cringle