Friday Funday!//Know your fitness domains- Flexibility
MetCon//Athletes choice...kind of
Karen or Jackie...
choose the workout you didn't do on 5.28.15
No Class this Saturday. Mac, Leigh and I are competing in Bend this weekend! Swing by CrossFit Type 44 if you're in the area Saturday and cheer us on!
In the previous installment of "Know your fitness domains" I talked about Stamina, but today I want to spin off of Accuracy and talk about flexibility. Why is flexibility even a domain? Flexibility is a vital piece to this whole puzzle. A good example is the workout Fran. You can shave entire minutes off of your Fran time (considering it is still above the 5 minute mark) by only improving your flexibility. Thrusters suck, unless of course you can front squat with all four fingers around the bar and a vertical chest.
Note that there are a lot of very good athletes who have very poor flexibility. Right how, we have some athletes who cannot sit upright on the floor with their feet extended in front of them. I've worked with high school athletes who couldn't squat passed parallel without all the weight in the gym on the barbell, and even my previous CrossFit coach would refuse to demonstrate an air squat at the early morning classes. Everyone I just described are very good athletes and even without good flexibility. Thats not to say we shouldn't train to increase our fitness in the flexibility domain.
Maybe I'm becoming a broken record by telling you how your previous idea of each of these domains were skewed, but here we go with Flexibility// Myth. the only way to increase your flexibility is through stretching. Since we strive for full ranges of motion in our workouts, nearly everything we do in CrossFit is increasing your flexibility. A great example is the thruster or overhead squat. The full depth squat with a load in your front rack or overhead forces you down into end ranges of your squat that you might not reach without a load. Yes a quad and hamstring stretch can help you achieve that depth, but nothing quite develops that flexibility like actually doing the movement. So never should you say, I'm just not flexible enough to do that yet. actually doing those movements are what develop the flexibility you're looking for.
Myth. I need the bar and weight to squat low enough because I'm inflexible// I know I just got done explaining how a load can help us develop flexibility. Which is it? If you're missing the bottom range of your squat, it's likely not a flexibility issue, but rather a stability issue (strength). Much like endurance vs stamina, you'd be surprised what you're capable of when you are intentional about stabilizing your trunk and pelvis. A great example would be an unnamed athlete--I'll call him the clock-- who can sit and reach and wrap his hands over his toes onto the souls of his feet, but we're continually urging him lower in his squat. He can get there no problemo when he tightens his trunk!
Those athletes, the inflexible ones who are still very powerful, yah those guys, imagine if they could exert that same force from rock bottom of a squat. Sure a 300lb front squat is impressive, but a 300lb clean is even more impressive-- and fitter if you're measuring work done.
The real gem of flexibility though is injury prevention. If our muscles don't stretch, they'll tear, or worse yet, they'll tear connective tissues that take ages to heal or require surgery.
The takeaway// Get serious about your flexibility. That's not limited to stretching, but when we're stretching, take it seriously, consider it an important part of the workout. Mobilize throughout the day. Inactivity is the enemy so limit sitting. And when we're training, really strive for full ranges of motion.