Sunday, August 30, 2009
In the pursuit of making CrossFitters bigger, stronger, and faster, today’s CrossFit coaches are faced with many obstacles. With limited time each day spent on the CrossFit WOD and skill training. More often than not, flexibility is the first component that ends up being neglected. However, many CrossFitters today have very poor flexibility, and ignoring this can make your entire strength program inefficient. Why is flexibility so important? Without adequate range of motion, an athlete will not get the most out of a strength program. When a CrossFitter begins Olympic lifting, they usually exhibit common technical faults. Errors include improper back position, incorrect weight distribution, excessive trunk flexion, and poor knee tracking. These errors are directly related to lack of flexibility in the hips, upper and lower legs, and shoulders. Increased flexibility in the hips, shoulders, and lower legs can dramatically increase the athlete’s practical range of motion. This increased ROM then allows the CrossFitter to move more efficiently in their Olympic lifting WODs. Greater flexibility also improves speed and agility. Most athletes have some technical flaws in their running and movement mechanics, and without adequate flexibility, fixing those flaws is difficult. For a CrossFitter to powerfully accelerate, quickly decelerate, and efficiently change directions, they must be able to lower their center of gravity and manipulate their limbs with little to no internal resistance. A flexible CrossFitter is also less likely to become injured. Above all, CrossFitters who can sprint without having their stride length limited by tight hamstrings, hip flexors, or anterior shoulders, and who can quickly drop their center of gravity in the acceleration or deceleration phase uninhibited by tight hip rotators, are better athletes all around.