In Crossfit, our muscles are worked hard and occasionally can get super tight. Sometimes these tight muscles can become so tight that they begin to look like injuries. More often than not, a bad knee, back, or shoulder is simply a result of tight muscles in the surrounding area. Here are six mobility exercises to increase range of motion and decrease pain. Spending just two minutes a day on each move can work wonders for your body.You can test your range of motion before and after: you should notice improvements almost immediately. As you may have seen, I run through this circuit 5x every sunday and have increased mobility and decreased nagging injuries as a result.
1. Posterior hip mobilization
EXECUTION: On all fours, position a stretching band around one quad, then place that foot in front of the opposite knee. Oscillate your hip against the band’s pull.
GOOD FOR: Loosening up a stiff hip capsule or making you more efficient on a bike, in a kayak, or whenever you are in hip flexion.
2. Shoulder extension, external rotation
EXECUTION: Place your hand through a stretching band and rotate your palm up. Grip the band and lean back, stretching your arm above your head and engaging the lat muscle.
GOOD FOR: Opening up shoulder joints, which are particularly tight among swimmers and climbers.
3. Anterior hip mobilization
EXECUTION: Place the stretching band around one quad’s hip crease and stretch that leg back, placing the knee on the ground and slowly rotating the hip forward.
GOOD FOR: Loosening up tight hip flexors, common among runners, cyclists, and rowers.
4. Ankle dorsiflexion
EXECUTION: Standing up, place stretching band just above the ankle and step forward with that leg. Move knee forward and oscillate outward. Repeat facing the other direction.
GOOD FOR: Ankle flexibility, which helps save runners tremendous energy.
5. 10-minute deep-squat test
EXECUTION: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and lower your hips to your ankles, making sure to keep your feet flat on the ground. Remain in that position for 10 minutes, moving slightly to stimulate circulation.
GOOD FOR: Increasing mobility in the ankles, knees, and hips.
6. Couch stretch
EXECUTION: Start on all fours with your feet against the wall. Raise one leg so the shin and foot lie flat against the wall, then step the other leg forward, foot beneath you. Engage glutes, quads, and hip flexors by arching and relaxing your back.
GOOD FOR: Opening up the entire anterior muscle chain, allowing you to fully extend your hips, knees, and ankles.