Has your coach told you to keep reaching a little further to the “bottom” of your squat? Or maybe you feel like your form is deteriorating during WODs and it’s just harder to get it back to keep on working? You may be experiencing some limitations with your range of motion. This is the full movement potential of a joint (e.g., in your hips, knees, shoulders, etc.). Sometimes this can be caused by an injury, but other times, many people may lack the strength or flexibility in their ligaments and tendons, which are located at your joints.
Here are some benefits of increasing your range of motion:
- Becoming aware of the full potential range of motion of your joints will help you squat to “proper depth”, hold a load overhead with a “hollow body position” or simply be able to lunge and have your knee lightly touch the ground. You just end up moving better!
- Engaging in regular mobility exercises will carry over into increased performance in lifts and workouts; the joints work together with muscles in order to carry loads
- Mobility exercises and stretches (in addition to those in class) can increase recovery in your muscles and ease your central nervous system
- Being able to move adequately through proper ranges of motion can prevent injuries from improper loading, or incorrect positioning in lifts
Tips on how to increase range of motion:
- Engage in some of the mobility exercises your coaches demonstrate for you in class. Some you can even do at home without equipment (holding the bottom of a squat, spiderman lunges, pigeon position, deadbugs and more).
- Talk to your coaches about any aches or pains you may be experiencing. Sometimes it’s necessarily the load that you are moving, but it can be improper positioning that’s causing the nagging aches and pains.
- Find a “flow” or some sort of movement to help you warm up before class even starts. This could be an easy 5 minutes on the AirDyne or rower, or jumping rope. Increasing blood flow to those muscles will make mobilizing a little bit easier!
- If you have an occupation that has you sitting most of the day, take breaks throughout the day to get up, walk around for a few minutes, stretch out our limbs. Take a minute to just close your eyes, sit up tall and breathe in and out slowly to help you get refreshed and refocused.
If there’s a downfall that people see in having to work on their mobility, it’s either because it’s slightly uncomfortable or it takes time. However, just remember, when you did your first workout, it was uncomfortable, and becoming fit–takes time! Mobilization is just part of the process, and investing time and effort into it with a few extra minutes each day can go a long way.
If you are experiencing any pain or are seeking medical attention, please contact a medical doctor for assistance.