At CrossFit Sioux Falls, we have committed to mobility and stretching as part of our daily warm-up and routine. Many times we spend 15-20 minutes preparing our body with stretching and warming-up before we grab any equipment. While this is a fun time to share a story with your neighbor, I wanted to give you a little insight to why stretching and mobility is so important. First, you must know the difference between the two. According to Kelly Starrett, “Stretching only focuses on lengthening short and tight muscles. Mobilization, on the other hand, is a movement-based, integrated, full-body approach that addresses all the elements that limit movement and performance including short and tight muscles, soft tissue restriction, joint capsule restriction, motor control problems, joint range of motion dysfunction, and neural dynamic issues. In short, mobilization is a tool to globally address movement and performance problems.”
There are many reasons to stretch and do mobility, here are a few….
It Improves Muscle Development
If you’re doing a workout with the hope of building muscle, then stretching is very important as it enables you to move through the full range of movement. This then results in your building of full and long muscles instead of them becoming stunted and short.
It Increases Range of Motion
Not only does stretching increase the range of motion for someone lifting weights while they are doing it, it also helps to increase range of motion and flexibility in general. Range of motion is extremely important especially in CrossFit because every movement we do can be done easier and more efficiently when you have the ability to get the full range of motion.
It Reduces Injury
Stretching reduces the chance of injury by gradually elongating the muscle. If you’re more flexible then you are much less likely to injured, pull or tear a muscle if you are to slip or trip as your body is capable of reaching that position. In the short term it also helps to limber up the muscle and tendon and thereby prevent a pulled muscle or tendon.
It Warms You Up
Stretching can be used as a way to warm up the muscles, and it will encourage the flow of blood. This then provides the muscles with an oxygen supply as well as nutrients in order to help them keep going. We do stretching and mobility many times as our warmup to help get ready for the movements we are going to do in the workout. Many times we try to make our mobility related to what our workout is going to be so that you are ready and your body will respond to the workout better.
It is easy to overlook how important mobility and stretching is both before and after working out, but the gains by adding it to your workout will compliment and even accelerate your gains. It helps with the pre-workout phase and also the post-workout phase. Make sure when you are done with your workout so save a few minutes do a few good stretches before running out and getting in your car. The chances of you stretching later are minimal and by that time your muscles will already be shortened and tight. Additionally, if you are injured or sore, stretching and mobility will help with your recovery and get you back on track the fastest. Next time you are in the gym and we are going through mobility, really get to it and make a difference in your flexibility and overall body performance!