One of the hardest things about mobility is coming up with the right exercises right when you need them. This is one of the primary problems Mobility on Demand attempts to solve. However, that doesn't mean that we've entirely eliminated the burden of figuring out which mobility exercises to do and when.
It is not uncommon that I will arrive at the gym with some extra time before the WOD starts and be stumped to decide which mobility exercises I should do prior to working out. Then, after the workout, it's common for me to spend some time on a foam roller, but not really with any purpose. Sometimes, I just end up sitting on my foam roller, chatting. Unfortunately, chit-chat doesn't make me a better athlete.
I need rules. I think this is something a lot of CrossFit athletes share. The great thing about CrossFit membership is that it offers the benefit of just having to show up and then someone else tells me what to do.
That's why when I attended the CrossFit Mobility course, the most valuable piece of information was rule-related — the basic rules of mobility training. These rules gave me a framework to work from when building my mobility workouts.
Four Basic Rules of Mobility
- Joint mobility should be performed before a workout. These are the exercises that improve your range of motion and will improve your performance in the workout.
- Muscle-related mobility should be performed after a workout. Activities that involve mashing or massage should be performed after a workout. When performed before the workout, these exercises can tire your muscles and the pressure can release toxins and cause inflammation prior to a workout. So, save the foam rolling and lacrosse ball for post-WOD.
- Two-minute minimum. It's unlikely that you will be able to see any real change in your performance if you're only committing to brief mobility sessions. Spend real time, intentionally mobilizing and you'll begin to see changes.
- Test and re-test. Specifically for joint mobility exercises — it's important to test your mobility prior to performing the exercise and then re-test to see the improvements. You're working hard, make sure to note the progress you're making by taking the time to perform this step.