Box Life Magazine article

So I actually wrote this article for Box Life Magazine.  Due to a communication error, it was credited to the owner of my gym, but nonetheless its by me, here is another article on mobility and competing:



Mobility During Competition

By Michael Alfaro

Spring is a wonderful time of year. Why it’s the start of the CrossFit Games Season! Nowadays whether it’s the Games or an in-house throwdown, everyone is strong, everyone is fast, and everyone is hungry. So what could you possibly do to give yourself an edge over the next guy or girl? Please say hello to my little friend, Mobility. You hear about it all the time. You probably even spend some time on it, but are you putting yourself in the best possible position, literally, to perform at your highest level? Look at the best CrossFitters and you could illustrate a textbook on weightlifting and basic gymnastics. That’s because they have impeccable positioning and technique.

To prepare your body for peak performance, you need to know and attack your mobility goats daily. These are areas where you struggle to maintain good form and positioning. The two most troublesome areas, as well as arguably the two most important points of movement in CrossFit are the hips and shoulders.

Mobility starts months before any competition when

no one is watching, but let’s say it’s Game Day. Before your first WOD, be sure that your hips and shoulders are in the right place and have full range of motion.

During a competition, it is important to maintain your body’s range of motion and keep from cooling off too much, because you’ll have to spend more time warming back up. Taking time to cool down after a workout with some light rowing is extremely helpful. If you developed any trouble spots, or if your next wod has any particularly spicy skills, like Pistols or Snatches, then it’s good to prep with some more specified mobility.

After your last WOD and the post workout shake
or beer, remember to work on some good old mobility, returning to the proven formula of focusing on any trouble spots then attack your primary points of movement: hips, shoulders, knees and elbows. A little extra fish oil and a hot bath with Epsom salts can do wonders as well. Plus, don’t forget that maybe the greatest source of recovery, if possible, is a good nights sleep. WOD long and prosper!

How much time should you spend prepping??

Recently the ‘World’s Fittest Couple’, Annie Thorisdottir and her boyfriend Frederick, said they “try to take
45 minutes to an
hour before a daylong competition begins to work on mobility.” This approach seems to be working pretty well for them, so it’s safe to say if you take the extra hour, you should be prepared for almost anything Dave Castro, or whoever is programming your competition, throws at you.

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Arguably the most important and commonly used mobility position and likely the most bastardized is the Couch Stretch. To improve positioning, you must first get into a good position. Oftentimes athletes rush into this position, resulting in their back knee being several inches away from the wall and then overextending their spine to get their shoulders against the wall. Take the time to get into a good position, drive your knee all the way into the wall and then work to get your opposite foot as far forward as possible. Can’t straighten up? Don’t worry; focus on squeezing your glutes and driving your hips forward while maintaining your midline. If you’re able to get the angle from your thigh to your abdomen open to or past 180 degrees, without overextending your spine.

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While the Couch Stretch improves your hip drive and depth in your squat, the Pigeon Stretch helps your deadlift, clean and snatch positions. The Pigeon Stretch helps open up the back of your hip, allowing you to drive your legs back further and create more engagement from your hamstrings and glutes throughout the drive phase of this lifts.

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When it comes to your shoulders, it’s important to make sure they are set in good positions. The KB Arm Bar Stretch helps immensely in improving shoulder positioning and range of motion. If your shoulders are an issue, try starting with here and then branching out to other stretches and movements.


44 BOXLIFE MAGAZINE i april/may 2013 

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