Mobility & Recovery Done Right

Some of the ladies of TFCF mobilize post-WOD. Make it fun – do it with friends!
The Importance of Mobility & Recovery
Memorial Day weekend was long and fun. It began on Friday and lasted until Monday. I mobilized minimally on Friday morning after a tough but awesome deadlift/burpee WOD before scooting out the door to head to Canton, MA. The 2012 CrossFit Games North East Regional competition was finally upon us! At the regional I stood around most of the time watching other people exercise, and enjoying a few adult beverages. Before dinner I chugged a bunch of water. Off to dinner for a great piece of salmon, broccoli, and seaweed salad. More sitting. At this point I began to feel the tightness building in my back, legs, and backside. After a terrible night’s sleep in a much-too-firm hotel bed, I woke feeling less than rested, stiff, and dehydrated. That next day was filled with more standing, more riding in the car, and more dehydrating adult beverages. No mobility work. Bad move. By the time I woke up on Sunday morning I felt like the crypt keeper’s closest relative. I took a few minutes to roll around on my lacrosse ball – first rib, around the scapula, and my butt cheeks. Ten minutes of work made me feel like a million bucks – just 10 minutes! That weekend reminded me of just how important mobility is. It’s really easy to say, “Oh, I’ll do it later.” When later comes do you actually do what you said you were going to do? Hmmm, “not really” you say? Well then maybe you need to start considering mobility as a WOD. You would never skip your WOD. You should never skip mobility work. 
Here is what Kyle had to say about mobility and recovery…

How are you feeling right now? On top of the world, or is your body tapping out? As our training intensifies, so must our ability and desire to recover. Recovery does not mean sit on the couch, rest and have a cheat meal. Recovery is icing, foam rolling, lacrosse ball work, massage, chiropractic, drinking lots of water, eating clean, anti-inflammatory foods and getting plenty of deep sleep.  

A funny thing happened to Ash and I recently; our knees started hurting. We were surprised because neither of us ever have any knee issues. The squatting, pistols, wallballs, running, rowing were taking their toll on us. Why? Because we neglected foam rolling and stretching our quads and calves. So, I went to, searched knees, and found this video! 

I spent 20 minutes just digging in and took a week off of squatting. I have been doing these simple foam rolling and lax ball drills daily and my knees feel like a million bucks. Thank you, KStar.
If any part of your body is hurting, we must figure out why! There is an answer to the problem, Monsters. Let’s get to it! 

In taking better care of all the musculature around my knees, I have definitely felt a difference. The lesson I have also been thinking about is to not wait until there is a problem (our natural tendency), but to take a preventive approach by developing a more focused plan of action for mobility work. I realize now that I shouldn’t have neglected my knees for so long. What did I think was going to happen? 
It’s definitely easier said than done. Mobility work is uncomfortable, it takes a lot of patience and time, and it’s not glamorous or sexy at all. We put ourselves into strange positions and sometimes we need to ask a buddy for help, but it’s so worth it. It helps me to set goals for mobility and think about what I need to work on in terms of a bullseye model. The most pressing issues are in the middle of the model and the parts of my body that give me less trouble are on the periphery. I might set a goal like this: Every Monday I will spend 10 minutes after my WOD on my hip mobility using the couch stretch (2 min/side), groin stretch with bands/plate (2min/side), and paleo chair (2 min). It might end up being a little more than 10 minutes with transition time, but making mobility into a mini-WOD works for me. 
As Kyle mentioned, recovery does not mean sit on the couch, and rest days do not mean take a break from everything. In fact, we like to think about rest days as “active recovery” days. This means that when your rest day rolls around you should be thankful for it, but still plan to move around a bit; go for a 20 minute walk or slow jog (or yog). After walking or yogging, plan to spend some time getting cozy with your foam roller; ice those tender spots; and lax ball the hell out of your shoulders and lats. If you do (at least) this you will be a better CrossFitter. No kidding. If you don’t do this you are making a choice to blunt your athletic potential. No kidding.  
As always, please talk with Kyle and me about your mobility questions and concerns. We’re here to help you. We are also good at creating mobility plans. You should have one if you are serious about your sport and want to keep your body “working” for you.

All human beings should be able to perform 

basic maintenance on themselves

– Kelly Starrett, DPT,