I don’t have enough time to do mobility training. It should be obvious that I would need to relax my muscles after spending so many hours slinging tin or grinding through metcons. Here I am, hunched at my desk, with tight hips, and DOMS all over my body, writing this.
After my coach gave me a new strength-training block that left my muscles more sore than usual, I decided to change my ways. Pliability, a recovery app, launched a collection of short routines to prevent back pain. CrossFit athlete Laura Horvath – the third fittest woman on Earth – was on hand to support this new collection.
“I am excited about the new back-pain path,” says Horvath. “It’s a problem area that most people have.” No matter if you’re an amateur or professional athlete, daily mobility is a must to reduce back pain, prevent injury and improve strength.
Pliability shared a four-move routine to give Coach users a taste of the collection. I gave it a try.
Time1-2min per side
How To Do ItStart on all fours, then step your foot forward so that it is outside your right hand. Slide your left foot backwards, keeping your knee firmly on the floor. Lean forward until you form a straight line between your thigh, torso, and leg. Hold, and then repeat the opposite side.
What’s it likeAs a person who spends time at a CrossFit Box and a Desk, tight hips are a problem. This pose provided me with a nice but not insignificant stretch of my hamstrings, inner thighs and calves.
Updog pose by a child
Sets5 Timing Three deep breaths at each position
How to Do itStart by getting on your hands and knees. Bring your toes close together, then sit back onto your heels and extend your arms forward as far as you can. This is the child’s position. This is a child’s pose.
Return to all fours. Lift your chest, keeping your arms straight. Drop your hips and rest your thighs on your floor. This is called updog. Continue to hold this position for 3 deep breaths and then return to your all-fours position. Repeat this sequence 5 times.
What’s it likeChild’s pose caused a severe stretch in my lats, and I quickly identified thetwinge on my left shoulder that is familiar to bench press fans. As I continued, I felt the discomfort lessen and by round five, I was moving more comfortably. Updog opened my chest and felt wonderful around my lower back. I was so pleased that I slowed down my breathing to stay in the position longer.
3 Saddle Archer
Time1-2min per side
How To Do It Kneel with your feet together and your knees hip width apart, while keeping your torso upright. Reach your right arm over your head and bend your elbow to place your hand behind your neck. Try to link your hands by reaching behind your back and bending your left elbow so that it points at the floor. If you are unable to do this, try holding a T-shirt or towel with both hands.
What is it likeThis stretch appears to be shoulder-centric but it will also affect your legs. I felt a strong stretch in my quadriceps that eased as I continued to hold the pose. The upper-body element also helped my front delts, but I had to grab a t-shirt to compensate for my mobility issues.
Time1-2min per side
How to Do It On all fours, bring the right knee to your right hand. Bring your right foot to your left hand. Lean forward, keeping your hips square. Extend your left leg and lean over your right knee. For a deeper stretch, try pushing your chest towards your knee for 10 second. Then release and repeat. If you feel any pain in your knee, reduce the angle or stop.
How it feels Since a soccer injury in my teens I have been wary about this stretch. I reduced the angle of my knee, but I still surprised myself by getting as close to the prescribed positions. I felt the stretch immediately in my glutes, and tension in my hips decreased over two minutes.
I won’t tell you that a 10 minute stretch will erase years of neglecting mobility exercises. That’s not the way the body works. I did feel more relaxed, less achy and looser after this routine.
Some of these benefits may be short-lived, but if you continue to exercise, you will experience long-term benefits such as increased flexibility and reduced risk of injury.
This mobility routine helped me identify problem areas. I spent a second in pigeon position to remind myself that it was time to stretch my glutes, and a child’s pose reminded me that I needed to improve my shoulder mobility.
It was also a lot of fun to let go of the gas. It was refreshing to do something less intense after a week filled with CrossFit and other intense activities like gymnastics, weightlifting or running.
I decided to commit to a few sessions per week, given the benefits of mobility exercise and how much I liked Horvath’s routine. Let’s just hope that my schedule is more flexible.
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