4 Stretches that Help Prevent CrossFit Injuries
If you’ve spent any time doing CrossFit, then you know how high-intensity and high-impact it can be. As a rule, CrossFit is a mix between calisthenics, Olympic weightlifting, and requires a lot of different movements that incorporate weights, barbells, jump rope, and a host of other exercises and aerobics mixed into one brand.
Because the exercises are intense and require a full body of motion, there are injuries that can occur, even if you’re in incredible shape. If you ask the experts and physical trainers, they’ll all tell you that the majority of injuries caused from working out is linked to a lack of proper stretching and preparing your body for strenuous exercises.
The reality is, stretching before exercise is just as import_ant, if not, more so import_ant than the exercise itself. You must make an effort to include stretching into your workout regime or you risk becoming injured. According to physical therapists, there are two main reasons why CrossFit can cause an injury: the muscles don’t fire as they should or the user has improper joint mechanics.
In laymen’s terms: if you get hurt doing CrossFit (or doing a variety of other exercises), it’s’ due to a lack of free range of motion and your body wasn’t prepared for the repetition and/or weight you threw at it. Let’s take a look at four different stretches you should do before taking on CrossFit to prevent injuries and setting back your workout routine.
Stretch #1: The Shoulder
Your shoulder is designed to give you a full range of motion, but if you’re not used to that extra motion, like when you suddenly start working out, lifting weights, and moving your arms around sporadically, it can cause a lot of shoulder strains and even tendonitis. More serious incidents can occur, such as tearing of the rotator cuff, dislocation, and even fractures.
For the safest range of motion during CrossFit, you should be able to have about 90 degrees of external shoulder rotation. A good, quick stretch can include just grasping your hands behind your back and pulling your arms outward from the body. Another is called The Wall Angel, which is to stand firmly against a wall with your arms out at a 90-degree angle. You want to be able to touch the wall with your hands/arms while ensuring your back is still tight against it.
Stretch #2: The Hamstrings
Your hamstrings have an import_ant purpose and they will surely become injured if you don’t take care of them properly. You use your hamstrings for daily activities, but they are especially useful for CrossFit. A lot of the exercises, including deadlifts, snatches, and even butterfly pull ups need a good set of hamstrings to work it.
A great hamstring stretch is getting down on both knees. Take the leg you want to stretch and extend it away from the front of your body so the length of it extends away from you. Now lean forward to really stretch it out.
Stretch #3: Triceps
A lot of the same exercises that require the use of your shoulders will most likely need your triceps as well. Push/pull ups, bench presses, squats, and many other exercises need a healthy set of stretched out triceps. You will want to make use of a stretchy rubber band extended behind your back. Step on one end of the band to hold is securely on the ground.
With the band stretched out behind your back, grab the other end of it at your shoulder blade. Your elbow should be pointed straight up in the air. You will then extend the band as high as it will go, which will challenge your triceps considering the band is already offering a bit of resistance.
Stretch #4: The Hips
No matter the exercise, you’re going to use your hips. Even when doing nothing at all, your hips have an import_ant purpose. They really connect your legs with your torso and the rest of your body, so you want to make sure they are properly stretched out and feeling good. Here we will take a look at The Couch Stretch.
You will find a wall and get down on your knees in front of it. You will put your leg up in a bent fashion so your shin is placed against the wall. With your other leg, you will pull it forward so your foot is firmly on the ground with your knee bent as if you’re about to stand up. You should feel the tightness on your upper thigh. What you will do then is push your pelvis forward, squeezing your buttocks as tight as you can.
CrossFit is a lot of fun, but it can be quite exhausting. It’s not like a lot of other exercises that are a few moves and that’s it. You will need a full range of motion throughout your body to stay healthy and prevent any potential injuries. Make sure you spend as much time stretching and cooling down as you need.