I can’t do Snatches because my shoulders are tight.
I can’t touch my toes because my hamstrings are tight.
I can’t do pistols because my ankles are tight.
If you’ve ever said the above and you are just constantly saying they are tight with no improvement then what are you actually doing? Is that the actual issue?
Just saying something is tight our automatic response is “stretch” it which seems super straight forward but you might be off-target here and probably ignoring some bigger issues.
Let’s look at your hamstrings for example. The non-stretching solutions for “tight” hamstrings.
Don’t get us wrong, stretching has its place in keeping the body supple, agile and working like a well-oiled machine, but quite often tight hamstrings can’t just be stretched out, because the problem stems from somewhere else.
1. Maybe you aren’t tight, maybe your hamstrings are weak!
Let’s say you’ve jumped into CrossFit and you’re on your journey from couch Netflix ninja to someone who actually cares about their health and fitness.
You’ve started lifting more. Heavy Squats. Bring it on!
Heavier Deadlifts. LET’S GO!
The human body isn’t stupid. If your hamstrings are tightening up it can be because your body is trying to “defend” itself. In this case from you! And your solution is to think you know better and to try to “stretch” it out. Pop! And then we have the fun chat of ” I don’t know what happened…”
Maybe going really HAM really quick is making them tighten up because the demand you are asking of them is too much and you need to strengthen them up some more or they need time to adapt to all the strength work you have been doing. You could need more Dynamic mobility to work through your range of motion to help aid your positions. If you are working past the range you currently have you are putting yourself in a tricky situation but either risking injury or overcompensating with other muscle groups and creating imbalances.
Up and Downstream
We hear this one a lot. My shoulders are tight. Cool. What do you think that means? Do you mean that the muscle sat to the left and right of your head is “tight” so you can’t move around much?
Obviously not, I’m sure you mean by “My shoulders are tight” is that you haven’t used your arms over your head much since adulthood, have only been in hunched positions at work, done crappy push-ups for years at home to stay “fit”, not sure how to use or where your lats are and not even sure what Scaps actually means.
Here’s the honest truth. We love functional stuff because of A) it’s fun haha (Crossfit yea, WOO! 😛 ) and B) the use of compound exercises such as Squats, deadlifts, presses etc etc
Presses are exactly that. By compound I mean we are focusing on working more than just the “shoulders”. We are working our stability with our midline and glutes, developing our upper back along with our lats and our chest should be a supporting muscle along with triceps. If however, we neglect half of the list we again are creating an imbalance, moving poorly and creating tightness. You can stretch that out forever but if you keep moving the same way you are always going to have an issue.
If you lean back to avoid using your lats and midline for stability then you are using your chest a hell of a lot more along with your shoulders creating again maybe a bigger issue with overcompensation. Weak lats and upper back, really strong chest converts into shoulders that “roll” forward because the supporting muscles can’t do enough to help keep you even. You think it’s normal to move this way and never create that strength in other areas and start building in weights and start adding fuel to the fire.
While stretching your chest and your shoulders out some may aid in the process for you. Your safer bet and a long term fix would be to find where you are weakest in this chain and hammer it home. Make it a strength and work your way through your new range of motion with the ability to control it and provide stability! Because the other issue with just stretching and not working on strengthening the muscles while you are doing it is a real risk of injury that can be avoided!
Let’s take a squat for example. If you decide you aren’t getting low enough and you want to fix that for whatever reason. You take a few weeks off and destroy the “stretching” routine and do it religiously day and night for those few weeks. Now you have all this new “range”! Amazing! Now you’ve never squatted to below parallel before with your body weight but it’s squats tonight on the program and you want to show off your new mobility gainz and obviously last time we squatted you hit 100kg naturally you want to again.
As I’m describing this I’m sure you can see this recipe for a tweak or a niggle or worst case an injury that’s going to set you back from achieving your fitness goals.
So if you are the above person and target a specific area then make sure you are doing plenty of moving and stability work with this new range and getting plenty of reps in. If it was your Squat position then make sure you are hitting loads of Cossack Squats, Bulgarian Split Squats, Hip stability work like Copenhagens and Monster walks .. etc etc
So, if you need to work on your range of motion then make sure you are working the strength and the stability. Work on moving well and recruiting all the right muscles and if you have some weaker ones then get after making them a strength!
Unsure how or where to get started?
Email me! Milo@crossfitthames.com
Every 7min. X 5 Rounds:
3 Snatches (climbing)
Build to a heavy single for the day!
B) 12min. AMRAP:
8 Front Rack Lunges 40/30kg
8 Wall Balls 9/6kg
8 Cal Row
Every 2 rounds, add 5/2.5kg to the bar
EMOM x 3min.
15/12 Cal Row
EMOM x 10min. (Both in the same min.)
8 DB Power Cleans 22/16kg
EMOM x 3min.
15/12 Cal Ski Erg
EMOM x 10min. (Both in the same min.)
8 Alt. DB Snatch 22/16kg
8 DB Sit ups
EMOM x 3min.
15/12 Cal Assault Bike
Rest 2min. Between Each Section
A) For Time:
15 Clean and Jerks 60/40kg
1 Mile run
15 Clean and Jerks 85/57.5kg
The weight needs to be challenging!!
Time CAP is 18min. You should NOT be done in 10min. That means your weight is too light. If you want to lift lighter, then consider doing 30 reps instead.
*AND… Do not slack on the run
B) For Time:
Russian KB Swings 32/24kg
Time CAP: 15min.
A) Front Squat (recovery week)
B) 20-25 Min AMRAP:
50 Single Unders/Double Unders
Length Monster Walk Left and Right
15 Air Squats
3-5 Reps Skill Of choice
A) 16min. EMOM: (4 Rounds)
Min. 1) 12/9 Cal Assault Bike
Min. 2) Max DB Skull Crushers
Min. 3) 12/9 Cal Row
Min. 4) Max Barbell Bicep Curls 20/15kg
B) 16min. EMOM: (4 Rounds)
Min. 5) 12/9 Cal Ski
Min. 6) Max DB Russian Twists 16/10kg
Min. 7) 200m Run
Min. 8) 45sec Plank Hold
Crossfit Open 20.2!!!!!
Pending on CrossFit Open 20.2!