Here's a concept I was completely ignorant of prior to starting Crossfit:
I wish I hadn't been because I would have approached my return to exercise a bit differently. I did make an effort to very gradually increase my activity level since I started working out again last February, at first just swimming, then adding in cycling and later weight lifting, and eventually Crossfit. Still, there was a key component I was overlooking:
The large majority of us sit at our desks for a large percentage of our lives. I've been doing it for 14 years and up until February of last year, for quite a few years I was largely sedentary outside of the office as well. This leads to an incredible loss of, you guessed it:
I've suffered from tendonitis in my wrist off and on for about 10 years now and was in physical therapy a few years ago for a problem I was having with my trapezius, both from my poor posture at my desk. But when you're not particularly active, you may not have obvious injuries that would prompt seeking medical treatment. Instead, you may have poor range of motion or suffer aches and pains, but there's nothing like introducing intense exercise to draw attention to the misalignments and weaknesses in your body.
This article does a good job of summarizing a lot of my thoughts on this issue of late. Unfortunately, as stated in the article it's taken another injury (this time a strained QL muscle in my back) to get me to realize that a few things could have potentially addressed some of my ROM issues before I started working out so intensely, potentially allowing me to avoid these injuries rather than having them essentially identify my weaknesses.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20. The main thing is that I'm educating myself now and have decided to make improving my mobility a priority. To that end, I'm doing a few things:
1. Seeing a chiropractor
As I mentioned, I strained my QL muscle so right now, the focus of my visits is on correcting that issue, but he felt confident we could address it in a few visits. His main concern is actually the poor ROM in my neck, which is not surprising so we're planning on 8-10 visits to work on improving that with maintenance visits TBD (probably 1-2/month) after that.
2. Mobility WODs
A link from one of my Crossfit coaches led me to this awesome site: Mobility WOD. There's a new mobility WOD for each day (I believe some repeat so you are able to guage your progress) for an entire year. Their original intent was to do the daily WODs for a year, but it looks like they are keeping it going. Bottom line, over 365 WODs geared solely toward improving your mobility. My goal, in order to be realistic, is to do one at least 3 days per week. I started with the first WOD today. It was tough - I had to break it up into 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 minute segments and there was no way I could have done it without holding onto something to hold myself up - but it got easier as I went and I felt good after doing it.
3. Active recovery - I'm lumping a bunch of stuff into this category. I bought a foam roller a while back (you can get this one for less than $30 on Amazon) that you can use to release tension and improve blood flow to sore or tight areas. I also did a little reading on Trigger Therapy and have been practicing that with a lacrosse ball at the gym or a tennis ball at home. And I'm focusing on rest days that involve easy swims or simple squats, sit-ups, push ups, and pull-ups followed by stretching at home to get blood flow to my sore areas.
None of this is specific to Crossfit. In fact, I hope I will inspire each and every one of you to think about where you may be lacking in mobility and do something to start addressing it. When I think about the fact that our bodies are built to support the lifestyle that our paleolithic ancestors lived and how far removed we are from that, I'm incredibly bummed that we're doing ourselves such a huge disservice. Remember this article I posted earlier from Chris Kresser? We are literally making ourselves sick by sitting around. So even if I just inspire you to get up from your desk a few times a day to walk around or stretch, I will consider this long ass post worthwhile. On that note, quit reading this and go take a walk or cop a squat for 10 minutes as in that first mobility WOD (report back if you do)!