Here is a great article on the benefits of Yoga for Crossfitters by Deb P.Original article here. Reminder that Yoga is free for the next couple of weeks. Come on in and check it out.
Yoga for Crossfit Athletes
Yoga in general is an excellent compliment to CrossFit (and all sports). If you are one of those CrossFitters who is in perpetual pain and discomfort from sore and tight muscles/joints, you should consider adding yoga at a minimum to your training program.
Why CrossFit Athletes Should Do Yoga
CrossFit athletes of any age, stage and ability want to do what they love to do and perform their best! In order to maximize performance results in a sport that is all about constant variation, a CrossFit athlete has to consider the body they bring to the activity. That means the whole body and all of it’s habits and experiences.
The problem is most CrossFitters come to the sport with a history of imbalance in different areas of life. There can be a lot of overdevelopment and underdevelopment in certain areas and Yoga in addition to your WOD’s can help restore it.
To perform at one’s peak in CrossFit or any other sport, an athlete must be balanced in every aspect of MIND – BODY and SPIRIT.
It should be well hydrated and fueled (nutrition), free of inflammation (through diet and good motor patterns), relatively stress free, insulin sensitive and rested to name just a few components. There is also a indomitable spirit, persistence, willingness to learn, and mental fortitude. In my opinion, a CrossFit athlete must also have proper biomechanic, structural balance and correct motor patterns to excel in strenth, endurance, agility, power, and speed. In reality, this concept does not just apply solely to CrossFit, but to all sports and athletes.
The reality is, most of us bring a hot-mess of ourselves into CrossFit. And this is where adding yoga to your CrossFit WOD’s can help.
Benefits of Yoga for CrossFit Athletes
All you have to do is google yoga to find a long list of benefits of a regular practice which include:
- Improves biomechanics and energy conservation
- strength, endurance and flexibility
- Aids in better breathing function
- Develop balance, coordination and better body awareness
- Enhances mental focus and control
- Reduces stress, anxiety, depression and pain
- Improves self esteem and can elevate mood
- Reduces injury and overuse
- Enhances recovery
- Strengthens core stabilizing muscles
However, as both a CrossFitter myself and professional who specializes in postural therapy, corrective exercise and biomechanics analysis, I think that the primary benefit of yoga for CrossFit Athletes is to help restore posture, biomechanics and motor patterns.
Why do I say that? In my professional opinion, I do not believe CrossFit in of itself is dangerous. HOWEVER….
CrossFit Is NOT Dangerous But A Body Out of Balance Is!
The BODY you bring into CrossFit (or any other activity/sport) is what has to be looked at if you have repetitive injuries, pain and/or mobility restrictions.
When you train through postural misalignments or “distortions”, you may not feel pain right away. Trying to “Crush a WOD” on a dysfunctional joint eventually leads to unhappy consequences. Unfortunately that teaches your brain and body to go through a multitude of muscle and joint compensations and dysfunctions to “get the WOD done” and if CrossFitter’s hate something it’s missing workouts due to injury! Yoga can help.
And let’s be honest. Every athlete knows he/she should mobilize and stretch. Some do it, but most don’t. If you’re one of those rare athletes who does mobilize and stretch, do you even know if what you’re doing is from a good alignment and correct posture and biomechanics point of view?
I’ve had the opportunity to visit different boxes and take WOD’s all over the country. In general, I can tell you there is an overall woeful lack of warm-up and cool-down, mobility and stretching offered. When it is offered, many time it is poorly instructed with little to no proper biomechanical positioning. But don’t get stuck on that…. I’m not slamming CrossFit.
My aim here is not to criticize the sport of CrossFit, because I love it. I’ve also been in the fitness industry for 25 years and have taught and presented workshops and seminars all over the world. These exact same problems are inherent all over the fitness industry. Boot camps, personal training and group fitness classes. You name it, it’s there.
So if you have any hesitation or little voice inside your head saying “yes, that sounds like me”, STOP! Do something about it. If you’re not getting enough stretching, mobility, and balancing strength movements, at a minimum, you should take yoga. Even more so if you are constantly experiencing pain, repetitive injuries or mobility restricitions. Something is biomechanically out of sorts, and training on it and through it isn’t doing you any favors. You’re not getting old, your training dumb!
Remember, your performance results always reflects the body you bring into the WOD or workout/training program. When you train on musculoskeletal imbalances and joint dysfunctions you continue to pound repetitive stress on your joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and bones. This is impacted at a much higher rate when you add, speed and extra weight to the mix. Eventually something has to give.
The big problem is you may not feel pain right away. Dysfunctional motor patterns exsist in most athletes. By the time pain, swelling, loss of mobility, etc kicks in, the damage to the tissue/joint structure is already done. Consider symptoms are “lagging indicators” of a ROOT CAUSE problem. Sadly too many CrossFit athletes wait until there is serious damage before they address the real problem. Poor biomechanics and postural load joint alignment.
Eventually, little “nagging issues” start adding up, you start having to miss workouts/training sessions, and the chronic pain cycle or sympton starts dictating wether you workout or not. Worse is the sudden injury that “came out of nowhere”. You know the kind where you’re just doing your normal routine and you bend down to tie your shoe-lace, or all of a sudden you just feel something in your body “give”.
NOTE: * I highly suggest you work with a Certified Posture Alignment Specialist or BioMechanics pro FIRST who can isolate your root cause dysfunctional motor patterns and create a purposeful corrective exercise pathway out of pain. But doing something like yoga is better than nothing.
As I like to say, “You can’t fix what you can’t feel”, and “you don’t know what you don’t know”. There is no way you can make postural corrections or let alone identify them when you are flying at full speed. Adrenaline is kicking in, and you’re more than likely going to work through incorrect movement patterns and pain when you go at a fast pace and it isn’t caught or corrected.
When you get into the fitness habit of taking a yoga for athletes class, you are forced to slow down and pay attention to the body you bring into all your activities.
You’ll be given cues to correct your biomechanics, an opportunity to create muscular strength, endurance and flexibility in the desired ranges of motion and this will translate into your WOD’s naturally as time progresses.
Remember, strength gained through improper biomechanics and poor posture alignment is the perfect trifecta guaranteeing chronic pain and potential for injury. The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has defined postural-distortion patterns “as predictable patterns of tissue overload and dysfunction that lead to decreased neuromuscular control, thus initiating the cumulative injury cycle.”
Yoga For Athletes at CrossFit Templar
If you live in the Twin Cities South Metro are you can join me at CrossFit Templar each week for Yoga for Athletes.
Yoga at CrossFit Templar is taught from the perspective of how the body should be properly positioned, in order to obtain the maximum mobility benefit from the pose, decrease joint pain AND avoid further muscular injury.
Yoga For Athletes Classes at CrossFit Templar are:
- Open to the public (Membership to CFT is NOT required – you can simply buy a punch pass for classes)
- Designed with the athlete in mind
- No prior experience or required flexibility needed (we do suggest your bring your own mat!)
- Taught from a correct biomechanics, postural alignment, and mobility perspective
But don’t take it from me. Take it from my students. I am so incredibly proud of the members at my box CrossFit Templar. Slowly but surely, members are coming on board and expriencing the benefit for themselves. Check out a recent exchange between us all from my personal Facebook page.
Thanks again to everyone who is committed to a regular practice! We’re two months in, and those of you who I get to see each week, I am starting to see changes and improvements and I couldn’t be more proud and happy for you! Keep up the hard work! It’s paying off!”
Here’s the responses:
- And we are really lucky to have you sharing your knowledge and expertise with us. I am pain free for the last two weeks!
- (Me) I am SO HAPPY for you! I always teach my classes at CFT from a postural therapy perspective, so even if I can’t work with you in person, the cueing is designed to correct your posture and therefore eliminate pain. I couldn’t be more excited to hear that. Now, the danger is to think everything is fixed. It takes time to re-align and re-balance all of the muscles that act on and cross the hips, knees and ankles. So there’s always a spot for you in class whenever you can make it! Not to be spammy here – in case you didn’t see this, this is the why behind my how and focus of teaching yoga at CFT.
- I feel it recharges me for the rest of the week so I can try to perform at my peak levels
- I think everybody should come and check out Deb’s yoga class. It is really hard to give up a WOD, but Deb has a way of putting your body and mind back together. I know there are a lot of “yoga is not a workout” mentalities, but as a long time yogi, the most hard-core athletes I know have been brought to their knees in an “easy” yoga class. I am definitely not a crossfit all-star, and don’t even want to talk about yesterday’s WOD and how much I DIDN’T lift, but I came to crossfit because I was an always-injured runner. I had to get stronger or I wouldn’t be able to run, and PT, chiros, and massages were not helping me. If it wasn’t for crossfit I’d still be lifting the pink weights–and still hurting. I still don’t like cross fit and it’s always hard, but I have to do it. It’s what my body needs to do in order to stay healthy and be a better athlete. Yoga might be what your body needs to be a better athlete. Want to get your toes to touch the bar? Work on your flexibility in yoga. Can’t do a pistol squat, a deck squat, or a back squat? Come to yoga. Can’t get rid of that sore shoulder, tight hamstrings, or “kinked” neck? Come to yoga. Have one of those days where you just want a glass of wine and pass out on your couch ? Come to yoga. Remember, one of the tenets of crossfit is to take you out of your comfort zone, find your weaknesses, and make you
better than you ever realized. Yoga will do this too. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and come to yoga. Your body and mind will thank you.
- I love the 5:30 am yoga! You have taught me a lot, and I was just teaching my son some of the poses. I think he may get frog before I do, but I got him on cat and cow! Yoga is a great compliment to CrossFit
Yoga classes for CrossFit Athletes at CrossFit Templar are 45 minutes in length and run every Tuesday at 5pm and Wednesday at 5:30am. I’d love to see you in class! Questions? Let me know! For more information about CrossFit Templar please visit their website or call 612-860-4411