You get to the gym five minutes early, put your stuff in the locker room, grab a foam roller and roll out for a couple minutes before class. An hour later class ends and you have somewhere you need to be so you rush out of the gym right after the workout. We are all guilty of this. Life is busy and hectic and there never feels like there is enough time in the day. However, if you can dedicate an hour of your day to a grueling workout, then you should do your body the service of 10-15 minutes of mobilizing as well. Your body will thank you after those tough CrossFit workouts and you will even recover faster and prevent possible injuries. Here’s a challenge for you. Can you accumulate 10 minutes in a full squat position?
I’ve done this challenge multiple times and it’s amazing how difficult it can be. The majority of us are so used to spending most of our day in the sitting position, whether you work in an office behind a desk, have long commutes in your car, or even sitting in front of the TV for long periods. There are multiple studies that show sitting for prolonged periods of time can even cause low back pain due to the static posture maintained in the sitting position, which can add large amounts of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs. Don’t even get me started on the body position of being slouched over the keyboard or sinking down in the chair for extended periods. Also, as mentioned by Kelly Starrett in the video above, he states that there is very little hip disease, low back pain, and disc disease in countries where people sit in the squatted position and even sleep on the ground.
Kelly Starrett is a physical therapist who focuses on performance based Orthopedic Sports Medicine and has revolutionized how athletes think about human movement and athletic performance. He is the writer of the New York Times bestselling book Becoming a Supple Leopard. This book lays out a blueprint for athletes from all backgrounds and disciplines, offering clear, concise methods for limiting pain and injury risks, keeping the body at peak efficiency, and reaching one’s maximum potential. There is a copy of this book at the gym and I highly recommend anyone to read through it. He also has countless YouTube videos and even a mobility program called MobilityWOD, which posts a daily follow along WOD video lasting 10-15 minutes of mobility exercises. If you are looking for something more specialized you can search the catalog, which includes over 200 hours of comprehensive movement, mechanics, mobility, and general health and fitness videos. There is a small fee for the MobilityWOD subscription or you can search for some of his countless videos on YouTube.
Another excellent type of mobility exercise to add to your programming is ROMWOD/yoga, which is offered at the gym on Wednesday evenings starting at 6:30pm. Lorena, who is a founding member of CrossFit 727, has been teaching yoga at the gym and has recently incorporated ROMWOD to her sessions. ROMWOD helps to increase range of motion in order to generate power and promote efficiency of functional movements through improved position and posture. This is done through many different stretching exercises that strengthens the ligaments and tendons which in turn accelerates recovery time between workouts.
Also, feel free to use any of the “torture devices” at the gym in order to help mobilize. I have found that spending as little as 5 minutes on trouble areas with the lacrosse ball has not only worked out kinks but, I believe, prevented further injury by rolling out the lactic acid build up within those strained muscles.
Everything is connected
Here’s a hot tip: For example, you could be suffering from ongoing knee pain and not realizing it was caused from the thrusters you did in the workout earlier in the week and because your weight was on your toes (let’s admit it, not all of our form is perfect 100% when we are going hard during a CrossFit workout, sorry Ryan!!) your quads are now tight and guess what – the tight quad muscles are now pulling your knee and potentially causing the knee pain. Or, lets say you are experiencing shoulder pain. This could be caused from tight lats or even tight biceps. The problem may originate upstream or downstream of the pain point. Everything is connected in our bodies so if you do experience pain, think of what movements or workouts could have attributed to that pain so you can narrow down the source and mobilize those areas better going forward. You can always ask one of the coaches if you are experiencing pain in a particular area and we will help you find the source.
I hope to see you all, myself included, spending a little more time mobilizing before and after the workouts!
Hero WODs are some of CrossFit’s most arduous workouts, and they serve as a fitting memorial for CrossFitters killed in the line of duty. As we observe Memorial Day weekend, we thought it would be good to give everyone some background on how Hero WODs started, and why CrossFitters all over the world push themselves through the pain and struggle to honor the fallen soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country and our freedom.
The First Hero WOD Honoring Lt. Michael Murphy
On June 28, 2005, four Navy SEALs on a reconnaissance mission in the Kunar province of Afghanistan were ambushed by an overwhelming Taliban force. Team leader Lt. Michael Murphy, unable to call for help from his location, walked into the center of enemy fire, where his satellite phone might work. He punched in the numbers to HQ and calmly requested reinforcements.
Even after being knocked to his knees from a gunshot wound to his back, Murphy calmly sat back up, steadied himself and continued the call, knowing that it was the only way he might save his men. Once the call for reinforcements had been completed, he returned to the fight with an MH-47 Chinook helicopter on the way. Outrunning its escort of attack helicopters, the Chinook rushed into the battle for a daring daylight rescue. Attempting to set down in tremendously rugged terrain filled with hostile militia, the Chinook was hit by a rocketpropelled grenade. The eight SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers aboard were killed, leaving Murphy and his men to continue the fight. When the battle ended, Murphy and all but one of his men had been mortally wounded. Murphy was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions that day. Among those killed in the rescue attempt were Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Taylor and Lt. Michael McGreevy. Both SEALs were posthumously awarded Bronze Stars for Valor and Purple Hearts. These men were fathers, husbands and sons. They were brothers to their fellow SEALs. They were also CrossFitters. In their actions, these men embodied the values and spirit of true heroes, and to immortalize their courage, bravery and self-sacrifice, the CrossFit Hero workouts were created.
A Community Honors the Fallen
To the average CrossFitter, Hero workouts are symbolic gestures of respect for our fallen. CrossFitters from all over the world, regardless of country or allegiance, throw themselves wholeheartedly at these intentionally gut-wrenching workouts that serve as a tribute to our lost protectors. CrossFit established this tradition as a way to immortalize the fallen and remind ourselves that, even in their untimely deaths, these fellow CrossFitters were committed to the safety and freedom of the rest of us.
Every Hero workout has a special person behind it, and CrossFitters around the world struggle through the WODs in tribute to the deceased protectors. These workouts are just another expression of this sense of brotherhood, and they are uniquely suited to a unique community.
Lest We Forget
For those of us who undertake these physical tests, the psychological effects of performing a Hero workout are tremendous. It’s easy to treat these prescriptions as any workout of the day, but for those who take the time to learn about the heroes they honor, the WODs can become as spiritual and emotionally demanding as they are physically grueling. When keeping the stories behind the real-life heroes in mind, slowing down during a Hero workout becomes harder to justify. When the pain of pushing harder becomes too great, I am reminded of the sacrifice these men made for my freedom, and my struggle becomes laughable. And when I compare my temporary suffering to the lifelong sorrow felt by the grieving families of these men, dropping the bar becomes an embarrassment to my country. The Hero workout is more than a test of physical ability. It bridges the gap between the body and the mind, emotion and experience, and gives us the chance to do more than just remember our soldiers. It gives us the chance to sweat, bleed, suffer and grieve for our fallen heroes one rep at a time.
My Hero WODs List
Below is a list of some other hero WODS besides the ones above that speak personally to me. You will see the first one, White, coming up soon!
Now that you have a background of the origination on hero WODs I wanted to provide some tips and other things to keep in mind for Murph this Monday.
Pace, Pace, Pace
This is a LONG WOD. Don’t come off sprinting the first mile or your first 5 rounds of movements. The name of the game will be to keep a steady pace that is sustainable throughout the entire workout. It will be tempting to come out of the gate strong, but trust me on this one!
Hydrate Like Hell!
It’s Florida, summer is coming and we will have a LOT of work to get through. Come hydrated, bring a water bottle and take small quick breaks to hydrate throughout the workout.
Think Small Chunks
If you think about the rep portion of the WOD in terms of smaller, bite size chunks, it is less overwhelming. I know, for some people, they break the sets down into 2 – 4 – 6. Other common options are 5 – 10 – 15. This helps it feel more doable when you aren’t thinking about the culmination.
Scaling is NOT a Bad Thing
Our biggest priority is safety and quality. Just because this is a hero WOD, don’t feel pressured. Some common scaling options are:
Pull-ups: banded pull-ups, jumping pull-ups or ring rows
Push-ups: incline push-ups, abmat push-ups
Also, if you are newer to CrossFit, completing Murph in its entirety is an extremely daunting task. Below is a great breakdown of some rep scaling options that you can try OR you can partner up with a friend to split the reps!
Mind Over Matter
When you are only 30 pull-ups, 60 push-ups and 90 squats into this workout are tired and winded, it is EASY to feel overwhelmed. Instead of focusing on whats LEFT focus on the single rep at hand. A “one-rep at a time” mentality will really help you push through this workout.
I know that it is Memorial Day weekend, which typically includes some of our favorite “all American” foods and beverages, but remember that you just put your body through a TON of work. Coming to the workout hung-over or getting wasted after completing Murph is a HORRIBLE idea and, honestly, unsafe. Hydration and replenishing your body should be a top priority for the remainder of the day Monday!
All right, so the Holidays are over. We now have guilty consciences, and are all wanting to work off all the extra pumpkin pie and whipped cream. So, we come to the gym with great
expectations, but then what… Why? What’s our focus? All I want to do is… How do we… the questions start to come. STOP. Just STOP! Breath. Our main goal, every one of us, is to become better. Not just better than Suzy or Bob, but better “us’s”. We have a primal desire to BE BETTER: to function better, feel better, to live better lives. “Ok great… get to your point”. My point: to be BETTER you must BE better. Yes, that is rhetorical, but hear me out… Anything of quality has had deliberate attention to detail. The more attention that item, that “thing”, receives the better the quality becomes.
It is always much more fun to workout with your friends and family, so why not help them get fit for life and have fun doing it? Help us share the CrossFit 727 love for fitness, and both you and your friend save money!