CrossFit for Flexibility?

CrossFit for Flexibility?

I hadn’t done yoga in over 10 years. 

So it should come as no surprise that I was a bit uneasy about walking into YogaWorks on Main Street for a 6pm yoga class that was described as “Level 2/3”. To make matters worse, the girl at the desk made sure I knew what I was in for, “You’re headed into a 90 minute class that is REALLY hot and REALLY hard.” I heard myself saying “Great!” back to her… knowing inside that that wasn’t really what I meant. 

10 years ago, just about the time I started CrossFitting, I was attending 1-2 yoga classes a week, mostly with Bryan Kest (the founder of Power Yoga and a yoga pioneer in Santa Monica). I was flexible and strong enough to make it through his level 2/3 classes… and really “enjoyed” them. They were hard, but were just what I needed, since my sport, adventure racing and traditional weight training, left my muscles, joints and body in a constantly shortened state. 

When I started CrossFit, I found myself completely overwhelmed by the variety of new movements, gymnastic skills, weightlifting moves and the combination and intensity of it all. There was no time for yoga! There was way too much fun to be had at learning all this new stuff, in spite of the strange looks I’d get from just about everyone that saw me working out.

So, yoga took a back seat.

And I pretty much forgot about it… or at least put it out of my head that it might be of value. Until last week, that is.

I had finished a typical noon class on Thursday at CFLA and was recovering in the “tall room”, and struck up a conversation with Tyler. I really don’t know how the conversation turned to yoga, but before I knew it I was committing to attending a class THAT NIGHT, with his favorite teacher at YogaWorks (Vytas). He “forgot” to mention that it was a Level 2/3.

I made it through the class. Not only did I make it… but I would say that compared to how I used to do yoga 10 years ago, I did just about as “well”… maybe even a little better!  I was able to move as deeply into most stretches. My balance and coordination were working well. And my stamina and endurance… not a problem (though I did sweat buckets and buckets!)

That result absolutely astounded me at first, but as I looked back at my training over the past 10 years (all CrossFit), it started to make more sense. The movements we do require full range of motion at joints. The simplest empty bar barbell movements for me pointed out glaring mobility issues at first (hips, thoracic, shoulder). And gymnastic movement? When I first started squatting, keeping my heels on the ground while lowering my butt toward the floor was an impossibility.

Slowly (think 3-5 years), my squat improved, my shoulders opened up, my thoracic spine started moving. And without taking any time to do the long, intense lengthening I was doing in a typical yoga class, my body continued to stay limber so that now, 10 years later, I’m (surprise, surprise) as flexible as ever. 

I had a great experience at my yoga class… so much so that I took another one two days later… and will continue to do so weekly for the remainder of this year. But if you’re wondering about your flexibility as you CrossFit, rest assured that whether you know it or not, you are moving your body in a way that requires both length and full range of motion at joints… both of which bring new, different and additional flexibility to the table in a way that you may never have expected.  


Tuesday’s Workout

A) For Quality
1500m Row at 7.5 RPE

B) Kipping pull-up skill practice (10 min)

C) EMOM 10 (for quality)
1 Hang power snatch
1 Below-knee hang power snatch
1 Power snatch
**Hold onto bar for all 3 reps**

D) For Time
20 T&G DL (40-45%)
:60 Rest
15 T&G DL
:60 Rest
10 T&G DL

And Coming Wednesday


15 Thrusters (95/65)
15 Pull-ups
**10 min cap**



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