February 7, 2007
February 8, 2007

As hard as we work, we NEED to stretch more. Yoga gets looke down on in CF circles, but after seeing how hard a little bit of it was on Sunday, its obvious we need more. Look for better flexibility training as part of our workouts.



  1. Moondog Mai says:

    That was actually one problem I had with CF in general. I know they said the lifts would help develop flexibility but I always thought it was bullshit. Even the people at my Krav school take yoga…

  2. Tom Brose says:

    The Olympic lifts do work on flexibility, but that is not always enough. I think the problem is not so much in the theory of CF, but in the implementation. We don’t really use the gymnastic components as much as needed, partly because that is not my strong point.

  3. Sounds good. I need the flexibility work. In the end should crossfit not be an end on to it self but a (GREAT) tool to develop over all athletic power, body control, balance, core strength etc? All of these can be used to enhance general athletic performance and lessen chance of injury.

  4. Moondog Mai says:

    The way some people talk about the lifts, unless I misread their posts, make it sound like that Oly Lifts were enough as far as developing flexibility goes.

    I never really see too many official WODs with gymanstic work beyond push-ups, pull-ups variations, dips variations (those fall into the gymnastic category right?). I’m definitely no expert with this whole fitness thing but I’m a little lost about how those would develop flexibility in areas that aren’t directly affected by the exercise. Then again, if an individual doesn’t engage in activities outside of CF it probably doesn’t matter too much.

    But then, of course, one would assume people would know to work on flexibility on their own to a certain degree. But I did not have an athletic background at all, so for a novice like me it is a bit confusing to see something that is important not be addressed too much.

    And just in case I apologize if I’m sounding like some kind of asshole or hater. I’m definitely grateful for what the Glassmans have put out (for practically free), but I’m never a believer in being a blind follower. If I have some issues I would rather have them addressed to either clarify things or make me think things over…

  5. Jen says:

    Mai, I hear what your saying. Let’s not forget, as much as I love CF…nothing is perfect! On that note I do have to disagree about gymnastics in the WOD’s
    Rope climbs
    hollow Rocks
    Jumping/box jumps
    Burpees….yes..watch some floor work in a gymnastic meet.
    Then you can also look at the Parkour stuff…talk about gymnastics!

    As for Flexibility.
    Try some L-sits…tell me where you get a cramp??
    Air squats really opens up your hips
    Look back at some of the Journals where they are talking about the rock bottom squats where the guy is just sitting there in a deep squat. I do that every day to keep my hips open and my balance in gear.
    Then apply weight like an overhead squat and you have balance, flexibility and muscle power.
    But if your talking about the part of a workout where the trainer says OK, now lets cool down and stretch…well maybe we need a little work.
    But does it really need to be set up like that for us to see where the stretching takes place. Not for me. I do like to end on flexibility stuff just cause it feels good.
    Crossfit breaks the traditional “Stretch Time”, yet CF requires a lot of Stretching and flexibility.
    Again nothing is perfect and everything can get better. Oly-lifts are not the end all of flexibility but they sure as hell require flexibility. Warm up and cool downs with a PVC pipe really can help with your flexibility.
    This of course is just IMO

  6. adam says:

    Why would training for flexibility be any different? Just like scaling the WOD’s when you’re new to the programming, this is another thing you’re left on your own to figure out. And it isn’t hard, you just have to do it. Those same tight hamstrings that I keep telling my patients to stretch, or their back is still going to hurt, are the same ones making your pelvis tuck under and taking away your lumbar arch at the bottom of a squat. The only difference is pain, the need to stretch is the same for both people.

  7. adam says:

    Many individuals (especially on the internet) are very quick to criticize when they should be channeling their efforts into more productive activities. Like doing what *they* need to do to get their lifts up, instead of over-analyzing everything. But I digress, this has been a long post as well….

  8. adam says:

    (2nd paragraph double posted, this was supposed to be first)

    Lets look at this a little closer. Noone ever actually said *just* doing the lifts was the end-all for flexibility. Developing the ability to do the lifts well will require one to work on whatever individual weaknesses they have. Think about it, have you hit those benchmarks of BW Snatch or 1.25xBW Clean & Jerk? Neither have I, but I’m working on it. How do we get there? Practice, practice, practice. You can’t just jump in and do the lifts only without seprately training their key components (ie OH Squat, Front Squat, Deadlifts, transitional and assistance exercises) Look at the Burgener Warm-up.

  9. Moondog Mai says:

    Thanks for your responses guys!

    I definitely forgot a lot of those exercises that fall under gymnastics! I guess may be because a lot of them I can’t really do outside CFDC b/c of lack of equipment(rope climbing, kipping pull-ups, MUs & ring dips). And I definitely need to start working squats back into my workouts.

    Adam-I’m not sure if that comment on over-analyzation/quick to critisize was directed towards me specifically, but I really didn’t start thinking about these things until I injured both my knees after Thanksgiving–almst 7 months since I started CF. I didn’t question anything, just did it. My problem was that it took an injury for me to start analyzing what I had been doing. The weirdest thing I kept coming across was how important flexibility or stretching was for injury prevention (I believe Tom was the first to mention it to me). It wasn’t something I had come across on the CF before, though I think it was mentioned briefly in one CF journal that I have in terms of active recovery. Since then I’ve kind of ditched the CF forums and started looking elsewhere for some help, a lot of it from T-Nation of all places. Through my break from CF I have been able to channel my energies to “learning & applying,” namely working in activities that would help prevent future injuries. So while I do think it’s not good to over-analyze too much (paralysis by analysis), I think to say that people are just complaining and not acting is wrong. Plus, in order for programs to evolve there needs to be some kind of critique, which I assume is how the Crossfit Total workout came about.

    Didn’t mean for that portion of my response to be that lengthy, but as far as approaching flexibility like the WODs, it’s easy for someone with no athletic background to gloss over that if it’s not even mentioned as much as something like the CFWU is. You can scale the workouts, but the main site gives you something to work off of (the actual WODs and some subs idea), there’s nothing like that for flexibility or stretching. Or I guess I should say the ideas aren’t as diverse (there’s more out there than static stretching but I didn’t even know that before). So again for a novice to fitness it can get confusing.

    I think I’m rambling now and will stop soon, heheh. But my biggest mistake was relying so much on CF before, not questioning anything, and not looking elsewhere for equally valuable information. I may have overlooked something when searching for tips at the CF forums…anyway, thanks for the responses guys! Gives me something to think about for a while…

  10. Moondog Mai says:

    Oh, forgot! After thinking about it I think the fact that the guys at my Krav school also do BJJ may have more to do with doing Yoga than anything else, lol.

  11. Tom Brose says:

    Great, great stuff. I love to see this kind of discussion. It brings up some interesting issues. Maiko, I see your frustration, and think there are a few things to remember.

    One, CrossFit is more than the WOD. With the huge growth of CF recently, it gets a little lost that there is a lot more than just meta-con work and some Max Effort. I will bring you all the old CF journals to peruse, and get some new ideas.

    Secondly, CF is an organically evolving thing. If it is not providing the needed response, we are on the frontline of making that happen. I agree that O-lifts do not provide all the flexibility you could need, especially when it comes to MA/BJJ. So I am trying to find a way to get better. To get everyone better.

    I think in the past there has been a negative reaction to yoga and passive stretching, because most of the practitioners have been so far removed from our mindset. Look at it like this, we don’t endorse bicep concentration curls, but we all still love dumbbells right? We can analyze our needs, and look for what can get us there. I am lucky (in a lot of ways!) that I happen to have a girlfriend that is an amazing yoga instructor. When she works on my kickboxing class, they think its way more painful than what I offer. So be warned- we will be working more flexibility work in.

    The hard thing is there is so much to do, and never enough time. The way I look at it, we are not limited by the constraints of the WOD, but responsible for finding whatever we can to improve, and empart that on the community that provides so much.

  12. Moondog Mai says:

    Thanks for your thoughts Tom. Been thinking alot about what was said here (things are super slow at work, what can I say? lol) and what I’ve experienced and I definitely did not really view Crossfit as being anything beyond a crazy METACON workout with a few ME workouts thrown in. But it’s nice to know that even if the CFHQ doesn’t evolve much (which doesn’t appear to be the case really) the local affliates can and will. Anyway, sounds like in all my mindset was completely wrong for a number of reasons, so much for that college education! haha.

    Seriously, thanks to everyone who have commented. I rarely like to post what I really think because I feel it would get dismissed right away, but it’s nice to be *gentley* proven wrong sometime! =)

  13. Tom Brose says:

    Glad to help the discussion along. Interestingly, I think the CFHQ does evolve alot, but that is not directly shown on the WOD or main page. Check out the CF Santa Cruz site. I think the CF Journal also goes towards this. By the way, this whole thing has got me thinking about an article…details soon.

    Thanks for everyones contributions, feel free to keep this going.