Since becoming a coach at Steelworks and having the privilege of working with it’s athletes, I’ve noticed there is one thing we can all do to get better at the gym. It’s one of the most important, yet most overlooked facet of training; and we are all guilty of ignoring it. I’m talking about mobilizing.
Let me start off by saying this, I am not the most flexible athlete in the gym. Not by a long shot. I’m also not the strongest nor do I posses the biggest engine. I have, however, come a long way from where I started at Steelworks over 15 months ago. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that one year ago I could not physically perform an overhead squat. I lacked all of the necessary elements necessary to get into the position. Ankles, hips, shoulders – I was practically the Tin Man. I would actually collapse and fall as soon as I started my descent. It was an eye opening experience because I’ve always considered myself to be athletic and strong. Additionally, I saw that my performance in my other workouts and lifts were suffering due to my chronic tightness. I couldn’t squat at depth, my clean was weak, and I couldn’t even fathom pulling under and sitting in the bottom of a snatch. I was spending all this money to do Crossfit, but wasn’t seeing any results. I was frustrated!
With the insistence of Brian (head coach and owner), I decided to take a step back from going heavy and started diligently focusing on improving these mobility issues. Leaving my ego at the door, I started showing up 20 minutes early to class (see ya later snooze button) and would mobilize for that day’s movements. I purchased a foam roller and lacrosse ball so I could roll out while watching tv at night, and I started attending the active recovery class on Saturday afternoons. It was nothing crazy and it didn’t inconvenience me at all; but it sure did make a difference.
It didn’t happen overnight. And honestly, I wasn’t even the one to notice it. I remember back squatting one day when Brian commented on my depth and lack of ankle/knee collapse. That little comment felt just as rewarding as a PR on my Clean and Jerk. It was awesome to know that I was improving and it fueled my desire to keep working.
Now like I said, I am not the most mobile athlete. But I sure am working hard to get there. Remember when I literally could not perform an overhead squat? I recently completed a workout calling for OHS at 185 lbs. It was brutal, and I missed a few times, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be doing that. Along with excellent programming, I guess this mobilization stuff really works!
So as we approach the New Year, make an early resolution to make mobility a priority. I know it sounds boring, but I promise it will make a difference. We all joined the gym because we want to get stronger, lose weight, get healthy, and look great naked. Taking that 10 extra minutes everyday to mobilize will allow you to get into the positions that will help you achieve your goals.
Please feel free to ask myself, or any of the other coaches for tips on how to effectively mobilize. Also be sure to check out the Active Recovery Class on Saturdays at 11:00 am. You’ll find me there cringing and struggling to keep the pain face away. It’s the perfect start to your journey!