For those of you who practice both CrossFit and yoga, you already know that this is the secret sauce.
For those of you that are not incorporating some form of yoga into your CrossFit/fitness regime I ask: why not?
Mixing yoga practices with CrossFit will not only aid you in becoming a better CrossFitter, but a healthier person. While I am big into strength & lifting work, I have always preached how invaluable mobility is to both the athlete and the average person.
There exist many misconceptions of both CrossFit and yoga amongst practitioners of both, but marrying these two disciplines will simply make your body stronger and your health heightened.
Fitness is Not One Dimensional
As CrossFitters, our bodies can take a beating. We move fast. We lift, we pull, we jump, we squat, and we run in constantly varied and functional ways. Sometimes we only focus on the movements on the whiteboard for the day in the hope that we will power through the WOD.
But remember this: fitness is not only an hour endeavour, it is a lifestyle. One must foster an environment to bring about the adaptations we wish to develop in our bodies. You cannot just walk into the gym and start the workout, you have to warm up your body, and then you must apply equal effort in the post workout cool down.
A few arm circles each way and chatting while sipping a FitAid does not a warm up or cool down make. Yoga can bridge the gap that some experience while struggling with movements that require extra mobility such as the snatch, overhead squat, or power clean.
How Yoga Can Make You a Better CrossFitter
Yoga can improve relative strength as you move through positions where you must hold your bodyweight. A high degree of balance and coordination is built while practicing yoga, just like the movements we see in CrossFit.
Mobility and flexibility are increased with regular yoga practice and this has an obvious crossover benefit to CrossFit, where common complaints deal with tight joints or backs.
Often the best remedy for tightness is to stretch, and using common yoga poses will help you better target sore muscles or joints that are particularly restricted.
Regular stretching will also aid in the recovery of muscles after arduous workouts. Taking time to peel yourself off the floor after a WOD and sink in to several poses will help to slow your heart rate and flush built up lactic acid.
Being able to move through a full range of motion will aid you throughout your entire life, long after your best PRs are behind you. Yoga and CrossFit also reinforce the tenant of core engagement to aid in not only holding poses, but also heavy lifting.
Simply taking time before and after a workout to move through a full range of motion and hold several poses will do nothing but benefit you as an athlete. Your muscles and joints will be ready to do all of your favorite functional fitness before the WOD and your body will be on the fast track to recovery after.
You will be able to sit deeper in that squat, hold that perfect front rack, and master the turkish get-up. If you have not practiced both disciplines in tandem…you should.
How to Get Started
Progressing in both yoga and CrossFit will build you into a better, more balanced athlete.
Start by picking a few poses that target your tightest muscles and spend a few weeks moving through poses while attending your regular workouts. You will not be disappointed.
If you’re not sure how to get started, try an easy YouTube video of yoga for beginners, like this one or this one.
You don’t need a lot of equipment – a nice yoga mat that will last you a long time and a set of blocks with some straps to help you deepen your stretches is really all you need! Here are our picks:
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