Most people would look at CrossFit and Yoga as being two completely separate disciplines, which cannot be related to each other. Yet they do actually complement each other very well. Even my local CrossFit Box has chosen to start including a Yoga session once a week into their schedules.
If you were to go to yoga session’s regular you may start to see even more improvements to their regular sessions at CrossFit. Here is why:
Both flexibility and mobility play an important role in CrossFit as does strength and power. You may be strong in quite a few areas, but can still suffer from tightness in others. This then means that you are missing out on an opportunity to become stronger. If your shoulder muscles or hip flexors aren’t flexible you’ll find your performance when carrying out squats is limited. The same also goes for your wrists when doing front squats. Are you finding doing back squats an issue then this could be as a result of your chest muscles being too tight?
However if you learn how to do Asana poses you will find that these can help to address the problem of muscle tightness. The pose known as the Downward Facing Dog is the one that will help to improve your squats as it helps to stretch not only your calf muscles, hip flexors and hamstrings, but also the muscles in your back and shoulders. As for the Warrior II pose this one is perfect for helping to in helping to stretch hip flexors as well as opening up the chest muscles.
These particular Yoga poses are the most effective help to improve flexibility and mobility of your shoulders and hips, because they improve the rotation of them.
2. Improved Breathing And Endurance
When it comes to exercising most of us actually take our breathing for granted and therefore fail to do it properly. Yet breathing properly is important when we are carrying out different movements when exercising. When next at CrossFit take a look at those around you and you might be surprised to see quite a few of them holding their breath as they think it will help to provide them with more power as they push, especially when they are lifting heavier weights.
The problem is that holding your breath doesn’t actually produce the results desired as you work out. If you aren’t breathing properly it can lead to damage being caused to the circulation of blood around the body. This in turn will prevent your body from producing enough power when performing a particular movement.
Also when you limit your breathing your endurance becomes compromised as a result of oxygen supplies being passed around the body being depleted. Therefore when you breath is important when exercising. For example when you are rowing it is best if you exhale during the drive part of the row and inhale during the recovery part. By regulating your breathing in this way you will help to maximise the amount of power you are able to generate.
The kind of Yoga you should be doing that can help to improve your breathing and endurance is that known as Vinyasa. This form of yoga connects your breathing and movement together and as you transition from one pose to the next your breathing needs to match them. This in turn helps to make the moves look and feel much more powerful and fluid. Over time you will then find that the awareness and correct timing of your breathing can be used when performing other movements such as those you do when at CrossFit. You will then find that power and endurance is sustained for much longer.
When it comes to CrossFit, balance plays a key role. If you aren’t properly balanced then as you carry out a workout as effectively. Being properly balanced is very important, especially when carrying out WOD’s like Fran, Elizabeth, Grace or Isabel, all of which involve a lot of high rep bar movements in them.
Spending time practicing the Tree pose what seem like a simple Yoga movement is actually very effective in helping to improve your balance. Through this particular Asana pose you will build up your stability as you need to make sure that one foot remains planted firmly on the ground, whilst you open up your chest to the sky. In fact what you are attempting to do when carrying out this pose is to push yourself towards the ground, whilst at the same time trying to push yourself up towards the sky. Also when you perform this pose you’ll need to use the powerhouse muscles in your body in order to stay balanced in it.
You will find that these are very much related to keeping your balance and again you will find that practicing the Tree pose will help to improve your posture and position. In order to keep your balance whilst standing on one foot you need to maintain a neutral spine and square hips. However it isn’t only this Yoga pose that helps to improve posture and position, you’ll find that there are a number of others that help as they all help you to maintain your balance for long periods of time.
As you will discover over time all Asana Yoga poses help to promote the use of your body’s powerhouse to provide you with the energy needed, and this helps it flow to your extremities.
You will find as your posture and position improves so performing WOD’s does as well. Plus they will help to ensure that you remain safe when working out because they ensure that you won’t for example topple over when doing a kettle bell swing or maintain the right back posture when carrying out a deadlift.
As you know by now, CrossFit is a very intense and explosive form of exercise. Performing a series of different Yoga poses can help you not only to catch your breath, but also help to stretch your muscles. It is important that you make sure you give your body enough time to recover after a WOD, that is why I choose to do mine on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday and have rests days in between.
When you are resting this would be the ideal time to then fit in a session of Yoga to help you recover even better and quicker.