Why CrossFit And ALL Athletes Need Mobility & Corrective Exercise

Why CrossFit And ALL Athletes Need Mobility & Corrective Exercise



“All human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves”

 ~ Dr. Kelly Starrett

Are you a recreational or competitive athlete that struggle with ROM (range of motion) in certain movements, have repetitive muscle and/or joint pain or a constant recurring injury in your sport?

Moving incorrectly in a training environment like CrossFit or another highly athletic pursuit without correcting it increases your susceptibility to injury and/or chronic pain.  

When you develop and reinforce faulty movement mechanics coupled with imbalances in muscle and joints due to daily posture habits, I guarantee you it’s only a matter of time until something in the body “gives.”

And as I like to say, exercising on an imbalanced pelvis and spine is like hammering on a bent nail.  You might get the nail into the wood, but there will be cracks and weakened areas surrounding it.  Building fitness on this kind of a foundation will result in repetitive stress leading to the chronic pain cycle or worse, a completely avoidable injury.

Take for example, the Air Squat, a basic movement in CrossFit and pretty much all athletic training programs.  In order to perform a proper depth air squat, an athlete must have both good motor control AND excellent mobility throughout the four major load joints of the body which allow for the correct function of the pelvis and spine in response.  

Let's start at the joint closest to the ground.  The ankle.  According to a recent CrossFit Journal Article, Dissecting the Squat, something as "simple as lack of proper ankle dorsiflexion is one of the most common range-of-motion limitations seen in athletes and can cause loss of neutral spine, shifting of weight onto the toes, loss of contact between heels and ground, outward rotation of the feet during performance of the squat, lack of squat depth and improper lateral tracking of the knee.  

Limited ankle dorsiflexion has been shown in multiple research studies to cause movement faults during other activities such as jumping. This research has also correlated limited ankle mobility with a variety of lower-extremity injuries (2,4,5). Thus, addressing ankle mobility is necessary for optimizing movement quality."

Now extrapolate that example to the knees, hips, pelvis, spine, shoulders.  Any muscular or joint imbalance along the way impedes correct form and function.  Repetitively loading your body on a faulty position may not result in immediate pain, but over time, you are susceptible to a injury and chronic problems.

The reality is that trying to optimize a simple movement like the squat simply cannot be corrected in a regular WOD programming situation.  Your best chance of truly addressing it is to put yourself in a situation that allows you to focus all of your attention on functional movement through a corrective sequence.

I believe that most athletes know they should mobilize, stretch and correct faulty movement patterns and imbalances, but if you don’t know what or how to do it, often you end up doing nothing at all.  

The last thing you want to have happen as an athlete is get into a situation where you can't exercise for a prolonged period of time because of repetitive stress, chronic pain or acute injury to your bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons or joints.

Every athlete be it recreational or elite wants to be able to train and perform without injury or chronic pain.  So it is absolutely vital that CrossFit and all athletes include programming to protect themselves and reduce the chances of unnecessary injury and/or pain.

I'm pleased to announce the introduction of a new class I'm teaching called Mobility & Corrective Exercise for Athletes at CrossFit 5885.  This class is open to both CrossFit 5885 members AND the general public.

Mobility and Corrective Exercise for Athletes is best described by Dr. Kelly Starrett

“Mobilization is a movement-based integrated full-body approach that addresses all the elements that limit movement and performance including short and tight muscles, soft tissue restriction, joint capsule restriction, motor control problems, joint range of motion dysfunction, and neural dynamic issues. In short, mobilization is a tool to globally address movement and performance problems.”

This class is MORE than simply stretching or foam rolling.  I'll help you address common movement/position causing pain or keeping you from progressing in the activities you love.  You’ll learn specific exercises to mobilize, stretch and correct painful or dysfunctional movement patterns.

Each session will focus on a primary issues associated with the 

  • Feet/Ankles
  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Low back
  • Thoracic Spine
  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Elbows/Wrists

You'll then be instructed how to prioritize your position and movements to help you reduce/avoid pain due to poor mechanics, improve your posture and optimize your movement skills for better conditioning and performance.

Each session will follow this general format:

  1. Self-Myofascial Release/Restricted Tissue Mobilization using a variety of tools like lacrosse balls, bands, foam rollers
  2. Specific Stretch Sequences
  3. Simple Corrective Exercises

The goal of each class is to teach you what to work on at home, and learn specific stretch sequences  to implement on your own pre-WOD which over time will allow you to confidently decrease/eliminate pain and chronic injury due to dysfunctional movement patterns.

When:  Saturday 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Where:  CrossFit 5885 (Apple Valley, MN)

Cost:  Included in CrossFit 5885 membership, or $180.00 for a 10 Class Punch Pass.  Your first class is FREE!  

Questions?  Please contact Deb

I hope to see you there!


  1. The CrossFit Journal:  Dissecting the Squat.  Zachary Long.  
  2.  mobilityWod

Stock Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Head Photo Credit:  Melissa Thome Photography

Author:  Deb Preachuk is a Certified Foundation Training & STOTT Pilates Instructor, Corrective Exercise & Posture Alignment Specialist, and the founder/owner of Pain Free Posture MN.   

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