Here at Flotality, we can’t rave enough about how good yoga is for any fitness routine, but especially for Crossfitters, and yet when you ask a group of Crossfit athletes ‘who actually practices yoga?’ you will be surprised how few do.
Incorporating regular yoga practice into your training routine alongside any other sports that you do, not only helps to reduce recovery time between sessions, it also helps to prevent injury as well as enhance your athletic performance too – so yoga should be a no brainer right?
Perceptions on yoga are gradually changing, with many professional athletes embracing it as a vital part of their training programs too. Unfortunately though it still sometimes has this ‘hippie’ images which can be off-putting, even to those who would benefit from it most. Yoga doesn’t have to be ‘hippie’ or ‘spiritual’ and that is exactly what our classes here at Flotality avoid. Instead we promote yoga as an active form of relaxation for physical health and mental wellness, designing classes with the athlete or sport enthusiast in mind.
Crossfit is one of our favourite forms of training but often gets a bad rap for causing injuries, many of which could be prevented. We don’t blame the sport for causing injuries, what we do blame however are the athletes who don’t pay proper attention to building the core strength of all the muscles used within a movement or perhaps don’t cool down properly after workouts.
For example, shoulder injuries are probably the most common. Most pain in shoulder injuries are caused by impingements in the rotator cuff or muscle imbalances. These types of injury are so easily preventable with a few key movements that can be built into your daily workouts or routines.
Essentially for Crossfitters, mixing yoga into their routine is a perfect “ying” to their high-intensity “yang.
Below we have listed our top 9 yoga poses for Crossfit athletes, their benefits and purpose.
Our top 9 Yoga Poses for Crossfit
Plank poses help to build strength and stability in the core and shoulder girdle. Planks are a core strengthening powerhouse and should form part of your staple diet when it comes to accessory movements to accompany your main WODs and strength workouts.
There are many variations of the plank pose that you could try, from the basic high or low plank to side planks, and forearm planks. You could also play with balance too by lifting a hand or foot of the ground, or even both (alternate).
Down Facing Dog
When done correctly, the down facing dog pose should release tension from the upper trapezius, build upon arm and lateral strength as well as stretch and loosen the hamstrings, lower back and calves.
Down facing dog would be an ideal movement to try out after a workout that may have included running, box jumps, double-unders or explosive lifts like thrusters.
You can also use down facing dog and plank together in a kind of mini flow to build strength and warm up – from down facing dog, roll forwards through the spine into high plank, hold for 10 seconds, option to add a press or move to low plank, push back to down dog.
Warrior 1 is an amazing movement for stabilising the scapular and pelvic girdle and strength building in the erector spine and deltoids. It also helps increase flexibility in the hip flexors and quads, which in turn can help to prevent your knee from turning inwards in other squatting or lunging positions within your WODs – a massive help for knee injuries. And finally it aids in opening the chest too.
Another pose that should form part of your staple diet in post workout stretches and is so good for your shoulders especially. Eagle (arms) pose helps with shoulder and back flexibility and mobility, releasing tightness from the shoulders – which is probably what most keen Crossfitters need!
This a must do pose for runners, but will benefit most athletes or fitness fanatics too, so add it to your cool down lists! Pigeon is a great pose for increasing flexibility in the spine, hips, quads, abs, glutes and shoulders. It’s also one of the few stretches that can help stretch off the IT band too – tight IT bands are something that many runners or Crossfit athletes suffer from. In terms of injury prevention, this pose can help protect your knees too from turning inwards on those squats.
Lizard lunge is similar to a normal lunge but really puts emphasis on stretching out those hip flexors. This is a brilliant movement to incorporate into your cool down after running, WODS that include box jumps or lots of squatting movements.
Supine Ab Twist
A lovely and very relaxing pose that many people use to stretch off after workouts and for good reasons too. This pose helps release tension held in the back and hips. It also helps to strengthen the core too – bonus!
Standing forward fold
A staple diet, basic movement and perhaps one of the best poses to start your cool down with after any workout. Helping release the hamstrings and stretch out the spine, a simple standing (or seated) forward fold is one of the best and easiest movements to help increase flexibility and mobility in these areas.
There are a few variations you can do for this pose;
- Rag doll – standing forward fold but without forcing your hands to the floor, simply hold your elbows in the opposite hands, hang and gently rock side to side to ease off any tightness.
- Seated – inhale to lift and sit tall brining your arms above your head, then exhale to reach and fold forwards brining your chest towards you thighs, maintaining length in the back and neck.
- Standing variation with hands interlaced behind the back, helps pull tight shoulders back and open.
Last but not least, Camel pose – brilliant for opening and releasing the chest, shoulders quads and spine. Again there are a few variations you may want to try with this pose such as Half Camel where you reach back one side at a time, or if you want progression, you could get a deeper backbend by taking your hands, from prayer pose, up and over all the way to the floor.
Want to have yoga sessions held at your Crossfit Box?
If you are a the owner of a Crossfit Box in the South East, UK and would like to be able to offer yoga classes to your members please get in touch with Harriet for more information. We have lots of options available and would love to help plan, design and/or run classes from your box!