I personally love CrossFit. I am certified as a Level 1 trainer in CrossFit, I love to participate in the sport, and most of all I love watching the competitions.
But as a Posture Alignment Specialist, I have noticed some trends over the years that plague almost all CrossFit athletes. The two main posture problems that I see in CrossFit athletes today are:
- Internally rotated shoulders along with lack of mobility in the thoracic back
- Misaligned femurs (thigh bones)
Exercises such as cleans and snatches can pull the shoulders and upper back into an internally rotated and flexed position. Sitting leads to muscular imbalances in the hips which leads to misaligned femurs. If not properly addressed, these alignment issues can result in shoulder, knee, or back injuries in CrossFit. We need to address the body we are bringing to the sport.
Injury Prevention Exercises
Here are two key posture exercises that every CrossFit athlete needs to be doing before they train. These exercises will leave the body in a neutral, ready position and less prone to injury:
Main Purpose: To promote proper rotation of the femur in the hip joint.
Cool Additional Benefits: Strengthen the arches of the feet, promote pelvic and spinal mobility, and re-establish the kinetic chain of the ankle, knee, and hip joints.
End Result: Better balance, improved range of motion and control during squatting movements and reduced “wobbly knees”.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your feet flat on the wall.
- Keep your feet parallel, spaced about four inches apart, and pointed to the ceiling.
- Keep your upper body relaxed, with your palms up and your arms flat on the floor at about a 45-degree angle from your body.
- Bring your knees together slowly until they touch then bring your knees apart slowly so that your feet roll out to the sides.
- The bottoms of your feet will come off of the wall and the outsides of your feet will touch the wall.
Repeat for two sets of 20 reps.
It is crucial that your feet remain parallel to each other and pointed up toward the ceiling throughout the exercise, even when they are rolling out to the sides. The motion should come from your hips; your feet and knees should be relaxed.
Static Extension Position on Elbows
Main Purpose: To promote external rotation of the shoulder joint and thoracic extension.
Cool Additional Benefits: Strengthen the spinal erectors and reduce rotation in the pelvis and torso.
End Results: Improved ability to go overhead with a barbell, and reduced shoulder pain and injuries.
- Start down on the floor on your hands and knees with your major joints aligned (i.e. shoulders directly above elbows and wrists, hips directly above knees).
- Now walk your hands about six inches forward and then lower and place your elbows into the spots where your hands now are.
- Make a light fist of each hand and pull them away from each other, pivoting on your elbows.
- Kick your butt back to place an arch in your lower back while trying to pull your hips backward toward your heels.
- Let your head drop down and keep your stomach relaxed.
Hold for 2 minutes.
Staying healthy and injury-free in CrossFit is possible if you address the body you are bringing to the sport. Now let’s get to work!
The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this article is to promote broad reader understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.
Fix your posture:
Condition your athletes:
Headline photo courtesy J Perez Imagery.