Thinking Outside of the Box: Ankle Mobility

*This article was written for WODNUT*

We have fantastic tools in Crossfit boxes for athletes to get ready for WODs. I love them all! We also need to think about the many more hours crossfitters spend outside the Box that is affecting their inability to have appropriate ankle mobility.
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Here are six reasons you, as an athlete, may have limitations regarding ankle mobility.
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1. Shoes
What kind of shoes do you wear outside the box? If there is any type of heel lift whatsoever you are losing sarcomeres in the calves over time. Do you always wear your crossfit shoes and your lifting shoes as often as possible in the box? You are limiting your ankle mobility if you use them too much.
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2. Sitting
We all know sitting wrecks havoc with the body. But, did you know you are actually creating the perfect environment, on a cellular level, that tells your body to rid itself of sarcomeres along the backs of your legs.
Sitting straight legged every once in a while will definitely be beneficial. Even better, sit on the ground with your legs straight out. Just make sure you are sitting on your ischial tuberosities.
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3. Walking
Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk with flat shoes or barefoot. I cannot emphasize how wonderful walking is for your health and directly relates to your performance. Alas, athletes don’t want to walk much these days.
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4. Go Up hills!
It’s true, you may not live in an area that has many hills; but, please understand that any type of change in angle/grade that your ankle can move in would be to your advantage. Sand is great too!
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5. Crawling
Great for ankle mobility and overall body mobility and stability, you really can’t go wrong with crawling. I would ease into it at first. It’s harder than you think. Yes, even people who can squat 300kg have a hard time crawling.
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6. Sleeping
It’s easy to plantarflex our feet while sleeping because it’s our relaxed position (or at least for the majority of us). I would highly recommend loosening up the sheets around the feet in order for the feet to move freely about and not be stuck in a more severe plantar flexed position.
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Our bodies are engineering marvels, having the amazing ability to adapt and change. If you are having difficulty getting into positions while working out, please consider every position you choose and decide to use outside the box.

Basic approach to recovery from a crossfit competition

1.Recovery starts before the event

Your stress levels, food intake, movements, sleep patterns before the comp day all matter. So, if you eat like poo, stress out like a banshee, workout crazy hard, and get little sleep your recovery after the event won’t be as easy flowing…. OBVIOUSLY.

2. Eat and drink before your first WOD

Yes, even if you feel like puking your guts out because it’s your first crossfit competition or you never eat/drink before going to your Box, an actual crossfit competition is completely different. There is always more than one WOD. And inevitably there are 4 to 6 WODS. If you don’t have enough energy (nutrients) in your system it will take a crap load longer for your body to recover. Now, I’m not telling you to have the “Farmer’s Breakfast” meaning everything but the sink…  just have something in the belly a while before your first WOD.

3. Moving in between WODs

I love watching people sit down and do nothing between WODS [this is a joke]. You need to move your body so it can heal (recover) as quick as possible. And I’m not just talking about for the next WOD, I’m talking about for the next several days. What you do RIGHT AFTER you tear the shit out of your muscles directly relates to how quickly your body recovers throughout the comp day and for the next several days. Whether moving means stretching, mobilizing, lengthening, rolling, crawling, rocking…. WhAtEvEr. Just move to recover.

4. Eating between WODs

Some people eat wayyyy toooo much. WODs are short. We aren’t in the Ironman here folks. Eat foods that are easily digestible and comfortable for the tummy…. but not a lot. You just don’t need it.

5. As the day progresses

People get tired. Tired. Just Tired. People want to go home. Keep moving. Just keep moving. And after the last WOD people just want to get the f** out. If you want more of a movement activity that’s not crazy but helpful for your body and helpful to the organizers, help clean the place up that you personally messed up. Yes, walking around and doing a little garbage collection or equipment moving. Go for it. Soooooo many people do not properly cool down after WODs, in between WODs, and at the end of the day. This does not help your recovery.

6. Your technique

As your technique gets shittier throughout a particular WOD and throughout the day your recovery time will increase. Yes, if your body is not in the correct position (bones, muscles, connective tissues) then you are messing it up just that little extra. Sooo it takes longer to recover. Be good to your body, hence, technique, as much as possible so as to not take FoReVeR to recover.

7. Smile

Have fun. There’s no point in stressing yourself out on competition day. It will impede your recovery. If you get pissed off because you can’t get your C2B or double unders or whatever…. have a GOOD laugh at yourself. You know why?! We have all been there. And we don’t need ANGRY people getting others stressed for no reason. Have fun for you and for the sake of everyone else.