This month we will be working on some of the most important flexors in CrossFit. For the upper body we will focus on finger and wrist flexors to continue to improve our front rack position that we use almost every day. For the lower body we will be working on opening up our hip flexors because with all the squatting volume we do its imperative we do routine maintenance.
Let’s begin with the upper body, in the forearm and hand we have a whole network of muscles that both flex and extend each finger as well as the wrist as a whole. There are multiple layers on each side of the forearm, and depending on what side of the forearm you are looking at will help you determine what muscle group you will be working on. For us, we want the palm side of the forearm or the anterior side in the anatomical position
This is all just in the forearm and doesn’t include the muscles within the hand! Looking at the pictures above we can see why mobility within the wrist and front rack can be extremely limited due to the amount of muscles that can be tight! Good news we can try our best to loosen some of them up with the following mobility drill. What you will need is a lacrosse ball and a high pain tolerance!
- We will first start on the pointer finger; our starting position will be on our knees sitting on our ankles. From here we place the lacrosse ball under our index finger pad, right where are fingerprint is located, we want to try our best not to have it go past that first knuckle. With the ball on the floor and fingers spread apart facing away from the body we will then lean our shoulder as far as we can forward past the ball really focusing on that muscle keeping our finger tight. This will not feel very pleasant for the first 30 seconds or so, but we will try to maintain each position for 2 minutes. After the two minutes is up we move to the middle finger, ring finger and finally the pinky. Repeat this 2 times, on each hand and watch your front rack get better instantly. Routine maintenance is key in keeping these muscles loose and helping us achieve optimal wrist mobility!
Next, we will open up the lower body, specifically the hip flexors on both, legs as well as, upper quadriceps. Hip flexors can be extremely tight and can often cause pain. For those of us that sit hours on end whether from driving or office job this problem becomes much worse. Since we are constantly contracting the muscles get used to this and stay nice and tight, however, this is the last thing we want. This can chance our posture, inhibit our range of motion, and really affect our daily lives. What is the cure you ask? A nice deep stretch that requires minimal to no equipment and can be done from home! All we will be doing is getting in a lunge position close to a wall or right in front of a couch. From here our back leg will be placed up on the wall, bench, or couch and from there we stand as upright as possible. There are a few major focus points, number one is to always take deep breaths while stretching this will help the muscles relax and make the stretch far less painful. The second focus point is keeping your core tight, by arching your back you are taking away from the overall stretch and will lessen its effectiveness. Finally, we want to be sure we ease into the stretch, as stated before these muscles can be very tight and the last thing we want to do is pull a muscle from stretching because we jumped in it too fast. This stretch should be done daily prior to class to make sure our hip flexors are ready for what is to come for each WOD.