The Value of Mobilishing Straight After a WOD

Generally, people work out for the sake of keeping their bodies fit, active and healthy – yet so many neglect a quintessential part of training; the post-workout mobilisation routine. Whether you’re skipping rolling out because you’re in a hurry, or simply don’t recognise the recovery benefits, this oversight could compromise your body’s ability to recuperate and taint your performance the next day.

What stretching does for your body

While smashing a WOD, two things are happening to your muscles (other than getting stronger). One, lactic acid is building up and, two, the muscles are being shortened through constant contraction. When rolling out and stretching after a workout, the muscles are lengthened back to their natural state. Doing this while the muscles are warm is greatly beneficial. Combined, the effects of post-workout mobilisation mean less stiffness and muscle soreness for the next few days, increased circulation and a decreased heartrate, allowing you to continue performing at your peak.

Will stretching remove all post-workout pain?

Unfortunately, no. It goes a long way to improve and speed up recovery, but the micro-tears that appear in the muscles when pushing your body will still be there - even if you stretch. Do not fear; this is a good thing, the natural method of stimulating muscle growth.

Different types of mobilisation

Mobilisation doesn’t simply consist of touching your toes without bending your knees (for those that can get that low). Various forms of mobilisation can be used to stretch out, depending on what your stretching goals are. Static stretching entails holding a particular position for a set period of time to lengthen the muscle. Dynamic stretching involves performing movements quickly to warm-up the muscles and, you guessed it, mobilise them – think crabwalks, inchworms, walking lunges, jumping squats and PVC pass throughs (to name a few).

Using a foam roller to roll out sore muscles is very effective, while leaning against the wall or lying on the floor with a lacrosse ball against muscle knots helps to relieve the tension.

Pre-workout vs post-workout

Keep the static stretching for post-workout, unless you’re working on an area that’s very tight and sore from a previous training session. When stretching after a WOD the muscles are warm and able to cope with the demand of a deep stretch being held for a long period of time. Stick to dynamic stretches pre-workout while the muscles are still cold.

Written By: Diane Teles, Co-Founder of CrossFit 360Vida, Coach and Physiotherapist.