The upcoming monthly focus for October will touch on the general physical skills which are “less sexy” but just as important as the others:  Balance, Coordination, Agility, and Flexibility.

Things to look for during the month:

Flexibility – Mobility movements included in the warmup more frequently

Agility – Footwork and movements requiring changes of direction, Double Unders!!!

Balance – Pistols, Handstands, work requiring core engagement and stabilization, single arm movements

Coordination – Kettlebell work, Olympic Lifting, Kipping Pullups, Muscle Ups, and other gymnastics work & core-to-extremity movements.

Our “test” for the month in CrossFit will be the benchmark workout “Mary”

We asked a few coaches their thoughts on the upcoming month and to share what they enjoy training for optimal flexibility, agility, balance and coordination. Check it out!

Flexibility Training

From Coach Erica

“What’s your Fran time?” “What’s your max deadlift?” “How fast can you run a mile?” These are all questions we have either asked or been asked during our CrossFit careers (hint: never use “What’s Your Fran time” as a pickup line in a bar).

One question we don’t hear too often is “What’s your best stretching time?”

Let’s face it. Stretching just isn’t as sexy as max lifts or benchmark workouts. And even though it is one of the 10 general physical skills of fitness, it remains overlooked in the majority of athletes’ programming. Lacking flexibility can dramatically affect your ability to produce power out of a squat, stability in an overhead position, or explosiveness in a snatch. However, it doesn’t only hinder performance. It can also increase your risk of injury. With its many technical movements, CrossFit requires a high level of flexibility. If you are forcing your body into positions it isn’t ready for yet, then you are dancing with fire! Thoracic spine, shoulders, hips, hamstrings, ankles…these are all common problem areas. Every athlete has an area of restriction that they should actively be working on. If the positions for movements are sound and stable, then the opportunity to become bigger, faster, and stronger is increased!

Stop holding yourself back with those tight shoulders or hamstrings. Let’s hone in on the smaller things to create some bigger results!

Some of my favorite go to stretches:

Thoracic Spine Mobility Routine (for all of the overhead #gainz)

PVC Pass Through (shoulder range of motion)

Couch Stretch (hip and quad opener)

Pigeon Pose (gluteal stretch)

Twisted Cross Pose (spinal rotation and pectoral opener)

Agility Training

From Coach Jean

We can all agree that CrossFit is a well-rounded fitness regiment. If I had to make a critique, the one thing I have noticed over the years is the lack of lateral movements incorporated into general CrossFit-based programming. In CrossFit we primarily move in a sagittal place (backwards and forward motion). In order to be a versatile athlete, we need to apply all planes of motion. Check out this great article from Breaking Muscle on the three planes of motion.

This is where the opportunity for agility training comes into play. Agility in the physical fitness sense can be defined as the ability to move and change direction while maintaining control.

In my own training I have worked on agility to improve my hip and hamstring strength, which translates into a better squat postion for the Olympic lifts and being more explosive in my pull. Agility training has also improved my overall posterior health, resulting in far fewer minor injuries (fractured foot not included)

Here are my top 3 go-to agility drills. Have fun everyone!

4 Corner Point n’ Go

River Dance Agility Ladder

Centipede Agility Ladder

Balance Training

From Coach Jeff

I’m totally digging this upcoming focus. The balance and stability element of the CrossFit methodology is, in my opinion, one of if not THE most important aspect of functional training. Each time we have an opportunity to hone in and drill a static movement requiring balance, agility and stabilization, we are setting ourselves up for mastery of the more advanced and dynamic movements often seen in CrossFit and related training.

My favorite drills right now for handstands are a “nose and toes” wall-facing handstand. This style allows you to practice a good stacked position(think ankles–>knees–>hips–>shoulders–>wrists) and forces a stronger engagement of the belly that is necessary in order to achieve a free-standing handstand, and eventually a handstand walk.

I’m also a fan of doing an alternating KB presses (try them seated, too!) to aid in developing overhead movements, including the handstand push-up. Another fun one that we trained for a while is the bottoms-up KB press. Start light and build up to a challenging weight over time—remember to keep the belly tight and glutes engaged!

Coordination Training

From Coach Giancarlo

Are you convinced that you can clean or snatch more if only your body would do what you told it to?  It takes time, patience, good coaching and more importantly, coordination! In the coming months, we’ll be focusing on coordination and how it applies to our training and your time outside of the gym.  We’ll practice movements that will test and strengthen your mind/body connection and prepare you for your largest set of double unders, standing out in your rec league or keeping up with your Fearless kids!

Here are a couple of my favorites:

KB Taters

Hand to Hand KB Swings

Speed Ladder Drills (see Jean’s suggestions above!)

Lacrosse Ball juggling (try it!)