Om and Holmberg

By Graham Holmberg

In CrossFit Games, Sports Applications, Videos

September 22, 2010

Video Article

We know CrossFit Games champ Graham Holmberg can deal with the unknown and unknowable. But Holmberg also enjoys dealing with the unknown when participating in yoga classes led by his fiancée, Savanna Wilson. For the co-owner of Rogue Fitness/CrossFit Columbus, it’s refreshing to be able to stop planning workouts for 45 minutes while following a series of movements created by someone else.

Holmberg uses yoga to improve his flexibility, but he also uses it to work on his concentration and intensity during focused movement. Even so, he believes the flexibility benefits are unmistakeable, and flexibility is one of CrossFit’s 10 general physical skills—even if many ignore it completely.

5min 22sec

Additional reading: Hamstrung by Kelly Starrett, published July 1, 2007.

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15 Comments on “Om and Holmberg”


wrote …

There is likely no Crossfit Yoga Cert because there is a Crossfit Mobility and Recovery Cert by Kelly Starrett. Yoga does increase flexibility, but K-Star seems to bring about results exponentially quicker. His Mobility WOD blog is just phenomenal. An hour of those would be like yoga on roids.

The additional reading article is also a doozy if you have tight hammies.


Steven Lobotsky wrote …

Totally agree ,K-Star's Mob WOD is fantastic.
I've been following it faithfully and have seen all my lifts go up.
My back ,hips ,legs ,shoulders all feel great.
We tried the yoga thing for a while but it just seemed to hurt my back more than help it.


wrote …

I've been doing Yoga and Crossfit for about three years now and there is no doubt they complement each other. Everything Graham is saying I have experienced myself.


wrote …

Hilarious shirt comment!


wrote …

If flexibility is one of the 10 general physical skills to be improved, how is it done with the wods?


replied to comment from Matt Solomon

Come on, yoga is not only about flexibility. One has not to be terribly flexible to enjoy yoga benefits, quite contrary. Flexibility is "just" another side effect that one would get with practice.
We are all acting like yoga goal and result is flexibility while it's more about being able to focus on yourself, not compete with anybody and anyone, being able to listen to your own body (even when it is only whispering about it's problems), calmness, peace, restoration of health and many many more which I do not want to (and chances are I'm not able to) include here.
I love CrossFit it's aggressiveness, speed, strength, results obsessiveness, competition, grace and power. And I love yoga because it's completely opposite. For me it's like ying and yang and being able to live, "turn on" (on demand and wish ) both side of the spectrum is, at least for me, very valuable.
BTW - I also follow Kstar's blog which is amazing and has it's own place in the Universe :)


Tammi Byxbee wrote …

It's all about balance-coming from a Marine Corps. background,teaching Crossfit Kettlebell Lifting ( and other odd lifting techniques), jiu jitsu, it dosen't make you any less "tough" or agressive (in a good way) to practice yoga, when in fact, your focus when doing anything intense or combative is not just physical-your mind is probably the most important "muscle" you'll be using.


replied to comment from Oscar Macho

Oscar, you will develop a large degree of flexibility by repeatedly performing the common CrossFit movements with good form, striving for full range of motion. Examples: Squat, OH Squat, Snatch, Muscle-up/ring dip, pistol. In one of the Anders Lindjo olympic coaching videos he displays tremendous mobility by performing a pretty solid OH squat with his arms nearly vertical. Using other mobility practices will accelerate your flexibility, but the basic movements will also help.

Side bar:
Kelly S. has mentioned in several different CFJ episodes, that Yoga is more about aligning the mind and body than flexibility. As effeciency and effectiveness are staples of CrossFit, I would tend to agree. PNF and Kelly's methods are much more effective and effecient at improving mobility, however Yoga and other arts like Tai Chi and Qi Gong are much more capable of aligning mind and body.

I have experienced different, but equally valuable, effects from doing each a couple days a week. PNF and mobility work improves my ROM, Yoga just makes me feel better.


wrote …

Thanks for the input and perspectives on yoga and how it relates to CrossFit. As of late I have been mixing in Kelly Starrett's mobility wod's with all my other training and have noticed immediate gains from it. I would highly suggest it for others as well. For me yoga is a new approach to working out and chance to slow things down, focus on breathing, and work on mind/body control, as some have already mentioned.

In all honesty I feel that it is a great balance for what we do as CrossFitters. It is hard to attack my workouts with 110% the following months after the games. This gives me a break from killing myself. I do not go in to yoga a couple times in a week to expect instant results. It is something I feel can better me over the course of a year and live a healthier life, which is what CrossFit and fitness is all about.


wrote …

Thanks Brian, I got the point! I´ve been practicing yoga for a long part of my life, and I have a great respectful for this. I competed in freediving and it was a key point in my daily training.


wrote …

...every day on main site WOD and yogaWOD?


wrote …

I'm glad this is finally coming out in a discussion forum because I have been trying to get friends and coworkers to supplement yoga with their workouts, even if it isn't CrossFit. I have been doing yoga for years, regardless of what type of training that I was doing at the time. It does help increase your flexibility, but more than that, as mentioned above, it is about figuring yourself out. It is about finding your balance in the grand scheme of things as well as right in that moment. All that aside, it is a great way to either start your day and wake up, or wind down after a hard day. I do a quick series of movemenets every morning before I do anything else, but I will almost always do a few series at the end of the day, especially if it was a tough workout day.
I haven't heard of Kelly's blog yet but I am on my way right now to check it out.


replied to comment from Boris Bart

I'm with you. Let's have a "CrossFit-Flexibility Bias" program. While others focus on strength or endurance or football our legions will be the most flexible. Who's in? Oh...nobody? :) Just joking around. I went to yoga last night as chance would have it for my second time ever. Today I PR'd on the front squat, hitting 3 reps with my old 1 rep weight. Did the yoga loosen me up and get me into a better position or was it all coincidence? I don't know, but it didn't hurt anything and I felt great after so I think I'll go again next week. K-Stars Blog is amazing.


wrote …

This is interesting and humerous at the same time...a long time ago in the early days of CF I remember reading a post on the message board or .com which bashed yoga big time. Most of the comments were negative and poked fun at people who practiced yoga. Now, the fittest man on the planet talks about his yoga practice and we will see a rush of crossfitters signing up for yoga lessons to improve their performance.

I have practiced yoga for close to 10 years now and never thought about increasing my just happened that my mobility improved because of the exercises that I was doing in the gym and on the mat. Like others have mentioned, practicing yoga has helped to improve mental clarity, and adds peace into my day in an otherwise hectic world.


Daniel Schmieding wrote …

Clearly there are mental benefits from doing Yoga, relating to the "atmosphere" and breathing of the exercise.

Flexibility, however, should be actively pushed in a positive direction without having to try very hard if one is truly doing CrossFit (not just the WOD).

Lunges, Handstands, L-Holds and Ring Work will develop tremendous flexibility if worked consistently, along with dozens of other gymnastics movements.

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