March 09, 2011
The right kind of stretching and warm-up can give you an edge. Gus Patel suggests both non-specific and specific movements for use prior to your workout.
Research and experience have established that flexibility and a proper warm-up are essential components of all sporting fitness.
Most programs—whether for a college, semi-pro or pro athlete—begin with a warm-up and stretching routine before progressing to the main training exercises. To stretch or not to stretch within this warm-up has been a controversial question leading to many anecdotal reports supporting both views.
Stretching is often less popular today for a variety of reasons, the main ones being that research on stretching is not as definitive (i.e., physical changes in the body are not apparent from stretching) and has additionally produced mixed reviews.
However, what we do know is that although the outward physical changes resulting from properly warming up and stretching are not as apparent, the benefits of a proper warm-up and stretching program will help to reduce injury and, if done correctly, improve athletic performance.
I believe athletes can benefit from a non-specific and specific warm-up to help improve athletic abilities and reduce injury while simultaneously helping fulfill the need for an increase in range of motion to an appropriate level required in all CrossFit fundamental movements. To help support that belief, I have done some research that will help give some empirical evidence.