Yoga is the Yin to the CrossFit Yang


It doesn’t take long as a member of the CrossFit community to notice that an unsettling majority of athletes seriously neglect their mobility. The reasons are as varied as the workouts – ran out of time, don’t know how to stretch, look like an idiot stretching, don’t need it, etc.

And although some of these might be valid (you really might look a bit silly when you first start!), stretching and mobility work are an essential part of any athlete’s routine, and CrossFitters are no different. With “I don’t know how to stretch” being perhaps the most common reason that athletes ignore mobility, yoga can be the perfect option. Moreover, yoga promotes strength, flexibility, balance, and focus, all of which are values espoused by CrossFit.

While there are various ways to work on mobility and flexibility, yoga can be a particularly good compliment to CrossFit. Any CrossFitter can tell you that most often, the barrier between you and success is you. Our brains are going a mile a minute, at times, imagining what can go wrong, telling us we can’t do it, perpetuating a fear of failure. Being able to control that inner voice may not be the ultimate key to success, but it certainly helps.

Yoga places a strong emphasis on cultivating focus. Approaching the mat each day, pushing through the tough poses, enduring the pain of new movements, all of these can be directly applied to CrossFit. We have all approached our lifts in the same way – persistently and unceasingly, settling into rather than resisting the pain and discomfort.

CrossFit is also about developing good mechanics. We learn proper form by doing movements over and over and over, and this requires a discipline of practice which yoga facilitates. Yoga can help raise your body awareness and sharpen your ability to tell your body what to do, so that when you know that you need to shrug harder on your clean, you can tell your body to do it, and it will respond.

Before I started doing yoga, I could hardly rack a bar for a front squat. My maxes were never reaching their full potential because the movements were never comfortable. I was always limited by tight shoulders. By bringing yoga into my CrossFit routine, I was able to increase the mobility to my shoulders, which translated into new PRs and less pain and discomfort when performing overhead lifts.

My objective in sharing my yoga experiences with you is not to advise you to practice yoga seven days a week. I am not saying that yoga is the only means to increase your flexibility. But I am saying that everyone should stretch more. And for me, being a bit more open-minded definitely paid off. Had it not been for my desire to try new things, then I would not have found my love and passion for Yoga and CrossFit.

Try something new!

Here is a sample warm-up to do after you row, run, or jump rope for five minutes.

10 Down-dog to Up-dog  – keep arms straight, drop hips, then raise them back up
10 Deep lunge (rotations) L&R – rotate knee with hand to loosen up
10 Inch worms to a push-up – walk hands out, do push-up, then all the way to stand up
10 PVC pass – throughs (front-back=1) L&R lunge each side
30 PVC trunk twists – hold PVC in the front and drop your body weight into your shoulders
10 Arm circles (front and back)
10 Bow & Arches – just like an overexaggerated kb swing
10 Toe touches – open up the lower back
10 Roll to sit-up – rolling out the spine
10 Bridges – open up the hips
10 Scorpions – twist out the spine

Go to to viewChad’s video.


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