Mobility is one of the most important elements of CrossFit – and it’s likely to be the biggest limiting factor holding you back from reaching your full workout potential.
Want to really up your game, correct your form and prevent injury, too? We caught up with Swansea-born athlete (she just got her first cap for Wales), Yogability founder (she’s smart and savvy, too) and burger eating champion (yes, you really can have it all), Alecs Donovan to find out which moves you should be doing to take your CrossFit workouts to the next level…
TC: How did you get into yoga?
AD: The short version – I ruptured my Achilles about 5 years ago during a netball game and I needed to get the flexibility back in my left leg if I ever wanted to be able to compete at a high level in sport again. Someone recommended Yoga. I couldn’t get to grips with it when I started to be honest. However the benefits definitely got me hooked.
I now own a company called Yogability and I’ve recently received my first cap for the [Welsh] Women’s International Rugby Team – so it definitely worked for me!
TC: Your unique Yogability concept is aimed more towards athletes and fitness folk. How does it differ from conventional yoga?
AD: Yogability is a strength and flexibility exercise. The classes are creative and dynamic, and focus on building mental and physical strength.
The strength and flexibility exercises in Yogbility promote good form and function of all muscle groups. Initially it was created for people who didn’t necessarily like yoga so I created a mix of yoga, mobility, balance and body weight exercises to form Yogability – an athlete focused yoga without too much zen.
“We focus on stretching to increase flexibility, mobility, muscle strength and body awareness”
Yogability instructors aim to relate the movements in each class back to sport or fitness and the strength and mobility required to be physically active in those sports. We focus on stretching to increase flexibility, mobility, muscle strength and body awareness. It aims to prevent injury by focusing on the proper form and function of muscles.
The main aim of Yogability is to improve mobility and flexibility in the body as a whole, whilst maintaining strength of the muscles to improve muscle form and function.
“The biggest mobility issues… With CrossFitters in particular [are] hips and shoulders”
TC: What are the most common mobility issues you see among your athletes? And how about CrossFit athletes in particular?
AD: The biggest mobility issues are hips, for sure. With Crossfitters in particular it’s hips and shoulders.
TC: Which stretches and yoga moves do you most recommend for CrossFit athletes?
AD: Ahhh it’s so hard to pick a few!! My favourites are…
Pigeon for the glutes
Lunges and lunges against the wall for hip flexor/quads
Squats with internal and external hip rotation
Frog with movement
Shoulder and peck twists on floor
Resistant band mobility work
TC: You work with a lot of top athletes. What have been your biggest gigs to date?
AD: I don’t want to name drop but yes I have been very lucky to work with International and Olympic athletes and sport teams over the years
TC: As CrossFit fan, do you have any favourite CrossFit movements? Any why?
AD: Handstand Walking! It’s one movement I find pretty easy (after years of hard work). I can play around and challenge my shoulder strength and normally beat majority of the boys.
TC: Any movements you dread seeing pop up in a WOD?
AD: Anything with ring dips – my triceps are very misleading!
TC: So when you’re not walking on your hands like a badass, teaching yogability or chasing egg-shaped balls, what do you do in your spare time?
AD: I was once told that you realise how boring you are when someone asks you what you like to do for fun…. You will either find me in a coffee shop, out for a beer or napping… I do love a daytime nap!