What to Do Before and After Your CrossFit Routine
With everything from deadlifts to rope climbs, CrossFit workouts can get pretty intense. Even something as innocuous as the vocabulary can be intimidating to first-timers—with terms like “WOD,” “The Fran,” and “AMRAP.” But Milwaukee CrossFit instructor Dan Martin wants his clients at CrossFit 262 to start out slow. He’ll alter workouts for beginners, and he suggests everyone “warm up with a full battery of exercises.”
According to him, it’s best to start with “dynamic stretching, moderate effort running, and skill work,” which readies the muscles and central nervous system for the exercises ahead. But his biggest tip deals with the end of the workout: always, always cool down with some stretches. “This is the one [rule] that I see more men break than any other, and it leads to tight muscles and joints.” Here are the other tips Martin offered for CrossFit workouts and beyond:
Think of the Couch as a Piece of Fitness Equipment
For people who have knee pain or sore legs, or those who want to increase flexibility, Martin suggests adding the couch stretch to pre-workout routines. The stretch—which can be performed against a couch, wall, or other vertical surface—opens up the quads and hips. Here’s a beginner-friendly version of the exercise:
- Place one of your knees on the seat of the couch (with your leg folded back so that the top of your foot rests against the back of the couch)
- Place the other foot on the floor
- Slowly raise the torso to neutral position, while squeezing the butt and abs
- Hold the position for a couple of minutes
- Repeat with the other leg
Strike a Pose (or Two) to Close out Your Routine
“I love the pigeon pose,” Martin says, “as well the 8 point shoulder stretch.” The instructor draws from other fitness disciplines as well. “I incorporate many yoga poses for myself and our clients.” Martin recommends holding each pose for more than a minute in order to see the greatest improvements in long-term flexibility.
Eat at the Right Times
“Before an intense session, eat a meal 2–3 hours before, not any closer.” Post-workout, Martin suggests eating an easy-to-digest protein paired with a simple carb. This helps rejuvenate the muscles and gets you ready for the next session.
You’re Ready to Start Working Out
“Whether you're an ex-NFL player or someone looking to lose 100 pounds, a good CrossFit gym can help,” Martin says. The workout scales to accommodate all fitness levels.
Don’t Go It Alone
“Start slow and hire an expert,” Martin says. Here are a few gyms in Milwaukee where you can find a good CrossFit instructor:
Andrew is a senior writer, a singer, and an occasional actor. He spends the rest of his time playing guitar in the back of bars and trying to convince at least one of his friends to go bowling.