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Mobility First: 5 Practical Tips to Optimise your Open Performances

  1. Quality movement will make exercises more efficient – you will waste less energy
  2. Better mobility will reduce the risk of injury – you stay fit for the full five weeks
  3. Effective mobility routines will enhance recovery times – perfect if you need to repeat Open Workouts

Test your Own Mobility

If you want to improve then it’s always a good idea to define your current standard honestly. This principle is no different when applied to mobility.

With mobility, there is a fair chance that you already have ideas about your sticking points. Certain movements may feel harder to move into for example. GOWOD’s FREE mobility test will help you to understand where your weaknesses and strengths lie.

It will test and measure your shoulder, overhead, hip, posterior chain and ankle mobility. Next it assigns a score to each aspect of your mobility.

Understanding Mobility in New Ways

The mind tightens muscles to stop you going into unsafe positions

This is a penny drop moment for many. There are a couple of main reasons your brain will feel unsafe moving into certain positions: Previous or current injury – there is a big distinction between the two. For current injury, the reason is obvious, there is damaged tissue that needs time to heal, so the body wants to avoid loading it.

Josh Bridges
Josh Bridges working on his mobility

For previous injury, assuming the tissue has healed, we are dealing with the ‘ghost’ of the injury – a relic in the nervous system telling us to continue to avoid an old site of injury when we do not necessarily need to anymore. This is the mechanism by which compensation patterns build up (ever heard someone say the site of pain isn’t always the cause of the pain?).

Lack of strength, control or experience in the position (gymnast lingo ‘spending time in the position’). Lack of strength and control are pretty much the same thing, the body is not convinced that you can “own” the position so to avoid finding out the hard way and hurting you, it stops you going there by shutting down the movement – think partial squat depth or being unable to fully flex the shoulders. Your poor, scared body is just trying to protect you by putting the brakes on.


Another good indicator of poor mobility is whether or not you are able to breathe comfortably in a position when you hold it. Try putting your feet shoulder width apart and squatting all the way down. Can you sit in this bottom position with your feet facing forwards and breathe comfortably? If you feel like your lungs are squashed, and it is difficult to draw breath or balance, then you have work to do.

The GOWOD mobility test provides a full body analysis that leaves no rock unturned. It is used by top athletes such as Josh Bridges, Katrin Davidsdottir, Willy Georges and Scott Panchik.

Take the Test Now

Improve Where You are Weak

GOWOD adapts to any individual’s own particular weaknesses, and it designs a personalized program for you that will focus on these problem areas. As well as concentrating on these sticking points, it will also improve full body mobility in general.

You can select pre or post WOD routines that will be specifically tailored for your exact needs. It can be tough sometimes to make time for mobility, so this intelligent and focused approach is an excellent way to ensure that you get the best mobility session possible.

It is the advanced personalization process that really marked GOWOD out for me as the most effective tool for the job when it comes to optimising mobility.

Another feature that I loved was the ability to select the duration of each mobility session based on how much time I had available.

How Mobility Weaknesses Affect Performance

Any one area of weakness can significantly hinder progress in lifting, training and CrossFit®. For example, poor dorsiflexion will affect the squat, or bad wrist mobility will negatively impact the clean. Make sure you aren’t limiting yourself when it comes to your training.

Katrin prepping her body for success

Mobility During The Open

GOWOD also integrates an entire section dedicated purely for the Open. The mobility routines are available for both pre and post WOD, and tailored specifically for the movements that are involved in each Open WOD.

Firstly, you select your own category.

Then you move onto the specific pre and post WOD mobility routines. Take Open workout 19.1 for example. A 15 minute AMRAP of 19 wall ball shots and 19 calories on the rower.

I used GOWOD to create the perfect post WOD mobility routine for me in the 12 minutes that I had available. Here are a few of the chosen movements.

Try GOWOD for yourself

Flexibility and Mobility: The Difference

These two terms are often used interchangeably, but the truth is that they describe two different actions.

  • Flexibility refers to a connective tissue’s (muscles, ligaments, tendons) ability to stretch. It is passive, and can created as a result of an external force.
  • Mobility is our ability to move our own body through a particular range of motion, without any restriction, with complete control.

The biggest difference between mobility and flexibility is that in order to move a muscle through its range of motion with control (mobility), you also need strength.

Mobility Always Comes First

When it comes to CrossFit®, weightlifting and gymnastics, mobility always comes first.

If you are not able to air squat with efficient form, don’t load the bar up with weight until you can. Good movement is the primary underlying factor to successful performance in athletes of all ability levels.

5 Practical Tips to Improve Your Mobility

If you are serious about achieving the results that you want then add these effective tips into your life.


“Routine in an intelligent (wo)man is a sign of ambition”

Willy Georges
Top French athlete Willy Georges working on his pre WOD mobility

It is common for athletes to set themselves clearly defined goals when it comes to strength numbers (squat, deadlift, bench, snatch, clean and jerk etc), endurance tests (5km run, 2km row etc) and WOD times, but how often do you hear about athletes that focus as much on their mobility? Why not? Make SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) and hold yourself accountable.

Give yourself the right tools to achieve the job at hand.


When it comes to improvement, consistency is king. Check out how this Crossfitter made massive improvements to his mobility, and consequently the technique, bar path and weight of his front squat. The simple change was daily mobility.


“I’ve been lifting without my lifting shoes for a couple of weeks now and I’m more than happy with how my mobility is improving. When I started CrossFit® a little over 2 years ago it was practically impossible for me to hit depth on air squats. Some months ago, I decided to start working on my mobility daily, using the GOWOD app (link to GOWOD). This has really been a game changer for me. I love how consistent my barpath is in my front squats.”



Here, 2x Icelandic CrossFit Games® Champion Katrin Davidsdottir is using a particular routine (link to GOWOD) involving the “Overhead olympic wall squat” in order to prepare her mobility before a big session of heavy squat snatches. The mobility exercise is specifically tailored to the exercises and movements that will be performed in the workout.

Be specific with your mobility in order to maximise your performance and recovery.


Josh bridges mobilitySource: GOWOD
Josh pre WOD

Good mobility will help to improve your health, fitness and movement for your entire life. Investing the time into proper mobility work will not just allow you to enhance your performances and WOD times in the short run, but you will thank yourself later on in life when you are 85 and still running around, working out and enjoying healthy movement patterns with your grandchildren.


Make the step and upgrade your mobility.

Enhance Your Mobility Now!

Image Sources

  • Josh Stretching: GOWOD
  • Katrin-Davidsdottir-mobility: GOWOD

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