We love intense workouts involving heavy lifting and repetitive movements. But all that intensity can leave muscles sore and tight. It doesn’t take long to notice that an unsettling majority of our fellow athletes seriously neglect their flexibility.

There’s a saying: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We tend to ignore things that seem to be working fine. Over time, we begin to accept inflexibility as normal. Yet, stretching and mobility work are an essential part of any athlete’s routine, and weight lifters are no different.

Mobility shouldn’t be an afterthought—after you’ve been injured, after you have plateaued, after you have quit. Stress, age, repetitive movement patterns, and neglect can kill your goals. In order to increase your effectiveness and abilities when performing the day’s training session, you must increase your mobility. To experienced coaches, this is common sense.

Most dedicated athletes at some point or another have run into flexibility issues. It’s usually not until a mobility issue reaches critical mass that many begin to consider the implications of inflexibility and imbalance. But thanks to resources like Mobility WOD and Rom WOD, as well as enlightened coaches everywhere, athletes are beginning to see flexibility as an indispensable tool for improving performance and recovery.

A tool for improving flexibility being implemented by many strength and conditioning gyms is yoga. Yoga is fast becoming the weapon of choice for athletes interested in a recovery tool that can also improve their positioning in lifts like the overhead squat, thrusters, and balanced body weight movements such as handstand push-ups and handstand walks.

Yoga is perfect for weight training because it promotes strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination, all of which are essential elements of any strength and conditioning program.

At FOCUS, 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. Yoga is the Yin to the performance athlete’s Yang.

Avoiding the truth about your flexibility will get you nowhere. Remember, take care to improve your flexibility and your flexibility will take care of you.