14 Nov 2014
So I’m back to blogging regularly, and I want to address some things that have been both bothering me and causing me to reconsider my training. I’m hoping that you can learn from my experiences and not go down the same, winding road that I’ve taken. Let me start by saying that I’m beginning to realize that as I get older there are some things that need to change. And that’s precisely what this series is going to be about; things to consider as you age in regards to your fitness.
This first post is relevant to EVERYONE who walks into a gym, not just the aging athlete. I’d like to re-address an issue that I see all too often that simply needs to change. Every single one of you are competitive to some degree. That’s part of what enticed you to try CrossFit. While competition is great, it’s not really the point of what we do here, or this post. But that internal motivation and drive is what makes us strive to be better than that other, less-fit/less-healthy version of ourselves. With that being said, I see a lot of potential and opportunity left at the door. Let me explain.
All too often athletes and beginners alike, roll in the door, sign-in (RIGHT?!), walk up to the whiteboard and wait for class to start. If they didn’t plan correctly, they might be about 3-4 minutes early. They then wander around until class starts picking up a jump rope for 1-2 minutes, play with a kettle-bell for a minute or two, or lay on a foam roller without much thought as to what they are doing. Some might even go for the good ol’ super front-rack or banded overhead distraction because they have been doing it for the past 2 years and they think that it constitutes pre-class mobility. Let me ask you a question: Do you have a plan for improving mobility so that you can finally get into a legitimate back squat or front-rack position? How about those Overhead Squats? Those are fun huh? For most people, achieving these take some dedicated mobility. Not just 3-4 minutes of “hoping” your mobility improves.
Without a plan to improve mobility (let’s face it, almost everyone could stand to improve mobility in some way) you aren’t doing yourself justice. You are leaving potential and opportunity at the door. This is the biggest and greatest benefit you can afford yourself and your training. It is the most attributable factor to improved fitness and all those new PR’s you’ll be seeing. Get a mobility plan and aggressively attack your weaknesses and limiting ROM.
This shouldn’t have to even be said, but as we age, appropriate warm-up/mobility can make or break your day in the gym. I am able to attribute “good days” in the gym to adequate/proper mobility and warmup, and “bad days” to times when I just don’t have the time to get in the necessary mobility. This wasn’t always the case though. I used to be able to walk into the gym and jump right into a working set of bench (because I abhorred back squat in the not too distant past). Was that the right move then even? Hell no! I would be in a much better place now if I had spent even a little bit of time on movement prep. I now try for at least a half hour of mobility/movement prep before even thinking about picking up a barbell. Anyway, I digress. Let’s get back on track.
YES, mobility is necessary. Vital. Imperative even. Every person has areas that are specific to them that need to be addressed, so I can’t say “Do this” or “Do that.” But I know of a couple of coaches that might be able to help you out on that front. Jen has a mobility class 2x/week now. You have options. Exercise those options people! Here’s what I can do for you though. I can promise, no matter your age, you NEED to work on mobility. Give mobility a chance guys. It’s not going to hurt (too bad). But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t be the guy/girl who walks in and jumps right into class. You can’t do that, and expect to have a good day in the gym. See what a legitimate mobility session pre-WOD can do for your training. It will open the doors to new PR’s all over. I promise.
24 Oct 2014
ARE YOU UNBEATABLE?
Some of you may be aware that I belong to the Unbeatable Mind Academy powered by SEALFit. Coach Divine stresses how breathing is central to better function. Our life is simply stress after stress; work, family, friends, CrossFit, etc. These all are stressors. How your body responds to each factors determines the impact it has on you. Learning to breathe properly can help you deal with stress in a more positive way.
Start with the simple, yet powerful method of box breathing. Begin by exhaling out all of the air in your lungs to a count of 5. Then remain deflated for 5 seconds. Next inhale to a count of 5. Hold this breath for a count of 5.
Inhale – 5 count
Hold – 5 count
Exhale – 5 count
Hold – 5 count
Repeat this cycle for a minimum of 5 cycles. You can also add positive thoughts to this breathing such as “I am getting stronger and I can do this”. Seems odd at first but don’t discredit is powerfulness. Over time you will see that you can better control how you are feeling and handling stress using this simple method. It will help you in the middle of a WOD when you feel like your heart is about to explode and you may begin to fall off. There are many more positive benefits to be gained from box breathing. If you are interested in taking the mental journey that is the Unbeatable Mind Academy, you can learn more here.
GYM CLOSED SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
Just a reminder that the gym will be closed this Saturday and Sunday while we are hosting the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar. If you are interested in a bodyweight WOD that can be completed outdoors with no need of equipment, post “Hell Yes, Please!” to comments.
PROGRAMMING THRU 10/31
1. Back Squat
3 reps @ 70%
5-10 ring dips, AHAP, rest 1:00
3 reps @ 80%
5-10 ring dips, AHAP, rest 1:00
3+ reps @ 90%
5-10 ring dips, AHAP
2. EMOM 10
1 High Hang Clean + 1 Hang Clean + 1 Clean
1-3 @ 60%
4-6 @ 70%
7-10 @ 80%
1. Complete reps of 50-40-30-20-10 for time
OH Swings, 24/16kg
2a. Dip Support Hold 30 seconds x 6 sets, rest 30 seconds
2b. Bar Hang 30 seconds x 6 sets, rest 30 seconds
PR Wednesday 10/29
Five rounds for time of:
Run 800 meters
2 pood Kettlebell swing, 30 reps
1. Push Press
3 reps @ 70%
10 ring rows, BW+15, rest 2:00
3 reps @ 80%
10 ring rows, BW+15, rest 2:00
3+ reps @ 90%
10 ring rows, BW+15
2. Complete 3 rounds, each for time
Three rounds for time of:
95 pound Overhead squat, 15 reps
15 L Pull-ups
95 pound Split-jerk, 15 reps
15 Knees to elbows
95 pound Hang clean, 15 reps
15 Back extensions, with 25 pounds
Hold 25 pound plate or dumbbell to chest for back extensions.
17 Sep 2014
Hope you’re having an awesome week of training! Here’s my second video blog on the Level II Pistol Programming. If you have any questions please post to comments or catch me in the gym.
Be sure to scale appropriately for your ability and master whatever level of the program you are on. If you don’t know you’re ability or what it means to master each movement, come find me and I’ll help you out.
Have a great end of the week!
11 Sep 2014
Hope you’re pumped up for Friday and the weekend! Here is a little video blog I put together to explain the Level I Programming for the Pistol Work you should be doing on Thursdays after class. If you have any questions or would like some help figuring out the program please get in touch and we’ll get you set up.
Have a great weekend!
07 Sep 2014
“I can’t do handstand push-ups! How do I get better at pistols? I just can’t figure out Double-Under’s.”
Alright everyone. We hear you. And we’ve decided to do something about it. Here’s the deal. We are going to be working on some skills that are plaguing our members. Skills are to be worked on before or after class. The daily skill and their progressions will be posted on the whiteboard for the day and then moved to another whiteboard for you to come back to and catch up on skills you chose to work on. (If this doesn’t make sense, it will. It promise.) You should do these skills and their progressions at least once per week, but can do them more if you so choose. Just make sure to give yourself some recovery time if you’re feeling beat-up.
So let’s get right into it. Here is the first section on the Handstand Push-up skill work. Let’s first define to which Training Phase you belong.
There are 4 phases depending on where you stand with the handstand pushup.
Phase 1: Unable to do 1 strict OR kipping HSPU
Phase 2: No strict, but able to do kipping HSPU
Phase 3: 1-5 unbroken strict HSPU
Phase 4: 5+ unbroken strict HSPU
You are not permanently in this phase, rather you will graduate as soon as you are able to achieve the next levels requirements. So now that you know where you fall, lets get to work. Perform these 1-3x/week (preferably on HSPU skill day and every other day). Next week will be new skills to work on or add into your HSPU training.
5 x 5 Handstand Push-Up Negatives @ 30A1; Rest 90 seconds (A= reset)
5 x 5 Handstand Push-Up Negatives @ 40A1; Rest 90 seconds (A= reset)
5 x 5 Handstand Push-Up Negatives @ 50A1; Rest 90 seconds (A= reset)
5 x 5 Handstand Push-Up Negatives @ 60A1; Rest 90 seconds (A= reset)
Alright, get to work!
15 Aug 2014
Hey! Something that’s been on my mind for some time is best practices for success in your fitness. I have been meaning to put paper to pen but…Here are my TOP 5 best practices to be successful in your fitness. Keep in mind this is not absolute and I make no claims to be a demigod with devout clarity. I am just an aging CrossFit gym owner that loves to sweat and get others in the best shape of their lives.
5. Warm-Up PRE-Mobility – Get the blood flowing before stretching or rolling. This can be a short run/row/bike/jump rope. Mix it up and vary the duration from as little as 5 minutes to as long as 15 minutes depending on what you need for that day. I have gone as far as 20 minutes at really easy pace before mobilizing and hitting a WOD. Of course this will require you to have the ability to show up 10-20 minutes before class. The benefits ARE worth it!
4. Aerobic Base v. Strength Base – If you come from an endurance background or have participated in sports with an endurance base, then you need to prioritize your strength building. For example, someone that played soccer or ran cross country already has a solid CV/CR endurance base and will see the greatest improvement in CrossFit performance by prioritizing strength work.
Just the opposite is true for someone that has a power sport background. Football players, wrestlers, power lifters and weightlifters need to develop a better aerobic base. That means hitting some Long Slow distance work at an easy pace. This is exactly where I fall and I have been spending more and more time on it with great results.
3. Cut the Sugar – I am referring to any added sugar to food products or cooking that you consume on a daily basis. You will be totally surprised at how much sugar is added to make processed food palatable. I am sure Coach Alex can really go deeper on this topic and outline why it is your best interest to limit/avoid sugar consumption.
2. Sleep, Mobility, Stretch – You spend anywhere from 4 to 12 hours a week in the gym. That leaves at a minimum 156 hours where you are not in the gym training. What you do with this time is just as important if not more so than what you do inside. Sleep is crucial and there is research suggesting timing your sleep to follow the (REM/NREM) stages that last approximately 90 minutes each cycle. This research says that the total duration is not as important as being in alignment with the cycle. So if you tend to sleep less, try to get 3/4.5/6 hours of sleep to ensure you wake up feeling refreshed. Try it and see how it works for you.
The human body is meant to move. Our society has become one that is less and less active. This is not good. When you are not training or not sleeping you need to make sure that you incorporate frequent and brief sessions of movement that include some stretching or mobility. Get up from your desk, hit some upward and downward dogs. Stand instead of sitting while you work. Take the stairs. You will feel better and have more energy.
1. Cook for Yourself or Get Custom Fit Meals – You need to know what you are putting into your body. See #3. From watching the Food Network, it is astonishing to me how many recipes call for SUGAR and other ingredients that are not best for you. The only way to control this is to prepare your own foods or order prepared foods from a company such as Custom Fit Meals.
WHAT’S ON TAP/PROGRAMMING
These next two weeks we are going to be working up to 2RM’s in some of the lifts. The next couple cycles of programming is going to have a lot of percentage work based on these numbers. You will need the following: Back squat (8/18), bench press (8/20), deadlift (8/22), shoulder press (8/1), push press (8/9), power clean (8/25), and front squat (7/25). If you didn’t complete the lifts on the prior dates then you may use a recent (1-3 months) 1-3 Rep Max for any of the lifts.
We need everyone to get numbers for these lifts to allow class to move smoothly. The percentage work will begin on 9/3.
1. Complete reps of 15-12-9 for time of
135/95 Squat Snatch
2. Handwalking practice. If you cannot walk on your hands, then practice balancing just off a wall.
Run a Partner 5k (Both run/finish together) (Row is 6k)
then AMRAP 12
5 Deadlift, 205/145
1. Back Squat – 2RM
2. Complete 3 rounds for time
21 Front Squats @ 45% of 2RM
1. EMOM 12 – 2 Snatch TNGo
1-4 – 70%
5-8 – 75%
9-12 – 80%
2. AMRAP 8
15 Box Jumps
1. Bench Press – 2RM
1. EMOM 20
Odd: 5 Push Press
Even: 10 Burpees
2. Complete for time
1. Deadlift – 2RM
Deadlift @ 60% of 2RM
1. Power Clean – 2RM
2. 5 rounds for time
15 Squat clean @ 50% of 2RM
20 Calories on the A/D (12 calories on the rower)
06 Aug 2014
Congrats to all the people that performed the CrossFit Total last week and hit some new PR’s! Lot’s of hard work paying off and it’s awesome to see. Keep up the hard work and let’s keep crushing it as we head into the Fall.
As a coach I hope to continually teach you new things and give you tools to improve yourselves. Over the past week if you’ve been taking the noon class with me you may have experienced a new warmup that improves your mobility and gets you ready to move with the barbell. That warmup is a variation on the morning warmup I learned from The Movement Fix. I’ve been giving it to a number of my private training clients as well and it seems like it really helps everyone loosen up and move a lot smoother.
If you workout in the morning or don’t want to sit around all day getting tight before the evening classes, then you should give the warmup in the video above a try, every morning for the next week. Let me know how it goes. If you’re unclear about some of the movements let me know and I’ll get you fixed up.
If you’d like to see the improvement this makes be sure to test and re-test with a couple of air squats before and after.
Here’s the routine:
10 shoulder rotations
10 prayer stretches
10 crab walk rocks
10 ankle moves
10 hip rotations
10 straight leg raises
10 hip extensions
repeat on other leg
spine 10 cat camels (don’t push the ranges of motion)
30 Jul 2014
The video above is from a leader in backs and biomechanics, Dr. Stuart M. McGill. I first read about Dr. McGill’s work a few years ago and was awakened to it again last month at a movement seminar called The Movement Fix. Are sit-ups or any movement that put’s your lower back through repeated repetitions of extension and flexion really necessary?
Are Sit Ups Bad For Your Back?
Yes, Sit Ups are bad for your back. What? Yes, think of your back, especially your lumbar spine (low back), as a credit card. You can only bend that credit card forward and backward so many times before eventually it snaps. Sit Ups put excessive compressive loading on your spinal discs and can easily lead to disc bulge and disc herniation.
Rowers with no posture or core support end up bending from their lower back rather than pivoting from the hips, which leads to all the horror stories of slipped discs in rowing. This also shows up during any movement that involves a deadlift when athletes aren’t focused on maintaining good posture. In rowing, different coaches may or may not have you reach from the thoracic spine, but a common theme that any coach will agree with is keeping the lumbar region stiff, supported, and protected. The muscles that surround and support the spine are made to brace and resist motion, not create it.
Without core stability it is impossible to transfer the force from your legs to the oar/barbell and move the boat/load at any type of speed. This idea of core stability and the ability to connect your feet to your hands through the core is a skill needed in life and fitness as well. There is no way to do an Olympic Lift like the Clean without having a solid core to work from.
After reflecting on this topic for a couple of years, I’ve decided to eliminate sit ups and other similar movements from my training. Sure I will compete and perform sit ups, but I don’t need them to train day in and day out. I like my back to much. Instead I’ve been playing around with paleo crawls, planks, bird dogs, and curl ups on a regular basis.
If you’d like to chat about this topic or would like to know what I’ve been doing for core stability let me know. I hope this sparks some thought and further questions. Have an awesome end of the week CFB
15 Jul 2014
Hello Folks! I am going to start posting blogs of Yoga/Mobility warm ups and cool downs! I will give y’all some knowledge to give your body some love after kicking your own ass in class! Love/Hate relationship.
02 Jun 2014
“The greatest adaptation in CrossFit is of the mind.” -Greg Glassman
CrossFit is so physical. We push our bodies to the limit. Everyday we ask more of ourselves. We hit the WOD, some strength before or after, practice some skills, then mobilize and feed our bodies so we can come back in and do it all over again. This is what CrossFit is between 3-6 days per week.
Read that quote again by CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman. How powerful and true it is. He first made that statement while he was still running the CrossFit Level 1 Seminars around 2004. He and Greg Amundson (CrossFit Amundson, CrossFit Goal Setting, and Santa Cruz Original Firebreather) were observing seminar participants attempt muscle ups. Two males went up for the first attempt ever. Male 1 nailed it. He came down and his buddies were all congratulating him. He responded with humility I knew that I could do it. Meanwhile, Male 2 failed and as his buddies came to offer condolences, he stated that it was ok and that he knew he wouldn’t do it.
You see, you will achieve what you believe. Of course you need to have the appropriate skills and strength. That being a given, your mind will determine the rest.