11 Dec 2013
From time to time it can be beneficial to look at yourself on camera. No we don’t care about the aesthetics or the fashion. We’re looking to gain feedback and a mental picture. We’re looking for just one or two cues that might give us a smoother, more powerful stroke. What’s going right? What’s going wrong? What can we do better?
You should be asking yourself, “What do I look like now? How do I move now? What could use some extra focus and improvement next time?” Don’t dwell on to many things at a time, just find one or two things that might make your life on the erg or in the boat a little better. Go work on them. Then reassess in a couple of weeks.
The Renegade Rowing Club has agreed to help everyone by taking a look at their strokes. If you’d like feedback similar to this, post a 20 second clip of you rowing to YouTube and share it with us in the comments of this post. I’ll do my best to give you a couple of things to work on!
For each of the following videos I’ll be ranking each rower on their posture, control, and connection. I’ll use a five point scale where 1 = poor and 5 = perfect. When dealing with posture we’re looking for the torso to be stacked and strong at all times. When talking about control we are looking at the smoothness of the recovery and how the seat moves toward the catch. Does it rush forward for the next stroke? Is there control in the last few inches of the slide to change direction without pushing the boat backwards? Last and most important, connection, are the seat and handle connected and moving together into and out of the catch as if connected by a belt.
Take a look and share what you might focus on next time you row!
Posture: 3, Control: 3, Connection: 2 – video
Feedback: Nice job getting the body over. Don’t let the seat stop at the catch. Be ready to push with the legs the second you hit the catch and keep the seat and hands connected.
Posture: 3, Control: 3, Connection: 4 – video
Feedback: Nice horizontal hands. Don’t let the handle pause at the finish. Focus on quicker hands away as if there were opposing magnets on the handle and your chest trying to push those hands away out of the finish.
Posture: 4, Control: 3, Connection: 3 – video
Feedback: Great posture and nice job getting the body over. Try not to be so rigid and don’t break the elbows as you initiate the drive. Relax a little on the recovery and make everything smooth.
Posture: 3, Control: 2, Connection: 3 – video
Feedback: Nice job getting the arms extended and ready for the catch. Try to not be so robotic and rigid at the finish. Focus on quick and smooth hands away. The handle should always be moving.
Posture: 4, Control: 3, Connection: 2 – video
Feedback: Good posture and nice horizontal hands. Don’t let the shoulders and torso reach for more at the catch. Focus on staying connected as you approach the catch. See if you can get the body over and find that reach earlier in the recovery, before you get to half slide.
Posture: 3, Control: 4, Connection: 2 – video
Feedback: Great work getting your body over on the recovery and getting prepared by half slide. Don’t let your posture go as you approach the catch. Focus on bringing the handle with you as you push the knees down. The first inch or two of the drive you are shooting the slide, so keep a big chest and solid abs/back as you push.
Posture: 3, Control: 3, Connection: 2 – video
Nice power and push on the drive. Try to keep your hands on one level plain and don’t let them drop coming into the catch. Focus on pointing the toes as you finish and then getting the proper sequence of arms away first, bodies over, and then knees come up during the recovery. Everything blends, but that’s the order of firing in terms of sequence.
14 Nov 2013
I was reading an article online about the quality standards of CrossFit gyms. Luckily, I feel we at CFB fall into most, if not all, categories of what makes a good “box.” Anyway, I read one portion in particular and it was almost as if I had written the article. Not only is it solid advice, but I think I may have said something like this a few times before. Anyway, here it is. Take it to heart. This doesn’t just apply to pull-ups btw…
“Quality of Movement Stressed Over Type of Movement
Do you get annoyed by your coach chattering on about technique? Do you zone them out when they suggest strict pull-ups with a band instead of kipping pull-ups? “By golly I’m not getting a band! I can kip the crap out of 2-3 pull-ups!” Face palm. Suck it up buttercup, no one cares if you need a band. We’ve all been there and the only person you’re holding back is yourself. If you have an annoying coach that chooses kinder words than mine to express the same idea, hug him or her the next time you see them. You are blessed.”
13 Nov 2013
How do you Master Skills?
As Winter starts to set in and you start working toward your goals, be aware of how you recover and master skills. One goal you’ll probably set for the Winter is to master a new skill, like double unders, hand stand push-ups, or muscle ups. I want to draw your attention to how you attack these skills and actually master them.
To master a skill is to know and have full control over every piece of a skill, both physically and mentally, when your fresh and your fatigued. Lately we’ve been pushing the intensity in the gym and many people have found themselves sore and out of it for a few days. One example would be Coach Tito and Carla of CrossFit Boston competing at the Southie Throwdown this past weekend. They literally were crushed from back to back competition days. What would you do on the Monday following a weekend like that?
The days following a hard training day are perfect for mastering a new skill through active recovery. Rather than going back for a second or third hard training day and not performing at full intensity, commit to an active recovery day focused on mastery of the skills you’d like to develop. Carla did just that on Monday.
Rather than join in on the 7am class at CFB, she took 1 hour out of her day to actively recover, instead of sitting around and feeling sore. She set the erg for 2,000m of work and 10min of rest. She rowed an easy 2k and then spent 10 minutes working on her goats, handstand push ups, pull ups, and Toes to Bar. Three sets of this active recovery interval scheme gave her confidence with her skills and prepared her for a hard training day on Tuesday.
The erg is a great tool to use as active recovery. A few hard training days back to back will leave your body depleted and full of metabolic waste. In order to replenish your energy and clear out the metabolic waste it helps to eat well, move, and keep the blood flowing. The erg provides a stable platform and is low impact, perfect for recovery at a sub-maximal effort. Next time you’re feeling sore or a workout absolutely crushes you, go sit down on the erg and row for 10 minutes. It doesn’t have to be hard. Enjoy it! Row at about 40% effort, just hard enough to breath a little bit. You should be able to maintain sentences and tell your training partner what you’ll be doing to master your next skill!
If you have any fun methods to master skills please share in the comments!
03 Nov 2013
I was reading this article here. I find it VERY interesting and I agree with it totally. I can totally understand and relate to the desire to complete the WOD as Rx’d but is it in your best interests? What is the cost of doing so? Tell me your thoughts and experiences?
29 Oct 2013
I just wanted to pass on this video I just watched about opening up your hips. If you frequently have lower back or hip pain, give these drills a shot and see how much better you feel. Remember that you may not see dramatic results immediately, but with continued application of these drills, you will notice a reduction in pain and tightness.
23 Oct 2013
Just wanted to give a quick shout out to the 6am and 7am crew this morning. The gym was rocking and you guys crushed it. Even with that cold run. If you’re coming in later today take a look at the OH Walking Lunges in the video above. Make sure we’re not letting the chest/torso fall forward. Try to keep your torso upright and focus on active shoulders. If you have to stop and reset, do it. Keep everything locked out and stacked for every step. Today is a great opportunity to perfect form on all of the movements. Be honest with yourself and push it!
Can anyone guess what a Spider Worm is? We used it in todays warmup and I believe the 6am class came up with an interesting acronym.
Also, check out today’s main blog post by Alex Black! Great post on how to cure the common cold with good nutrition!
Have a great day!
17 Oct 2013
Today’s WOD includes the sumo deadlift high pull. This movement can easily be performed incorrectly. Here are some cues to take into consideration while you are busting out your reps:
- Hand placement should be such that your elbows are kissing your knees when the bar is on the ground. If the grip is too wide then it is very difficult to move through the full range of motion. If it is too narrow then you will have a difficult time balancing the bar.
- Shoulder blades should be neutral at all times. At the bottom the shoulders will be depressed or “packed down” and elevated or “active” at the top. This allows the upper arm to move freely through the ROM without impingement.
- Full hip extension on the deadlift before the arms begin to bend AND full arm extension on the return before the hips begin to flex.
Here is a quick video showing what we are looking for:
15 Oct 2013
For todays EMOM 20, it is critical to hit the unbroken double unders the first time and NOT have to start over. I tested this WOD with my Polar HR monitor and there was a 10 beats difference in my heart rate on the 4 rounds where I missed against the rounds I hit correctly the first time.
- Rest as you move from the deadlift to double unders. Don’t rush!
- Breathe through your nose while inhaling DEEP breaths. This will help you regulate your stress response and your HR.
- Keep the double unders at a slightly slower pace to ensure you don’t have a miss. This isn’t “Annie” where faster wins. Its about consistency.
Good Morning CrossFit Boston!
Just wanted to give a shout out to the 6am and 7am classes! Well done keeping your brace and not letting those backs round out. A good cue we used this morning that helped people focus on keeping everything locked in was “Push the Floor Away!” Rather than imagining you’re pulling a bar off the floor, think of it as pushing the Earth down through your heels. Today’s WOD is all about pushing!
Last but not least I’d like to call out Elizabeth from the 6am class. She crushed it today. In the beginning rounds she was only able to link together 5 unbroken double unders. In workouts like this you have an opportunity to get lots of quality reps in and commit to learning double unders. Elizabeth flipped the switch. Rather than sticking with single, double, single for the whole workout, she committed to linking doubles together. By the end of the WOD she hit 14 doubles unbroken, a personal record. Today is your day for double unders. Commit to linking them and finding them mid-WOD under fatigue. Get ‘em!
Have a great day CFB!
11 Oct 2013
STOP! Whatever you are doing, read this!
In today’s Power Snatch WOD we have been noticing the hands of athletes creeping in closer and closer. At a minimum, the hands should be outside of the bands on the barbell. Of course there will some exceptions to the rule but they are few and far between. Take a look at the first photo below:
The hands are too narrow for the snatch. It increases the distance required to get the bar overhead and will most likely lead to a poor bar path and even the dreaded “PRESS OUT” snatch.
Here is a picture with the correct hand placement:
Here you can see the hands are placed closer towards the collar of the barbell. This will allow the athlete to finish his pull to the hips, a tighter bar path, and a beautiful snatch.
You are free to continue on with your day!