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
23 Jul 2014
Hey CFB! Hope you’re all getting pumped for the Throwdown tomorrow night. It’s been a solid week of training and it’ll be fun to see where everyone stands. Also, props to those who gave CrossFit Dodgeball a go on Monday. That was a lot of fun to coach. If you’d be interested in a CFB Dodgeball Tourney let me know. Just saying, could be epic! Hit us up with your thoughts in the comments or on FB.
This week it’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of our newest members, Lindsay! When you meet her for the first time be sure to introduce yourself and throw up a high five! Here’s a little bit about her to get the conversations started…
Who are you and what are you about?
Hi! I’m Lindsay. I am an ordained clergy in the christian tradition and an interfaith chaplain in higher education. I am passionate about interfaith dialogue, human rights, learning, and most importantly drinking red wine with girlfriends. I am married to an awesome man and have two very lively kiddos (ages 1 and 4) who have taught me more about myself and life than I’ve ever learned in a classroom.
Why did you join CrossFit Boston?
A girlfriend of mine who is in her forties and is in incredible shape challenged me to give CrossFit a try. She said after 3 months of CrossFit, I would never go back to a conventional gym. The future has yet to be told, but at this point, CrossFit has been a refreshing change!
What are some of your goals for this year?
I haven’t been consistently active for the past 5 years, so my primary goal is to be active! And my ultimate goal is to have sustained energy with my kiddos on the playground. Ironically, some days after training I have a hard time even picking up my kiddos! But overall, I can already feel a very positive difference.
What are you looking forward to once you graduate to group classes?
I’m terrified to join group classes! There are some crazy good athletes doing crazy amounts of pull ups in there. But in spite of that fear – I am most looking forward to the team atmosphere in the group classes. Not to mention that whoever picks the music at our gym actually did an entire class to musical theater… Love it! Who wouldn’t want to work out to that?!
The CrossFit Boston In-House Throwdown will be next Friday, July 25th at 6:30pm with food and beverages to follow. So the question is…. Are you ready to compete? Against yourself? Against others? Below are a couple of my thoughts on what it means to be an athlete, and even better, a firsthand athlete. Read through, reflect on your training and experience in the gym, and share what you think it means to be an athlete.
The Firsthand Athlete
A firsthand athlete has the competence and confidence to rely on personal experiences to prepare for, execute, and learn from a performance both as an individual and as part of a team. The in-house throwdown at CrossFit Boston is a unique opportunity to test your athleticism because there is no coach calling plays, talking you through the pre-comp warm-up, or cueing you on that one technical or tactical fix during the wod.
If you can’t make the throwdown because of vacation, you will still need to know what to do to keep up with your training. When an athlete is away on vacation there is no coach to walk them through a workout. When an athlete enters the arena on game-day or goes home for vacation it’s up to them to know what to do, what to think about, what to fix, and what to focus on. The firsthand athlete actively communicates with their body, teammates, and coaches to continually learn and work towards their goals.
The CrossFit Boston Athlete
One of my main goals as a coach at CrossFit Boston is to develop Firsthand Athletes. With a class full of Firsthand Athletes, who can work hard together and stay focused on what they must do as individuals to make the rest of the group better, the possibilities are endless.
Have a great Thursday, work hard this week, and see you at the Throwdown next week!
Hope you had an awesome 4th of July Weekend! Above is a video that got posted on the CrossFit Main Site just over two years ago when I first became one of your coaches. I’m getting pumped because it’s that time of year again. Time for the Renegade Rowing Team to get on the water, learn to row, and come together as a team to hold each other accountable. Next Thursday we will be holding tryouts at Community Rowing in Brighton. If you’d like to learn how to row and do it with a bunch of badass CFB members then the time is now. If you are reading this and you happen to be a CrossFitter from another box, you are welcome to join us, we’d be glad to have you! Please sign up below.
Renegade Rowing Tryouts: Thursday, July 17th @5:30am @CRI
Tryouts Based on your Knowledge of the Following… RRT KSA’s
If you are interested, want to know more about the KSA’s, or have a few questions please let me know ASAP so I can get you fired up to get on the water. I’m working with a couple of people early next week to review basic technique and drills. Hit me up at [email protected] if you’d like to join in.
25 Jun 2014
I’m reposting the link for tryouts just in case anyone missed last weeks announcement. The RRT is a 6 week term, rowing in 8′s on the water at CRI every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 5:30am starting Tuesday, July 22nd. If you’d like to join the team tryouts will be Thursday, July 17th at 5:30am @CRI. Please sign up below.
Tryouts: Thursday, July 17th @5:30am @CRI
Tryouts Based on your Knowledge of the Following… RRT KSA’s
If you’d like to setup a free consultation with me to go over the KSA’s at CRI please shoot me an email at [email protected]
Have you met Dock?
Dock is a new member that just graduated with Fight Gone Bad! Keep an eye out for him and be sure to welcome him to the crew!
04 Jun 2014
As new members join the gym I will be throwing out a bit of info on them. Be sure to welcome them and challenge them to burpees or something fun like that! Last week Brianna graduated from private training by crushing Fight Gone Bad. She’s excited to throw down with you guys, so keep an eye out for her!
14 May 2014
Way to attack every WOD this week. Everyone has been pushing hard to make themselves better before, during, and after class. It’s amazing to watch. Keep it up!
Here is another opportunity to make yourself better. The CFB Yoga Class will help you recover from this hard week of training and prepare you for next week. It will take place on Sunday morning at 8:30am. Please arrive a little early to be ready to start right at 8:30am. In order to participate, all you have to do is sign up below. Right now we have two people signed up and we need at least six people to make it a go, so please sign up as soon as you can. If you have any questions please shoot me an email – [email protected]
That’s right, it’s finally warm and nice outside and we’re doing an all out 1k row in the gym! So, what are you going to do in preparation and during the 1k to get through it and back outside? Here is a solid warmup and 3 skills to get you ready and give you something to focus on when that voice inside your head tries to tell you to stop.
Renegade Rowing Club Warmup:
1min – 1/2 Legs Only
1min – Full Legs Only
1min – Legs and Body Only
1min – Full Strokes
1min – Pause @1/2 Slide Every Stroke
5min – 10 Strokes On/ 10 Strokes Off, 15 On/15 Off, 20 On/20 Off
Performing an appropriate warmup for the workout that is set out each day can make or break a performance. Above is the warmup we use fairly consistently in classes at CrossFit Boston and at the Renegade Rowing Club. It’s a good 10min warmup to focus on posture, control, and connection. Checkout how slow the Renegade Rowing Club approaches the catch in the beginning. Executing this drill with control will allow you to really focus on putting technique changes into effect and hitting that catch with good timing and connection.
Please share what you do for a warmup when rowing is involved in the workout. What is your focus?
Posture, Control, Connection … Get Some!
- Posture - When dealing with posture we’re looking for the torso to be stacked and strong at all times, whether you’re in the lay back or swinging forward to prepare for the next catch.
- Control - 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? I like to think of control as an ability to stop at any point in time and be in a strong position.
- Connection - Last and most important, connection! Is the seat and handle connected and moving together into and out of the catch as if connected by a strap? If you can focus on keeping your hips and hands connected as you apply pressure to the footboards you’ll be able to find suspension and become weightless on your seat. If you want to save some energy and be more efficient during your rowing wods, connection is where it’s at.
If you have any questions or are looking for some more tips checkout renegaderowing.com.
Also, be sure to sign up for the CFB Yoga Launch on Sunday, May 18th at 8:30am! - Sign Up Here (link to CFB Google Form)
30 Apr 2014
Hey CFB, here’s a little TBT for you! Thanks for all of the responses and feedback last week. We hear you and we’re making it happen!
CFB Yoga is a Go!
Our very own Terese Holm, who has been certified to teach Yoga through Prana in Winchester, MA, will be leading us through an hour of awesomeness. In order for this to be a regular thing we need at least six people to sign up, but based on responses from last weeks post we should have plenty of people in here breathing, stretching, and posing. Here are the details and sign up links. If you have any questions please let me know. Checkout Terese’s description of the class and sign up below!
CFB Yoga – Launch Session!
Sunday, May 18th, 8:30am – 9:30am
Sign Up Here (link to CFB Google Form)
CFB Yoga – June
4 Sessions – Sundays in June as follows
6/8, 6/15, 6/22, 6/29 — 8:30am – 9:30am
Cost: $52 (for all 4 sessions)
Sign Up Here (link to separate CFB Google Form)
I have been practicing yoga for seven years. Yoga has helped me in all of my physical endeavors. I have a strong belief that yoga is beneficial to all walks of life. Yoga can be used to lengthen and strengthen the muscles of the body, as well as create a mindfulness of how the body moves. Through the yoga class we will focus on ways to maximize the body’s performance during a WOD, and speed recovery after a WOD. It is through an organized series of poses we will work to recover from the previous week’s workouts, while also preparing the body for the week to come. Through a focus of movement and breath we will work to become more conscious of the body’s abilities, which in turn will take full advantage of all our bodies have to offer when working with the movements we see every day at CrossFit Boston.