Monday, December 27, 2010

STRICTLY STRENGTH - Session 2 - Results

It's FINALLY time!!!
I've received all final CrossFit Total results and the gains were, yet again, awesome!  Everyone worked extremely hard for their successes and I enjoyed every single session.  This was a group of rockstars!!! Some athletes made small poundage gains, but found that their knowledge and confidence was boosted to new levels!!!  Here are a couple testimonials that say it all.

Going into Strictly Strength (SS) I was excited and eager to learn and lift. I have lifted weight for years, but the weights I lifted before and what I learned and performed in SS are two completely different things. Although I think my ending numbers at the end of session 2 could have been better, I walked away from SS with great confidence in my form and my lifting. It has provided me the opportunity to go into a WOD knowing what I can lift really well and what is challenge for me, and to know that I can do my lifts comfortably, not hurt myself and to be strong and confident with it.
 
I have also learned why a lift has not gone right when it hasn't. I feel it. Either my knees are not open, shoulders not back, body not tight, I now know what I have done wrong, when I have done it and how to correct it.
 
Also, I appreciate you as a Coach, and taking the time to create and devote to the classes, myself and my lifting mates. The individual attention and encouragement speak volumes. I continue to tell everyone to sign up for SS and I intend to take another class mid 2011 to see if I can get those numbers a bit higher.
 
Thanks again!
Mary de'Scacchi


Travis,
You asked for feedback from my experience from taking your Strictly Strength program over the past 16 weeks. 
 
Well, I can definitely say that I made significant improvements in my strength especially in the first session.  I got stronger in my back squat, dead lift and shoulder press.  Yet as awesome as that is, I don’t think it tells the whole story.  In Cross Fit we learn, in every class, the right way to perform an exercise by repetition of movement.  But during WODs where we move quickly from one movement to the other, form can quickly diminish.  In Strictly Strength proper form is reinforced as well, but doing the movements with less repetitions and heavier weight has really reinforced what proper form feels like.  Now I know when I’m not performing an exercise correctly before a coach has to tell me.  I am much more confident when I perform exercises to push my limits. 
 
Strictly Strength also helped motivate me to dial in my nutrition.  Consequently I have seen tremendous improvements in my body, in my ability to perform WODs in class, and how I feel during workouts.
 
Strictly Strength provided a real boost to my overall performance as a Cross Fitter!
 
Thanks for your patience, for being a great coach, and for putting up with my stupid jokes!  
 
Sheila de'Scacchi
 

 

  Landon Adams
BS = 345--->385
SP = 185--->190
DL = 485

Dave Re
BS = 345--->360
SP = 175
DL = 385--->400
Stephen Dillard
BS = 405--->425
SP = 175--->185
DL = 455--->465



 Julius, Frost, and Morgan
 

 Jeff Morgan
BS = 255--->275
SP = 150
DL = 350--->360


 Michael Frost
BS = 300--->305
SP = 165--->185
DL = 400--->405


Julius Degesys
 BS = 205--->225
SP = 120--->130
DL = 245--->315


 
Alan Raphael
BS = 325--->400
SP = 165
DL = 400--->425(+)
 

Mary de'Scacchi
BS = 200
SP = 70
DL = 215



 Sheila de'Scacchi
BS = 185
SP = 70
DL = 165


Alan, Mary and Sheila


Diana, Cory, and Lisa


Diana Gongora
Pullup = Red+Green band--->Red band
SP = 70
Floor Press = 70--->105


 Cory Brown
BS = 245--->255
SP = 145--->155
DL = 365--->385


 Lisa O'Dea
BS = 150--->165
SP = 70--->75
DL = 205--->210


 Alex Hitzelberg 
(injury and all)
 BS = 245
SP = 125--->130
DL = 365--->385

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

THIS IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT...REMEMBER?

Over the weekend I saw an inspirational video posted by Zach Even Esh. The video features a young man, Joe R., performing some pretty legit stuff using only bodyweight exercises and sandbag work - all of which he knocks out in his bedroom!!!
 
As I read through the comments, I saw Zach's response to a earlier comment that put all this "fitness stuff" back in to perspective for me.

Matt - "Zach, you must be so proud. You have inspired this kid to be who he is."

Zach - "Matt, Joe used to call my gym asking for workout tips, he was stressed out living at his new school and dove into the training to toughen his mind, looks like he transformed himself in to a totally new person. I'm honored beyond words!"

Like I said, this video and that response set me back on the right track. I am constantly striving for PRs and remarkable performances, and when that doesn't happen I am disgusted with the shabby effort. This video reminds me that what I do...What you do....is all for a bigger purpose than PRs. It's about toughness. It's about self respect. It's about doing something that most don't. This young man busts his ass in his basement because he loves what training IS. We could all take a lesson from Joe, and rediscover the true purpose of CrossFit(and other styles) in our lives.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Session #2 Nearing the End

The 15 individuals that decided to step up their strength-game have been bustin' their asses to meet their goals and move weights that they previously thought impossible to budge.  This morning marked the end of the 7th week of 8 for the 2nd session of STRICTLY STRENGTH - Time flies when you're having fun and getting strong!  This was our last week of actual strength WODs.  Now, all that's left is to "Total", so final results are coming soon!!!  Until then, take a look at the crazy numbers the first crew pulled out here.  All I can say is ready yourself for more mind-blowing gains from this second pack of ANIMALS!!!

Session #3 will be starting sometime in January(still working on specific dates) after we all return from the holiday break.  Anyone interested in joining the 3rd crew for this session is recommended to read this description of the program and then contact me ASAP to be put on the wait list.  I already have 6 new peeps ready to get STRONG, so act fast before everyone with New Year's resolutions come knocking...
 
I look forward to working with you!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

LEAD FROM THE FRONT - DEDICATION

Some of you may have already seen the latest SICFIT production starring yours truly, entitled, "Lead From the Front".  The idea for the video came about one day after a CC staff meeting where the topic of discussion was "purpose".  This is to say, what is your life's purpose?  For many this is an extremely difficult question to answer, and it's made more difficult when you have to "get real" with yourself on such a deep level, and ask the tough questions.  For me, it was not too painful.  I guess I am lucky in the regard that my discovery and immersion into CrossFit and the CrossFit community and lifestyle has always given me the feeling like I was home.  Work has never really felt like work to me, at least not in respect to how it was described to me when I was younger.  Sure.  I have days that I struggle with, but it is truly amazing to know that when I get to the gym to train a class, small group, or individual, that my day is about to become phenomenal!
This is why I felt it necessary to show my appreciation for what I do, and more importantly, what you all, as clients, do for me each and every day! 
I want to dedicate this video to all of you that bust your ass for me simply because I ask you to...To those of you that trust me to take you and your life to a higher place!
Thank you! 
A special "Thanks" goes out to Elliot Schrock.

Enjoy!

Visit sicfit.com for more Videos

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Active Lat?

I know y'all have heard one of your coaches describe the "active shoulder" that is so vital to a properly performed overhead squat.  And I know that *everyone* has read my blog post on the active hip when squatting.  Now, I am going to blow your mind again with the "Active Lat"!
Before we figure out what is so "active" about the Lat and the benefits of that activation, we may want to dive into what the lat actually is, right?
So, Lat. is short for Latissimus Dorsi, which in Latin means, "broadest muscle of the back".  It is an easy muscle to see - it's the muscle that gives the illusion of having wings or having a turtle shell.


The Latissimus Dorsi has two main actions on the arm. It functions in adduction (pulling the arms to the sides of the body from an out-to-the-side position) and extension (pulling the arms down from a horizontal position straight out in front of the body.
Extension
Adduction    











So, right off the bat...looking at the actions, you should be able to see the importance of the Lat in many of the movements that CrossFitters do.  Pullups are probably the first exercise that comes to mind, but the Lat is involved in so many more...either as a primary mover, or many times as a stabilizing muscle.  Pushups, overhead presses, back squat, and deadlift are just a few.



Now that we know where it is and what it does, we can start to discuss what it means to activate it, and the benefits of that activation in regards to performing a solid deadlift.
 
If you guys remember, I have posted several times about the mechanics involved in a proper deadlift.  One point I emphasized was that the bar must stay tight to the body as it travels through it's range of motion, otherwise, you are doing more work for the same end...hopefully.  This is where the "Active Lat" comes into play!

As you can see from the pictures above, when we activate the Lat we force the arm into extension.  To apply this action to the deadlift, think about your start position.  When you are in the correct start position, typically you are concentrating on simply keeping your back tight as you stand up, right?  Well, now picture yourself in that same start position, but now your goal is to squeeze the bar back in to your body with your active Lat.  Not only does this improve the path of bar as it travels, but it will actually improve your ability to fully lock in your back to ensure spinal support and energy translation...resulting in big gains in your deadlift!!!

Obviously, deadlifting more will improve your deadlift, but what are some other ways to improve your Lat strength, and therefore, your pulling strength?  Some supplemental exercises that I recommend are:
1.  Dual KB Deadlifts - Controlling two separate weights and keeping them tight to the body and pulled back slightly is a great way to train the "Active Lat".(picture two KBs rather than the hex bar handles.)
2.  DB/KB BentOver Rows - Using a box or bench to bend over and support yourself, pull a DB or KB from the floor to your armpit.

3.  Strict Pullups - These are a time-proven, effective exercise for developing amazing Lat strength.  Try to eliminate your kip to further isolate the Lat recruitment.


4. Band Pullbacks - This exercise is a great way to isolate that specific muscle action.
Start.  Use proper DL position.
Finish. Maintain proper DL position.














 So there y'all go!  One more thing to activate...One more way to get STRONGER!  Go get it!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

STRICTLY STRENGTH - Session 1 - Results

You may want to sit down to read this...

The first session of STRICTLY STRENGTH was a major success!!!  People were lifting weights that they never thought they could, and had a hell of a time doing it!  I'll keep this short since there are so many numbers to report, but to all of you that participated in this first session - Y'all rocked it, and I am stoked to have had the opportunity to work with each and every one of you!  Great Work!

 
Jeff Morgan
BS = 205--->255
P = 145--->150
DL = 315--->350
Kris Morgan
BS = 125--->135
P = 60--->65
DL = 165--->185

Nick Blasier
BS = 225--->275
P = 105--->115
DL = 365--->335(injury)

Mary De'Scacchi 
BS = 155--->200
P =60--->70
DL = 215--->235


Sheila De'Scacchi 
BS = 125--->185
P = 70--->70
DL =155--->175


Jeremy Petrie
BS = 225--->(waiting for final results)
P = 135--->(waiting for final results)
DL = 315--->(waiting for final results)


Alan Raphael 
BS = 285--->325
P = 145--->165
DL = 355--->400





 Jeff Blaylock(The price of VICTORY!)
BS = 190--->205
P = 115--->125
DL = 285--->315














Diana Gongora
BS = 125--->(restriction on squats)
P =70--->70
DL = 165--->180


Jarrrett Webb
BS =135--->165
P = 105--->105
DL = 165--->215



Dave Re
BS = 345--->345
P = 175--->175
DL = 365--->385


Aaron Marco
BS = 215--->255
P = 135--->155
DL = 275--->335


Alex Hitzelberg
BS = 265--->265(EASY!!!)
P = 135--->130
DL = 315--->345


David B
BS = (stay tuned for results)
P =  (stay tuned for results)
DL = (stay tuned for results) 

Marsha 
BS = 125--->(didn't finish program)
P = 50--->(didn't finish program)
DL = 175--->(didn't finish program)


Thursday, October 7, 2010

STRICTLY STRENGTH - Session 2 Sold Out and Ready to Rock!!!


The next 15 individuals have been chosen, and we will be starting session #2 October 19th!  This group is full of studs and studettes who are ready to get strong!  We have several "veterans" returning, some brand new faces, and a past CrossFit Games hopeful!  It's gonna be an awesome 8 weeks...I'm stoked!!!

But before the new session starts, the first session must come to a close.  Tomorrow is the last training session of the first offering, so I will be posting the STRICTLY STRENGTH Crew's numbers soon!  I'll just say that the strength gains are staggering!!!  Stay tuned and prepare to have your mind blown!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

STRICTLY STRENGTH - Session 2...WHO'S READY?

Here's what y'all have been waiting for....


The end of the first session of STRICTLY STRENGTH in near.  We have one more week of heavy lifting and I am expecting to hand out PR's to everyone!!!  In fact, the majority of the 15 individuals that signed up for the first session have already set new PR's in at least one of their lifts, and some have actually set new PR's in several different lifts!!!  Keep in mind that these performance jumps have come from training just once each week for 8 weeks, AND we haven't even completed the final test - the CrossFit Total!  Crazy Gains!!! 

If the results above aren't enough...the "original 15" now have a great understanding of the intricacies of the heavy lifts, as well as a new-found confidence to step up to BIG weight and not waiver when it's go time!  Sounds pretty good, right?

I have had a waiting list for several weeks now, and many of the "original 15" are returning for more, which means that spots for new members are at a premium!!!  If you are looking to make big gains in your overall strength, you need to take action NOW!!!  

I am opening 8 slots for the second session of STRICTLY STRENGTH.
The next session begins Monday, October 18th.  
All of the program details can be found HERE.
  
Once you've read through the program details, send me an email showing your interest.  Be sure to include the days and times that work best for you(no promises you'll get it), as well as if you already have a group of 3.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Friday, September 24, 2010

BREAKING DOWN THE SQUAT....AGAIN.

This blog was inspired by one of your peers, Dave Re.  During a STRICTLY STRENGTH session, Dave asked me about the role of the adductor group when squatting.  We briefly discussed the general action of these 5 muscles(adductor magnus, add. longus, add. brevis, pectineus, and gracilis), but I wanted to dive a little deeper in hopes of shedding a little more light on the many intricacies of the squat.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we need to understand the anatomy and actual anatomical terms that I will be "throwing" around during this rant...so, here are some of the basics:

ADduction: movement which brings a part of the anatomy closer to the midline of the body. 
Example: start with your arm raised at your side, parallel to the floor.  Now, bring it down, tight to your side.  This is ADduction - you "added" it to your midline.

ABduction:  movement which draws a limb away from the midline of the body.
Example: The act of lifting your arm to the start position in the example above is ABduction.  The arm was ABducted from the midline.

Agonist: is a classification used to describe a muscle that causes specific movement or possibly several movements to occur through the process of its own contraction.(also known as a Prime-Mover)

Antagonist:  is a classification used to describe a muscle that acts in opposition to the specific movement generated by the agonist and is responsible for returning a limb to its initial position.

Eccentric Contraction:  the muscle elongates while under tension due to an opposing force being greater than the force generated by the muscle. Rather than working to pull a joint in the direction of the muscle contraction, the muscle acts to decelerate a movement or otherwise control the repositioning of a load.

As you can probably start to see, all muscles, and therefore, movements, act in pairs.  This is the BIG IDEA of this post, and it is important that you all understand that fact before we move on.  Got it?

I'm sure that y'all have heard, "Push your knees out!", from your coach at least once, right?  There's a reason for our constant barking - we are trying to get you to activate the ABductors as you descend to the bottom of the squat.  This "knees out" movement is generated at the hip with the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and a small portion of the gluteus maximus(main action is hip extension) - the prime movers when it comes to ABduction.  Without this muscle activation, the knees tend to collapse inward toward each other, resulting in a painfully awkward attempt to stand back up.  No good!


On the other hand, when this is done correctly, several beneficial things happen:

1. The descent of the squat movement is far more controlled when we concentrate on driving the butt back and knees open due to the properties of the eccentric contraction.  Both the hamstrings and the ADductors are resisting this downward movement = a slow, controlled, and powerful squat!
2.  Because muscles work in pairs(remember?), while we are contracting the gluteus group to generate this hip ABduction, the ADductors are now performing an eccentric contraction to act as a stabilizer during the down phase.  Once full depth is met, the ADductors that are on stretch now snap closed like a bear trap as we initiate the up phase, resulting in an increased force production as we drive out of the "hole".
3.  You receive style points from your coach because you've successfully performed the squat without looking like you had to pee really, really bad.  Always a good thing!


Now that you know the importance of the ADductors and ABDuctors, how do you strengthen them?

Well, to strengthen you ADductors you can simply sit is chair, or better yet, hold an active squat and place your elbows inside of your knees(this may sound familiar to some of you?).  From there, squeeze your knees together and hold that isometric contraction for 10-15sec.  Relax....and repeat 3-5 sets.

For the Abductor group, I recommend lateral band walks.  You can see how to perform this exercise in this STRICTLY STRENGTH video.  Also, the number one thing you can do to help strengthen these ABductor muscles is to PAY ATTENTION!  When you squat, deadlift, lunge, push press, jerk, etc., take responsibility for where your knees go.  Easy!

Go Get 'em!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

DEADLIFT = FREAKISH STRENGTH

The Deadlift is a seemingly straight-forward exercise.  But sometimes, we can underestimate the amount of focus it takes to perform a perfect rep, and we often forget how much work the body is actually doing for each successful repetition.  This is all compounded when the barbell is loaded for a PR attempt.  So it is extremely important that we understand the mechanics of a proper deadlift so that when we train at relatively lighter weights, we develop extraordinary form!


There are 3 very simple, but integral parts to the starting position of the deadlift, as pointed out by Mark Rippetoe:

1) The back must be locked in extension.
2) The bar must be touching the shins, with the feet lat on the floor.
3) The shoulders must be out in front of the bar so that the shoulder blades are directly above the bar.
These 3 checkpoints are easy enough to follow, but why is it so necessary that we follow this protocol?  
Let's take this one at a time...

These are all the muscles that create a rigid spine, plus some!
1) The back must be locked in extension.
Weightlifting is all about the translation of force when you simplify it.  A well-performed rep is basically the force you apply to a foundation - in this case, the floor - being efficiently translated to the object you're attempting to move - the barbell.  The mechanism by which this energy is translated and transferred to the barbell is a rigid, unified spine.  As we all know, the spine is a collection of many joints.  By design, these joints allow us to move in many different ranges of motion, which is very advantageous in the "day-to-day".  But, when we try to pick something up without locking our back in, energy is lost from one joint to the next, causing a failed rep and an increased risk of injury.  When the spine is pulled into a single, rigid unit, the energy we create is efficiently transferred from floor to bar, and the risk of injury is virtually zero!  Think of the spine(when locked in)as a highly conductive cable for force rather than electricity.  If the spine is not locked in, the energy transfer is broken and weak.  We should get by now, right?  Let's move on...


2) The bar must be touching the shins, with the feet flat on the floor.
This is another very simple, yet often neglected requirement for a solid deadlift.  I know the athletes in my classes probably get sick of me saying, "Make sure the bar is IN CONTACT with your shins!"  But here's the reasoning...
I want you to use your imagination for a second, and picture yourself standing tall and holding a 35# dumbell directly out in front of you with your arm fully extended parallel to the floor.  Got it?  Most of us could handle that, right?  Now, magically, a large fishing net with a 5ft. handle became available.  You have put that same 35# dumbell in the net, and have extended it out in the same fashion as before.  Do you think you could lift it?  Probably not.
This is the basis of the "bar in contact with the shins" rule.  Naturally, due to gravity, objects have more torque acting upon them when they are lifted using a longer lever-arm, which seemingly makes them feel heavier.  Keeping the barbell in contact with your body throughout the movement is yet another way that your application of force is efficiently translated to the object.

3) The shoulders must be out in front of the bar so that the shoulder blades are directly above the bar.

This one is not so easy to understand, but I will give it my best effort and then refer you to Mark Rippetoe's article in the CrossFit Journal for some supplemental reading.
Now that we understand that force is being conducted from the floor, through our legs and hips to our spine, we can go one step further.  The energy we've created is transferred from the spine to the scapulae(shoulder blades), to the arms, and finally to the bar.  So, the shoulder blades are like a translator bridging the gap from one language to another.  When the shoulder blades are actively pulled back and together, the trap muscles are now doing a lot of work stabilizing the shoulder position, as well as assisting other muscles in locking in the spine.  More importantly to note, is the fact that gravity is acting on the bar in a linear fashion - meaning gravity is pulling it straight down to the floor.  Now, to effectively counteract the force of gravity, we must position ourselves so that our force is being translated directly opposite that of gravity - straight above the bar.  Makes sense, right?


Just think.  This whole blog is all about the start of the deadlift!!!  Actually, if you set up properly you've pretty much got it made!  The only thing now is timing and proper muscle activation, all of which happens fairly naturally after the initial pull.  Just stand up and keep the bar tight to the body...

As you can now tell, there is a lot of biomechanics and physics that goes into having a solid understanding of weightlifting.  It is to your advantage, as an athlete, to have some understanding of why we do what we do.  This understanding will lead to increases in weight lifted, guaranteed!!!  Who knew reading could make you physically stronger?  
Go get it!!! 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

LOW-BAR SQUAT = FREAKISH STRENGTH

Many of you have just finished the CrossFit Total.  How was it?  From what I can tell, nearly everyone that participates in indoor programs PR'd(Personal Record) the deadlift....But how was the squat?!

The back squat is a different kind of animal.  It is far more intimidating than say, the deadlift, because of one obivous reason:  You are under the weight.  When performing the deadlift, there is no risk of being crushed by the weight.  If you are unable to successfully perform the movement, you simply drop the bar - no harm done.  IF the back squat is unsuccessful, it can be a scary and dangerous thing.  But, here's the deal...

The thing that makes the squat intimidating is the same thing that makes it such a powerful and potent tool in the quest to get strong!  The fact that your entire body is loaded with the weight of the barbell initiates an extreme hormonal response that causes positive adaptation in the body - strength and hypertrophy(muscle growth).  Add to that the fact that we are moving a relatively large load through a large range of motion, and the results of training the back squat properly are crazy!!!

So now we have briefly( I emphasize "briefly" because the list is too long to blog about..more to come though.) gone into what makes the back squat such an effective exercise...Let's talk about the additional benefits of learning how to Low-Bar Back Squat. 

The majority of crossfitters squat using a "High-Bar" postition - that is the barbell is racked on top of the traps and shoulders.  The "Low-Bar" position is, as it sounds, loaded lower on the back, below the spine of the scapulae(shoulderblade).  This positioning allows for several very important things to occur during the actual squat movement:
 
1.  Allows for a greater forward lean without the consequence of rolling into the toes, or losing the lift entirely.
2.  This increased forward tilt at the hip allows us to engage the posterior chain muscles(hamstrings, butt, and low back), which is equivalent to calling in your "heavy-hitters".  These are the muscles that get work done!!!
3.  Because we are engaging the big posterior chain muscles, it stops us from using the small, weak anterior muscles that are usually accompanied by heels coming of the floor, drifting into the toes, 
and losing the ability to "drive" out of a stable, strong foundation.

All of this means BIG WEIGHTS!!!  In fact, Coach Mike Winchester used the low-bar squat early last week and PR'd his back squat by 60#!!!  Ridiculous, right?!  I have been transitioning my STRICTLY STRENGTH people from the typical high-bar to low-bar, and their numbers are going through the roof as well!
I'm sure that I have you hooked by now, and you're ready to go try it out, right?  Not so fast!!!  
Take the time and any other means necessary to correctly learn how to perform a Low-Bar Squat.  This blogpost is only a small view of a much bigger picture.  It was not my goal to try to teach you how to LB Squat via blog.  This is something that must be done with supervision and training, and I would not recommend just "giving it a whirl".

   

Monday, August 30, 2010

THE NEXT LEVEL

I've been dealing with some pretty annoying hip pain for quit a while now, and I knew that several of the CrossFit Central coaches(Crystal Nelson, John Del Peral and Crystal McReynolds) had been seeing Sam Sneed, a certified Active Release Techniques(ART) practitioner, for some of the nagging issues that they had.  Each of them had all been very pleased with the diagnosis, information, and treatment of their aches and pains, so I thought that it would be worth a try.  I was blown away with the results of the very first treatment!!!

Sam was awesome about taking the time to ask and understand what it was that was bothering me, and then continued to visually dissect my movements to get a clear picture of what was the root of the problem.  This is what struck me as being completely different from all the other methods of "rehab" that I'd tried before - He was treating the root cause, not just the symptoms.  

The first session took about an hour, and by the end of it the pain in my hip had gone...I had an understanding of what was going on...I had several exercises and stretches to do on my own, and most importantly, we had developed a game plan to get back me to 100% again.  The whole experience was refreshing and gave me hope that I wouldn't have to deal with this issue for the rest of my life.

The thing is that you don't have to be in pain to benefit from Sam's amazing service.  I have already talked to many of my STRICTLY STRENGTH people about getting into see him simply because with more mobility comes more strength.  For example, if you are unable to get your arms back for a good low-bar back squat, or if you have a difficult time finding the proper position for an Overhead Squat, or if you have trouble getting to the true bottom of your squats - you are limiting your potential in that movement.  

A.R.T. is a hugely beneficial tool that you should all experience at least once, and after the first session, you will be motivated to step it up to the next level.  To get started:

Feel free to contact Sam at 281.772.8163 to schedule an appointment at SicFit Austin.

-OR-

Be sure to let him know I sent you!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

LEAD FROM THE FRONT

Yesterday, I was uppin' my game and reading some of the blogs that I find to be awesome resources, when I ran across a great blog post made by my man - THE Underground Strength Coach, Zack Even-Esh.  In his blog, he goes into detail about his start as a "no-name", unorthodox strength coach that was underestimated from the go.  Now, Zach is one of the biggest names in the strength training game!  Needless to say, he's shut his critics right up.
I love reading his story because with the creation of the STRICTLY STRENGTH program, I have found that there are a lot of people out there that question what you're all about.  To those people, all I have to say is...
 
Watch me change the lives of others through the medium of STRENGTH!!!

 To all the members in my classes, and to those of you that are currently in STRICTLY STRENGTH, know and understand that everything I ask of you, I expect from myself, first! 
It is my duty to lead you all from the front.  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, AND MORE PRACTICE

Jeremy bustin' out a solid tempo DL
Diana lookin' strong from the GO!
The 15 individuals in the STRICTLY STRENGTH program have already made huge strides towards improved form and technique, understanding of why we do things a specific way, and more confidence under large loads...and it's only been 2 weeks!  It's been awesome watching people improve so quickly...and I am pumped to see the final results of the group!!!

This rapid progression is due to several important factors, but the #1 has to be the smaller group setting in which each person receives more attention while performing the movements.  In smaller groups the individuals are also able to see and hear what ques and pointers I give to the others in that group, which allows them to "take in" this info in yet another way.  It is powerful stuff when you combine a little more time, smaller numbers, and the details!!!
 Although the progress has already been substantial, it brings me to the point of this blog:
You have to apply the things you are taught, even when the coach is not watching!!!
This goes for everyone looking to improve in anything!!!
If you spend the time to learn a skill - CrossFit or otherwise - It is to your benefit that you take the new-found knowledge, and APPLY IT TO ALL APPLICABLE INSTANCES.

Mary drivin' the knees open for a great LB Squat!
I'm sure this is pretty straight-forward for y'all, but a simple example would be the back squat.  If I teach you all the fine details of a "perfect" back squat, as your coach, I want you to practice that skill every chance you get!  This will only accelerate your adoption of quality, efficient movement, and erase the faulted form you practiced prior to being enlightened.
Practice makes Perfect.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

ADD IT TO THE LIST

This morning, The Wolfpack(CC guys crew) met at Barton Springs for a swim, swing, and run WOD.  I knew that the swim would be a challenge for me, but I did not expect it to break me down like it did!  Although humbling, it was awesome to hit a new and challenging WOD with the Wolfpack! 

 
For Time: 33.41(silly)
200m Swim
Hill Run Up
2rounds
25 KB Swings
25 Goblet Squats
25 KB Snatch(L)
25 KB Snatch(R)
25 KB Pushups
Hill Run Down
200m Swim

Today, I am buying some goggles in preparation for a routine trip to Barton Springs each weekend to check one more item off of my "Suck List".

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

IF THE SHOE FITS

In CrossFit, we all know that there are an infinite number of movements, skills, and tasks that can pop-up in any combination...sometimes leaving us asking, "What shoes should I wear?". 
I have been CrossFitting long enough to have run into this problem several times, and now I feel like I've got enough experience under my belt to help others make that call when it's game time!

In my opinion, every CrossFitter should have 3 different types of shoes that cover all the bases.  The first of which, is the least expensive(about $40), but yet, probably the most used...the Converse All-Star or Chuck Taylor.  These shoes provide a flat, solid sole that is essential for control, balance, and proprioception(sense of knowing where your body is in space).  Personally, I use my Chucks for most every WOD I hit, but especially if it involves any combination of heavy lifting and running, box jumps, or any task that requires you to be light on your feet.  The downfalls of the Chucks are that they tend to be a little heavier that most of today's "Cross-Trainers", but on the flip-side, you most definitely DO NOT want to be lifting heavy loads in Nike Shox or other "High-Tech" shoes.  Honestly, in regards to a "do-all" shoe, simplicity is the key.

The second shoe every CrossFitter should have is a good pair of Olympic Lifting shoes.  This may seem overkill for some of you...and it probably is, but when you experience the difference of back squatting, snatching, cleaning, overhead squatting, etc. in Oly. shoes rather than your running shoes(water-beds), you will find the purchase to be a great investment!  Oly. shoes provide the firmest and most stable lifting environment.  The sole of the shoe is usually made of a wood, plastic, or a dense rubber material that forms a lifted heel.  This heel allows the lifter to increase the range of motion in the ankle and knee without sacrificing lumbar tightness, which is usually the first thing to go when in a deep squat.  In addition, the sole of the the Oly. shoe is often times wider that a traditional shoe, which allows for a solid lifting foundation that does not compress when under load - allowing the energy you're exerting during a lift to be fully translated into a quality lift!

The last shoe that I recommend everyone has is a light-weight, thin and firm-soled running shoe.  This can be a tricky item to find due to the fact that most every running shoe has at least 3 inches of foam or hi-tech shock...thingys forming the sole that compress like a sponge with every step.  It is very important that these shoes fit comfortably, as it is likely that you'll be doing most of your longer running WODs in them, as well as some of the WODs that could be done in the Chucks(above).  I have recently found a great shoe made by Inov-8 that encompasses all things CrossFit, although I found them to be a little unstable for heavy squatting.  Another great option are Five Fingers.  I know y'all have seen them - the crazy sock-shoes that have individual slots for your toes.  These are an amazing all-around shoe, but require a lot of getting used to.  I will caution you to NOT go out for a 10k the first day you have these!!!  It takes time to adjust and adapt to these shoes, but when you're ready, they will cover all aspects of CrossFit.


In short, buy shoes that are comfortable, stable, and provide a firm sole.  If you can see compression in the sole when walking, they are too soft!  
A soft sole = lost energy = failed lifts and slower times!!!