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Fitness education

Beginner Pull-up Program and Kipping Practice

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Hey gang,

I hope you are doing well and striving for your fitness goals. It is the first week of August so I want to encourage you to take sometime to write some fitness and performance goals for this month. If you need help make sure you speak to a coach or a fellow athlete. In addition, I am reposting the Pull-up program (credit to Exercise Expertise by Josh Gould) for you to continue to work on your pulling power. This should be done before the WOD or on your day off.

Once you have dominated your first strict pull-up! Then you should start working on the kipping pull-ups. Here is a drill that you an practice.

See you at the box,

Keep your hands sexy!

By | Fitness education | One Comment

Hey gang,

I hope you are well today. At CrossFit on the Hill, we have been hammering our gymnastics movement. Hence some of you had ripped their hands or feel new calluses in your hands, especially the ladies! Well here are some guidelines to take care of your hands to prevent rips and keep them at optimal conditions for the next WOD. Let’s learn to take care of our hands. Calluses are not SEXY!

Let see how the coaches at CrossFit Virtuosity define calluses:

“Calluses are areas of thickened skin caused by repeated friction and pressure. They form to protect the skin and the structures beneath it from injury or damage. While calluses are a layer of protection and a testament to hard work, excessive calluses can be troublesome and lead to injury. For example, when doing high repetitions of pullups the excess skin can grind between the bar and the hand and eventually tear away. So it is in our best interest to keep our calluses smooth and shaved down to avoid further complications”.The key is to find the happy medium between smooth hands and calluses. Calluses protect the skin but thick calluses are detrimental to the grip. Follow these guidelines for better hand care!

  1. Use chalk as needed: Chalk is a drying agent and creates more friction in your hand. Start your WOD without chalk and only use it when your hands get sweaty.
  2. Wash off the chalk immediately after the WOD: Use lukewarm or hot water, only if you are moisturizing immediately because hot water washes off natural oils, and a moisturizing soap to wash your hands.
  3.  Use a pumice stone for the excess calluses: Soak your hands in water for ten minutes to expose the areas of excess calluses. This will appear white as the rest of the hand is still pink. Use the pumice stone while the hand is still wet. I recommend the Ped Egg. PedEgg-from-HappyFeet-4
  4. Use a heavy moisturizer at night: Before going to sleep, wash your hands and apply a heavy cream moisturizer to your hands. Let it soak overnight for best result.

Comment to the blog if you have questions or check this article at Tabata Times for more detail instructions.

See you on the Hill,  

MetCon Math

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First off  I confess that I inaccurately label the conditioning portion of your WODs. “MetCon” which is short for Metabolic Conditioning has really become one of the popular semantics used to cover a lot different styles of conditioning workouts in the fitness industry.It sounds kind of cool too.

While we are improving Metabolic Conditioning with aerobically and anaerobically  stressful movements what we are really testing or developing is “Work”.

Metrics we collect, like your score, after a “MetCon”are measurements of work and power output. The number isn’t a rating of your metabolic conditioning. While being well conditioned helps improve your score they are two different measurements. (*Metabolic Conditioning is often measured by an athlete’s VO2 Max).

Physical “Work” can be defined as (force x distance / time). This is also considered “average power”.

Let’s break down your workout:

Formula: (force x distance / time)

Let’s use “Fran” as an example:

Force = Load (i.e. 95/65# barbell) & (body weight) Thruster & Pull-up.
Distance= Distance the barbell and body is moved (squat, press, pull-up).
Time= Time it takes to complete the desired task, “Fran”. Your Fran score.

Your Fran score is actually a measurement of Work Capacity or Power Output. If someone much smarter than me could accurately measure the distance you moved and the load you carried in the time it took you’d know your Work Output in foot-pounds/min, which is similar to measuring horsepower of an engine (kinda cool!!!).

Now there are a lot of factors we are ignoring which is why we can’t accurately define the force(s) and distance(s) that are involved in a workout.

BUT, it is safe to assume that if your “Fran” time has improved you have improved your power output and expanded your Work Capacity. CrossFit defines your ability to move large loads, long distances, quickly, in the broadest variety of domains as fitness. With intelligent programming we develop that everyday in class.

Now get to “Work”!!

You need to Scale your workout, but why?

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Since every CrossFit member’s initial consultation or trial class when they learn the foreign language of CrossFit programming splashed in dozens of different hand writings on the whiteboard the fascination of “Rx” begins. “Rx” essentially meaning “as prescribed” can seem like a challenge sent out to all who attend class. For few athletes they can perform everything as Rx on day 1 while for most it takes them weeks, months or even years to perform anything “as prescribed”.

Maybe it’s just a few exercises left to check off the Rx checklist. Perhaps it’s the amount of repetitions of a certain movement. Sometimes it’s a past or current injury that keeps us away from that standard. I love having a great coaching staff and I trust them to work with the athletes to scale each and every workout effectively.

While we are all here to expand our fitness and climb the exercise and movement continuum understanding why we can’t perform something “Rx” is crucial for our athletic development and to reach that goal. Here is the list for common reasons why a movement or workout is scaled and keeping an athlete from performing a workout as “Rx”. Your scaling option should also be based off what needs to be addressed. Below are some reasons and considerations for why you need to scale.

Strength: An athlete simply lacks adequate muscular strength to move their body or an external load safely and effectively to complete a task within a workout.

Technical Ability: An athlete lacks the skill to perform a movement prescribed in a workout.

Mobility: An athlete may lack the ability to safely get in to positions due to lack of mobility thus keeping them from achieving a movement standard.

Stability: An athlete lacks joint or global stability making exercises unsafe to perform. A movement may be scaled to reduce risk of injury.

Conditioning: An athlete’s current level of conditioning is not high enough to complete a full prescribed workout or completing a full workout with the current low level of conditioning may be unsafe and difficult to recover from.

Health: An athlete may be nursing a past or current injury or illness causing a workout to be modified.

What’s in a Score?

By | Fitness education, Motivation | No Comments

 

One of the strengths of CrossFit is its competitive rich environment. Workouts are often designed in a way where it is easy to compare your level of fitness to other class mates by comparing “scores” on the white board. It can also be a great indicator of which type of workout or movements you are better or worse at than others. But is what you’re writing on the board a “score”.

In no way do I want to dampen the competitive drive of members, a major differentiator from other styles of facilities. It is often the spark that lights the fire for many members to KEEP pushing themselves and not becoming stagnant in their fitness efforts.

So we often use the term “score” to indicate what to write on the board. But is it really a “score”? We associate “scores” with games and events. A “score” is often how you compare, separate, and claim  a winner amongst teams or individuals, but is that what we are doing in class?

Let’s give some perspective to this. “Class” is not an event or a sport. While CrossFit is the “Sport of Fitness” CrossFit class is just that, a class. Class is the place you develop fitness. An event or sport is where you TEST fitness. A good CrossFit Facility and community recognizes that. Imagine, if in school, each day was a quiz and you were suppose to become smarter from that.

So if it’s not a “score”, what is it? Well whether it doubles as a score or not the values  (weight, reps, time, rounds, etc) that you write on the board are simply a record of your workout. You are simply  placing a quantitative  value on your effort. There is a lot of value in that; accountability, ownership, and comparison or your hard work from past efforts.

This “score” does lack one thing, quality. Below is how Wikipedia defines the two forms of data.

“The term quantitative refers to a type of information based ins quantitative or else quantifiable data (objective properties) —as opposed to qualitative information which deals with apparent qualities (subjective properties). It may also refer to mass, time, or productivity.”

SO, we are in danger of chasing superior quantitative values (scores) from our workout at the cost of quality (better technique, mechanics, consistency). Why don’t we use qualitative scores? Because they are subjective, therefor much more difficult to measure. Each form of data lacks the strength of the other.

Where does that leave us? Moving forward I just want you to gain this new perspective of “scoring” and what you write on the whiteboard. Realize that is just a record of your work on that given day.  It has no indication that you performed each movement in an ideal fashion or that you even put more effort in to the workout than anyone else. Effort is all relative and the level of technique needs to be the highest form of measurement but both are difficult to quantify. What if a “worse” score now would actually help you score “better” months from now?

I”ll close with this. Your score is just a score. How you feel physically, emotionally and mentally means much more. Do you feel stronger and fitter each class or broken down? Does coming to class make you experience joy or does the pressure of performing stress you out? Do workouts make you feel mental exhaustion or focused? At the end of the day what seems to be an all-important score is really just a number that means more to you than it does to your classmates or coaches. We are all working together to develop and express our fitness as a community, scores be damned.

-Coach Josh

Filling Gaps in CrossFit Programming: Single Leg RDL

By | Fitness education, Instructional videos, Strength Programming | No Comments

 

 

CrossFit is a  program based on intensity with a variety in modalities, movements and time domains. Even with all that variety there are some important movements of the body that aren’t trained enough. Some of these moments are important for functional strength and stability development along with reducing risk of injury. Our goal is to build a complete body.

With some basic supplemental programming we can we can address these gaps in programming and improve our body’s performance and  and reduce the risk on injury.

 

-Single Leg RDL

This week let’s fill in one of those gaps with the Single Leg RDL which prioritizes the function of the working hamstring, glutes, and obliques, among others, with the contralateral upper quarter of the body.

A movement like this is also a great way to assess our single leg stability or any asymmetry, imbalance or movement dysfunction we may have from one side to another. Due to our body’s incredible ability to compensate we may never notice these issues when performing bi-pedal pulling exercises like the traditional deadlift.

CrossFit Homework:

Twice per week:

3 sets of 10 reps each leg using a kettlebell of moderate weight.

*Only choose a weight that your single leg stability can handle.

 

 

Shoulder Stability Exercises on the Rings

By | Fitness education, Instructional videos, WOD | No Comments

 

Steven has created a simple supplemental shoulder stability plan (say that 5 times fast) to improve your shoulder stability and function. This can easily be done as part of your warm-up before class or during open gym. Be sure to select the safest progression for you and follow the instructions on the video. Let Coach Steven know how it goes!

 

Each week we will be adding new supplemental programming for you to move and feel better. What would you like to get better at?

 

 

Gymnastic Workshop – Saturday, 3/22/14

By | Announcements, Fitness education | No Comments

Hey COTH,

I hope you are well. I want to invite all of you to our 1st Gymnastic Workshop! In this workshop, Coach Dan will explain why gymnastics is important and how incorporating it into your regimen can increase your levels of fitness. Then you’ll learn different skill sets on the rings. You will leave having learned movements so you can develop your own routine to improve your gymnastics skills and strength. Come wearing work out clothes! We will be doing a lot of moving and even end the day with a WOD! Do you want to get stronger and have greater command over your body? You need to sign up!

When: March 22

Time: 11am to 12:30p

Where: COTH

Coach: Dan Yoon

Value: $15

Go to the event tab to sign up!

Below we have a comment from one of the athletes who attended the mobility workshop on February 22.

This seminar helped me feel more comfortable about the training staff.  I’ve had too many experiences with Lunk trainers that think just pushing harder is the way to solve all problems.  The fact that Josh has taken the time to pursue a degree in the field and shown a proficiency in working with the body through the seminar lets me know that one-I won’t just be beat up doing crazy exercises, and 2- He is doing this work for more than just a paycheck.  My suggestion is that the other staff of COTH put on different classes to show their training strengths.  I don’t like to feel like I’m being forced to buy something, so the seminar gave me a chance to see what Josh could do without spending a lot of money.  For me, if I see that someone is both proficient in doing something, and able to teach it well, I will sign up to learn what they are teaching.  Overall, I enjoyed the chance to work out my brain muscle at the gym.  Its nice to see that COTH doesn’t fall in line with other gyms who think that “education is important, but big biceps are importanter”.

See you on the Hill,

Functional Movement and Mobility for CrossFit

By | Fitness education | No Comments

COTH,

I hope you are well. We are so excited to present you with our 1st workshop. The first seminar will focus on functional movement and mobility. It is imperative to understand proper movement and know how to improve mobility for daily activities and sports. As CrossFitters we are conscious about what we eat, we sleep 7 hours a night and we track our workouts. So why not spend 90 minutes to learn how to move better. Below you will find more details about the seminar. Sign up today under the event tab!
When: Saturday, February 22
Time: 9:15 to 10:45
Where: COTH
Cost: $15
Instructor: Josh Gould, Head Coach at COTH
Seminar Objectives:

  • Understand how the body is a “closed circuit” and how one body part effects another.
  • Develop the tools to assess yourself and find movement dysfunctions that may be holding you back.
  • Learn how moving better = performing better.
  • Create mobility programs to improve movement restrictions such as stiffness, tightness or pain.
See you on the Hill,