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Damian Back Squat

Increasing work capacity across broad time and modal domains is the primary goal of CrossFit programming. We do this by training with constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity.

One paradigm used to measure the effectiveness of the program is to measure an athletes capability against ten general physical skills. These include: Cardiorespiratory fitness, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy. An athlete who is balanced over all ten of these attributes is more capable to deal with whatever physical challenges that life may demand.

While all of these are important to overall fitness, I would argue that increasing absolute strength should be a primary goal of training because of its effect on all of the other fitness attributes. As strength increases, the ability to perform any given task becomes more efficient. There is a big difference in the work relative work out put during Fran if and athlete’s 1RM thruster is 135lbs vs if it is 185lbs. As an athlete gets stronger, they can perform the same amount of work at a lower relative intensity.

Here is a great article by Mark Rippetoe. Check it out and let us know what you think!

http://library.crossfit.com/premium/pdf/43_06_slow_lifts.pdf?e=1445346292&h=e9ec04705bce6052b76e83628650d976

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Barney

For many of us, the gym is where we come to unwind and get away from the daily stress of our busy lives.  It is easy to get caught up in the more is better mind set. Just like anything else in our lives, there can come a point where there is too much of a good thing.

Sometimes it is difficult to determine when we have crossed that line, especially when it comes to exercise.  Exercise makes us feel good, and helps us feel the accomplishment of working towards goals and achieving them.  When we cross that line however, the effects of too much exercise can be counterproductive and actually cause more harm than good.

Our bodies have very advanced systems designed to keep us alive and performing optimally.  At a very basic level these systems are designed to allow us to deal with very real threats to our survival.  In our modern world, we are rarely at risk of being eaten by a pack of wolves.  Our threats are usually more in line with causing stress through working too many hours, not eating the proper foods to fuel our bodies, or not getting enough sleep due to shift work and long hours.

When we look at building a foundation for long term health and performance, the base level needs to be our lifestyle choices and how we deal with the stresses in our lives.  Too much stress from any sources, including exercise can lead to hormonal imbalances and long term health problems.

It is critical that when we are looking at areas in our lives, especially in our pursuit of increased fitness capacity, that we do not over look the importance of rest and recovery.  It is as important, if not more so, than work we do in the gym.

Attached is a great article from Robb Wolf.  It is not light reading, but very worth the time.  Check it out and let us know your thoughts.

http://robbwolf.com/2015/01/21/winning-the-olimbic-games-why-you-need-to-understand-allostatic-balance/

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r_nielson11

Burpees…

The very word strikes fear and even a bit of resentment into the hearts of many and at very least some anxiety in most. This most basic of exercises consists of things the majority of humans have been doing since we were toddlers, that is falling down, pushing ourselves back to our feet , jumping and repeating. This movement is the cornerstone of CrossFit gyms and other fitness protocols around the world.
According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, the exercise was named in the 1930s for American physiologist Royal H. Burpee, who developed the burpee test. He earned a PhD in applied physiology from Columbia University in 1940 and created the “burpee” exercise as part of his PhD thesis as a quick and simple way to assess fitness. The exercise was popularized when the United States Armed Services adopted it as a way to assess the fitness level of recruits when the US entered WWII. Consisting of a series of the exercises performed in rapid succession, the test was meant to be a quick measure of agility, coordination and strength(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burpee_(exercise)
CrossFit coach and nutritionist Erica Giovinazzo, MS, RD says that burpees make such a good conditioning tool because they not only require use of the whole body, but also take the exerciser through multiple planes: “If I were to run, or row, or even do something like jumping jacks or jump rope, I’m pretty much staying in one spot, or just moving straight ahead. A burpee makes you go up and down and up and down. This increases the heart rate dramatically” (This also might explain why there are so many anecdotal reports about the miseries of burpees.) (2) http://greatist.com/fitness/how-to-do-the-perfect-burpee
So now that we know where the burpee originated and why it is so effective/miserable we can now go on to learn how to be more efficient, transfer the skill to other movements and even throw in some variations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EhR1xhexQs

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IMG_3519

We often hear people in the mainstream talking about the dangers of squatting. Squatting is a critical movement pattern to function in daily life. One of its most basic expressions is the ability to sit down and stand up. We do this many times a day without thinking about it. As we progress through different stages of life and motor learning, this skill is critical to the ability to live an active healthy life.

As infants we learn to squat out of necessity. As we age many of us develop limited range of motion and compensations that can lead to pain and injury if not corrected. It is important for us to be able to recognize and correct these problems before they have long lasting consequences.

Whether we are competitive athletes or just looking to live a full, healthy life, our need to squat does not vary by kind, only by degree.

“It must be noted that it is critical for any athlete to go below the parallel position when he squats. For the weekend athlete, going low may not be important, but for any athlete, it is an absolute must. Two reasons justify this statement. When an athlete does partial squats, most of the work is being done by the quads. This is good, but only up to a point for if his quads continue to grow stronger and stronger while the corresponding muscle groups are allowed to fall further and further behind, there will be a problem with disproportionate strength. Partial Squats neglect the muscles of the hips, adductors and hamstrings. If any of these groups fall too far behind, strengthwise, there will either be an injury or all progress will come to a grinding halt.
Partial squats are not recommended for another significant consideration. When an athlete stops his squat above parallel, his knee joints are forced to halt the downward momentum. But once the athlete does break the parallel position, even slightly, that stress is transferred to the more powerful groups in the hips, lumbars, adductors and hamstrings. By the same token full range motion squats keeps all these groups proportionately strong, a critical consideration for any athlete.” – Bill Starr

Attached is a great article from the CrossFit Journal by Greg Glassman. It’s a great read and primer to developing sound squatting technique.

http://journal.crossfit.com/2002/12/squat-clinic-by-greg-glassman.tpl

 

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Brady on Rings

In CrossFit, we are constantly pushing ourselves. We are always striving to be better tomorrow than we were today. One of the most technically demanding disciplines that we practice is gymnastics. Gymnastics teach us great body control, develop coordination of movement, and strengthen muscles surrounding our hips and pelvis. These are just some of the benefits that come once we decide to venture into the world of body-weight movements.

Attached is a great article that appeared in the CrossFit Journal written by Dave Durante. It is worth the read, and will give some great advice and insight as to why we practice gymnastics to increase our level of fitness. Enjoy!

http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ_2015_05_Gymnastics_Durante_2.pdf