We have a great opportunity this year to show everyone what CrossFitters are all about, not just working out and growing mustaches, but we are about community and making the world a better place.
Brody is an awesome local community kid who has cerebral palsy. Brody is always smiling and has the best attitude. He will soon be 5 and is receiving his first power wheel chair but they don't have a way to get the wheel chair in their van.
We are raising $4000 for a lift for Brody's van, every penny goes directly into purchasing the lift & installation. Brody and his mom will be at the Faction Games to cheer everyone on and is an opportunity for us to get to see the difference we can make in a local family's life.
Once you find your perfect pull your bar path should be the exact same for every single rep you ever do. Light or heavy it should all look the same.
Stop cleans and stop stanches are a great way to drill and really reinforce that perfect bar path, especially for beginners.
For those that are new and very motivated it's common to pull yourself out of a good position during your first pull.
The stop clean/snatch variations help you to slow down and can help you learn to be in a better position when you get to your second pull.
To do the stop clean/snatch all you need to do is start from the floor just like you normally would and pause for a second or two at some predetermined point (below knee, above knee, mid-thigh, etc...) during your first pull.
After pausing to check to see if you're in a perfect position you finish your first pull and then the rest of the movement just as you normally would.
If you aren't sure if you're in a good position then set up a camera so you can see yourself from the side. Watch the first and second pull videos linked up above for the details of each position.
If you can't get tight at the bottom you can pull from blocks (see video below of Matt snatching) that let you get into a good position.
I get questions all of the time from those new to CrossFit asking what muscles an exercise is working?
Yes the bodybuilding craze is fading fast and we don't typically talk about how pushups are for our "pecs, delts and tris" but it's still a legit question.
If you've lifted weights your whole life the answers seem intuitive because you understand at least some basic human anatomy. If you don't know much about anatomy it's hard to, for example, know which leg exercises work your "butt vs your thighs" or "glutes/hamstrings vs. quads" etc.
So here's an easy way to figure out which joint/muscles are taking the stress of the movement and how you can use it to adjust your programming.
It's all about having or not having a vertical shin.
If you have a forward shin angle (non-vertical) and also a vertical torso then the movement is very knee/quad dominant (clean, snatch, front squat, pistols etc...).
If you have a vertical shin and a very bent over torso then the movement is very hip/glute/hamstring dominant (deadlifts, box squats, good mornings etc...).
Getting a good view from the side is key and thus for yourself videos work best.
Faction Games has been the priority for our facility lately so finishing up your free report you get when signing up for the email list, "Top 3 Mistakes Performance Athletes Make When Trying to Improve Technique and How to Avoid Them" has taken longer than expected. Should be done soon!
If you haven't signed up yet it's the name and email box on the top right corner of the page. Fill it out and you'll be kept up to date on the latest articles and products out there that can help you stay at the top of your game as well as stay injury free.
See ya tomorrow,
Here's two videos of one of our athletes/coaches back and front squatting. The camera angles aren't the same but you still should be able to tell that his knees are more forward on his front squats (more knee dominant) and his hips are further back on this back squat (more hip dominant).
The giant cambered bar (like the Safety Bar) is great for those who have beat up/painful/injured shoulders.
If you lack (or it hurts to be in) shoulder external rotation and as a result it hurts to hold a regular Olympic bar then the giant cambered bar may be a good choice until you're healed up or until you get the range of motion you need to be pain free.
You might still be able to front squat but sometimes you still need the bar on your back (like if you want to bend over...).
Cambered bar box squats and cambered bar good mornings are the two most common exercises for this bar in our facility. More often than not they are with some sort of accommodating resistance (chains/bands). Especially the good mornings which is the main exercise for today's post.
I like two variations: Straight knee and bent knee good mornings
Straight knee variations require more hip flexion ("hamstring") range of motion to do well and will at the same time make those hamstrings very sore.
Bent knee variations take the load off of the hamstrings a little bit and let your glutes do a little more of the work. Usually you can lift heavier with this version.
Both are beneficial!
Normal lumbar curve (straight back)!
Lumbar flexion (rounding your back)!
How low to go?
You only go as low as you can without changing the angle of your knee or the position of your back.
Bend at your hip only!
Come back up right before you feel any movement in your back or knees.
Build up to a 5RM on straight knee good mornings. Perfect technique! Have someone record you from the side so you can see your back position. Let me know how your hamstrings feel the next two days. It'll be a good sore... lots of it.
The safety bar is an absolute necessity. Well... maybe not a necessity, but you should have one anyway; there're just too awesome not to have at your gym. Wanna know why? It'll make you stronger! Here's the breakdown.
You can use a safety bar for many of the same exercises that you would normally do with a standard Olympic bar but the stimulus is slightly different.
The safety bar puts the plate weight out in front of you a little bit, which pulls you forward. You have to couteract this pull by pushing your hips back as well as staying very upright. These are good things.
The pad on the bar makes it sit higher on your neck which makes your back "longer" (lever arm longer) which will also help you stay more upright (people with longer backs relative to their short legs always squat more upright vs those with a short back, long limbs).
The shape of the bar will make it try to roll forward (rounding your upper back) and you have to counteract this pull by maintaining very strong thoracic extension.
The bar also won't fall off of your back if you aren't holding onto it. This is both a good and a bad thing...
Good: If you're doing single leg work (split squats) and you lose your balance, it's nice to be able to let go and adjust with your hand on a rack rather than jump around on one leg with 200 lbs on your back (see video)
Bad: If you're squatting outside of a cage and don't have a spotter the safety bar is probably the most unsafe bar in the gym because you can't get out... rather you'll get out but it'll be ugly.
Discuss buying a safety bar with your staff or with your gym owner, and/or if you know someone that has one see if you can borrow it for a few days. Squats and rear foot elevated split squats are my most common exercises. Try both.
In Gray Cook's book Movement he discusses the concept of reverse patterning.
Long story short he suggests that it may be easier to learn some movements by beginning at the bottom of the movement and learning from the bottom up rather than the top down.
Box squats are are great movement for this concept. With just your bodyweight if you sit down on a box and sit up strait then you'll notice your low back is in perfect position. From there you can position your feet strait ahead and push your knees over your feet (shins vertical).
Now you're in a perfect bottom position, which means you know you have the mobility to get there again. Without moving your feet or losing your tall posture, "push the floor apart while pushing your knees back" and stand up.
Hips back, knees out and sit right back down to where you were. Easy as that!
If you sit back down and notice you're not where you were the first time and/or for some reason you're out of position simply move yourself around until you're back and stand up again.
You'll have to play with the height of the box at first to see what height will work best for you. If you have mats to add to the box (or the ground) that will help.
Find someone whose squat form could use some work and try to help them improve by using suggestions above and in the video below. Goal is 20 perfect reps without having to reposition their feet at the bottom.
If you've been high bar back squatting for a while, your technique is solid and you're lookin for a way to mix it up then low bar back squats are a great option.
With the bar lower on your back your back "isn't as long" as it would be if the bar place high on your traps.
A shorter back means a shorter lever arm, so your leverage is better meaning you can put more load on your hips.
The result is usually you can low bar back squat more than you can high bar back squat. Time to throw on some big weight!
You're hands and feet will be a little bit wider than you high bar squat. For the low bar back squat the bar will rest on the back of your shoulders instead of your traps.
You'll have to play with it to see what will be most comfortable.
If you lack ankle mobility this could be a good movement for you because it's more hip dominant, you have very vertical shin, which means your ankle doesn't need as much range of motion.
If you have shoulder external rotation issues then it may be hard on your shoulder of you may simply not be able to get into position. Safety bars and cambered bars are a good option until you clear up you shoulder mobility.
If you're experienced, you technique is up to par on your other squat then I want you to play with the technique until you're comfortable with it. After you're confident your technique is solid find your low bar max and compare it to your high bar max.