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De-fense *Clap* *Clap*

So for the past few days, JZ and I have been in constant argument about the sport of baseball -mainly stemming from me saying that 1 in 100 athletes could step onto a baseball field as is and be useful. What I noticed, however, was how defensive JZ gets when it comes to baseball technique and what-have-you. Yesterday, we took the arguments out into the real world where he hit me fly balls to track down. Hopefully, we will get some video on that soon.

But anyway, this got me thinking about why people feel the need to defend themselves, and what topics they defend. Off the top of my head, the ones I notice the most are sexuality, athletic ability, taste in music, family members, and nutrition.

As for me: my list looks something like this: 

1. The Rich Rodriguez tenure at Michigan.

2. The Family AAU basketball organization.

3. CrossFit.com programming

I don't know why exactly, but in the rare case I wind up arguing with someone it always has to do with one of those three areas. I think I might want to do a mini-editorial on this topic, but first I'll need your input.

What do you get most defensive about and why?

JZ and Collin playing catch back in April. Snow on the ground :(

Coach's Corner: Mr. Carey

In Murley's post yesterday that nobody commented on, she talked about the goods and bads that come with scaling range of motion. Here is video of Mr. Carey during one of his sets of 5. Would you scale range of motion here? Why or why not?

Also, let it be known that he did pr by ten pounds - finishing his final set at 245 lbs.

Scaling Range-Of-Motion: Good or Bad?

Good

When an athlete is missing range-of-motion (ROM) in the hip or ankle, squatting and deadlifting can be really difficult. They might be able to keep their back flat for a little while, then it starts to round toward the end of the movement and there's seemingly nothing they can do about it.

Kyle and Katie Shakes are two athletes who were starting to round just a little bit at the bottom of their deadlift when when we did the 5-rep max on Monday. I decided that rather than gambling on their spine, I would just take away the last few inches of the movement. I elevated their barbell on 25-pound plates, and here's what resulted:

185 pounds on the bar and their back looks perfectly rigid. So for the day, they were able to deadlift with a flat back by cutting some range-of-motion. We've done similar scales with max effort squatting days, allowing athletes to stop before their hips were below parallel. It's a quick fix to an annoying problem.

Bad

But what if that annoying problem is never finally resolved? What do Kyle and Katie do if they encounter something heavy out in the real world that isn't elevated by 25-pound plates? They can't get themselves into an optimal position.

So simply cutting range-of-motion is like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound - the problem runs much deeper. (look at me and my Brian-esque similes!)

A long-term solution probably has to include a lot of hip mobility. But what if their range-of-motion issue isn't even mobility related? What if it's just from inexperience in that position? By cutting that little part out of the movement, they aren't able to practice it. We might never see progress if we never go that low. The only problem is that any spinal movement while under load is very unfavorable and dangerous. Ask Mr. Wonsil: when he tried to straighten out his back in the middle of a lift, he pulled a muscle in his hip and couldn't stand up straight for a couple of weeks.

What can we do for those athletes who can't keep a hollow body throughout the full range of their movement yet? What should you be doing as an athlete who has this problem?

New Kid on the Block: Sydney

We got our first Campus Improv athlete to join Fundamentals. This one is Sydney Edelmann; a student at Oakland University and sorority sister of Erica Potter. Sydney tried a Campus Improv with EP early last week then came in to test out a workout with the Champions Club.

Sydney will has two days of Fundamentals finished. So far, flexibility is not an issue and strength is coming along quickly. Think of her as maybe a Meghan Murley or Cara Stempky-type (old school reference). If I recall correctly, she used to swim in high school and has an immunity to the eardrum torturing yelps known as country music - so we might be looking at another 9 amer. But that's still a ways away. For now, it's Day 3 of Fundamentals and we'll check back with you guys after Day 8 as usual.

Sydney pictured with EP after her first Campus Improv workout.

One-on-One

Previously on Chris Sinagoga Picking On High School Kids:

Yesterday, JZ brought his classmate Jamari to try out a workout. Since Jamari is a basketball player, JZ insisted on getting video of us playing one-on-one. The good news, JZ got to test out his video and commentating skills - which turns out are nonexistant. But anyway, here's some highlights.

Quote of the Week/Day Care Diary vol. 3

“Language is situational”

– Dr. Donda West, Chicago State University English professor and late mother of Kanye West.

In the last Day Care Diary post, I talked briefly about informal and formal movement. I think I’d like to explore this a little more.

Let’s look at it from a language perspective. In school I was taught English in a very formal manner. First, I learned how to combine different letters into words with the help of Mr. M with the “munchy mouth”. Then I learned what those words meant, how they clustered together, and how those clusters were organized into things like dialogues or paragraphs. This education gave me a base foundation for communicating using the English language.

Now here’s the useful part: I take that fundamental knowledge of our language and improvise based on the demographic or audience. So in other words, I use English differently depending on if I am talking to my parents, my neighbors Jesse and Jay, the kids from Marygrove, the preschoolers I teach, my cousins from California, or my heroes Troy Landry and Bruce Mitchell hunting gators in the bowels of Louisiana. The foundation is the same, the expression is different.

But the funny thing is, our first words were not learned through formal teaching. They were learned through interacting with our environment and mimicking what we hear. Movement happens in the same way.

In the previous post, I used the push-up, kettlebell swing, clean, and kipping muscle-up as examples of movements we teach in the weight room. But those are all just formal ways of teaching throwing, jumping, running, and climbing – things every kid in the preschool does without being coached. Sometimes we get so used to structure, we forget how to “freestyle.”

For example, what would happen to someone who went to the hood in Detroit and tried to talk to the kids there in “proper” English? Best case scenario, he gets made fun of and embarrassed. Worst case… well. What good is being good at English if you can’t use it in different places?

What good is being good at push-ups, kettlebell swings, cleans, and kipping muscle-ups if we can’t express them in different avenues?

This brings up the idea of whether formal or informal is the best method of teaching. As I mentioned in vol. 2, I think informal is the way to go at the younger level. Then the older we get, the more it balances out. In high school, the weight room is almost all formal and the informal stuff comes through sports. With most adults, they are even further removed from their childhood mentality, so it’s the same idea, only their “freestyle” activities might be pickup basketball, picking up bags of woodchips, or picking up their grand kids. Or dodgeball.

On a micro level, we retest the workouts to see how to progress our formal training. But the true measuring stick is the informal stuff we do outside of the weight room. If those things have improved, our formal training is doing its job.

You are a good mover if you move good without being coached.

From the Vault: Triple Unders + New Challenge

Many of you did double unders in the workout this evening. Be proud of yourself if you must, but just know the actual workout called for triple unders instead of doubles. I'm still waiting for someone to be able to do them consecutively, but here's some film from February where the 7 pm session did some practice with triples.

That will be our next gym challenge, 5 consecutive triple unders.