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The In-Season Training Manifesto

Monster editorial co-written by myself and Brian the Trainer. Join the discussion here.


Super Bowl Recap

Another year, another controversial finish. We have no video proof this year, but my team took home the honorable victory. After being up three workouts to one, team JZ pulled off one of the biggest choke jobs in the history of choke jobs. Our team rallied together and won three straight, plus held off JZ's team to win a thrilling waterfall burpee finale. Team Chris with the win!

Jacob, Chris, Slick Rick, Elizabeth, Erika, Megan Kav

Check the full photo gallery here. This is also the first year we did a parents version of the workout. Check back tomorrow for video highlights.

Air Canada Update

Shannon Marchant ran in an invitational indoor meet yesterday at Saginaw Valley and turned in a good performance. In the open 800m, she ran a 2:15. This was not a pr, but it was the fastest time for college athletes and 4th overall (three unaffiliated girls ran).

Last on the agenda was the 4x400 meter relay, where she pulled in a :56 split. Not only was her time good, but she said that she could feel her Pose technique and form was better than usual. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

Movement Shapes pt. 14: Time in Transition

Of all the movements in the strength and conditioning world, the squat (or squaat as pronounced by Binno) seems to be the most popular, analyzed, and debated. The exact reason for this is beyond what I know. But despite it's widespread use by so many different people for so many different purposes, there is one single point that seems to be a problem area for everyone: the transition between down and up. Myself and the other coaches typically refer to this as the bottom position.

Mrs. Carey - First Goddess of Squats

What is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about why I would yell at you for a bad squat? Lately it has been mostly knees wobbling. It is important to understand that the simple act of the knees moving incorrectly is not the problem. It's a symptom that something incorrect had already happened. Instead, we need to backtrack upstream to find the problem area.


As you know, I have been doing one-on-one session with Jacob for a few weeks now. He falls in with the Mr. Careys, Emmas, and Marias of the world in the sense that we see some serious knee wobbling going on while squatting. Last week, we worked on fixing his press by doing some push-up and handstand push-up progressions. After the session, he told me it went very well and wanted to work on some squat stuff on Monday. I told him that I had even better drills to help his squat.

This, of course, was a complete lie.

I had no idea why his squat was bad other than lack of mobility (which takes time to develop). But it put the pressure on me to figure something out. So Sunday night rolled around and I still hadn't come up with anything. I tried to match up the movement pattern (hip hinge) with other things we do. The obvious things that came about were lunges, deadlifts, and pistols. But working on those seemed to be a dead end as well, so I imagined doing the same movement pattern, only with the hands supporting the bodyweight instead of the feet. Then it clicked, I wonder if Jacob can do a slow, strict knees to elbows.

On Monday we tested it out and got this:

First I noticed that he initiated the movement by overextending - same as his tendancy in a squat. And I also noticed how his belly was wobbling and trembling the further up he went. After I saw this, I thought about changing orientation. Can he lower into a headstand tuck position? So we tried that as well...


Jacob found that it was a big struggle to perform either movement. As I mentioned above, the knees weren't the problem. In fact, the entire bottom position was not the problem either. The problem comes in the movement leading up to the bottom position. In this case, it's the midline strength during the action of pulling.

This is not the same "pulling" you would think of when you are pulling an object towards you or yourself closer to that object. But the global motion of moving your body closer to it's center is also an expression of pulling. In both of the cases above, Jacob's lower body and upper body were coming closer together. His hips bent, his knees assisted the movement, and he compressed his thighs close to his chest. What is interesting is this is the same movement pattern we see during a squat. Our hips move first. Our knees assist the movement. And our thighs get closer to our chest. 

It also occurred to me that people like Emma and Mr. Carey and Maria can't do a slow, strict knees to elbows and have trouble with the headstand position mentioned above. I believe there is a indirect relationship. The reason why I think knees touching elbows is a better test than just getting your knees above your hips (or below your hips - in the case of a headstand) is because the extra range of motion better mimics the load on the hips and spine seen in a squat. You could also test this by doing a slow, strict toes to bar or a descending headstand from a straddle.

What was Jacob's favorite Ke$ha song?

This is not a finished thought. Your input is needed. Test this out for yourself. Try out these two gymnastics movements at the speed you would be moving during a heavy squat. If you find yourself on the struggle bus, then you found another chink in the armor.

Pic of the Week: Wolf-Man Returns

On max effort power snatch earlier this week, I was having a problem teaching Jacqueline to correct the transition of the movement. So I called Jarrod and he came out of his way to help her out today after the mobility session. Thanks big man!

A Brief Hero History Lesson

As one could imagine, CrossFit caught on very early on with members of the military and law enforcement. The appeal was obvious; provide a constant ready state that would prepare the individual for the unknown and unknowable by performing movements that mimic those seen in every day life and combat.

This relationship really elevated on July 15, 2005. Upon hearing news that a CrossFit soldier Michael McGreevy had fallen in Afghanistan, Coach Glassman did his best to honor him by naming a workout in his likeness.


Since then, many hero workouts have come about - such as Murph, JT, Randy, and Griff. These provide a different kind of mental challenge than something like Fight Gone Bad or Helen. Hero workouts present an unbelievable temptation to quit. They are slow, repetitive, and usually boring. And then there's that sensational muscle-burning that almost forces you to take rests. These workouts were designed to represent the sacrifice that those serving us at war have gone through.

Great job to everyone who participated today, regardless of your time. Just finishing the workout is a great accomplishment because not only did you not quit, but you did your best to honor an individual that has earned every bit of that. Till next time...

From the Vault + Schedule Update

The parents 12:30 team workout session is still on for Sunday. It may start a little bit late, depending on when the Super Bowl workout ends.

This is the waterfall burpee tiebreaker from the Super Bowl Workout 2013. It was my team's third Super Bowl workout victory in a row.

Remember, sign up for this year's Super Bowl Workout here. 11 am on Sunday, February 1.

New Graduate: JZ Takes on Basketball

Not sure what to make of this. But here you go...

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