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More Program than Gym

See the editorial here.


 

Mel's Beast Mode + Weekend Schedule Reminder

Just a reminder that this weekend's schedule is back to normal.

Saturday

10 am (mobility/make-up workout)

 

Sunday

12 noon (team workout)

1 pm (babies)


If you notice the sidebar, Mel, our favorite fan from North Carolina, recently achieved a longtime goal of completing every CrossFit.com Hero workout. Here are the highlights from his final one last week.

Last Hero WOD (Hollywood) 2017 from Mel on Vimeo.

Great job Mel Man!

Coach's Corner: Shoulders in the Floor Press

Without knowing anything about mobility, anatomy, or physiology, anyone could identify that shoulders shouched forwards is back and shoulders pulled back is good. Not only is shoulders back a stronger position, but also safer. Sometimes this gets tricky to identify when doing movements in CrossFit because there is so much going on, so many moving parts, and we are often changing our orientation in space.

While doing floor presses, we are lying on our back and this gives us a better view of what our shoulders might be doing in push-ups (the same movement, just flipped on our belly). Pay attention to the shoulder position of Shakes and Jacqueline in the video below.

Notice how Shakes's shoulders slowly roll forward on the descent, while Jackie's do a pretty good job of staying further back against the ground. As with most things we see in the gym, this can be broken down to both a movement and mobility issue.

Movement. The set-up of the lift gets more important as the weight increases. In the floor press, we need to have the same set-up as our push-up: butt and belly tight with external rotation in the shoulder. But because we have an added point of support (the floor), we need to actively pinch the shoulder blades back together bebefore we start to make sure they don't ram into the floor while the movement is being completed, causing the shoulder to roll forward.

Mobility. The more mobility we have, the more room for error we are granted. In Shakes's case, she is missing shoulder extension, which is coupled with internal rotation. If this is the main problem, it would be a long-term fix and something that needs daily mobility work, but it can definitely be improved.

The floor press is a weird lift, and is something we wouldn't see as much if we had more benches. But in a video call with the Martins from Brand X a few months ago, they actually told me they believe it's better to practice floor press for most athletes anyway, especially if they aren't competing in powerlifting. Either way, I'll be paying attention to what the shoulders are looking like whenever these happen to come up.

New Graduate: Lindsey

Yesterday morning Lindsey Eason finished her 8th and final Fundamentals session doing a Helen in 7:59 with 200m runs, 12k swings, and ring rows. She will now be joining the group with her sister, Kasey, and is primed to have a great Summer.

Lindsey is one of the most pleasant surprises I have seen go through Fundamentals in recent memory. Being the younger cousin of Jesse and Jay, I naturally heard a lot of teasing directed at her (and Kasey, obviously) about her athleticism. But Lindsey proved to be a very quick learner throughout the course of our Fundamentals sessions. On Day 1, she could barely do a 10 sec. hollow hold, and yesterday she did 4 sets of tabata rocks without breaking one bit. Running, unweighting, kipping, squats, and jump ropes all progressed very quickly. The only weak point I noticed was upper body pulling strength. But it's nothing a little consistent attendance won't fix.

Lindsey also seems to be having a good effect on her sister, seeing as Kasey's attendance has improved since Lindsey joined. Hopefully we'll be seeing both of them around a lot. Welcome to the Champions Club Lindsey!

Ghosts of Champions Club past: Katie Shakes with Jennifer Banet's laugh.

Thinking Out Loud: Engineer State of Mind

by, VJ Tocco

Too many people cringe when they hear the word engineering. This reaction is probably caused by painfully unfunny sitcoms like “The Big Bang Theory”, which conjures caricatures of dweeby engineers whose idea of fun is solving Rubik’s cubes for time. I used to resist becoming an engineer for fear that I would maybe one day find programming my calculator to tell a stupid joke enchanting or that one day I would understand all those complicated mathematical formulas with the Greek letters.

Against my preconceptions, I declared Chemical Engineering as my major when I was a sophomore at the University of Michigan about 8 years ago. During the first few weeks of classes, I was surprised and relieved that many of my classmates were “normal”. Most of them did not memorize pi to 50 digits or read Stephen Hawking’s books. Shockingly, I met a few students whose interests (sports, rap music, etc.) aligned with mine.

When people learn that I will soon have a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, they treat me similar to how I used to treat engineers. They say things like “you don’t look like an engineer”, or “wow, I could never understand what you do.”  I tend to disagree with both of these statements. If you think all engineers look the same, you’ve seen too many episodes of “Silicon Valley.” If you believe you could never think like an engineer, you’re selling yourself short.

At its core, engineering is nothing more than solving a problem in the most efficient way possible that satisfies all the constraints.  We solve problems as an engineer would more often than you realize.  You think like an engineer when you choose to buy a 4-pack of canned tuna for $3 instead of 4 individual cans for $1 apiece.  You may not calculate the exact cost-per-can difference ($1 vs 75 cents), but something in your brain tells you that the 4-pack is a better deal. In this example, you are solving a problem (you want some tuna), subject to the constraints (you must buy tuna at the grocery store), efficiently (you choose the tuna that gives you the best deal).

Sometimes, we don’t think like an engineer, even though we should.. How many times have you driven around the block in search of the cheapest gasoline? Consider the following two options: a nearby gas station is selling gas for $2.60 per gallon, while a station 2.5 miles away is offering a price of $2.50 per gallon.  Which would you choose? Would you even consider that during your fill-up you will only buy about 10 gallons of gas, and therefore only save $1? Not to mention the extra 5 miles you’ve put on your car (for the round trip), the time you’ve spent driving 5 miles, AND the gas you consume driving those 5 miles. Going to either gas station will solve your problem by filling up your tank, but the closer, more expensive station is clearly more efficient than the further, cheaper station.

Driving somewhere on the freeway is another example of a simple problem which you can solve like an engineer. Imagine you want to make a 100-mile journey as fast as possible. You intuitively know that the amount of time it takes to travel a certain distance depends on your average speed. The faster you drive, the sooner you arrive. Therefore, one option is to redline your vehicle the entire way, drive 150 miles per hour and arrive at your destination in 40 minutes. Obviously, this is not feasible because there are other considerations, such as the law, safety, and your fuel efficiency. Another option is to play it safe, avoid the highway and make the drive at 40 mph. This way, you get there in 2.5 hours; longer than you would like, but at least you are still alive with your driver’s license. The best solution exists somewhere in the middle of these extremes.

So how do you find the happy medium? Engineers specialize in graphing all possible solutions for visualization. To make such a graph, you need the relevant equation, which is distance traveled equals velocity multiplied by time. You need to rearrange the equation to isolate the dependent variable (time) as a function of the independent variable (speed); time = distance/speed.  Here’s what it looks like for a 100-mile journey:

 

Looking at this graph offers a few benefits. For one, it becomes easy to compare several solutions. If you drive 60 mph your trip takes 1 hour, 40 minutes. Going 70 mph saves you 15 minutes compared to going 60. You also learn gain valuable insight about the problem. Notice that the faster you drive, the less time you save. In other words, driving 50 mph vs 40 mph saves 30 minutes, while driving 80 mph vs 70 mph only saves 11 minutes. Therefore, you might conclude that the risk of speeding does not outweigh the small payoff.

Bringing it back to my thesis of this blog, anyone can think like an engineer. Engineering isn’t difficult. It seems difficult, because most engineers like to shroud what they do in fancy math-speak to seem important. Don’t let them fool you, their thought process is no more difficult than choosing a can of tuna fish from the grocery store.

Quote of the Week vol. 192

VJ's second installment of Thinking Out Loud to be posted tonight at 5 pm.


"If they come to you with bad habits, it's out of your control. If they leave you with bad habits, then it's on you."

- Brian the Trainer

You know Brian used to be able to do handstand push-ups?

Coming Soon... Summer 2017

We are officially past the middle of May (which might be the fastest month in the history of months), and that means the Champions Club Summer 2017 is only weeks away!

The Summer is worshipped around these parts and rightfully so. Most of it can be recounted in the Summer's Eve post before 2015, but if you've been around the block you know what's in store: theme workouts, lively sessions, 90-degree weather, new toys, new rookies, and the return of faces you haven't seen in a year. This spring has already gotten off to a great start with David Saporito coming back, as well as the speculated return of a certain handsome crew.

Either way, be on the lookout for the official signup and email coming soon. And in the meantime, be sure to put a bug in the ear of people you know need it!

Beast Mode: College Freaks

The Freaks are in college now, let that sink in for a minute.

Ricky Carey and crew just finished their first collegiate year and are now back at the Champions Club for the Summer. The 9 am session from last Tuesday featured Slick, Elizabeth Banet, David Saporito, Katie Shakes, and Mrs. Fitz. They put in a great performance on the wallball/box jump ladder. Check it out.