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Lifts 4 Gifts 2017, 9 am Sat. December 16 @ The Champions Club

See details here.


Thanksgiving 2017 Recap


Thanksgiving 6.0 was a chaotic workout for sure. It's not often when The Babies being at a session don't require the most attention, but reigning Athlete of the Summer David Saporito is back for the weekend and holy pants he's like the most hyperactive 5-year old with orange spraypaint in his hair. And of course he instigates everyone else, so Big Kris (his partner) the 3x Banets, Sabal, and even Danielle were thrown into the mix of constant chatter that made giving instructions nearly impossible. But somehow, the workout still happened and it went pretty well. The whiteboard shows some discrepancy with who actually won the workout, but according to the numbers on the board Sabal and Elizabeth finished with the highest score.

Whether or not they were counting by 2's will always be a mystery, but I'm sure David will hold a permanent grudge. We totaled 26 in attendance, which included The Babies making an appearance as a test-run of sorts for the Christmas Workout Spectacular.

When it comes to the holiday/theme workouts, I would gladly put up with some mild chaos in favor of having a great turnout, and this was easily the most people we've ever had at a Thanksgiving workout. Big ups to you all for making the trip this morning, and hope to see you the rest of the weekend.

Thanksgiving 2017 Photo Gallery

Thanksgiving 2017 Workout Results

Quote of the Week vol. 218

"If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own."

- Henry Ford

I think one of my strengths as a coach is being able to relate with our kids at "The Babies" session. I have a good sense of what I liked to do as a kid, and what I didn't like to do (mostly because it's not too different than what I like now).

The concept of formal movement (things we know as push-ups, back squats, pull-ups, lunges) was introduced to mainstream adults early in the 1900s due to them forgetting how to be kids. When we are born, our brains are wired for movement. Rolling, crawling, standing, squatting, walking, running, climbing, carrying, and throwing are all natural movement patterns that are part of our DNA. When we go years and years without practicing these things on a daily basis, our bodies adapt, and we lose part of that ability. Enter formal movement training and the gym.

The Babies would be bored to death with formal deadlifts, cleans, burpees, and the like. So we keep it fun and then carefully sneak some elements in the session that will pay off for them in about 6 or 7 years - "I'll bet you can't jump to the plate keeping your feet together!" Everywhere I have had the opportunity to coach a youth sports thing - whether it's basketball, Champions Club, the Day Care, football camps, or even hanging out with my younger cousins - I have received compliments on how I interact with the younglins. As I do this, the overriding thought is always Would I like this if I was their age? If the answer is no, then we move to something else. If I was a normal high school, college, or post-college person, I suppose I'd have a better grasp of this with the older crowd.

Either way, being able to see the other person's perspective has almost always been the final determining factor on whether that interaction is successful or not.

New Graduate: Mr. Auggie

Yesterday (or two days ago, by the time you probably read this) we had rope climbs in the warmup, and I begged, pleaded, and bargained as best I could, but Mr. Auggie refused to climb all the way up. I offered him a month of free passes on the rope if he hit the top for the warmup, and he wasn't budging. Today we found his weak spot: the other moms and dads.

Today during the warmup I told Mr. Auggie everyone could skip the warmup run if he did a full rope climb. We got it!

Congratulations on your first (and probably only ever) rope climb!

Spinal Flinch in the Deadlift Setup

The first rule of movement we have to follow - regardless of what movement we are doing - is Midline Stability. A complex meaning of this is related to being able to control your spine in any position or movement. But all you need to know is keeping midline stability simply means your spine does not change. Period. My arms and legs can move all they want, but our spine from head to hips cannot. One of the most challenging movements on the midline is the deadlift. Oddly enough, the area I see this rule violated the most when I coach in other locations(although we are not completely immune to it) is not on the lift, itself, but in the preparation for the lift. The setup.

Back in the Summer when we had a max effort deadlift day, David Sap was ready to hurt an innocent bystander because of how often he was corrected on this fault. Here's a quick clip:

The first thing to understand is this is nitpicking. If I walked into Lamphere or Warren Mott or Detroit Central and saw deadlifts like this, I would be happy. Zero spinal movement is the standard, and this is a tiny bit of spinal movement. This is 1.5 frames to get into the Pose running position, or missing a fat block in your meal. With that being said, zero spinal movement is the standard - both for safety and performance - and that is what we at the Champions Club hold oursleves to.

From a safety perspective, the dangers of spinal movement is obvious. There is a certain range of tolerance, but in general the less movement we get in the spine, the safer we are. And this especially holds true to the lower back (lumbar spine). This is the connector between the lower body and the upper body, and injuries to the lumbar spine effect both ends of the system.

From a strength perspective, a change in spinal position results in a loss of movement control. Our nervous system runs through our spine, and if we kink the hose, the output will be compromised. - which really would manifest itself if David were doing something requiring more athleticism like a clean or a snatch. Losing control of the spine dampens the connection between your feet (where the pushing comes from) and the hands (where a lot of the weight is).

The fix for this is simple, but sometimed difficult to execute. David just needs to keep tension through the entire setup. The good news is this is completely a coordination issue. The bad news is this is completely a coordination issue (especially considering Sap's athleticism placement on The Graph is generously mediocre). He is able to maintain perfect spinal position as he squats down to the bar. But once his attention goes towards finding a good grip, he loses the tension his body created while squatting. In other words, if his mind isn't on his spine, he flinches.

Tension is how we move. By bracing our spine before if becomes loaded with external weight, we are setting our entire body up to create peak tension for our max lifts, which results in more weight lifted and no injuries. The more we do this, the more it becomes a habit and the less we'll have to think about it. Be patient kids, both in your setup and your overall progress.

Thanksgiving Weekend Schedule

Just an update for this weekend's session times:

Today, Tomorrow



10 am

5:30 pm

*this will be a mobility session, or makeup workout if your're a college kid back home


8:30 am - Thanksgiving Workout 7.0

*A few of The Babies are coming to this one as well, like we did for the Christmas one last year


10 am

5:30 pm



Get your belly ready for an updated version of Plymouth Hollow Rocks on Thanksgiving.

Pic of the Week: Crawford and his Coach

Many of the fall sports around the area held their annual banquet at some point this past week. Warren Mott Cross Country was in that camp, as theirs went down on Wednesday. As you know, we have quite a few runners on that team that are part of the Champions Club now, or at least were for a while - Andre, Kenny, Hickey, Parker - and the guy that started that connection was Brendan Crawford. Yes he's annoying, yes Avery can beat him up, and yes, he's still one of my favorite athletes to have in the gym. He's in that Katie Shakes camp as far as just being a plain, old-fashioned good kid.

At the banquet on Wednesday, somewhere between dinner and their coach getting silly-stringed, a few of runners interrupted the procedure in favor of a special announcement: they gave Crawford a trophy and nominated him as an honorary captain. He brought it to the gym on Thursday and the first person he hold was Mrs. Pip, who took a lot of time to work on his nutrition over the past year.

Crawford finished the season very well, and is looking to run at Macomb Community College next year.

Congratulations kiddo! Keep up all the hard work!

New Kid on the Block: Izzy

The Cousino connection continues with another member of their cross country team, Izzy Barone.

Izzy is a junior runner under Shannon and teammates with Avery, Emma D, and Maddison, and was also a standout on the volleyball court this fall in addition to her running. She started Fundamentals this week and has already made it through four sessions. By this pace, look forher to finish up some time next week and be a regular with the group. I'll check back in after the last day.