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Congratulations to David Saporito, Athlete of the Summer, 2017

See his feature editorial here.


Entries in carter (46)

Quote of the Week vol. 207

"I don't know of an adaptation to nutrition that is unique to nutrition. I don't know of a positive adaptation to exercise that isn't also a feature of eating right. I can get you to eat right and make all this good stuff happen; you can eat wrong and I can introduce exercise into your life and make all this good stuff still happen. Together it's a tremendous force."

- Coach Glassman

Couch + CrossFit - Nutrition = CarterMy hope is to be steadily emphasizing the health/lifestyle improvements that come through the CrossFit program more than in the past. We have a lot of good athletes here who are good in spite of their lifestyle. Let's see if we can slowly bridge the gap.

Coach's Corner: More With Tempo

Among other things, this has been the Summer of tempo lifts. On Tuesday we worked slow sets of 5 front squats with everyone in our constant attempt to develop more movement control - and therefore strength. Here is the last sets from the 11 am and 6:30 pm sessions.

Carter: "OOWWWWW"

A couple points of note:

Rack position. The front rack archetype is one of the fundamentals shapes our shoulder need to be able to go through, and is very prominent in things like throwing and tumbling. In the front squat, the main limiting factor for most in keeping the elbows up isn't the wrists, and it's not necessarily the shoulders (although improved mobility will help). It's actually midline strength. At the bottom I yell out "elbows up" as a means to make sure the athletes are not breaking any position of the midline. I'm sure they noticed how much harder this made the lift.

Gravity. The more I am learning about strength and conditioning, the more I am beginning to realize the role of strength: resisting gravity when needed. If we are exaggerating the skill/technique of a movement, then we are working with natural forces (gravity, muscle/tendon elasticity). But in real life, we will not always have the perfect technique to serve what nature is offering us. Or maybe we will be blindsided by a linebacker. This is where strength comes in to help us keep our position relative.

Movement control. In order to keep position, we need to control how our body moves. This is what I refer to as movement control. This can be as simple as bracing the midline, or holding the figure-4 Pose in running. When you speed a movement up, athletes can find flow that can help them with the skill/technique; when they slow it down, it helps on the other end of the movement control spectrum. The front squats in the video above are a great challenge to the athletes' position. Watch Elizabeth go through her front squats; how many moving parts are there? Is her head moving? Her arms? Her belly? Not really. Watch Crawford (with 3 years less CrossFit experience); how many moving parts do you see? Was he able to control the squat movement to the tempo of my counting? What about Kroll?

Now this is all fun for me to talk about, but the thing I really value is intensity. So when we see movements with the squat performed at high intensity, I am interested to see if this translates as well as I think it will. Just some things to keep in mind...

Beast Mode: Troop 1710

Mr. Warthman has been working for a few months on setting up a CrossFit night for Carter's Scout Troop 1710, and last night it finally came to fruition. We had eleven people participate in total - both kids and parents.

We started off the day with our usual warmup of hollow rocks, push-ups and squats. Then after some mobility we did a team workout with burpees, push-ups, and squats in 1-minute intervals. We ended the night by practicing rope climbs for a few minutes.

I just wanted to thank Troop 1710 for stepping out of their comfort zone and taking the time to get a great workout at the Champions Club.

Beast Mode: Filthy Fifty at 6:30

The staple of last week's rough string of workouts was the classic CrossFit benchmark "Filthy Fifty." It is themost famous workout in the category known as "chippers" - meaning there is a set of exercises to be done and you run through them in order.

Our 6:30 pm session consisted of Mr. Wonsil, Mr. Carey, Aaron Sexton, Carter, Elizabeth, and Matt Fecht. Here's how they looked.

Butterfly Pull-ups: Blocked Practice

One of my unofficial goals for the Champions Club is to get the kids I feel are ready comfortable with butterfly pull-ups by the time Summer rolls around. If it doesn't happen, my heart won't be broken but I would really like to see it.

The butterfly pull-up is a movement that is unique to CrossFit and came about in 2007 when stud CF athlete Brett Marshall (known in the community as AFT) posted a video of a record Fran time using the style.. The standard of chin-over-bar done as fast as possible lead to this style being naturally adapted; meaning it was only a matter of time before someone figured it out. When I first found out about them I practiced and practiced and practiced until I could finally do them comfortably in workouts.

Then I tweaked up my shoulder in 2009 and had to resort to modifying many workouts. It was no fun.

I wonder why...and these were better than the ones I used to do

So it seems like a tricky place when it comes to butterfly pull-ups: they are a higher skill movement and requires a lot of practice to get the rhythm, but they also require more mobility and can wreck your shoulders and elbows if done incorrectly over and over.

This is where the concept of blocking movement comes in handy. When we flip our hands backwards (reverse grip) it automatically puts our shoulders in external rotation and therefore keeping them safe in that overhead range of motion. So recently we've been practicing with a few athletes during workouts. Below is Alyssa and Carter from earlier in December and Jay, JZ, Elizabeth, and Jackie from yesterday. For all of them this was their first time doing butterfly pull-ups in an actual workout.

The rhythm will take lots of reps of practice and the blocked position (hands backward) ensures that they'll stay safe doing it. Then when they have the rhythm down and their mobility allows for it they can flip their hands the normal way.

The butterfly pull-up catches probably more slack than anything else in CrossFit. I definitely get it; it's new, looks funny, and makes doing a pull-up much easier and seems to take away from the strength portion of it. But this kip actually requires a great deal more strength to perform than a regular kip - especially in the midline (abs and core). It's a great skill-transfer for the positional demands of the snatch and running, as well as throwing and kicking. Plus, it helps you do more work over a shorter period of time - meaning you'll often get more of a cardio feel.

The more I think about it, I really wish I had spent more time starting in 2014 teaching both butterfly pull-ups and strict pull-ups. But it's never too late. We've been doing a good amount of strict pull-ups in the past two years or so, and now I think it's time for the butterfly pull-up to be added to your skillbag.

Quote of the Week vol. 168

Me: "We'll have Carter take the food home."

Carter: "Hell yeah! I'll take it. Just give me whatever you want and I'll eat it. Except the vegetables."

- The Blob in response to all the food left after the sessions yesterday.

I wonder what Carter would look like if he didn't work out.

Carter the Crane

Every inch your head moves forward from the rest of your spine it adds 10 lbs. of pressure to your neck. This is just at a resting position. Every time we jump, we are reaching anywhere from 2x-3x our bodyweight when we land.

And this was Carter on double unders yesterday. 

Given a rough estimate, his head weighs 60-80 pounds at this moment. Mr. Z in the background is the model student in this case; his ears are roughly lined up with his shoulders.

So here's the quick back story. As I was waltzing around the warmup of the 6 pm session contemplating death and football officiating, I heard the whipping sound of smooth, unbroken double unders. Eight to be exact. I looked up expecting to see Shannon when I noticed this was coming from Carter the Blob. Reggie and I exchanged looks like, did he just do that? But our eyes did not deceive. Carter was just as surprised as we were.

When the workout started, I had Carter do 30 double unders every round. I did this because when we are learning a new skill, it's usually best to just do it and let the mistakes happen. But once I determine the main motor pattern is developed, then we begin to fine-tune. With Carter, head position will be the first thing to be fixed.

We always look at movements more than just a pass/fail; rep complete or incomplete. There are always fine details that will ultimately make said movement more efficient in the long haul. In Carter's case, keeping his head in line with the rest of his body will put less strain on his shoulders and also help his overall jumping position. The less moving pieces when jumping the longer it will last. This is the difference with out-of-shape Murley and out-of-shape JZ getting 11 and 10 rounds respectively and Cap'n Jack getting 8. Just remember there's always something to fine-tune.

So Carter, good work on doing double-unders for the first time during a workout. Now let's tighten them up. We'll start with your unbelievable slouched posture!