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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer 2018!

Next Theme Workout: Shark Week/Hawaiian Mashup - Saturday at 10 am!

Entries in conor is panic from hercules (22)

Pic of the Week: Conor's Prom

From everything I have been hearing, Conor Fitz has been doing very well on the track with his 110 and 300-meter hurdles. Last weekend was also a fun time for him, as he went to Prom with his group of friends from Algonac. He even added a classic handstand pose.

Standards in the Back Squat

The more coaching reps I get in different settings, the more I think about Dr. Romanov's quote at the first Pose clinic I attended in 2011:

"Without standards, you cannot teach."

Last year at Michigan State, Coach T and I defined and illustrated the three movement standards - set by nature - that we follow. They are: midline stability (no change in spine), loading order (prime movers firs), and laws of torque (flexion = external rotation; extension = internal rotation). Those are very clear, visible standards and therefore decisions made when coaching are based on those standards.

At the heaviest loads (think Lifts 4 Gifts) and highest intensity (think that burpee pull-up workout a few weeks ago) a slight deviation from the standard is expected and aceptable. The word "slight" is often bent by coaches - myself included when I'm feeling either really lazy or really ambitions - but is fiarly obvious when standards are clear. In the video below you can see a slight deviation in Conor's back squat technique as the reps go on.

First rep: passable at a max weight. Second rep: shaky and cut the depth short. Third rep: clear error in Laws of Torque (loss of arch/knee in on right side). Since he was 1-for-3 on this set, he could either try it again or move down in weight. We decided to move down.

The movement standards at the Champions Club are simple, yet very difficult to follow - especially considering the variety of ways we challenge them. There are a lot of outside sources who notice this and admire from afar, so take pride in that! In the meantime, keep up the pursuit!

Sunday Schedule Adjustment + Coach's Corner: Midline Stability with Pull-ups

For this Sunday only, the session times will be as follows:

10 am (babies)

11 am (team workout)

So basically move the regular team workout back an hour, and the babies are going right before. Next Sunday back to normal times.



We really exaggerate the concept of midline stability at the Champions Club with regards to movements like the deadlift, back squat, and push-up. We have you guys start from a neutral position and maintain that throughout the entire range of motion. The more reps, load, and duration you're able to do that, the stronger your "core" gets. Plain and simple.

One thing to realize, however, is that we don't necessarily have to be in a neutral anatomical position to keep midline stability. A hollow rock, for instance, is not in a neutral position at all. Midline stability simply means that you don't change your spine unless you want to. In other words, midline stability is the coordination to control your spinal positions. Strict pull-ups are a great way to practice this.

Below we have Conor Fitzgerald, who may have snuck out of his house before doing the dishes to be at this session. You'll see the first pull-up is a controlled flexed (hollow) position and the second is in a controlled extended (arched) position; he starts that way and remains the same. On the last one he breaks - which would be a loss of midline stability.

Use the warm-up as time to practice control over these shapes and try to be aware of what exact shape you are in all the time.

Beast Mode: Conor

You know how sometimes you can look at a kid and immediately label them in a certain camp? Like you see Alan and think Basketball Player, or Alyssa Jabara and think Strong As An Ox, or Binno and think Skinny Fashion Model. Well when I see Conor the first thing that pops into my mind is World of Warcraft. He's skinny, has horrible posture, talks quiet like Panic from Hercules, and is pale as a ghost. Yup, this kid hasn't seen the ol' outdoors in some time.

But the cool thing about this gym is we cover so many aspects of fitness that everything gets exposed, bad and good. And it turns out that Conor can jump. Well... I don't know if I can quite call it jump. But he kind of floats, or levitates. Maybe he learned it from a raid in WOW. Either way, he did the highest box jump height during the workout today with 40 inches (beating even Saporito). Mind you, this was a 20-minute workout with slow squats and a ton of hip/ab killing GHD sit-ups. Once the workout was done, he mentioned that it would be fun to try to go for a max height jump. I asked him if he wanted to try it on the spot, despite his legs being fried, and he was all for it.

After working up a few plates, he topped out at an impressive 49 inches!

That is legit, dude. Especially after a workout. Off the top of my head, I think JZ has the gym record at 53 or 54 inches, so give it a year or so and we might see a new box jump champ.

Coach's Corner: Conor and Mr. Carey

Yesterday we did a max effort split jerk for the first time in forever. The main thing I was noticing was the disconnect on the timing between the unweight and the lunge, which is going to happen when you haven't done them in forever. I assumed there would be a translation from the cleans you guys have been doing - which are looking very good as a whole re: timing - but I didn't take into account that the fear component is multiplied because the weight is over our heads.

As I wrote about in the workout post, Conor and Mr. Carey were two of the crew that stayed extra to work on their technique. They both ended up getting 2/4 reps with good timing. Here's what their bad ones looked like:

From my viewpoint, it comes down to points of support. To be good at Olympic lifts, you have to remove all points of support completely (feet, shoulders, and hands). Call that triple extension, the second pull, or whatever. We call it unweighting because that's what it is: you are removing your bodyweight. Conor never removed the support from his hands or his shoulders, and this is evident because if he did, he wouldn't be able to push the bar upwards like he did (yellow arrow for reference). He does a great job to unweight the feet, and allows the bar raise up by his face, but his next direction needs to be down. Conor is afraid to fall, plain and simple, and this also shows up in his running.

Mr. Carey is trying to fall. Trying so hard, in fact, that he starts splitting his feet almost immediately after the bar leaves his shoulder (line and circle). If he waited even as long as Conor, then this would look better. But he doesn't want to because that would mean completely removing all support, which, in his words, "is really scary".

Is this picky? Yep. Sure is.

This guy below is Chad Vaughn. This video was taken a few years ago if I recall correctly, but it was just reposted on the CrossFit social media feed and Pat pointed it out to me. The timing on this is very good:


A post shared by CrossFit (@crossfit) on Nov 8, 2017 at 9:43am PST


Here is another good example from 2015. The movement is a push jerk, with is a lot tougher from a mobility perspective, but the principles are exactly the same.

Will somebody please bring Jennifer back in here! Volleyball is over!

Pics of the Week

We have a few candidates for Pics of the Week this time around.

Last Sunday, I went to the Berkley Steelers last football game of the season, where the 7th and 8th graders beat the Troy Colts, keeping them out of the playoffs. After the game, I caught up with Summer rookie Isaac, who played a good game at center. His sister/fellow 10amer, Sophia, jumped in as well.

The next one I was going to include was Mr. Auggie and his dog, shown in the previous post. It's actually Master P's dog, but the father of the Augustine household brought him in while I was holding a Fundamentals session with Alyssa. Again, see the post below for the feels.

This next one came in while I was taking a picture of Conor and Cory on the bike. I accidentally zoomed out and it showed up like so...

Coach's Corner: Shakes and Conor

In our expression of CrossFit, a squat should always look like a squat. This means the midline remains unchanged, loading order favors the hips instead of knees, and external rotation is constant. An air squat, front squat, wallball, power clean, and pistol all have the same rules apply because our hips are always our hips.

On Friday we kinda scrapped the max effort plan with Overhead squat, Snatch balance, and Hang snatch in favor of spending a ton of time on technique for each movement, especially the overhead squat. Once that looked good, we challenged that position by taking away connection; instead of slowly grinding down to the bottom, we had to drop there (snatch balance) and see if we could keep the same rules in tact. Here's what Shakes and Conor looked like:

With their shoes off, we got a chance to really see what was going on. Did you notice anything as they were moving up the difficulty ladder?