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Entries in katie shakes (80)

Coach's Corner: Squatting in the Push Press

Understanding the difference between "a squat" and "squatting" is very important when determining best technique for a movement. A squat is a formal, made-up thing that people practice to get stronger or reclaim function. Squatting is the universal movement pattern of bringing the hips lower to the ground and is present is everything that involves the lower body.

Push presses have squats in them, even though they are not "thrusters," and we used the max effort workout yesterday to emphasize them. We made sure to start the movement with hips back, and arches up, and really focussed on keeping the arches in tact on the way up. Here's what our morning session looked like on their final sets.

At our 6:30 session, Jay was really feeling it and topped out at 195 lbs for his set of three. He started the same way everyone else did: really light weight, a few pump fakes, and slow on the way up for as long as he could.

As the weight got heavier we started to see slight deviations, but the loading and arches still looked good. After his set of 195 he did an attempt at 200 lbs. for 3 reps. Here's how it looked.

This is the epitome of a "slight deviation" - knees coming forward a bit, midline just a little arched, but not too far gone from his lighter sets with literally perfect form. The push press challenges this squat pattern because the torso is upright and we are moving fast. If we can see the same squat mechanics in a push press as we have in a back squat then we'll be able to make it translate. If you can't then you're zoomed in too far.

Pics of the Week: Planet Rock

As part of Sabal's going-away... we can't really call it a "celebration", but maybe a memento... Katie Shakes organized a Planet Rock field trip with some of our regular crew, and they even ran into Nate Dogg (who works there now), and Pierce and Cassidy from the Babies session.

Bonus footage of Jay and Shakes attempting the 50-ft. rope climb was even caught on film.

Pic of the Week: Whiteboard Mixup

On Tuesday we all got to experience some heavy deadlifts and box jumps and were sore in places we weren't expecting. I jumped in the morning session, and while Mrs. Kroll and I were gasping on the floor after the workout, Katie Shakes was nice enough to write our times and weights down. Only I didn't notice until the 4:30 session...

...when Mama V was like "Dang Mrs. Kroll was doing a lot of weight this morning!"

Beast Mode: College Kids on New Years

We had a small New Year's Group of College Kids come in and work out. And it was about then I realized that the original College Kids aren't really in college any more, so I may need to adjust their collective name. Anyway, we took the opportunity to use some equipment we don't always put to use, mainly the rower and the bike. It was originally going to be 4 rounds of 1:30 on a "cardio" station, :45 on dumbbell thrusters, and :15 on pull-ups. But Bubs came in 20 minutes late, so we added an extra round and sit-ups into the cardio rotation. Here's how it looked.

Our Bad Form is Your Good Form

In the latest version of "WOW MY FORM WAS HORRIBLE" we have Ashley Fry on her all-time pr 1 rep max deadlift at Saturday's Lifts 4 Gifts. Her previous pr? 225 lbs. What did she lift on Saturday, you ask? Oh not much really. Just 265 lbs., a mere 40 lbs. more than she maxed out 16 hours earlier.

The difference? She let her form slide. It was disgusting and broken and unlookable and looked like this...

...which is not really that bad.

One of our mentors and CrossFit Kids founder Jeff Martin (also an insane form Nazi) said, "small deviations in form should be seen at maximal weights or under extreme duress". Well this, for Fry, would certainly constitute a maximal weight. And even more importantly, this is what a "small deviation" would look like, and I have never been so happy to see someone round their back on a deadlift in my life.

Ashley is currently our strongest mover - meaning her position on strength movements like push-ups, squats, deadlifts, and ring rows is on point (skill movements are another story for the time being). She knows how to keep herself stable while she lifts, and she starts crying any time she loses it. For athletes like her, I wouldn't mind seeing a slight push past the realm of their Champions Club standard perfect form in order to see what's really in the tank. When Fry was testing out the lifts on Friday (or maybe it was Thursday, can't remember exactly), she made 225 without the slightest nudge in her spine. At Lifts 4 Gifts, she let the reigns off and lo it ended with a 265-lb. bar finding itself hoisted 3 feet off the ground by one Ashley Fry. Unless Lauren Higgins did more, I am going to guess that is the 3rd highest female deadlift in Champions Club history (Shakes being the highest, going one hundred pounds heavier on Saturday. Holy pants!)

The second reason why this makes me happy is because I have seen max effort deadlift look so, so much worse. When Coach T and I spoke at Michigan State back in February, we tried to hammer home the point about how important it was to have a standard. An actual, observable, universal standard. And the standard for deadlifts is your spine does not move, period. As luck would have it, we have a picture of Ashley meeting that standard:

This is what perfection looks like with regards to midline in the deadlift. Now go back and look at her L4G picture above. When we have a clear standard in place, then, and only then, can we make judgements on deviations. In my opinion, based on THE standard, Fry had a small deviation. A "mistake" in Dr. Romanov's words, as opposed to an "error". Her lower back lost tension and flexed, and it trickled into her upper back a tad bit. Repeated lifts like this over the course of weeks, months, and years will eventually catch up with her and cause injury. One or two lifts like this in the right settig will cause a pr to happen. That's okay. Now if it looked something like this...

...that would be a different story, as it could not be considered a small deviation. But when you guys practice and exaggerate with form that is as close to perfect as realistically possible, our bad form looks like Ashley's above.

And that is how we make our own standard. The Champions Club standard. Good shit kids!




Dude, Katie Shakes lifted 365 pounds.

From the Vault: Hero Workout, 2016

Summer 2016 was definitely the hottest one we have ever witnessed at the Champions Club. It was also the Summer that Katie Shakes asserted herself at the top of our ranks. She was part of the small 9 am session on June 16 of that year, along with Sabal, Elle, and 2013 Athlete of the Summer, Katie Bromm.

It is not often we extend workouts past the 20-minute time range, but on this day we blew past that with the hero workout "1775". This one included cleans, squats, and the infamous running with plates/bars, and lasted for 40 minutes.

Here's the highlights from that session.

Beast Mode: 8:30 Cleanup Crew

Mama V and I have both been getting annoyed with each other as of late. It's been 7 years dude, it's happened before, and will happen again; nothing that doesn't blow over because we each know what the other is really about. This morning I got a great refresher of that when she blurted out the first thing that came to her mind when she walked in the gym:

"Well, good thing I brought my rubber boots!"

The picture does not do it justice, seeing as this was about fifteen minutes after we moved everything and began corraling all the water we could. I know I complain about the roof a lot in just but this is probably the worst one we have seen. LeakSeal sure won this round. It was definitely a little overwhelming walking into the gym this morning not knowing where to start. It went all the way to the parallel bars, fergodsakes.

Thankfully, we have some of the coolest people I have met. Katie Shakes was the first one here this morning and immediately went to work moving as much crap as she could. Mrs. Dawkins came in shortly after Mama V and her first words were not "Hi" or "Holy potatoes!" but instead were "All right... what do you want me to do to help?" Mrs. Kroll came in ceremoniously late and tagged along with the Moms and Shakes trying to steer the water towards the ropes wall. And, of course, the day would not be complete without Mrs. Pip unknowingly showing up when she was most needed. Before she made it through the garage door she said, "I couldn't make it on time but can I clean for you?" I just smiled and hugged her, knowing what she would think when she saw the real scene. Only Mrs. Pip.

We cleaned as best we could for 50 minutes (including some on Dave's side), then did 2 minutes of warmup, then did Jackie. Of all days to nervous pee, neither Mama V or Mrs. Kroll made a single trip to the bathroom. I am still at a loss for how this is possible.

Mama V had the best perspective of the day. "You know what we say in our house right? 'First world problems'" And she could not be more right. Puerto Rico was bamboozled with a storm recently. And of course so was Florida and Texas. And here I was getting annoyed that we couldn't do a proper warmup on a 60-degree Friday morning in October.

With that bring said, I still think Mrs. Kroll, Shakes, Mama V, Mrs. Dawkins, and Mrs. Pip deserve a shout-out at least. Our gym is not cheap, at least compared to things like Planet Fitness and Lifetime, and it would have been easy, and justified, for them to be mad about not being able to get a full session in. But they were absolutely essential to making sure the later sessions got to work out uninterrupted. I have said it before in The Champions Club Checklist that, somehow, we just get the best kind of people in here. And it's things like this that really make me thankful for the group we have. Knowing I have people like this supporting me, keeping calm and positive in annoying situations is easy!