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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer!

See schedule here.


Entries in maria (33)

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...

New Kid on the Block: Olivia

We have another sassy sophomore joining our ranks! Olivia Harbert is Maria's friend and Avery's soccer teammate (at least we think so?). She is also a sprinter in track. Her coach taught her some pretty solid mechanics in lunging, and she is pretty quick to pick up on everything except possibly jump ropes. Yesterday we wrapped up day 4 of fundamentals with a lot of push-ups, dips, handstands, presses... so say a prayer for her shoulders today!

Olivia will probably be joining a morning session starting next week, so be on the lookout and be sure to welcome her to the club!

From the Vault: Summer Girls Go Heavy

Remember, tomorrow's mobility session is at 9 am, not 11.


The short, heavy workouts like we did today are sometimes a great way to sneak in max effort-style lifts without the general format of max effort days. Because of the nature of heavy lifts, those workout tend to be the most effective with lower reps at a shorter time frame. But every now and then, CrossFit throws a wrench in the standard. That was the case back in the Summer.

Our 9 am girls crew consisting of Bubs, Shakes, Elle, Maria, and all four Banets took on the Hero workout, "Mr. Joshua." The weight varied, but was definitely on the heavy side for all of them. Check it out.

Don't look now, but Summer's coming just around the corner. I already have an idea for the first theme workout.

Finals for the Freshmen

Elle Laurencelle and the Bishop Foley girls volleyball team is making quite the playoff run so far. They won last night against Liggett and are now playing tomorrow (Thursday) against Cabrini. Gametime is at 7 pm at Foley and I'm gonna try to make my way there either during or after the session.

If you have noticed a certain lack of amateur sass this fall, it's because Maria has been out playing rugby of all sports for her Berkley High School team. This weekend they are playing in the state finals (I believe) in Brighton. I have no idea how much she plays or even how that sport is scored. But hopefully they do that Hawaiian War Chant before their games. Either way, I'll check back to let you guys know how she did.

Beast Mode: Mighty Maria

Tim isn't the only one who hit a deadlift milestone on Monday. Incoming freshman Maria Fiorini topped out her 5 rep max deadlift with 135 pounds - which is also more than her previous 1 rep max. 

Maria will be playing rugby of all sports this fall for Berkley, so hopefully she can keep her strength gains going leading up to the season.

As luck would have it, today is also her birthday. She will be turning 10 or 11 or something.

Beast Mode: The New 9 am + Long/Heavy Workout Notes

Gone (for now, at least) are the days of the 9 am session with Marianne, Aly, the Kavanaughs, and the Kimmels. With college and jobs in the mix, those girls are now spread throughout other sessions or spread throughout the state.

Now our new 9 am session consists of... more freakin girls. This morning, they were the first to take on the monstrosity known as Mr. Joshua.

For real, big ups to everyone in the gym who did today's workout (almost makes up for those who skipped Tuesday knowing it was Fran.) It is of the category many in the fitness community consider Long & Heavy. And these suck. Traditionally, longer workouts are done with lighter weights, while heavy workouts are usually much shorter - which makes complete sense. But every now and then we need to get outside of our comfort zone, and this specific "zone" is pretty unique to CrossFit's methodology in deciding the fittest indivuduals.

So here's a question: between a powerlifter and a distance runner, who is fitter? Each one would dominate in their respective fields, but when we merge the two we find true fitness. A powerlifter with no endurance and a distance runner with no strength will fail miserably. CrossFit looks for athletes who are not great in eacher area, but good in both.

I will often scale weights way down on longer workouts in order to get a more intense training effect, but today I wanted to see how things would look, and you guys did not disappoint. Well done!

Game Day for Maria + Behind the Champion Sneak Peek

Behind the Champion featuring Ashley Fry comes out on Wednesday at 7 pm


Sassy 8th grader Maria Fiorini has played four sports this year, but softball is steadily becoming her favorite. She plays tomorrow (Tuesday) at 8 pm at Merchants Field in Berkley. Some of the 7 pm crew is going to head there after the session if anyone wants to join. Hopefully we can see some of this...

Video courtesy of Mrs. Fiorini.