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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer!

See schedule here.

Entries in max effort (190)

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: Avery

10 am/11 am roamer Avery Maslowski may be on pace to win the Summer's coveted M.I.L.F. award first claimed by Mikey Peterson (Most Improved Limb Function). It has been fun to watch her improve at the rate she has this Summer.

Last week she kept moving up, and up, and up, and up in her max effort deadlifts - starting with the 15-lb. bar, and leading up to 125-lbs for 2 reps in her final set. Check it out.

This is about as Katie Bromm as you can get without ginger hair. Great job Avery!

Beast Mode: Elizabeth

At the 9 am session today I had the opportunity to do some individual work with the four athletes in attendance: Jacqueline, Elizabeth, Sap, and Mrs. Kroll. We did some tempo stuff before letting them go at their 1 rep max deadlift, and their firm stayed really good. Elizabeth hit a 30-lb. pr with her last lift, topping out at 230 lbs. Check it out:

Beast Mode + 4th of July Schedule

The schedule for 4th of July is... the same as any other Tuesday because I live to serve and also have no social life. Not sure which came first, to tell you the truth. Probably the latter. Anyways, hope you guys can make it in. If not, catch you on the flipside.



Last Thursday we did another max effort day using tempo. So far I've liked how it has looked and hopefully it ends up showing is better form and pr's lifts.

Two of the most impressive athletes were Josh Ellsworth and Ashley Fry. Josh is Josh, so one day his form will look great and the next you'll just shake your head (as Reggie and Arlene do the same). This was one of those days where you liked what you saw. He topped out the day at 115-lbs doing 3 reps (although the video below shows a set where he did 2 reps at the same weight). Either way, the form is what we were looking for and it was on point.

On the other hand, Ashley Fry has that Mrs. Carey-esque ability to use facial expressions to make lifts look harder than they actually are; from the neck-down, it looks anywhere from casual to decently challenging, then from the neck-up it looks like she saw Jacob shirtless. Here is Fry's second-to-last set with 155-lbs.

Still, 155 is a legit lift... and she didn't end there. Fry topped out with a 1 RM tempo at 165-lbs. Great job to both of the kiddos!

Beast Mode: Shakes and Kris Modify

On Tuesday's max effort front squat, the limiting factor in some people was the mobility to stay in a good rack position. Most of the time, this is limited by the shoulders missing external rotation. For Kris Campbell and Katie Shakes this was definitely the case, so we modified things.

This variant of the squat is called the Zercher squat. Not sure where it came from, but I remembered we did them in 2013 after it was featured on the main site and those are not something you forget. Shakes's wrist was really bothering her in the morning so I tested the Zercher squat out on her. It went well so we used is in the afternoon for Kris and Reggie (not featured in the video).

Good job with the modifications and keep working to get a better rack position!

Beast Mode: Mom Power

Those were not typos from Friday's max effort deadlift session. The moms put on a show from morning to the evening. Mrs. Pip pr'd despite not being able to bend her right index finger, Mrs. Carey was not far behind, Mrs. Fitz cracked the 200-lb. mark. And yet, even those efforts did not make the Beast Mode highlights. Instead, we have Mrs. Kroll and Arlene from the 8:30 am session.

Big lifts and great form. Keep up the good work girls!

Beast Mode: Dawson's Split Jerks

Dawson Bielski, aka Super Gump aka Love Doctor, has put in a good winter of workouts here at the Champions Club. We have really been working to develop his coordination and skill more tha just brute strength (same thing we are trying with Kris). On Monday's max effort split jerk, we kept Dawson's reps high and the weight relatively light so he could get the timing down on a movement he has not been traditionally good at. Here's how his last set of 10 looked at 75 lbs.

We also noticed this was the case for just about everyone in attendance except Elizabeth and Sabal. As a whole, our gym's overgeadposition is not great, and we have not done split jerks in quite a while. One of the adjustments I've made after learning from some of Jacob's deadlift sessions is to not be married to the rep scheme of that max effort lift.

For instance, instead of keeping everyone at light weight and doing 10-8-6-4-2 reps, I still kept the weight light, but I increased the volume - most people were at 10 sets all the way through, and a few went down to 8 and stayed there.

Either way, great job to everyone, and especially Dawson, for staying patient with a tricky lift.