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"The Games is the least important thing that happens in CrossFit. There is nothing less important than The Games."

- Coach Glassman

Entries in max effort (207)

Beast Mode: Shaka

I'll be honest, Alyssa Sciacca was probably in the top 5 most uncoordinated athletes I've ever taken through Fundamentals. Binno is up there, obviously. Avery is definitely in that category. And, of course, the infamous Jas. But the cool thing is attendance cures everything.

Shaka was rolling early in the year, then fell off a bit after she got that flu bug that was going around, but has regained her consistency for the past two weeks. Yesterday she topped off in her 1 rep max back squat at 100 lbs!

Not only is that 100 freaking pounds(!) but the technique and form is spot-on. It was really cool to see her progress up in weight because of how well she was making adjustments. She started doing 3 and 4 reps on the sets, then once her movement consistency picked up we moved up to 100 lbs. and only did one rep. As you can see, she nailed it!

Keep up the good work Shaka. I know it's not an easy drive, but we all appreciate you being in the gym!

Goon and Goblin Resurgence 3/12

This one comes from Marathon Matt Fecht, and is kind of a two-parter.

Max Effort Workout vs. Endurance Running Workout:

1. Which one do you like more?

2. Which one would help your overall fitness more?

Beast Mode: Banets Fatigued

Last week we did the CrossFit Open workout 18.2 with the slight stipulation that some overtime was allowed on the cleans if need be. For most of the kids who did it, we either allowed 15 minutes instead of the prescribed 12, or 5 attempts regardless of time. The purpose was to use fatigue as a way to challenge their clean technique and positions.

Jennifer and Elizabeth Banet both performed really well in both segments of the workout, but especially the cleans. More than anything, I really loved their failed attempts because of how little they deviated in their form. Check it out.

It's one thing to have good form on max effort days when you have full recovery between sets, but it's a completely different story when you are breathing heavy and your body is screaming at you. Jen and Biff did a great job of calming themselves before every lift for a brief moment. This helped them keep the movement looking consistent.


Beast Mode: Danielle at Regionals

I made my way out to my first ever powerlifting meet earlier this morning at Henry Ford High School in Utica - which is the home of Champions Club rookie-who-seems-like-she's-been-here-forever Danielle Worden. The meet was hosted by Coach T, and we managed to find quite a few Champions Club representatives volunteering to judge. Jarrod Bell included.

Danielle was feeling a little burnt out from a few rough weeks of training - highlighted by a photo finish in Eva with fellow rookie Izzy Barone. So we went in-season on workouts for the last week and a half so she could recover and focus a little more on mobility. It paid off because she put on a show at the Regionals meet today, hitting a pr on the squat (205), tying a pr on the bench (125), and hitting a pr on her deadlift as well. Here is her last two lifts, topping out at 245 lbs!

For being a competition, the form is not too bad either. Be on the lookout for a brief post and a pic of the week from the Powerlifting meet. But in the meantime, Danielle's total more than qualified her for the State meet in a few weeks, so we'll keep you posted. It will be at Lake Orion High School as far as I know, so maybe we'll be able to get a crew to head out and watch.

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!

Beast Mode: Kroll on Plates

On Friday we did deficit deadlifts and Rachael Kroll wanted to challenge herself and stack herself up on 7 inches on bumber plates. It was the highest anybody went that day and she had the mobility and mechanics to back it up. Here's her last set at 175 lbs.

Coach's Corner: Josh and Isaac Tempo Thrusters

One of the main movement patterns we emphasize is jumping and landing. As of late we have been doing more coaching on the landing portion of the movement, whether that is the soft knees on jump ropes with feet together, vertical shins on box jumps and cleans, or doing a slow tempo descent into the bottom of our squats.

The jumping portion emhpasis is usually on the timing (ie. unweight with the shoulders), but starting with Avery and Fry sometime before Christmas, I noticed a common fault in the position of our jump. Mainly when we see the knee clicking in during the movment of our peak force. For Fry and Avery, it was during the unweight of the clean, not necessarily the deadlift portion, and on the split jerk as well. This movement fault is consistent to some degree with everything that involves jumping - which is a lot of movements we do. Usually this is most visible at the heaviest loads or highest speeds.

On Tuesday we had max effort thrusters and we used the opportunity to work on that position. In the video below, Isaac demonstrates a few max height wallballs where you should notice he maintains position pretty well on the way down, but has that flinch on the way up just when he is putting the most effort into the toss. In the thruster, we stop at that position to give him better perception of his body, and we don't see the fault. Same with Josh (we didn't get his wallballs on video).

Remember, everything we do in the weight room is an exaggeration of reality. So we are exaggerating this one part of the thruster/wallball/whatever so that when we jump in real life, we won't be a perfect robot but we'll be closer to perfect than before.