True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.
Wilhelm von Humboldt
I know it has been way too long since my last post. Apologies. My only excuse is that I’ve had some wild work deadlines this past month, and I’ve prioritized getting outside or working out when I have some time off. I’m through the worst of it for a while now though, so I’m excited to catch up on everything I have been missing.
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about workout buddies. I met one of my closest friends working out, and even though we live in different states now, whenever we get together the workouts really ROCK because we push each other through it. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time working out with her this week, and it has emphasized to me the importance of having someone of a similar ability to workout with that pushes you to go that bit faster, further or heavier.
Recently, because of my crazy work schedule, I’ve been working out at all different times with whoever is in the class I show up for. Sometimes there’s someone of a similar ability to ‘compete’ against, sometimes not. I say ‘compete’ because it’s not so much that I’m trying to ‘win,’ but that I would like to keep up because I know I am capable of it. I’m quite a self-motivated person and enjoy the feeling of pushing my mental and physical boundaries, but still there are times when I finish a workout and think, “you really could have done better.” A regular workout buddy of a similar ability is a great fix for that.
Anyways, on with the words…
How to Safely Kick Up Into Your Best Handstand Yet (Breaking Muscle)
This post provides a written and video tutorial on kicking up into a handstand. It emphasises that the kick-up is as important as everything else in the handstand to set you up in the right way.
The First Cue for a New CF Athlete (Tabata Times)
This post is about learning how to breathe to be most effective in WODs. It seems like this is something we should all be able to do instinctively right? When that clock starts though and things get tough, we often resort to mouth breathing, which really isn’t effective as this post outlines.
What Are You Thinking During Your Breaks in WODs? (Mentality WOD)
What are you thinking during your breaks in WODs? I always count myself down – a certain number of breaths before I start again and I always hold myself to it (counting down to one helps). This posts suggests that planning what to think will help you get back on track to moving efficiently. A lot of CrossFit is about controlling the mind – this is one way to do so.
The WODFather: Why Greg Glassman Is Good for Fitness (Breaking Muscle)
This post bounces off The King of CrossFit aired on 60 minutes a couple of weeks ago, which if you haven’t seen yet, I would recommend watching. This post is a review of some of the issues raised on 60 minutes and supports the idea that “CrossFit and Greg Glassman are good for fitness.”
Can You Survive ‘Death by Burpee’? (Men’s Health)
Bobby Maximus describes how to do ‘Death by Burpee,’ a workout that will push you to a dark place and test your mental grit. This paragraph from his post resonated with me, “If you want to nail a lofty goal, you have to put yourself in an uncomfortable place. It’s in that dark, uncomfortable place that true change and transformation happens. It’s there that you build the physical and mental grit to meet—even exceed—your biggest personal challenges.” I need to work on that. Perhaps I’ll give ‘Death by Burpee’ a go and see how far I make it.
How to Strategize and Win a WOD Like Rich Froning (Breaking Muscle)
The four pacing rules suggested in this article will help you strategise in wods: 1. Panic breathing rule, 2. Heart rate rule, 3. 40% rule, and 4. Total volume and the last round rule. It’s also suggests criteria to help you know if you have paced right, or if your strategies have failed.
Why CrossFit and Yoga are the perfect match! (Superfit Europe)
I often preach to athletes about the benefits of yoga and how yoga and CrossFit complement each other. I have found that a regular yoga practice improves my flexibility, which definitely helps in Olympic weightlifting, and it helps to work out the tightness and sore muscles that I sometimes get after a tough WOD. It also helps me train my breathing and my mind. Mentally and physically, I find the calm and restorative effects of yin yoga a great balance to the fast-paced yang of CrossFit. This post provides the following four examples of how CrossFit and yoga are a perfect match: 1) They keep you in the present moment, 2) Learning by doing, 3) Beginners mind, and 4) Fast and easy.
The Physics of Lifting: Don’t Forget to Hinge (Breaking Muscle)
This post suggests building in more hip hinge exercises to programming in order to work on the posterior muscles (hamstrings and glutes). It provides suggests of exercises to do this with a video.
How to Snatch Balance to Improve Your Snatch (Barbell Shrugged)
This post includes a video and a written article about the snatch balance and describes variations of the movement to help improve snatch performance. It also lists some coaching points and explains when to do it.
Weightlifting Setups: Don’t Lost a Big Clean With a Sloppy Jerk (Breaking Muscle)
This post gives pointers for successfully setting up the jerk after the clean. It discusses foot position, bar position, hand position, elbow position, mental position, and training considerations.
4 Reasons Women Must Deadlift (T-Nation)
I’ve known quite a few women who afraid of deadlifting – some because they are afraid it will make them big and bulky and some who are afraid of hurting their back. This post explains why women SHOULD deadlift. The key points are summarised at the beginning of article as: 1. Higher-rep sets of deadlifts can build endurance and burn fat. 2. Deadlifts won’t thicken the waist. That’s a myth. 3. Deadlifts lessen some of the negative effects that come with high heels and bad posture. 4. The deadlift is a foundational movement that will help with more advanced training like Olympic lifts. 5. Use the “laddering” training method to get used to the exercise and master the form.
Why We Lift (T-Nation)
The crux of this post seems to be that we all lift for different reasons – we all have different goals and non are more worthy than another.
I posted parts 1 and 2 of this series last time. This post focuses on programming and provides details on the following advice: Beware of random, Commit to one program, and Be consistent.
How, When and Why to Use Athletic Tape (Bodybuilding.com)
We saw a lot of athletes in tape at the CF regionals and I’m seeing more and more in gyms these days. This post describes how athletic tape works, the different types of tape, do’s and don’ts before you tape up, and tips for taping different parts of the body for specific goals.
Should you be napping? (Invictus)
This isn’t really injury prevention, it’s more about taking care of yourself outside of the gym, but it seemed most linked to this section. This post answers the questions: Should you nap? How long should you nap for? and When should you be napping? The long and short of it is that napping is a good thing. Phew!
The steps to muscle mass maintenance suggested in this post are as follows: Step 1: Eat at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight daily, Step 2: Eat a lot of high-quality protein from sources like fish, poultry, pork and lean beef, and Step 3: Ensure adequate protein intake through a protein-powder blend containing whey protein isolate or concentrate.
Post Workout Nutrition: The Window of Gainz (Barbell Shrugged)
This Barbell Shrugged episode is about post-workout nutrition “including the exact foods and supplements you should be consuming after training to get the best possible results.”
How Athletes Become Like Their Coaches: Leadership & Gym Atmosphere (Catalyst Athletics)
This post links quite nicely to something I talked about a few weeks ago and describes the impact a coach can have on athletes and vice versa. I particularly like these summaries at the end: For athletes, “When you’re a member of a gym, you’re one of the parts in the engine. Even if you’re not a big celebrity like the carburetor, YOU MATTER. The car won’t run perfectly unless you’re doing your job. The main point of this article is that your “job” is to strengthen the program through some kind of daily contribution, and it all starts with the personality and attitude you demonstrate to others.” For coaches: “If you’re the coach, you’re the mechanic. And if you want the best possible performance from your engine, you have to handle every single part with the importance it deserves.”
The Turkish Get-up – A Clinician’s Perspective (Strong First)
In this post Travis Jewett explains how he uses the Turkish Get-Up to evaluate shoulder, hip and spinal mechanics in order to determine where athletes are failing at speed.
Which one are you? A coach or a workout administrator? I think all coaches have been guilty of being workout administrators at some points, whether it’s because you are sick or something unexpected happens in the class that takes your focus, but this should definitely not be the norm. This post provides some good reminders on what a coach should be like to inspire engagement and motivation in his or her athletes.