Dec 30th, 2006
By Mike Minium
Knowing the target you’re aiming for is important.
To follow up on Nicole’s post from a couple of days ago, I’d like to discuss one of the finer points of performance and goal-setting.
It may seem like the world’s biggest "duh" statement, but it bears mentioning nonetheless: Your goal(s) will determine how you perform (and more importantly, how, and if, you use performance in a workout as an evaluation tool, as the end itself, or some combination of evaluation tool and end result).
So what does this mean, exactly? It means that your approach to the WODs (as posted on CrossFit) will determine, in large part, how quickly you make fitness gains in all ten general physical skills (as defined by Jim Cawley at Dynamax): endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, speed, power, agility, accuracy, balance, and coordination.
Basically, there are two approaches one can take in using the WODs:
1. You can use the WOD as the end itself.
2. You can use the WOD to diagnose weaknesses and then take specific steps to address said weaknesses.
Approach 1 is the easiest to implement, will provide the most bang for the buck for those new to physical training, and will lead to general health and well-being better than any program out there.
Approach 1 treats each workout as the ultimate test and the goal is to perform one’s best on each WOD that comes up, and let the beautiful template of the workout program take care of the rest.
Approach 2 uses the occasional WOD to gauge (or benchmark, if you prefer) one’s current level of fitness. This approach is particularly useful when evaluated against the backdrop of the ten general physical skills because it allows one to clearly identify where he or she is weak. After this evaluation is performed, one then engages in a more focused program that directly addresses those weaknesses.
Approach 2 can be employed when an athlete is trying to jump from one performance level to another (within the context of a CF workout; e.g., trying to move from a sub-10-minute Fran to a sub-3-minute Fran) but won’t be able to get there without some dedicated work (e.g., the athlete could do Fran using 135# thrusters and a weight vest for pull-ups, engage in a pull-up training program, etc.).
Either approach is valid. Both will yield results. Most (all?) of you will engage in both methods over the course of your training life. It simply depends on what you’re looking to achieve in your training.
With that in mind, now is as good a time as ever to read through Coach Glassman’s Fundamentals, Virtuosity, and Mastery.
And after you finish reading, post to Comments the approach you’re currently using in your CF training and give the reason(s) why.Read More
Dec 27th, 2006
Year of the Pig
What do you hope to achieve with CrossFit this year? Use the following guidelines to help you and then share your hopes/goals/aspirations in the comments section. Not only will this help you while training, but will also be invaluable for Mike, Max and Nicole! The more we know, the more we can help you…
Positive Statement - Express your goals positively.
Be Precise - Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts so that your achievement can be measured and planned for.
Set Priorities - Where you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
Write Goals – Writing goals down keeps you focused and in touch with what you are trying to do.
Be Realistic – Have a clear understanding of what you want and how you are going to achieve it.
MUD RUN UPDATE:
Team Captains: Mike and Nicole
Quick Registration Meeting: Sat, December 30th, 11:00a.m.!! Please bring a check/cash for $50 made payable to Nicole or CrossFit Oakland!!
FREE COMMUNITY DAY WORKOUT, MONDAY, JANUARY 1ST @ 10A.M. CFO
Dec 27th, 2006
By Mike Minium
Give Up the Goods
Post your three favorite books, movies, and websites to the Comments section.
(Note: CrossFit and CrossFit Oakland are excluded as favorites in the website category, since it’s a given that everyone’s favorite website is CFO.com!)
Mud Run Follow-Up
It now looks like a certainty that we’ll be sending three 5-person teams from CFO to the June 9 Mud Run. Awesome!
To close the deal and ensure your spot, please make out a check to Nicole Okumu for $50. Nicole will take care of registering everyone who responded in Comments but she needs to be reimbursed. Drop the check off the next time you’re in to train (we’re back to our normal training schedule).Read More
Dec 25th, 2006
By Max Lewin
In balloon sports such as wrestling, basketball, competitive swimming, American football, Australian rules football, skiing, volleyball, soccer and hockey or other sports that involve great stress to the knees, it is common to tear one or more ligaments or cartilages. The anterior cruciate ligament is often torn as a result of a rapid direction change while running or as a result of some other type of violent twisting motion. It can also be torn by being extended forcefully beyond its normal range, or as a result of being forced sideways. In such cases, other structures will incur damage as well. Especially debilitating is the unfortunately common "unhappy triad" of torn medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments and a torn medial meniscus. This typically arises from a combination of inwards forcing and twisting.
Fortunately, CrossFit is not likely to cause such acute injuries, however unsound mechanics in running, squatting, deadlifting etc. can cause injuries as well.
Knee pain occurs for a variety of reasons, but the following tips generally help prevent or reduce pain. Check with your physician for specific recommendations for your situation:
Increase Training Gradually
Doing too much too soon, is one of the major causes of sports injury. Knee pain is particularly common in runners who increase training mileage quickly. The best way to avoid this is to follow the 10 percent rule. This simply means that you should limit your training increases to a maximum of 10 percent each week. That cane be time, load, mileage or any other parameter.
Muscle weakness or imbalance is one of the first things physical therapists check for when evaluating knee pain. Such an imbalance can be the source of pain. In addition to specific muscle strengthening of the muscles that support the knee (quads, hamstrings, calf), building core strength improves overall stability which may reduce the risk of injury.
The balance of quadriceps to hamstring strength is not 1:1; but closer to 3:2. In general healthy hamstrings can lift 60 – 80% of what healthy quads can do.
More about Conditioning Exercises.
Athletes who are less flexible than average may benefit from flexibility exercises. This is more critical in athletes involved in stop and go sports or those that require quick cuts and turns. Improving flexibility in the quadriceps, and the hamstrings are helpful. For specific stretching information, also see Flexibility Links.
Coordination drills and proprioceptive training have also been found to be helpful in protecting the knee from injuries. More about Proprioception.
One of the best programs for preventing knee injuries, particularly ACL injuries, has been seen in the Santa Monica ACL Injury Prevention Project (PEP). This program, designed based upon the results of a research project, involves a specific routine of exercises and skills training. While designed to address the increase ACL injury rates in female soccer players, the exercises can be used successfully by anyone who wants to avoid knee injuries, as the core concepts are the same for all knee injuries.
Finally, using the correct footwear is helpful to control excess ankle motion (pronation and supination). Prescribed orthotics may also help with this.Read More
Dec 25th, 2006
It is time for CFO athletes to take the world famous Mud Run by storm! Registration opens Jan 1, 2007 and will be sold out quickly, so in order to secure our spaces we need a confirmation of CFO members that are going to participate. Once we have a head count we can form teams (5 people each) and then choose Team Captains. Team Captains will be responsible for making sure that everyone in their group is registered–all team members have to register together. Registration is $50 a person.
The Mud Run is a challenging 10K run with hills, tire obstacles, river crossings, two 5-foot walls with mud on both sides, tunnel crawl, slippery hill climb, and the final 30-foot mud pit. All team members must cross the finish line together!
We will provide information about training and coordinate meetings to help all CFO athletes prepare for June 9th…
For full details and course map:
Photos of Mud Run:
Post today if you intend to take part–then we can choose captains!
We are also going to need a t-shirt representing CFO, any graphic designers willing to take a stab at it?Read More
Dec 24th, 2006
By Mike Minium
Get With The Program
In a way, I guess we’re bowing to social convention with this entry, but alas, we are social creatures.
As the end of the year approaches, it’s only natural to look back at what’s occurred and ahead to what one thinks, or hopes, will happen in the future.
We’ve displayed just a small piece of our recent past in the photos above. We think it’s a pretty good visual representation of the fun work and serious play that characterize our style of fitness training. And most importantly, you get to see some of the people we are fortunate enough to train on a daily basis.
As for the future, we want more of you to start training with us!
To that end, we’re providing the following incentives:
1. Any new/prospective CFO member gets to train with us for 1 week free of cost.
2. Any existing CFO member who brings in someone new (and that person signs up for at least 1 month of training) gets 3 months of training at a 10% discount and gets to attend one of our seminars (nutrition, climbing, olympic lifting, etc.) free of cost.
Dec 23rd, 2006
By Max Lewin
As you know by now, CrossFit builds fitness across 10 interrelated physical capacities: endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy.
Strength can be increased by improving neuromuscular efficiency. For example if 1500 muscle fibers are needed to perform a movement and a muscle has 1600 such fibers, but your mind can only tell your body to fire 1000 of them, you cannot do the lift but you have a lot of untapped capacity. So if you are at the beginning of your weight training career, increasing the mind-body connection is probably the best way to increase strength.
If, however, you are experienced at lifting, you may be firing 1500 fibers and be able to do the lift, but have very little capacity to increase the poundage. The solution? More muscle fibers, also known as hypertrophy, or increasing muscle mass.
For those who wish to pack on some additional mass, I will be offering a six-week modified class schedule focusing on building quality muscle starting January 16th. We will be focusing on the big three slow lifts: The Deadlift, Squat and Bench Press, with some work on Overhead presses and other Dino/Retro/Diesel training methods (pushing Mike’s Truck, Heavy object carries and lifts, etc.). Secondary focus will be on building grip strength. I have a few tricks up my sleeve that most of you have not seen.
I will post the schedule when we get closer to the 16th. There will be some additional classes, including Sunday at 11AM-1PM and possibly some evening classes if I can figure out how to work that.
All CFO members are welcome. The Sunday and possible Eve. Classes will have a $5.00 drop in fee for members and a $20.00 drop-in fee for non-members. Classes offered during regular hours will be free for members and $20.00 for non-members.
I am asking that anyone interested in doing this be able to do the following: deadlift 1.25x your bodyweight, bench press .75x your bodyweight, squat 1x your own bodyweight. If you cannot do this but would still like to participate call me or email me directly. Everyone who is going to do this should attend the first class, so we can talk about:
eating for mass
how to modify WODs to focus on strength
why aerobics and strength building don’t mix (except when they do)
One additional caveat: in order to really focus on strength, you must realize your metabolic capacity will diminish a bit, and you may gain a pound or two of fat, but putting on 2-4 pounds of quality muscle mass will make a big difference in your athletic ability in the long run, and it will be easy to lean out get your metcon back when the strength phase is finished.
Post questions, dino/retro/diesel training ideas and links to resources under comments.
BTW, ever wonder what firefighters do when they are not putting out blazes or blazing through FGB? Apparently they… decorate!Read More
Dec 21st, 2006
Grip can be the weakest link in your muscular chain. Here is an explanation of your options when lifting heavy (or light):
Closed Grip- The fingers are wrapped around the barbell with the thumb positioned along side the index finger. This is the grip that comes naturally to everyone and is therefore the most common. Under submaximal loads it works just fine, but will not withstand maximal lifts!
Hook Grip- For clean and jerk/snatch- The thumbs wrap around the barbell first and then the fingers wrap over the top of the thumb. This means that the thumb is applying pressure to the barbell and the fingers are also applying pressure to the thumb and barbell. Athletes who use this grip can lift heavier than athletes who use the closed grip. Begin using this now for long term development of grip strength!
Initially this is not the most comfortable grip, but over time the discomfort will pass and your body will adapt to the effects of the grip. You’ll be amazed at how solid your “pull” off the floor will be when using this grip mode.
more on hook grip:http://tomgorman.moonfruit.com/hookgrip/4511451994
Alternated/Mixed Grip- For deadlift. One palm faces towards the body and the other faces away. Generally, this is stronger than a closed grip and is similar to a hook grip in terms of the amount of load that can be lifted before grip failure.