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Reminder: I will be holding a Starting Strength Camp on the low bar back squat tomorrow, Sunday, March 23rd, from 1 PM till 5 PM. I still have a few spots open. Sign ups and additional info can be found at the Aasgaard Company Store.
Jo Ann receiving a clean in a full depth front squat. Note that her knees are in front of her toes and that her shins are inclined. This segment arrangement keeps her from falling backwards and maintains an upright torso, both of which are necessary for a recovery from a clean.
People often suggest that squatting is bad for the knees. I am not, however, going to address that assertion in much detail this evening. Suffice to say that I disagree and I would sincerely enjoy hearing an explanation for how a properly executed, full depth squat is dangerous to knee health. Said explanation should involve a thorough treatment of knee anatomy and a look at the forces encountered by the knee during a squat. Enough about that.
Instead, we'll take a brief look at where the knee should end up during the squat, particularly with respect to the toes. When I talk about knee position, think about a plumb bob (I like that word) tied to a string hanging off the front of the knee. The position of that plumb bob above the ground is that in which we are interested.
Let's address a commonly voiced concern - the knees should not be allowed to travel in front of the toes while squatting. Due to varying segment lengths among trainees, the position of the knee will not be the same for everyone. However, for a large majority of lifters, the knee can and probably should travel in front of the toes by the time they are about half way down in the squat. The biggest reason for this is balance. Try this for yourself - squat with as vertical a shin angle as you can. Not very easy is it? You have to lean pretty far forward to counteract the vertical shin, if you can even maintain such a configuration. Allowing the knees to come forward in front of the toes allows a trainee to keep their center of mass, which closely approximates the barbell at heavy weights, over the middle of the foot, which is also the point of balance for human beings.
How far forward the knees travel will be a function of segment lengths and the type of squat being performed. Low bar back squats have less forward travel than high bar back squats which have less travel than the front squat. Some are concerned that when the knees travel in front of the toes, the patellar ligament will undergo undue strain. Provided that the hamstrings are properly engaged in a strong isometric contraction (ahem… as happens during a low bar squat), the forces along the anterior and posterior aspects of the femur are very nicely balanced. Remember that the patellar ligament inserts on the tibia and the tendons of the hamstrings also insert on the tibia and fibula. Things work out nicely that way.
Allowing the knee enough forward travel in the squat allows a trainee to stay in balance and also provides the quadriceps additional opportunity to aid with standing back up. The eventual position of the knee with respect to the toe will vary from trainee to trainee. A vertical shin is not necessary in a squat and is not possible for most trainees without a very wide stance, or the use of a box to contact at the bottom of the movement.
The SF CrossFit crew breaking down 13.3
If you're doing Open Workout 13.3 on Saturday, you'll definitely want to watch the video above. In the first part of the video, K-Star breaks down the wall ball shot and gives you some technical pointers on how to approach it during the workout. The middle part of the video is dedicated to strategy (e.g., always leave one rep in the tank on wall balls) and warm-up. The final piece is Carl breaking down the muscle-up with some key positional thoughts and preparation pieces.
Also, if you're looking for some strategy pieces, check out the Outlaw page:
Saturday Heat Schedule
We've posted the heat schedule below. As usual, if you don't see your name on the list, email us.
The doorway to Uptown awesome
Uptown is now up and running and we hope you have all had a chance to stop by and check it out. We are all very excited about offering more to our members and growing our community. Here is a note from Tamara with information on membership at Uptown.
Dear CFO members,
We want to personally thank all of you for making the opening of Crossfit Oakland Uptown a success! Also thank you for your patience while we continue to grow and make changes to the facilities and schedule. Helping us to move forward, we would like all CFO-Emeryville members who want to make Uptown their home gym to please email us no later than April 1st.
We understand the Uptown location has a lighter schedule and we will still allow you to use the Emeryville location to augment your training. This designation will help us to determine future scheduling and equipment needs. As always feel free to contact us with questions or concerns.
So to clarify, your membership will remain at Emeryville unless you let us know that you will be attending Uptown for the majority of your training. This does not mean that you cannot attend classes at Emeryville, it simply means that you will be attending classes at Uptown more often than at Emeryville and your membership dues will go to support the Uptown operation.
As Tamara explained, we can then look at adding more classes, etc. to support the membership at Uptown once we know what it will be. Mike, Tamara and I are all here to answer any questions you may have or to address any concerns. Thanks again for all of your amazing support.
Everyone was all smiles after finishing 13.2
Another week, another Open workout done. Strong work by all of you who took on 13.2, which was as follows:
5 shoulder-to-Overhead @ 115#/75#
10 Deadlifts @ 115#/75#
15 Box Jumps @ 24"/20"
It was a good test of aerobic endurance, with a little bit of glute and hamstring stamina thrown in for good measure. I'm sure many of you are feeling your posterior chain today.
The top performers were Justin and Michelle M, with 332 reps and 313 reps, respectively.
CFO vs. CF Sweat Shop
This was another tight week in our contest against CF Sweat Shop. We ended up edging them out 8-6. Here were the point-scorers for each team, along with their scores (gym name in parentheses). It's been a really, really close competition so far. We need to bring our A game for 13.3 because I know CF Sweat Shop will be highly motivated and prepared.
Women Under 40
Michelle Maehler 313 (CFO)
Rene Garcia 304 (CFSS)
Jill King 298 (CFO)
Kristin Wise 295 (CFSS)
Candace Hester 289 (CFO)
Men Under 40
Justin McNulty 332 (CFO)
Rikus Pretorious 320 (CFSS)
James Barber 301 (CFSS)
Scott Lipp 284 (CFSS)
Thomas Sterling 282 (CFO)
Mike Minium 241 (CFO)
Leka Dobbs 273 (CFO)
Steve Pollini 302 (CFO)
Lones Stern-Banks 264 (CFSS)
Connie at one of the first camps I held at the Doyle Street location. Photo courtesy of the lovely and talented Kelly Powers.
I will be holding three Starting Strength Training Camps in the coming five weeks at the CFO Emeryville location. The first one on the low bar back squat occurs next Sunday. For those of you who'd like a longer introduction to the basic strength lifts, these camps are an excellent way to do it. We generally spend about five hours at each camp discussing and then practicing the various lifts in a controlled and unrushed environment. If you are interested, you can sign up through the Aasgaard Company website. The camps are below with links to sign ups and more information for each one:
Each of the events start at 1 PM and are limited to eight participants to make sure that attendees get plenty of attention. The squat camp normally wraps up by 5:00 or 5:30 and the camps with two lifts will often go until 6:00 or 6:30 in the evening. I hope to see you there.
Carl preparing you for 13.2
The Open workout, in case you already didn't know, is as follows:
5 Shoulder-to-Overhead @ 115#/75#
10 Deadlifts @ 115#/75#
15 Box Jumps @ 24"/20"
(For those of you concerned about the height of the box jumps, step-ups are allowed.)
Just like last week, below are another couple of helpful links to get you in the right frame of mind, and to get your body prepared for this 10-minute challenge.
There's some great stuff on the Mobility WOD video on 13.2. It's 20 minutes long, but well worth your time. It covers warm-up, movement prep, and strategy.
And for a ton of analysis and strategy, check out the Outlaw Way post on 13.2.
The heat schedule has been attached to this post. Please take a look and email us if you don't see your name on the list. Also make a note of the judging schedule. This is a shorter workout, so we'll be done about an hour earlier than last week.
13.1 going down
Besides the Open being a chance to qualify individuals and teams for the Regionals (the next level of competition after the Open), have a great time, and for everyone to be able to participate in really challenging workouts, there's also an inter-gym competition going on.
As I first wrote a couple weeks ago, we're involved in a challenge involving Open bragging rights against our fellow CFers from the other side of the tunnel, CrossFit Sweat Shop.
The competition works like this: There are five workouts in the Open. The gym that wins three out of the five is crowned the overall champ.
The scoring system is as follows:
- 1 point awarded for each of the top 5 male and top 5 female scores under 40 years of age
- 1 point awarded for the top male and top female between 40 years old and 49 years old
- 1 point awarded for the top male and top female 50 years or older
If you're following at home, that's a total of 14 points. The team that wins the most points, wins the workout for that week. If teams end up tied 7-7, the tiebreaker goes to the team with the single best individual performance, male or female, regardless of age group.
Nabil (owner of CrossFit Sweat Shop) did a great job of writing up the results here. He even did color-coding. We ended up tied 7-7, with the tiebreaker going to us by virtue of Candace's 183-rep performance. What a close contest!
Here's how the scoring went (gym in parentheses):
Rikus Pretorious 170 (CFSS)
Scott Lipp 167 (CFSS)
Nabil Langkilde 158 (CFSS)
Justin McNulty 157 (CFO
Brandon Banks 157 (CFO)
Candace Hester 183 (CFO)
Michelle Mahler 177 (CFO)
Rene Garcia 169 (CFSS)
Tamara Holmes 169 (CFO)
Helen Langkilde 157 (CFSS)
Shane Gravitt 137
Leka Dobbs 150
Steve Pollini 180
Lones Stern-Banks 155
Strong work by all! Can't wait to see what happens in 13.2!
The 13.1 Heats
As always, running the Open at CFO was such a blast yesterday! Thanks to all of you for showing up, bringing your A game, and making the gym such a fun place to be.
Can't wait to do it all again next Saturday!
* Update: The heat list has been attached at the bottom of this post (PDF file). Please review it to make sure you're on the list. If you're not on the list and should be, send us an email. Also, please make sure you review the judging schedule, in case you're set to judge a heat that's earlier than your own. **
A quick and dirty guide to help you decide what kind of buttery spread is right for you. Aside from his recommendation of vegetable oils in the last 10 seconds of the video, this 3 minute video from AsapSCIENCE, addresses some common questions/concerns about both such as:
- the chemical structure of butter vs margarine
- the difference between saturated and unsaturated fat
- how these fats are made