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FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2014

Category: FrontPage

Thoughts on the 2014 Open

The 2014 CrossFit open is in full swing. Here are my thoughts on competition as it pertains to your results and dealing with the emotional highs and lows of this competition. Every week we are in a position to be tested, judged, evaluated, critiqued, and subsequently ranked with our peers. This is inherently a stressful and competitive environment. Most of us will be disappointed with our score and feel we should have gotten more reps, I know I do. It’s important to understand that if we give 100% effort, and there were not significant errors in strategy, that we walk away head high and ready for the next challenge. Use those feelings to drive and motivate us to work hard in the future and not linger on the past. You are not defined by your Open score or rank! It’s a reflection of what you could do that week. It’s a milestone on the timeline of your CrossFit journey, make it one to look back at and fuel the training in the future! We all have goals and some people train aggressively all year for this competition… but there are no losers in the Open! Do the best you can, note the things you need to work on during the next training year, and then move on to the next week!

- Andy


Squatting and Knee Positioning

Hey guys,

The knees are a very important part of our anatomy and especially for active people. We want to keep them healthy because they’re involved in almost every single movement we as Crossfitters do. There are lots of topics we could go into about body mechanics and keeping your knees injury free, as well as tools (re: knee sleeves), mobility, etc. but I’m strictly going to keep this post focused on our knee positioning in the squat.

When I first started Crossfit I was told to never let my knees go past my toes as if I did it would put too much sheering force on my knees and that would lead to injury. Well I’ve heard that repeated lots of times but there’s only one problem with it…. Once I got more into doing the Olympic lifts (Snatch, Clean and Jerk) or even just high bar back squats and front squats, I noticed that it’s pretty much impossible to not let your knees go past your toes when you’re at the bottom of any of those lifts. So I started doing some research and found that in the weightlifting circles, not only do they coach you to let your knees go past your toes, they even encourage it For Example(Tip number 7). Now this isn’t to say that there’s some magic in having your knees past your toes, this will differ from person to person based on your own individual proportions. Your own proportions will dictate how far forward your knees travel when getting into what’s described in the video above as a “weightlifters squat”.

From another perspective, in order to achieve depth in a high bar back squat with the bar and your body in the correct position (ie more upright torso, bar over the mid foot) you have to let your knees travel forward a little bit and have your butt a little closer to your heels. It seems a bit contradictory that most Crossfit coaches recommend the high bar back squat over the low bar but then tell their clients to not let their knees go past their toes. By recommending those two things in conjunction we’re recommending doing one thing but ultimately doing it improperly. Now, if your knees are traveling so far forward that your heels are coming up off the ground, especially in weightlifting shoes then that is not good and will lead to failed lifts and potential knee injuries. All of what I’ve mentioned above is assuming that your foot is flat on the ground with the weight in the mid foot and dare I say maybe even slightly back towards your heels. It’s not necessarily the fact that you have a loaded bar on your back with your knees forward that’s the issue, it’s where that weight is distributed. If you’re sitting on the balls of your feet with a loaded bar, then all that tension is in your knees. If you’re in the hole with your weight evenly distributed over your feet then there’s not nearly as much stress on the knee joint. If you care to read some other opinions here’s a thread on the pendlay forums where Sean Waxman himself chimes in at the bottom of the first page here.

I hope this helps clear up some confusion about the types of squats we do and that pesky cue that won’t go away about keeping your knees over but never farther forward than your toes. Feel free to discuss in comments.

- Nack


The Crossfit Reinforcement/Feedback System

Hey guys,

This topic come up in a slightly different form on the Facebook page with a lot of discussion around performing movements properly. This article delves into the mindset that drives people to perform sloppier movements while doing the workouts we do. Hopefully this will encourage some more introspection and allow people to recognize why they might be striving for that extra rep at the cost of sloppy form that might lead to injury. I think this article applies whether you’re a competitive athlete during training (not necessarily during comp though) or someone coming in just for GPP (General Physical Prepardedness).

It’s Not Crossfits Fault It’s The Reinforcement System

- Nack


Optimal Training Volume

There are always questions in Crossfit about how much should I workout and how often. The long answer is…. it depends! It does depend on first, your goals, and secondly your recovery efforts. With this simple graph we are trying to show that the key to training is to find the “sweet spot” where you get enough recovery to realize the improved fitness but don’t slip into overtraining, fatigue, and possibly injury.

Andy-Training Volume

This graph is not based on any actual data, that is why there is no scale on either axis. The value is in understanding the concept and finding you own graph and the right amount of training for your situation and goals. How you train is a completely different topic, but does bleed over to this graph. It is assumed that you give a solid effort each time in the box and have a solid program that focuses on basic training principles such as good technique over big numbers (reps or weight).

A. With any recovery level, undertaining will not yield optimal results. This may be a calculated decision based on time you have to dedicate to training. Undertraining is still insanely better than no training at all. To increase reuslts simply get your butt to the gym more often and be consistent. This graph represents your average training volume over the year…. not one week.

B. Optimal results for a person with average recovery. Many times this equates to 3-4 days per week of great Crossfit programming. Consistently more could lead you to the point of diminishing returns (D or E).

C. Optimal results for a person with excellent recovery. Their additional recovery efforts in the form of sleep, clean nutrition, supplements, stress levels, and age mean they can train more often and ride the results curve a little higher. Typically this is 4-5 days of training per week on average. Some weeks may see 6 or even 7 days of training and deload or rest weeks then follow to make up the difference. Recovery via mobility is key at this level to avoid overtraining.

D and E. This is overtraining, and its counter productive. Overtraining can happen in the amount of days per week or the amount of hours per day. … or the amount of reps. It all adds up to more muscle and adrenal fatigue than the body can repair with the amount of recovery provided. You will feel this, back off the volume and/or increase the recovery efforts to optomize your results and avoid injury.

The dangers of overtraining are serious and most importantly will not help you reach your goals. Injuries can derail you fitness efforts and are never worth the risk. Not all injuries are related to overtraining, it is important to analyze how your body feels and your general state of fatigue to determine if you are at an added risk for injury and burn out. If I had to suggest a side to err on I would pick undertraining just based on the nature of the possible risks vs. reward. So start slow and build up your training volume, if you feel significantly fatigued and unable to perform at normal levels then it could be a sign that you have crested the curve and are doing too many reps, too much weight, or just too many consecutive days for the level of recovery. Tweak your recovery and continue honing in on an optimal training volume to MAXIMIZE RESULTS!

- Andy


Some Notes About the 2014 Open Competition

Hey guys,

With the upcoming Crossfit Open about to be upon us, it will become important to remember the things that are laid out in this article on breaking muscle.  We all want to do well, we all want the people at our box to do well.  But if we don’t do it with integrity, then what’s the point?  Give this article a read, it doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete, coach, or a judge it has something for everybody ;).  This is a unique chance for each box to show their integrity because almost all of the time we’re judging our own athletes.

integrity-in-competition-a-manifesto-for-athletes-coaches-and-judges

Nack


New Content Coming!

Hello Everyone,

We will be tweaking things on the site in the coming weeks. Already we’ve started publishing the WODs back into the upcoming WODs section which also pushes them out via the RSS feed. So if you used to use that feature and hate having to go into Facebook and looking for the file, fret no more, you can access the WODs as they’re entered by checking the RSS feed now. We will also be adding periodic blog posts from our trainers and others on various topics relevant to Crossfit or fitness in general that you should find interesting.

Thanks!
Nack


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