CFK Weekly: September 4, 2022

To all CFK Members,

 

  The goal or “tag line” of CFK for many years has been to “inspire a fitter Knoxville”.  But what does that really mean?  To me, to our team…it means we are helping people work towards their health and fitness goals regardless of what they are, no matter how big or small.  Whether it be a weightlifting meet, running a marathon, a first pull up, or your knees not being in pain while walking down stairs.  None are any more or less valuable, or more or less important to us.  “The needs of the Olympian and the grandparent differ in degree, not in kind.”  The things we all need to make progress on our own fitness journey are more similar than we realize.  The amount of weight, volume (number of reps) and speed at which they are performed will be different.
  We work towards these goals with “constantly varied, functional movements, performed with intensity”, “across broad time and modal domains”.  It’s literally the ethos of CrossFit.  We do different things, different lifts, different movements all the time.  It’s not about “muscle confusion”, that’s not really a thing, it is about minimizing the “holes” or gaps in your fitness.  We do “functional movements”, things that generally involve many muscles or muscle groups and force your body to work more as a complete unit.  The goal of these types of movements is to better understand how our body actually works and to make day to day life easier.  We may never perform an overhead squat outside the gym, but if we are capable of doing them the rest of our daily activities are probably more easily accomplished.  We occasionally “isolate” and work individual muscles but not all the time.  Accessory work is to complement our training and target smaller muscles or groups that help facilitate the bigger lifts.  Then last but not least is the intensity aspect.  That is truthfully a bit of a relative term and does differ for each of us.  We all have different strengths and weaknesses, levels of fitness and capacity to do things.  Intensity IS generally where the “magic” happens, but it also needs to be appropriately managed.  When we work harder we force our bodies to adapt greater.  However sacrificing technique, movement quality and safety to achieve greater intensity is not the answer and should never be the goal.  Once we have established we can move well, then we can move fast.  There is no shame in slightly altering a workout or movement pattern to move better and achieve the desired stimulus of a workout in a safe way.
  “Across broad time and modal domains” means the length of the workouts will change day to day.  Sometimes they will be shorter and more intense, other days they are longer and require more pacing.  If you run 2 miles every day, you will become pretty good at running 2 miles.  However you may not be very good at running 1 mile really fast or being able to endure running 5 miles.  Again we want to minimize the gaps in our fitness.  We may individually gravitate towards certain things or workouts, and that’s ok.  But we want to at least expose you to different things and allow you the opportunity to improve across the board.  We made a social media post a couple weeks ago about the 10 General Physical skills…cardiovascular endurance, strength, stamina, flexibility, power, coordination, speed, balance, agility, accuracy.  Being fairly adept at each of those in different length workouts, using barbells, gymnastics, running, rowing, all the different things we do in class will give a pretty broad spectrum of fitness.
  The reason for all of this is to explain a little more of the “why” in what we do at CFK.  Why it is important to us, why we think it is important for you.  For some that have been around a while this may not be anything new.  But a reminder from time to time is never a bad thing.  I open my CrossFit Level 1 manual from over a decade ago to this day to remind myself of the basics and the foundation of what we are trying to achieve.  For newer members this may be the first time this all has been explained to you at this length, sorry I am long winded even typing.  But it is important to know and understand these things.  To trust the process.  To know the coaches at CFK do truly want what’s best for you.  We work hard to constantly improve ourselves to give our best to you, because you deserve it.

Thank you and have a great week,

  Dave


Programming Sneak Peek!

Monday:

LABOR DAY 8AM and 9:30AM Classes only (Burn and CF)! We are doing Cindy today! Let’s cheer fellow athletes on and have some fun! Let’s find a push up variation that allows us to work for 20mins and avoid taking reps to failure.

Tuesday:

Partners today. This Interval Pacer will give you a chance to work but just know that there is more work to do! Let’s see if you and your partner can be consistent on your intervals this will require some RPE Control.

Wednesday:

Wave Loading Back Squats! Use Wodify to get your working percentages today. Then is the Metcon we have Power Snatches with your ability to go unbroken being tested!

Thursday:

Chipper Intervals! You’ll be Hanging (On a Bar) and Hanging (With a DB) today these rounds are intended to be done as unbroken as possible. Go fast, get more rest, go to slow and you’ll be working again before you know it. In this one it is important to find the best “aggressive” threshold pace but don’t go to hot because you will not have enough time to recover. Total working time is scored today.

Friday:

Barbell Friday! If Squat Cleans get you excited then get excited for this complex building to a heavy weight! Following up the complex this EMOM will get you cycling the barbell!

Saturday:

Hero WOD “Nate” today! Time to put your gymnastics skills to work!




IT IS OFFICAL CFK is a Sanctioned USAW Club!

Save the Date: October 8th! We will be heading to the USAW 2022 Tennessee-Kentucky Meet in Johnson City!

So what does this mean? Our gym and Members will have the ability to compete and USAW events around the country like the “save the date” above. If you are interested in competing in OLY Lifting and pushing yourself this is you opportunity. More information will be coming. However, in the meantime check out Coach Nate’s Weight lifting class over at North Wednesday’s at 6:30pm and Weightlifting every Saturday at both locations! Any questions can be directed to [email protected]


Speaking of lifting…

Save the Date: September 17th, 2022 @ CFK West

Squat Seminar w/ Coach Blake

Spend some time with Coach Blake and take a deeper dive into squats, if you are looking to improve your numbers or adjust your squat this is the Seminar to be at!


Save The Date: Restore Core & Floor Workshop!

October 1st @ West w/ Dr. Kim Givelechian

Dr. Kim is back with another Restore Core workshop! More details will follow.


Bristol Burnout Header

Saturday, September 24, 2022
Bristol Motor Speedway Infield

Join fellow CFK Athletes and form four-person teams (2 male, 2 female) for the chance at victory, all while helping raise money to support SCC Bristol’s mission of helping local children in need. The event will be held in the infield at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Click here for all the details!

Not looking to compete? Come out & support your friends!


COmmunity WOD Saturdays

Fitness is always more fun with friends! Our community WOD happens every Saturday at both locations at 9am. Bring friends and family! These workouts will be both beginner and veteran-friendly — challenging enough to get a good workout, but simple enough for anyone to join!

PLEASE have friends sign a waiver beforehand!

Waiver Link


Love CFK?! Write us a Review!

CFK North – Yelp

CFK West – Yelp

CFK North – Google

CFK West – Google

CFK Weekly, August 14, 2022

Programming Sneak Peek!

Monday:

Let’s start out this week with some with some Accessories! The Metcon that follows rewards how well you can maintain your Threshold. You get to earn your rest in this one.

Tuesday:

Skill work on the ropes. Then an AMRAP that will keep you moving. Let’s get some quality bodyweight movement in today and avoid going to failure!

Wednesday:

Barbell work today! An Ascending weight structure will give you a chance to test your numbers here. Then we’ll see how well you can cycle a barbell on this burner.

Thursday:

Strength & Stability followed up with a Gymnastics Metcon that’ll get you inverted! Great day to work on positions.

Friday:

You and a partner get to attack a fast and furious WOD together with Sumo Deadlifts High Pulls!

Saturday:

Fun Chipper today! Move steady to knock out the work, don’t go out to hot on this one.


Programming Going Forward

Constantly Varied, Functional Movements, Performed at High Intensity, over broad time and modal domains. This is and has been the recipe for success with Crossfit. The presentation may look different but the recipe stays the same.

We are switching the way the WODs will look and be scored. Comptrain (Sweat, Train, Compete) is changing their Affiliate Programmaing and we want to offer the best programming possible. As you have seen over the past few weeks some WODs have been scored Traditionally RX’D or Scaled, we are working back in that direction.

We are going to take what we loved and learned from Comptrain and utilize the knowledge from our ownership moving forward. This gives us the ability to incorporate more skills work, weightlifting, and programming specific to our Athletes (you).

So what does this mean?

The track system we have been following will be going away. If you have become accustomed to your track,  we understand! Coaches are there for you to help set you up for success based on your goals!

 

Please reach out with any questions!



CFK TOTAL & BBQ

Thank you to everyone who came out to West. We had a lot of impressive totals and PRs were had! Congratulations to everyone!

Friday Night Lights: North August 19th

Let’s celebrate as we wrap up our strength cycle with a special high energy Friday Nights Lights version of the “CrossFit Total”!

-Event starts at 6PM! Feel free to show up early and start warming up. Athletes will have 20 minutes to complete the Total. 3 Attempts at each lift in order, Squat, OH Press, & Deadlift.
BBQ will be provided along with drinks and baked snacks (by Chelsea Donaldson, a.k.a. “chubby_behem0th”)
**Prizes for top 3 male/female athletes!**

Bristol Burnout Header

Saturday, September 24, 2022
Bristol Motor Speedway Infield

Join fellow CFK Athletes and form four-person teams (2 male, 2 female) for the chance at victory, all while helping raise money to support SCC Bristol’s mission of helping local children in need. The event will be held in the infield at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Click here for all the details!

Not looking to compete? Come out & support your friends!


COmmunity WOD Saturdays

Fitness is always more fun with friends! Our community WOD happens every Saturday at both locations at 9am. Bring friends and family! These workouts will be both beginner and veteran-friendly — challenging enough to get a good workout, but simple enough for anyone to join!

PLEASE have friends sign a waiver beforehand!

Waiver Link


Love CFK?! Write us a Review!

CFK North – Yelp

CFK West – Yelp

CFK North – Google

CFK West – Google

CFK Weekly, August 7, 2022

Programming Sneak Peek!

Monday:

Push Press today! Then we are doing a fun AMRAP with rounds of rest where we get to cycle a barbell with some fatigue built up. How consistent can you be while trying to maintain a high output?

Tuesday:

Let’s start today with some controlled movements and develop some strength that transfers to more advanced movements. 5 Rounds of the following Metcon will test your Threshold ability on one if not more movements, you have to keep moving on this one.

Wednesday:

Power Snatch Complex? Yes, please. Let’s dial in that technique and then use it. During this Benchmark sandwich you get to build a strategy and see if it pans out!

Thursday:

We have a solid pacer here today! Steady wins this race, find a pace and let’s get after it. Keeping your split times is great to see if you can maintain effort and dial not crossing over that Anaerobic line. Then lets get some quality work in on the rings!

Friday:

CFK TOTAL Tonight at West! We’d love to see you out if you can make it, let’s test those strength gains (Sign Up) or cheer your friends on! Speaking of friends grab a buddy or make a new one for this WOD! We have some work before the WOD as well but today is all about KB and Core control!

Saturday:

The Chief! Can you hit it hard and consistent today? Let’s see who can add up rounds and reps in this sprinty WOD.


Please welcome the next newest addition to the CFK coaching team, Coach Dustin!  Dustin is not only one of our coaches but is also part of the new ownership group at CFK.

Dustin has many years of CrossFit coaching experience including being the head coach, director of programming and co-owner of CrossFit Pistol Creek in Maryville.  He has received his CrossFit Level 1 and 2, also completing the CrossFit Gymnastics course.
Dustin, his wife Ashley and daughter Harper are a CrossFit family through and through. They are passionate about the CrossFit community and all it encompasses. Dustin truly wants to help people make progress and become the best versions of themselves.  While not only possessing technical coaching ability, he will often be the biggest cheerleader of your successes.
Welcome to the team Dustin!  We are really excited to have you!!


Save the Date: CFK TOTAL & BBQ

Friday Night Lights: West August 12th & North August 19th

Let’s celebrate as we wrap up our strength cycle with a special high energy Friday Nights Lights version of the “CrossFit Total”!

8/12 at West starting at 6:30pm, feel free to show up at 6pm to start warming up in the downstairs.
-First heat starts at 6:45pm, athletes get 20 minutes for 3 attempts at 1 rep max back squat, then strict press, then deadlift.
-Heats run roughly every 25 minutes.
8/19 at North starting at 5:30pm, feel free to show up at 5pm to start warming up in the weightlifting area.
-More Specifics for North coming next week!
BBQ will be provided along with drinks and baked snacks (by Chelsea Donaldson, a.k.a. “chubby_behem0th”)
**Prizes for top 3 male/female athletes!**


Bristol Burnout

Bristol Burnout Header

Saturday, September 24, 2022
Bristol Motor Speedway Infield

Join fellow CFK Athletes and form four-person teams (2 male, 2 female) for the chance at victory, all while helping raise money to support SCC Bristol’s mission of helping local children in need. The event will be held in the infield at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Click here for all the details!

Not looking to compete? Come out & support your friends!


COmmunity WOD Saturdays

Fitness is always more fun with friends! Our community WOD happens every Saturday at both locations at 9am. Bring friends and family! These workouts will be both beginner and veteran-friendly — challenging enough to get a good workout, but simple enough for anyone to join!

PLEASE have friends sign a waiver beforehand!

Waiver Link


Love CFK?! Write us a Review!

CFK North – Yelp

CFK West – Yelp

CFK North – Google

CFK West – Google

CFK Weekly, July 31, 2022

Programming Sneak Peek!

This week we are going to expand on the workouts a bit to give you a chance to better prepare for the week ahead and plan for the stimulus to help you maximize long-term results!
-Monday: Front Squats Today! Continuing on our Strength Cycle getting ready for the CFK Total. We are going to follow this up with some 400m repeats… This will present an awesome opportunity to truly get faster! 
-Tuesday: 5 Rounds with lots of “pulling” today. This longer Threshold workout (don’t worry we have built in rest) will test your ability to repeat efforts and get some high volume work in! P.S. Shave down those calluses.
-Wednesday: Bench!!! Let’s balance out all of that pulling from Tuesday with some push. 5 x 2 on the Bench. The following AMRAP will be a spicy and fast shoulder and quad burner!
-Thursday: 5 Rounds today. This one is going to get your heart rate up and challenge you to hit big sets (Threshold ability with each movement) in order to keep up with the clock. Don’t worry you get rest time built in today too!
-Friday: Deadlifts today! Let’s get that deadlift technique down before the CFK Total, with these deadlifts form is everything. The post strength Metcon is going to challenge your grip and ability to keep yourself moving. None of the rep schemes are very big but don’t let that fool you. 
-Saturday: Partner WOD on a Saturday! Let’s get out the Sandbags! Partners are going to be working the whole time as they grind their way through a carry while the other get to move a barbell, do some rope climbs, and box jumps!

Introducing… Coach Lindsey!

CFK would like to introduce you to the newest member of our coaching team!  Meet Coach Lindsey!  She, her husband Joey and daughter Raelyn recently moved to East TN from Texas and have joined us at CFK North.  Lindsey has been a part of CrossFit and coached for over a decade.  She has not only her CrossFit Level 1 and Level 2, but many other fitness certifications as well, including being an OPEX Coach. She has formal education in both Athletic Training and Kinesiology, along with practical application working in both those fields.

The part Lindsey is most humble about is her decorated athletic background.  Lindsey is a four time Regionals athlete, three times as a member of a team and also once as an individual athlete.  In 2021 she also competed at Nationals of the Tactical Games.  Needless to say we are very excited to have her as not only a part of our coaching team, but also our community.  She has a great deal of knowledge and athletic experience, but also many years being a part of a CrossFit community and understands what helps make them great!  Welcome to the team Lindsey!



Save the Date: CFK TOTAL

Friday Night Lights: West August 12th & North August 19th

Let’s celebrate as we wrap up our strength cycle with a special high energy Friday Nights Lights version of the “CrossFit Total”!

8/12 at West starting at 6:30pm, feel free to show up at 6pm to start warming up in the downstairs

8/19 at North starting at 5:30pm, feel free to show up at 5pm to start warming up in the weightlifting area
Drinks and snacks will be provided, the amazing Chelsea Donaldson, a.k.a. “chubby_behem0th” will be baking up a storm for us yet again!!
Prizes for top 3 male/female athletes!
Sign up sheets coming soon!  Don’t miss this awesome opportunity to get together with the community, move some heavy weights and enjoy delicious treats!!!


Bristol Burnout

Bristol Burnout Header

Saturday, September 24, 2022
Bristol Motor Speedway Infield

Join fellow CFK Athletes and form four-person teams (2 male, 2 female) for the chance at victory, all while helping raise money to support SCC Bristol’s mission of helping local children in need. The event will be held in the infield at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Click here for all the details!

Not looking to compete? Come out & support your friends!


COmmunity WOD Saturdays

Fitness is always more fun with friends! Our community WOD happens every Saturday at both locations at 9am. Bring friends and family! These workouts will be both beginner and veteran-friendly — challenging enough to get a good workout, but simple enough for anyone to join!

PLEASE have friends sign a waiver beforehand!

Waiver Link


Love CFK?! Write us a Review!

CFK North – Yelp

CFK West – Yelp

CFK North – Google

CFK West – Google

CFK Weekly, July 24, 2022

Programming Sneak Peek!

New week, new gainz!

Monday: Kettlebell strength work followed by a 10 round MetCon!
 
Tuesday: Strict Press day!
 
Wednesday: Shhhh, its a surprise, even for me! Seriously, I don’t know what it is…
 
Thursday: A nice sweaty Thursday AMRAP followed by some accessory work!
 
Friday: Some Pull Up skill work followed by something with major “Cindy” vibes.
 
Saturday: Teams of 3, grabs some friends and have at it!
 
Make it in to class this week!
Much Love,
Coach David

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again:

Coach Adrianna is back, Tell a Friend!

We are excited to announce and welcome back Coach Adrianna Felix to the community! Her passion for CrossFit and the CFK Community has us jumping for joy! Make sure to catch a class with her soon!



Save the Date: CFK TOTAL

Friday Night Lights: West August 12th & North August 19th

Let’s celebrate as we wrap up our strength cycle with a special high energy Friday Nights Lights of the “CrossFit Total”. Be on the look out for more details.

 


Bristol Burnout

Bristol Burnout Header

Saturday, September 24, 2022
Bristol Motor Speedway Infield

Join fellow CFK Athletes and form four-person teams (2 male, 2 female) for the chance at victory, all while helping raise money to support SCC Bristol’s mission of helping local children in need. The event will be held in the infield at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Click here for all the details!

Not looking to compete? Come out & support your friends!


COmmunity WOD Saturdays

Fitness is always more fun with friends! Our community WOD happens every Saturday at both locations at 9am. Bring friends and family! These workouts will be both beginner and veteran-friendly — challenging enough to get a good workout, but simple enough for anyone to join!

PLEASE have friends sign a waiver beforehand!

Waiver Link


Love CFK?! Write us a Review!

CFK North – Yelp

CFK West – Yelp

CFK North – Google

CFK West – Google

Linear Progression For Beginners

What Is Linear Progression

Simply put, its progress over a period of time that incrementally trends upward. Imagine a graph, it starts at the bottom left corner and as the line moves to the right it angles up as well. Now this line should not spike straight up, nor should it go back down at any point. The most ideal scenario is the line moves slightly up consistently across the time domain without any plateau or drop.

Let’s use a 12-week cycle as an example. Across those weeks the line should move consistently up as it moves to the right, but should not spike, because if it spikes then the athlete is likely to plateau and halt the progress. The “spike” is what happens when an athlete tries to do too much too soon. Remember, this is progress across 12 weeks, not 3. It seems like really good progress to get it done quickly, however, it is going to come with its consequences, such as increased injury risk or less improvement on technique.

Pro’s And Con’s

As with any form of training, there will always be pro’s and con’s.

  • Pro’s
    • Progressive loading allows for less likelihood of plateauing
    • Lower risk of injury/overtraining
    • Increased opportunity to focus on technique while increasing strength
    • Highly researched and timeless strategy for strength training
    • Easier to track progress
  • Con’s
    • Takes time
    • If an athlete is having an off day it could be tough to work at the intensity necessary to continue with the gradual increase in weight thus making for a day/week which is lighter than the previous
    • While still effective, it can be considered boring to advanced athletes (5+ years of consistent strength training)

What Does Linear Progression Look Like?

Now for the fun part, let’s put together a linear progression structure to use as an example.

Let’s use Back Squat as our movement:

  • Week 1-3: 10’s
    • Each squat day athletes will perform 3×10 at 60%
  • Week 4-6: 5’s
    • Each squat day athletes will perform 5×5 at 70%
  • Week 7-9: 3’s
  • Week 10-12: 1’s

Now, this is a very simple example, but notice that as the reps decrease, the sets increase and the weights do as well. So for an athlete who has a 1 rep max back squat of 100lbs, they would perform their 3×10 at 55lbs, and so on, working up to 85lbs for the 10×1. This takes place over the course of 12 weeks, which can be perceived as slow progress, however, the opportunity it brings is the chance to improve technique at the same rate as improving strength, which reduces the risk of injury and over training, and a lower likelihood to plateau.

Differing Rep Schemes

What is the purpose of the changing rep schemes? Aside from coinciding with the increasing intensity/percentages, the high rep/low set working its way to the low rep/high set actually has a purpose.

10’s: Having a high number of reps each set, with only a few sets, means lower weight. The idea here is to increase time under tension leading to more muscle growth and better ability to focus on technique.

5’s: This allows an athlete to still get a fair amount of time under tension, however, because it is half the reps that means the weight can increase. This allows for a good balance of muscle growth and strength gain, but also still light enough to give some attention to technique.

3’s: At this point, an athlete has spent 6 weeks solidifying their technique while also increasing muscle size. This means it is time to make the strength gain the priority while still having a small amount of time under tension. The athlete’s body has adjusted to time under tension and increased its ability to recover which makes higher intensity training to be feasible.

1’s: Time to make weight the absolute main focus. Here the athlete will have a very small amount of time under tension because they are now chasing the intensity rather than the muscle gain or technique. This prepares the body for reaching a maximal weight by taking the muscle and technical gain from the previous 9 weeks and finally adding in maximal nervous system recruitment by focusing on single reps at their heaviest weights.

It Takes Patience

Whether you choose to use linear progression or any other form of strength training, it takes patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is proper technique and strength. Be consistent, listen to your body, and trust the process. Strength gain is a marathon, not a sprint.

Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity.

Why MCI?

Mechanics, Consistency, and Intensity. It’s the way we teach all movements, not only for technique purposes but for safety too, as well as longevity of training. When sticking to the MCI of training you are able to learn the proper way to do your movements, how to do them consistently well, and able to slowly increase difficulty over time so as to not overtrain or increase the risk of injury. When an athlete is brand new to this style of training their body will take on a fair amount of shock at first before it learns how to recover and adapt. Sticking to the MCI allows time for the new athlete to get in great workouts while increasing their ability over time.

 

What Is MCI?

As stated above, MCI stands for Mechanics, Consistency, and Intensity. When these three things are integrated into training the risk of injury goes down, the body’s ability to recover goes up, and gains/improvements can still be made at a steady pace. Aside from the obvious, reducing the risk of injury is crucial to achieving goals because it reduces the number of setbacks you may encounter. This goes hand in hand with MCI because of the “C” being consistency. So we have mechanics being your technique, consistency being frequency of good technique, but also how frequently you train, and intensity being what makes your workouts more difficult.

Mechanics

Mechanics are your technique. Every exercise, every movement, has certain mechanics that allow your body to perform said movement. This can be described as holding/achieving certain postures throughout a range of motion. For example, an air squat: chest up, knees out, feet flat, hips pass below the knees, and then stand to a full hip/knee extension. The chest up, knees out, and feet flat would be our posture. Passing below parallel and then standing to a full hip and knee extension is our range of motion.

Consistency

Air squat mechanics have been established. Now we need consistent mechanics throughout our workout. Consistently achieving the proper mechanics of the movements is crucial to longevity and reducing injury. This consistency is not just to the end of a workout, but also to the end of a week of workouts. Alongside consistency of mechanics, we need consistency of activity. The more consistently you are active, the faster your body learns and increases its ability to recover; recovery-ability is key in making gains and improvements.

Intensity

Intensity is any variation that increases the difficulty of a movement or workout. This could be a tougher movement, more weight, more reps, less rest time, etc. Continuing with the air squat example, the mechanics have been established and consistent, now to increase the intensity, so back squat will be the example. Starting with an empty bar, the mechanics are still going to need to be the same: chest up, knees out, feet flat, hips pass below the knees, and then stand to a full hip/knee extension. The difference now is there has been the added intensity of a load being a barbell. If able to maintain the proper mechanics under the empty bar, then begin to add weight. Only increase the weight if the mechanics can remain consistent to keep injury risk low, refine the movements patterns, and still make increases in performance/strength over time.

Barbells For Beginners

Barbells Can Be Daunting

It’s no question that a barbell can be daunting for first time users. While it’s very well balanced by design, it is also quite awkward until you figure out the things it can be used for. It’s one thing to know the exercises possible through using the barbell, but its another thing to feel confident enough to do them, and do them well. The purpose of this article is to help any of you who are timid about using a barbell for the first time feel more confident about trying it out!

Start With The Basics

Begin with the easy stuff, basic movement patterns: squatting, hinging, pressing, and lunging. It is first important to know how to move your body on its own through space before trying to add weight.

Learn how to properly perform…

Air Squat: Feet shoulder width or slightly wider, toes turned slightly out, core engaged, chest up, eyes up; begin with the hips breaking slightly back and then descending down while driving the knees out over the toes, cue yourself to keep your chest up with flat feet until below parallel, then stand.

Hinge: feet no wider than shoulder width, core engaged; begin with a slight bend in the knees and then drive the hips back while bending forward at the waist with a flat back (cue yourself the keep your chest up while simultaneously bending over at the hips), reach down to the floor while maintaining the flat back until you reach the object you are trying to pick up, specifically, the barbell.

Press: using a PVC pipe, hands just wider than the shoulders, PVC pip touching your collar bones, core tight with ribs pinned down, glutes squeezed, quads squeezed; pull your chin back and press straight up into the air to a full lockout of the elbows with the biceps by the ears and your head then pushed back in between your arms, maintain the ribs pinned down to keep the spine neutral.

Lunge: take a step forward, keep your full foot flat on the floor as to keep from being only on the toes, cue yourself to “be on train tracks” so that you don’t sleep your feet too narrow; once stepping forward, keep your torso tall and bend the back knee straight down to the floor, lightly tap your knee to the floor then stand back up bringing the back foot forward to meet with the forward foot, repeat on the other foot to alternate legs.

Time For The Barbell

Once you have been introduced to and understand the mechanics of the movements above, it’s time to begin introducing the barbell.

Squats: front squats, back squats, and overhead squats

  • Back Squats: the barbell will rest across the back of your neck/shoulders. Tips For Back Squats: keep your wrists straight, cue yourself to pull your elbows together behind your back, and keep your eyes forward.
  • Front Squats: the barbell will rest on the front of your shoulders. Tips For Front Squats: focus on keeping your elbows up, whether they stay up or not, the consistent self cue’ing will help make that happen over time.
  • Overhead Squats: the barbell will be locked out over head with a wide grip. Tips For Overhead Squats: always practice with a PVC pipe before using the bar, cue yourself to consistently “press up” into the barbell throughout the entire squat to lock your shoulders into place and remain steady.

Hinging: excluding the olympic lifts: deadlifts, RDLs.

  • Deadlifts: this is the “object” as stated above that you will pick up off the floor. Tips For Deadlifts: keep your whole foot flat by not lifting your toes off the floor, this will keep you balanced and allow for more muscle activation. If your toes rise up and you set too far back on the heels, it is likely your hips will rise too fast when really we want the hips and torso to move at the same time.
  • RDLs: picking the bar up off the floor, the reps begin at the hips. Tips For RDLs: these should NOT touch the floor each rep, cue yourself to “arch” your back as you lower the bar toward the floor with a slight knee bend. By the time you reach the knees, if you have kept enough tension in your back, and chest up, then you should feel a stretch in the hamstrings at which point you will stand back up, squeezing your glutes at the top.

Pressing: strict press, and push press.

  • Strict Press: the bar will begin on the front of the shoulder like the front squat and finish locked out overhead. Tips For Strict Press: keep the bar close to your center of gravity by pushing it as straight up and down as possible, essentially, not pushing it around your head.
  • Push Press: the bar will begin on the front of the shoulder, and finish locked out overhead, but it will be aided by a slight dip and extension in the knees and hips. Tips For Push Press: keep the elbows high and cue yourself to “drive through the bar” at the top of your extension each rep.

Lunging: front rack lunges, back rack lunges.

  • Front Rack Lunges: the barbell will rest on the front of the shoulders, just as it does for presses and front squats. Tips For Front Rack Lunges: maintain core tension when you touch your knee to the floor, because if you “bounce” on the floor and lose tension and the elbows drop, you will be in a far less stable position and you’re likely to drop the bar.
  • Back Rack Lunges:  the barbell will rest on the back of the shoulder/neck just like back squats. Tips For Back Rack Lunges: don’t let your elbow flare way up, this will roll the barbell up the neck and make it increasingly difficult to maintain and upright torso which will also make the reps even more challenging.

Don’t let the barbell be what keeps you back from reaching your goals. When used properly it becomes an amazing training tool and can help make you stronger than ever. If you ever want more details, or have questions, never hesitate to ask for help or advice from a qualified coach or athlete.

Deadlifts; Why does my back hurt? How do I prevent it?

Major Muscles For Deadlifts

To begin talking about why your back might hurt after deadlifting and how to prevent it, it is first important to understand what is occurring when performing them.

It is safe to say that doing a single deadlift uses almost every muscle in the body, but there are some major ones that stand out that get specific attention. These are: hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors, and your abdominals (rectus and transverse). When beginning a deadlift, in your set up you should be feeling major engagement in these muscles, and even the quads to an extent. Stand tall, keep your back flat, and at the top be sure to keep your spine neutral, not arched in an attempt push the hips through. This hinging movement pattern uses those muscles as the major movers.

What Caused The Pain?

It seems like an obvious cause right? “I rounded my back and tweaked it as I stood up”. Yes, that is a reason, but there is actually another cause for injury when deadlifting. Once you have stood up, if you do not keep your spine neutral, you will relax your core and lose tension. Losing core tension and then returning the bar to the floor is another common cause of low back injury in the deadlift because it causes the spinal erectors to over fire and strain. Of course there will always be random instances of low back injury even when keeping tension, but more often than not it is one of the two things discussed above.

Prevention, Not Rehabilitation.

Technique and controlling intensity will always be the king when it comes to prevention. Never go heavier than you should, always focus on proper movement, keep these two things together and the risk of injury goes way down. This can even be applied to maxing out, it is possible to keep your technique and keep from going too heavy when attempting maximal weight because the threshold of “too heavy” becomes when your technique breaks down to levels that can increase risk of injury, i.e, your low back rounds too much.

Outside of technique and controlling intensity, the next step to prevention is proper warm up, followed by more specific things like prehab exercises. A warm up should get your core engaged, low back engaged, glutes firing, and the hamstrings warm by being stretched and contracted. This stretch and contraction of the hamstrings should be in the form of dynamic stretching, not static stretching. Once the body temp sup and the muscles are moving, begin practicing your technique with an empty bar, then move to light weight and so on.

Third step is some specified prehab exercises. Below is just a handful, but there are plenty others.

  • Core: planks and dead bugs.
  • Hamstrings: death march, single leg RDLs, and banded hamstring curls.
  • Glutes: RDLs, glute bridges, banded walks (monster walks/X-Walks).

Some things that can be done post workout, or after injury:

  • Hip stretching, specifically couch stretch (the hip flexors/psoas attach into the low back at the spinal erectors and tend to get very tight in the event of a low back tweak. Hold for at least 1:00 per side, up to 2:00)
  • Planks, specifically on the elbows, however if that hurts then drop the knees down as well. To perform, think about pulling your elbows and knees toward each other. This will engage the abdominals and pin down your rib cage putting your spine in a neutral position.
  • Prone Press Up. This one is a life saver. Start by laying on your stomach and then post up on just your elbows with them being directly under the shoulders. In this position just try to relax and breath. Hold until your low back relaxes and then place your palms flat on the floor in front of you making a 90 degree angle in the elbow. Begin to slowly and gently press up until you feel a small amount of pain (like a 3/10). Hold for 2-3 seconds and relax back down then repeat. The goal should be that each rep, or every couple, you can push slightly further. Accumulate 20 reps, up to 30.

Why Does Technique Matter?

Why Is It Important To Have Good Technique?

Seems like a silly question right? It seems like an obvious answer too; safety. There is actually more to it than just safety. It’s obviously super important to have that be the main concern because no one wants to get hurt, be injured, and spend time not working out, but the importance of good technique goes deeper than safety and prevention of injury.

The CrossFit Open is coming soon. A key thing that allows high-level athletes to do well in the Open is their efficiency. Efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to doing well in workouts. Everyone knows that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, as opposed to one that zigzags and changes direction multiple times before reaching its destination. Obviously, that is the most efficient option, getting straight to the destination rather than taking a detour because it takes less time and fuel/energy to do so.

So what is efficiency exactly and how does it apply to CrossFit? Efficiency is going to be the quickest way to do something that allows for the least amount of energy spent to do so. That being said, the way it applies to CrossFit is through your efficiency in movement. The more efficient your movement is the least amount of energy that needs to be spent on each rep. Increasing your efficiency in movement comes by improving your technique.

The purpose of improving technique is not just for safety sake, but also to help you become a more efficient athlete. Let’s say we’re doing “Isabel” (30 snatches for time). If you get through 15 reps with poor technique, then chances are you will have spent far more energy to do so than you would have with proper technique. How come? With poor technique, you’re going to be muscling the bar overhead, but if you were to have proper technique then you would be able to explode through the hips to “float” the bar overhead instead, saving the arms and therefore saving energy.

Focus on improving your technique — strength and heavier/harder movements will come. The highest level athletes are not just muscling barbells overhead, or going through high amounts of bar muscles up without an efficient kip swing, they have honed in their technique to get them to where they are. The better your technique, the more efficient you will become. The more efficient you become, the better your workouts will be. The better your workouts get, the better you will get.

Steps You Can Take To Improve Technique

  1. Reduce the weight.
  2. Practice the basics.
  3. Drill a movement for 5-10 minutes after class.
  4. Take a video of yourself and it watch in slo-mo to find things to fix.
  5. Ask a coach for help/listen to your coach.