Are you familiar with the concept of the “redline“? It refers to the maximum engine speed, usually measured by the RPM (revolutions per minute), at which an engine can be operated without causing damage. Human beings have that redline too, but it varies from individual to individual, and it has a lot to do with […]
The L-sit Chin-up is a killer exercise with a movement that is borrowed from gymnastics. It helps strengthen the abdominal muscles, hip flexors, shoulders, back, biceps, and builds up your entire “core”. Your core strength involves all of the muscles of your abdominal region and back, and they are critical for supporting your spine and keeping your body stable and balanced during many different exercises and weightlifting movements. The stronger your core is, the better you will become at lifting weights and body weight exercises; plus you will reduce your risk of injury.
About 6 weeks ago, I tore a muscle in my leg. Not fun. I do CrossFit 4-5 times a week and I do trail running on the weekend. So, you can imagine how unhappy I was to be injured and forced to do some rest and recovery. I got back into my CrossFit box pretty soon and just focused on upper-body lifts and workouts. But, I couldn’t run or jump. After about 2 weeks, I started adding back leg work again (Squats, OHS) and full-body work (Deadlifts). But, I still can’t run or jump (no box jumps for me). I’ve been doing modified metcons and rowing to keep up my cardio, but it’s nothing like 5 mile runs, of course.
I’ve been using a really firm J Fit foam roller for quite some time now. As I wrote about in this post, using a foam roller is a critical useful tool for increasing blood flow and circulation to your muscles and tissues to promote healing. They can also provide “myofascial release”, which is a technique that results in softening and lengthening of the fascia over your muscles. By focusing the roller on places where you are stiff, sore, or are experiencing reduced flexibility; you can break down unwanted adhesions between the fascia and the underlying muscle tissue. At first the foam roller was pretty painful. But after using it for awhile, I’m used to it and it takes a lot more pressure to work on the knots in my muscles.
I’ve been watching a series of 5 Squat videos from Matt Wenning over at Elite FTS. Oh, and by the way, Matt can squat 1100 lbs. I’m glad that I ran into these today, because tomorrow is our Squat day at my CrossFit box. There are some really great tips on how to maintain proper, powerful, and safe form while doing the squat. He shows a guy adding 40-50 lbs to his max Squat in just one session, thanks to improvements in form. Pretty impressive! Then he wraps up the series talking about how to address your weaknesses through assistance exercises that will help you strengthen the muscles that you need to have work together in more powerful harmony during the Squat. I’ve put the full series of 5 videos together for you below. Enjoy!
Sorry, I feel the need to rant a bit today. I just keep seeing too many tweets on Twitter about how proud some CrossFit folks are of their blistered and bleeding hands from doing pull-ups. They are usually referring to high reps of kipping pull-ups. Bleeding hands from pull-ups aren’t some CrossFit “badge of honor”. It’s actually an indicator that you aren’t gripping the pull-up bar correctly. Now, before you get your hackles up and puff out your chest, I had the same problem. When I started CrossFit last year and began doing a high volume of pull-ups, I built up calluses and blisters. I noticed that it kept hurting more and more as that new callused area was getting pinched between the top of my palm and the bar. So, I did some research before it became a bleeding issue and I’ll share what I found below in some photos and a video. You really can avoid it! It’s all about your grip style and it builds up your grip strength and toughens up your hands more evenly.
I described what a Tabata workout is in an earlier post. A Tabata is high-intensity interval training (HITT) and is basically 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise and then 10 seconds of rest, repeated for 8 cycles continuously for 4 minutes. It really packs a ton of cardio and fat-burning exercise into the longest 4 minutes of your life. Today we did it for 4 exercises back to back (Squat Cleans, Pull-ups, Burpees, Kettlebell Swings), so that makes it the longest 16 minutes of your life. Who would think you would be completely drained after just 16 minutes of exercise? But, try it sometime and I think you will discover the same thing. I have a love/hate relationship with the Tabata. More than a lot of other conditioning WOD’s, you really do feel like you’re competing against yourself (if you track your progress as you should be doing!). I love that and, looking back at my past performance, I see improvements that motivate me a lot. That includes physical changes that I can see; burning off fat and getting a lot more muscle definition. The hate? The Tabata workouts really wipe me out and, like I said, you would never imagine how long 4 minutes can feel.
I think too many people get caught up in their favorite sport or exercise and focus on the training that drives that. I often get asked; “What weight lifting or training can I do to improve sport XYZ or body part ABC?” When I tell them that they need to focus on overall body balance, […]
Once you finally get into the exercise groove, it can be tempting to keep adding more hours and days. The logic is simple, but flawed: If I’m getting results with my current level of exercise, I can speed up my progress and get even better results by doing more. That’s when you see people working […]
Slow and steady wins the race. Right? But, how many times have you become impatient and rushed things to try to achieve faster progress? I know that I have. Or, maybe you yielded to your competitive spirit and refused to be slower or weaker than the other guy (even though he or she was younger […]