Number 1 killer in America?heart disease. No surprise there. Our nation is full of overweight, under active individuals that don?t see the future that awaits them. However, don?t get?the impression that if you don?t fall into overweight or under active that you evade heart problems all together. Poor nutrition, inadequate amount of exercise, stress and even genetics can all cause high blood pressure and put you at risk for heart attack. The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity 3-4 times per week to lower blood pressure. Yep you guessed it, CrossFit is considered a vigorous form of exercise. Since most of you fall down after the WOD we think you?d agree.
Talking with a lot of our members, you live in a high stress world with work and kids and tasks each and every day. You feel like you are going non-stop. You try everything you can to make it to the box even once or twice per week, and that?s a great start, but at some point your body is going to need a change. You?re going to need more.
CrossFit is great exercise for the heart. Constantly varying between circuits, strength movements, endurance WODs or short bursts of high intensity ones. All of which make the heart stronger, lowers blood pressure and increases not only life expectancy but also quality of life. We?re a family oriented box. We hang out with each other, play with your kids, ask about your life and want the best for you and your family. Your body is run on the beat of your heart, we want to help do everything in our power to make it the strongest beat it can be.
Make a commitment! Try adding 1 more day a week in the box and see what changes occur. You?d be surprised how much just 1 more day can improve your body?s well being. We challenge you to go out of your comfort zone. Push a little more than you may be comfortable doing. Focus on the struggle, and learn to go harder. Reach deep down and find what motivates you: your kids, your family, competition, the person next to you, or just the feel of a good burn and sweat. We all have our own reasons for choosing CrossFit, but at the core of our being we all want to be healthy and live long a healthy lives with the people we love.
Take care of your body, take care of your soul, you only get one. Ask for help when you need it and dig deep when you have to. Find that next level inside you so you and your heart can keep getting stronger and healthier. Contact us today for a free class if you are new to Crossfit. We want to be your health partner.
Are you a Fat Trimmer?? Better Balancer?? Carb Reducer?
Genetics play a role in everyday life-some people wear glasses or contacts while others enjoy 20/20 vision.? Likewise our genetics play a role in what macronutrients we tend to over store as fat vs. what we burn off faster regarding how it relates to increased metabolism.? Knowing how to combat these macronutrients in your nutrition plan is a key factor in your success.
At CrossFit Collinsville we have a phrase: ?Test ? Don?t Guess?.? This phrase, derived from our want to know the reason behind our genetic dispositions as it relates to nutrition.? This stands as the foundation of our belief in using the genetic test to set goals. Genetic testing, a simple cheek swab completed at an offsite lab, provides knowledge that will better focus your nutritional efforts based on your genetic disposition to store or burn certain macronutrients.?
The test results will group you into one of three categories: Fat Trimmer, Better Balancer, or Carb Reducer.? After determining your group, the formula to kick start your metabolism will be revealed by focusing on the macronutrient proportions best suited for your genes.? With some help and guidance from me, you will begin to understand which sources of macronutrients you want to be careful with & which sources to thrive on.
With this knowledge you can turn METABOLISM and FAT LOSS on its head while putting your genes to work FOR YOU not AGAINST you.?
What is a macronutrient?? ?Macronutrients are nutrients that the body uses in relatively large amounts ? proteins, carbohydrates, and fat-as opposed to micronutrients in which the body requires in smaller amounts-vitamins and minerals.? We need all three macronutrients to survive as they provide calories to the body and perform other vital functions.
LOW/NO CARBS – We often hear about the ?no carb diet? or the ?low carb diet? and the constant references that individuals are not eating carbs as an attempt to lose weight.? But, in actuality, most successful weight losers are minimizing processed carbs and still eating whole food based carbs such as fruits and vegetables.? Fruits and vegetables are great sources of carbohydrates.? Knowledge is the key to understanding proper use of the macronutrient carbohydrate.
CAVEMAN/HIGH PROTEIN – Similarly we hear about people living the ?caveman? diet or high protein diet in which they eat high quantities of meat of everyday.? The issue that most run into is they eat a ton of meat EVERYDAY–this was not how Mr. or Mrs. Caveman lived.? The caveman (or cavewoman) woke up daily and began moving and working to survive. Cavemen hunted and gathered food daily, for survival.? What most of us do not realize is that cavemen were lucky to come across game, let alone successfully make the kill.? Prepping hunted game was not an easy task–they didn?t have freezers, zip lock bags, or refrigerators to store meat for future meals.? They ate for the day and started back over the next morning Mr. & Mrs. Caveman RARELY saw large quantities of meat EVERDAY, in fact, not seeing game for two consecutive days was normal.? Cavemen moved all day working to hunt and gather food sources which is why today we see cavemen depicted in lean physiques and look crazy FIT.? Most modern day ?caveman? enthusiasts hear the word meat and hyper focus on eating large quantities of protein every meal without hunting or gathering and instead type at a desk most of the day.? Weeks later ?meat/protein enthusiast? are left scratching their heads at their lack of weight loss and are pondering the reason for their plateau.
LOW FAT – The word ?FAT? typically makes most run for the hills. ?Most find the thought of creating meals or meal plans around fats very confusing. ?Again the confusion comes from lack of understanding where valuable forms of fat can be found.? Whole foods like nuts, olives, avocados, etc. contain great nutrients in the FAT category and are a part of a whole food plan.?? Healthy forms of fats can be found if you search for quality sources in the grocery store or farmers market.
I personally have a knowledge base and understanding about the above examples because I spent a solid 18 months educating myself on understanding the different models. ?I began my journey with nothing but my own knowledge and experiences so I made many of the mistakes I describe above.? Eighteen months after I started my journey I was down a meager 7lbs from when I proclaimed my goal of ?getting me back?.? That?s when I turned to science and ordered my genetic test.? I also went a step further and optioned for the food journal that was supported by my test results.? From there I got my micronutrient (vitamins/minerals) intake in balance by switching to a liquid vitamin to increase my absorption rate.? With the information provided by the genetic test and food journal I was quickly able to develop the knowledge and skills to build daily approaches to my meals that turned my metabolism INSIDE OUT!? I dropped 30 lbs. (and still counting!) from November to May and I did it the healthy way–through proper nutrition with appropriate caloric daily intake and exercise.?
Through my genetic testing I learned I am a ?carb reducer?.? With that information I immediately went to the food journal, plugged in the results and began focusing on creating a daily meal plan that matched my genetic test results.?? By focusing on hitting my daily percentage in each macronutrient category plus my caloric intake goals, I was able to begin melting like a snowman.? I greatly believe in this genetic test and now have it available for any client/friend/family member or stranger off the street looking to gain knowledge and understanding of their genes or looking for ways to improve management of macronutrients.
BEFORE the test, I took in approximately 50% or more of my calories through protein.? AFTER my test I average 25-35% of my calories in proteins.? BEFORE my test I was hungry all the time, I wasn?t sleeping well, and I suffered from headaches.? After implementing the knowledge I gained from the genetic testing, I feel better than I have in years all because I know understand the way my body can handle and process foods.?
Now if I over do it (which I still do ? I mean what are holidays for?)? My body relays messages to me.? That stomachache I?m having after all that ham, turkey, and meatballs?? That?s my body?s way of saying too much of this category – we can?t break it down fast enough so it?s going to have to sit here and wait in line until we can get to it.? All that protein backed up and not being broken down efficiently causes me to have a stomach ache, head ache, and feel just plain miserable when I move at all because I have too much in my system for my body to handle at one time and I have to ?wait it out?
Jen Doehring, owner of CrossFit Collinsville and a health enthusiast has a passion for knowledge and passing that knowledge onto others.? She will peel back the layers of unhealthy life style habits and help you begin a path towards better help. ?Much of her success has come from putting her genetic test results into a action plan.
Attached?you will find insight on the 3 RESULTS that the genetic test may provide you.? It was interesting to me that I tested as a ?Carb Reducer? and my kid brother came back a ?Fat Trimmer?.? Here I thought that because we were blood he would test the same as me?? The Test ? Don?t Guess method is a surefire way to make sure your plan is the right one.?
To learn more, I?m available in a couple different settings:
-?????? 30 minute Health Coaching Consultation – $45
-?????? Health Coaching Accountability Sessions
- (4) 30 minute sessions – $160
- (8) 15 minute sessions – $160
-?????? Genetic Test + consultation – $199
To inquire about one of these settings or to make a purchase, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or shoot me a call @ 618-344-3858.
Below you will find a breakdown on the results one would receive from the genetic test.? ?
HOW THE?CARB REDUCER PLAN WORKS. The Carb Reducer Plan is designed to provide approximately:
- 45% complex carbs
- 20% protein
- 35% healthy fats
Daily meal plans feature:
- Three meals and two snacks
- Portions of lean proteins and healthy fats
- Complex carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
The plan uses the Food Exchange System* that is a foundation of the American Dietetic Association. The Carb Reducer Plan is not a no-carb approach. It focuses on replacing “simple” carbohydrates (i.e., white breads, pastas, candy bars, and soda) with “complex” carbs, found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. ??
HOW THE FAT TRIMMER PLAN WORKS.
The Fat Trimmer? Plan helps you cut calories by reducing fat to 20% of your total calories for weight loss. This approach offers the perfect opportunity to expand your horizons with herbs and spices and fresh foods.
The plan is not a no-fat diet but it is low in fat. Your body will reap the benefits of taking in less fat and protein exchanges with an emphasis on complex carbohydrates.?
The Fat Trimmer Plan is designed to provide approximately:
- 65% complex carbs
- 15% protein
- 20% healthy fats
?Daily meal plans feature:?
- Three meals and two snacks
- Controlled portions of lean proteins and healthy fats
- Complex carbohydrates from fruits
- Supplements to support your nutritional needs
- A short daily workout.
HOW THE BETTER BALANCER PLAN WORKS. The Better Balancer? Plan is designed to provide approximately:
- 55% carbs
- 20% protein
- 25% healthy fats
Daily meal plans feature:?
- Three meals and two snacks
- Portions of lean proteins and healthy fats
- Complex carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
The plan uses the Food Exchange System* that is a foundation of the American Dietetic Association. The Better Balancer Plan balances carbohydrates, protein, and fat, while reducing calories in order to better manage your weight. This plan encourages the consumption of foods that meet your nutritional needs, but not too much of any one nutrient. ?Article Credit: ?Jen Doehringemail@example.com
Are you the athlete that sits at home the night before, gets antsy and fidgety or even sets an alarm on their phone for 5 pm when the WOD for the next day is posted, then after reading decides if they want to come to class or not? Do you cherry pick your WOD?s based on the movements for the next day?…..we should stop posting the WOD ;)??? Think about the kind of athlete you are (yes you are an athlete whether you lift a PVC pipe or 1,000 lbs consider yourself an athlete) Now, are you an athlete that comes 5-6x/week, 3-5x/week or 2x/week or less?
Ask yourself what you?re goals are. Why do you CrossFit? The community you have found, your weightloss goals, your strength or performance goals, is it something that gets you out of the house for at least an hour and helps you keep your sanity amongst chaos? Now with the goals you have, are your workout criteria meeting those goals? If your goal is weightloss, and you come 1x/week, is what you want and what you?re doing on the same page? Obviously not. Same can be said about strength or performance goals. If your current routine does not meet what your goals are, maybe it?s time to talk to a coach for help! We?re here to offer assistance any way we can and we have numerous resources to do so. Don?t be afraid, life happens, CrossFit is meant to prepare you for the physical tests you face in life, coaches will help you overcome the other obstacles you face in life. Take advantage of it!
Now for the breakdown. Go back to the kind of athlete you are, how many times/week do you get a workout in? If this is 2x/week or less, every single workout you should be going hard and heavy and getting as much out of this environment as you can. That?s it, no if?s and?s or but?s because you only get the coaches, other athletes, equipment and the competitive mindset and programming for 1-2x/week so you need to soak it all up!?
If you are the 3-5x/week athlete, choose 1 day as an ?active recovery? day. This is the day that you don?t take completely off, but you don?t lift any barbells either, still get a good workout in but on a lighter scale and mix it in with mobility. This is still done in the box, communicated to the coach beforehand saying ?Hey, this is my active recovery day, I?d like to get some good mobility and soft tissue work done as well as the METCON? and watch how well your body recovers and how much more mobile you get.
If you are the 5-6x/week athlete, three things are said for you. First, make sure you take one day in the box as a lighter day. Meaning if you are consistently someone who Rx?s the WOD?s, take a day in level 3 or so to make sure you don?t completely tear your body down and can?t recover. Second, make sure you have an active recovery day/mobility day as well. Don?t take mobility for granted! Doing a lift ?sort of well because something doesn?t quite move right? is not the right mind-set to have. Take advantage of the tools and resources around you, use an active recovery/mobility day and we bet you see better improvements on PR?s. And last make sure you take a day completely off. This doesn?t mean go for a ?light? 3-5 mile run (or more), a 20 mile bike ride, or a ?leisurely? hike, this means off, completely off. Rest for goodness sakes! Your body needs to recover. If it?s been a while since a PR, ask yourself if you take any days off, do you do the necessary mobility, if you can honestly and whole heartedly say yes to both and still no improvements then it?s time to talk to a coach 😉
Whatever kind of athlete you are, we?re glad you?re our athlete 🙂 Keep working hard, keep asking questions, keep getting educated and keep pushing yourself to find new limits.
As always?.Happy WOD-ing!
Your power clean should look as smooth as you do on your Senior Prom.? Think of it this way when you are getting ready for a hot date or job interview you take your time to clean up nice.? Same thing should go for when you are doing power cleans in the gym or during a WOD.? Developing a good looking Clean doesn?t happen overnight or in 5 minutes. It takes time to perfect the movement and understand the mechanics.?
Why are power cleans so awesome? Well, it?s because it is one of the most athletic strength and power development movements that a person or athlete can do. It develops total body strength by using every major muscle group and requires the right movement patterns to be successful at the lift.? That?s why you see it so much in CrossFit boxes and your local high school gyms.? The benefits to doing cleans are second to none in my opinion.?
With that being said since doing cleans are so popular in the strength in conditioning world at any level of sport or CrossFit box everybody thinks that they can coach it because they did it when they were playing football in college or saw videos of it on you tube. Understanding biomechanics and human movement is much more important. This all starts usually at high school level weight lifting programs.? I think it is great when kids or athletes begin lifting weights but only if they have an understanding of the movement and have been taught correctly by a coach.???
The downfall of athletes performing cleans and other lifts inside these programs are that they are working in enormous groups of kids who are not shown proper technique but rather a quick description and then told to throw weight on the bar.? RED FLAG! Young athletes need to develop good habits and movement patterns first because they are still developing. Efficient movement and mechanics will do more good in the long run than hyper focusing on the 1RM.? That will happen naturally if they are taught correctly. On top of learning proper technique the athletes must possess the right amount of mobility and coordination to allow them to get into a good position.? It will be much harder to learn if mobility issues are not addressed.?
When learning to Clean you must understand each position of the movement by breaking it up into position holds and moving slowly so you know what each part of the movement feels like.? After this is understood then you focus on the speed of the movement.? When working the full movement a common coaching cue I use is ?Controlled Explosion?.? Almost all sports require this.? Generating force such as swinging a bat or throwing a pitch is controlled explosion. What does this mean?? When the bar is lifted off the floor to above the knee the bar should be controlled and keep all the muscles engaged. In other words, not rushing off the floor causing your hips to shoot up first and then throwing them at the bar to make contact.? Instead, lock yourself in and once you reach the power position that is when you unleash the explosion.? Full explosion results in ?Triple?Extension? which includes hips, knees, and ankle which occurs in all sports.? If this is achieved with good contact and vertical pull of the bar then a quick and explosive clean will result.?
When it comes to improving strength and power and overall athleticism cleans should no doubt be a part?take your performance to the next level or need help cleaning up your technique contact Coach Thomas for 1 on 1 Personal Training. ?A 30 minute session for $45 or 4 sessions for $160. firstname.lastname@example.org?or by phone 618-344-3858.of your routine.? Don?t tackle this on your own! If you are looking to
Article Credit: ?Chris Thomas
Liquids are becoming ever more popular. ?From?juicing your vegetables and fruits, to enjoying your?coffee for the caffeine kick, to the way many people choose to relax over a cold one. ?Ever?wonder why we DRINK alcohol? Why isn?t it something we eat? Why don?t they make pure rum beef jerky or 100 proof candy bars? The answer is simple ? alcohol is intended to get into your blood stream to create a desired cause from its effect and drinking it is a much more effective way to do that.
So?? how do vitamins tie into this? ??.
Recently we have seen liquid vitamins grow in popularity as opposed to the pill forms we are used to. There is good reason for this and it?s not just because they are easier to take. Just like the alcohol you had this weekend, vitamins are more effective in liquid form.
Absorption rate is the name of the game here. Anything we put into our body has an absorption rate. In easy terms it means how much of what you put in your body is actually being used, and how much is simply waiting for you to use the rest room so it can leave you.
When vitamins or alcohol is in liquid form, it immediately begins being absorbed in big quantities by our intestines. When we swallow a pill, our digestive system has to break the pill down before it can be absorbed. Many times only part of the pill is broken down before it moves on and prepares for freedom at your next bathroom break. There are some vitamins that can have an absorption rate of near 90% in liquid form, but only a 20% rate in pill form. That means that 80% of that horse pill I choked down was useless, and is about to give my toilet all the vitamin alphabet it could ever want.
As health focused people, we like to know that what we consume has the desired effect. If we decide to sip on some of Uncle Jesse?s famous moonshine (Dukes of Hazzard reference J),? we want it to be effective, and if we decide to commit to a daily vitamin routine, we want it to be effective as well.
Credit: ?Chris Fair
You want me to go LOWER? ?But at the gym, at school, or on t.v. I see everyone just squatting a short distance – why would I want to go LOWER? ?
Everyone from grandmas to football players should be learning how to do squats to the proper range of motion that is safe for their current functional movement patterns.? Unfortunately most people have no idea how to establish what is a safe depth or how to move through the range of motion properly.
See the picture of the little guy in the picture – this is how we were made to move! ?Over time less range of motion, lazy habits, improper technique creep in and we lose the ability to take our butt to our heels while maintaing a up-right posture. ?Next time you are around a baby that has recently started walking and watch them squat down to pick something up off of the floor you can see this in action! ?It?s pretty impressive that it is such a natural movement and they have had no training of this and yet they perform it very well.? A big reason is the mobility they have in their joints, muscles, and tendons. Not because they are thinking about weight in heels, knees out, chest up, or tight lumbar.? It is encoded in our brains and at that age we don?t even have think about it.?
So why do adults have so much trouble squatting properly?? It?s because they have had years to develop bad habits and not focus on staying mobile or flexible like they were when they were kids.? When adults and kids spend most of their time sitting and are not very active throughout the day then the muscles tend to get stiff and make it harder to move and get into proper positions.? What do you expect in this day and age and the change in lifestyle that has occurred over the years.? That being said it is not too late to fix it.
Most of the pain and tightness that people encounter is because of using the wrong muscles and movement patterns to do a squat.? When the body lacks the mobility to get into good positions the body will over compensate in other areas to try and perform the movement.? Adults and older individuals need to learn these things and develop strength in these areas because it can change a person?s quality of life.? The ability to get up and down on the floor to play with kids or grandchildren or do tasks around the house will be much easier.? Squatting builds stronger more dense muscle as well as increasing bone density therefore reducing the chance of injuries from falls.
Let?s talk about the athletes now.? As a coach who works with athletes of all sports it is very rare that I get an athlete who comes in their first day and has good squat let alone a perfect one.? Why did they forget from when they were kids? Bad habits were developed, lack of coaching, and inactivity are some of the causes.? Sometimes there are anatomical issues going on or even have suffered an injury.? When it comes to an athlete performing squats whether it is football, basketball, volleyball or any sport it is one of the most important exercises that an athlete can do.? It develops strength and power in the lower body that is essential for all movement and provides a foundation.? Athletes will run faster, jump higher, and have less chance of injury if they are performing squats the right way.? When I started lifting weights in high school for sports I never had someone truly break down the movement and focus on mechanics.? It was all about how much weight you were doing, instead it should have been the opposite.? If you goals are to improve strength and size, etc. then proper technique and depth should be priority #1 weight 2nd.? Once I shifted my focus I improved my functional strength as an athlete.?
Long story short it doesn?t matter if you are a 14 year old kid working out at your high school or a grandpa whose daily activity is going out to pick up the newspaper.? The squat is essential for life and sport and allows you to be a strong and healthy individual.?
Desire to improve, get better, or just get some help? ?For just $45 you can go through a a 30 minute functional movement screen and see what areas are hurting! ?Contact Chris Thomas via email at email@example.com or by phone at 618-344-3858.
Credit: ?Chris Thomas
This is a common phrase that we heard as a child. We would make our way over to the cabinet and pull out our Flintstone?s chewables. We would gnaw the head off of Barney, or Wilma, or Fred, and then off we went to school knowing that we were healthier because we consumed our little cave men for the day.
Seems to me that there are 2 points in life that we really value vitamins – childhood and pregnancy. It?s pretty common to see kids still downing the Flintstone family or something comparable and it seems like the first piece of advice that we give mother?s to be is to start taking pre-natal vitamins. I find it interesting because this is so different from the intended meaning of the word ?vitamins?. Vitamins got their name because they are seen as ?vital? to the human body. In other words, we have to have them to function properly. We ALL have to have them, not just children and pregnant women. I can understand the emphasis put on kids taking their vitamins because kids tend to be picky eaters, so getting all of their vitamins just from the foods they eat may be tough. However, I would argue that in our fast food, genetically modified world, even adults with very broad pallets still have a hard time getting everything they need just from the foods they eat. Even more, many pharmacist and nutritionist will tell you that the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) that the USDA puts out for vitamins is out dated. Many feel that if we take into consideration the common types of foods in our society today, we need more than the RDA of certain vitamins and minerals to stay healthy and stave off disease.
Let?s talk about disease for just a second. It is a fact that getting the proper vitamins will help prevent disease. So it is not surprising that some of the best treatments for cancer and other diseases that researchers have found include vitamins. If you are looking for a loose, yet entertaining, example of this, see the movie ?Dallas Buyers Club? (3 Oscars can?t be wrong!!)
I?ll conclude with my own personal experience. I, like many of you, have been a chronic caffeinater ever since I have entered the work force. Being a Coach at CrossFit Collinsville makes for some early mornings, and being the Head of Baseball at Turn 2 Baseball & Softball makes for some late nights. Several cups of coffee from breakfast to lunch, and then an IV of Mountain Dew or Coke to finish out the night was pretty typical. I have adopted 2 habits that have changed this dramatically. The first is hydration (at a measly 160 lbs. my goal is to consume a minimum of 80 oz. of water each day, however, I average around 100 oz. on active rest days, and almost 200 oz. on heavy activity days). The second is a simple daily vitamin regimen. With both of these habits in play I now consume a single large cup of coffee on most mornings because I enjoy it, not because I need it to function, and soda has become something I will treat myself to only on very rare occasions, also for the enjoyment. The added benefit of both of these habits has been healthier food intake overall, because I don?t find my appetite as stunted as I did when I was high on caffeine all day.
Long story short, our vitamin habits shouldn?t end once we have outgrown the Flintstone?s. Whatever our health goals are ? weight loss, weight gain, performance, etc, vitamins are a VITAL part. ? For more information on our preferred choice of Vitamins inquire with one of our coaches or contact Jen Doehring via firstname.lastname@example.org. ?Coaching people on habits that will make them healthier, happier, and experience a better?quality of life is a passion for us at CFC. ?If you want help adopting this habit or more set up a 30 minute consultation today!
Credit: ?Chris Fair
By William Imbo: BoxLife Magazine
The overhead squat (OH squat) is, for many CrossFitters?one of the most vexing movements in the CrossFit repertoire. It exposes weaknesses in flexibility, balance, strength and coordination. For these reasons (and many more) athletes will avoid putting in the countless hours needed to develop the tools required for a strong OH squat. Many an athlete will be content to have a mediocre (or poor) overhead squat, as their back squat, deadlift etc. is strong?and that?s fine, it?s a personal choice. BUT, before you head down that road, or if you?re getting frustrated with how your OH squat is progressing, have a read of what Coach Glassman (Greg Glassman, founder and CEO of CrossFit)?has to say on the movement:
?The overhead squat is the ultimate core exercise, the heart of the snatch, and peerless in developing effective athletic movement. This functional gem trains for efficient transfer of energy from large to small body parts ? the essence of sport movement. For this reason it is an indispensable tool for developing speed and power. The overhead squat also demands and develops functional flexibility, and similarly develops the squat by amplifying and cruelly punishing faults in squat posture, movement, and stability.?
-Greg Glassman, CrossFit Journal
As Glassman says, the OH squat?will?expose the deficiencies you have?this is why it is such a valuable tool to work on. Getting better at the OH squat will develop skills that transfer over to several other major movements and lifts (like the snatch) in CrossFit?not to mention being an excellent way to develop effective (athletic) movement in and out of the gym. So, stop neglecting your OH squat training! While your coach will likely show you the fundamentals of the movement, we wanted to give you some extra tips that you may not know about (and if you already do, it?s always good to be reminded!). Read on for 6 tips for developing the OH squat.
1-Identify mobility issues?then work on them
You will have likely heard this countless times before, but if you can?t execute a solid air squat, then there?s no point in trying to progress to an overhead squat. Make sure you have a solid squat foundation first, then try a couple of OH squats with a training bar (not a pvc pipe?I explain why below) as you will likely discover additional mobility issues, namely in your shoulders. The OH squat requires excellent flexibility in the shoulders, hips, hamstrings, glutes and adductors (groin muscle). It?s unlikely that you are highly mobile in all of these areas?which is why the OH squat is avoided by so many. It may be frustrating, but you MUST invest the time into sufficiently mobilizing the afore-mentioned muscle groups in order to externally rotate your hips and become comfortable squatting with a bar overhead.
2-Develop midline stability
The overhead squat demands a high amount of midline stability, and therefore a high amount of core stability. Given that this movement requires you to hold a weighted bar overhead, much of the stability work will go to the core?most predominately the lower back. If you do not have an active midline when performing the OH squat (or any lift where the weight is overhead), you are susceptible to hyper-extending the lower back, resulting in an unfavorable overhead position?not to mention putting yourself at risk of injury. It is therefore imperative that you strengthen your core muscles and mobilize your lower back as often as possible. Every time you do a movement in class, think tight butt, ribcage down?this will help develop a neutral pelvic position instead of an anterior pelvic tilt (i.e. hyper-extension of the lower back).
Midline Stability Drills:
Hip Mobility then
50 Hollow Rocks
50 Single Leg Bridges
25 Strict toes to bar/Knees to elbows
3-Start with the right weight-but NOT a pvc pipe
Wait a second?don?t start training with the trusty pvc pipe? Why not? Well, Tamara Reynolds, a competitive weightlifter, coach and co-founder of Weightlifting Academy, explains why you should learn with a barbell (or training bar) instead:
?Part of the difficulty of an overhead squat is keeping the bar over your base. It?s possible to lock out a PVC pipe in all sorts of places that aren?t correct without even realizing it. You need to be able to feel where the bar should be so that you can ingrain the correct positioning, and using a barbell instead of PVC helps make this possible.?
A lot of CrossFit coaches may disagree with Reynolds, but I must say, what she says make sense. A PVC pipe is so light that you could be developing bad habits and positioning without realizing it. Using a bar that is weighted yet light enough to hold overhead will force you to engage your core (midline stability) and reveal any areas of your body that still require mobility work in order to perform the squat with correct positioning.
4-Press into the bar
When performing the OH squat, you should be thinking about constantly lifting/pushing the weight, and never just ?holding it?. USA Weightlifting sports performance coach and competitive weightlifter Kat Ricker?explains why?you want to avoid simply holding the bar:
?One reason the OHS can be so counter intuitive is that the body wants to move as a unit through the dynamics of physics ? in this case gravity ? which means that as you descend, the muscle groups involved in keeping the bar raised tend to relax, hold, and depress. So the scapular group tries to switch from elevation to depression. The upper traps try to switch from concentric contraction to bigger balance with eccentric, to brace the body to catch the overhead falling weight.?
Needless to say, you do?not?want your muscles to be relaxed and depressed during the movement?they should be flexed to form a solid base of support for the weight overhead. Next time you are practicing your OH squat try pressing into the bar and see if you feel any improvements.
5-Stabilize in the hole
When you descend into the lowest part of the squat?the hole?it?s important not to rush out of it too soon as you risk losing your form. Instead take a moment to stabilize yourself and the bar. Make sure that you?re flatfooted, weight in your heels and your elbows and shoulders are turned out (armpits facing forwards). Doing this will reduce the risk of losing control of the bar path when you rise out of the squat and keep you moving efficiently?but don?t take to long to stabilize as your muscles may lose tension and you could get stuck down there, which will likely lead to you bailing on the lift. When everything is set and you feel comfortable, go ahead and drive out of the squat, with good form.
6-Train with pause squats
Getting comfortable at the bottom of the squat is probably the trickiest part of the entire movement. To work on this element of the exercise, it?s important to get used to having the bar (and weight) above your head when you?re at the bottom of the squat?the hole. One way to do is by training with pause squats (this exercise can be utilized to develop your front and back squats as well). Pause squats are great for developing power out of the hole, building torso rigidity, taking stress off of the knees and developing confidence and comfort in the lift?to name just a few benefits.
There are a number of variations that you can play around when pause squatting, but one that I have personally found effective utilizes a four-second hold. To do this, start with the bar racked and at a much lighter weight than you would normally use for 3-4 reps. Take the bar off the rack and get into your OH squat position and squat down into the lowest possible position you can achieve (while maintaining good form!). Hold this position for a count of four, then drive out of the hole. Repeat for a total of four reps, five sets, ascending in weight each set.
Credit: ?Laura Knutson
Recovery is an important aspect of a CrossFitter?s regimen. Without proper recovery routines the body fails to rebuild itself after a vigorous workout. Recovery can be a number of things and in a perfect world would involve as many as possible.
1. Always take some time to stretch after a workout ? your muscles are warm and loose, the more range of motion you can get after a workout, the better your flexibility will be over time, the better positions you will be able to get yourself into [ex: deeper in your squat] and the stronger you will become. This doesn?t have to be 10 minutes every class. We make a conscious effort to give you at least 5 minutes with a structured cool down, start to take advantage of the stretching and mobility aspects that are written for you as they coincide with the movements you just completed. The more flexible you are, the more capable you become.
2. Spend even a few minutes a day working on a mobility weakness of yours ? for most people hip mobility is a big weakness and can always be improved upon. We?re not asking for hours on end-spent daily correcting these weaknesses, as that is unrealistic. However if you can choose one mobility movement and work on it once a day you will already be improving without too much time commitment. Kelly Starrett is always a good go-to source for some good mobility exercises. His youtube channel is a good one to follow. Mobility leads to efficiency, let?s become very efficient movers!
3. Get in the proper nutrients needed before and after a workout ? your body can?t run on empty, something small before a workout will help your body propel through the high intensity training you put it through. Eat something that works for you and will not upset your stomach during a workout. Get a good post-workout routine going. Your body will do well getting a little protein in afterwards, whether this is a shake, piece of chicken, anything that works in your routine to help recover from the breakdown of your muscles that lifting does. It does not need to be mass amounts but no matter how much weight you lift, your muscles have broken down and will repair even stronger (thus helping you lift more next time) and need some protein to help that process.
4. Fit Kill Cliff into your routine ? kill cliff is a great recovery drink full of anti-inflammatories. It has clean ingredients and is very cost effective for our athletes. It contains vitamins, enzymes, plant extracts and electrolytes. It also has no sugar added and only 15 calories so not to stifle your nutrient intake for the day. You can get it right in the box or talk to your trainer about ordering a case for your household. For more information on kill cliff ask any of our trainers or visit their site.
5. Get a good night sleep! ? Sleep is a very important part of the recovery process. Your body spends time repairing and rebooting in your REM cycle and when you don?t get a good, sound night of sleep it doesn?t get time to do that. Then you come in to workout the next day and wonder why you can?t lift or feel like you have in previous days. Having a good routine before bed will dramatically help improve your sleep cycle helping you to be less restless. Try and be off all electronics and spend 5 minutes reading a book before you try and fall asleep.
You only get one body, take care of it and take the necessary measure to makes sure it lasts a lifetime. For help on any of these aspects reach out to your trainer and set up a 30 minute Health & Lifestyle Coaching Consultation – $45 ? and set yourself up for success. Email email@example.com.
Feeling thirsty? Then you are already a little dehydrated, here are some ways that drinking water can help!
1. Water can help control calories. Simply substitute water for any higher calories beverages you may be consuming and enjoy the benefits from your waistline to your energy level!
2. When you?re hydrated, you can exercise longer and stronger. Not drinking enough water leads to muscle cramping and decreases lubricants in your joints.
3. Water can help increase energy. Most people reach for a caffeinated drink at least 1-2 times a day if not more. Dehydration plays a big factor in your energy level and how tired you feel. Next time you want that afternoon coffee or diet soda try drink two or three bottles of water and watch your energy bounce back!
4. 70% to 80% of your brain tissue is water. To keep stress levels down, keep a glass of water at your desk and drink from it regularly. This little habit also helps with physical and mental breaks. Make a goal to drain your glass every hour causing you to take a break from work to re-fill your cup every hour. Getting up and walking around greatly improves your activity level and your posture.
5. Got Wrinkles? More h20 = less wrinkles! It hydrates skin cells and plumps them up making your face look younger!
6. Helps with digestion by dissolving particles and helps pass them through your digestive tract.
7. How much water should you drink? Size, activity level, the weather and your general health all play a factor in how much water you should drink. Start with a goal of 100oz daily and increase if you feel more fatigue, thirst, or cramping during activity!
Credit: ?Jen Doehring