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November 2014

Stupid Hurts...A Lot!

Why-so-stupidLet's face a couple cold, hard truths here: people are stupid and groups of people are even stupider!

People Are Stupid: without some good guidance (rules, "adult supervision", tasers, etc.) people are going to do stupid things because they a) think it's cool; b) think it makes them look cool; c) they want to be on the leader board; or d) they want to be on YouTube.  Without someone, meaning a responsible coach or trainer, to reign in the stupidity (and hopefully add some common sense and knowledgeable guidance to the situation) people are going to do things that get them hurt.  If your coach or trainer is not advising you on how to scale each and every workout then you are training at the wrong gym; and if they aren't scaling the workouts for you what the the heck are you paying them for anyway?

Groups of People Are Stupider: get a group of people together in a dynamic and highly volatile environment and they are going to do stupid things; think Spring Break, mosh pits, riots and most CrossFit Gyms.  The group environment can do amazing things for some people by getting them fired up and making them want to work harder and achieve more.  For others it just ends up being a "d$%k measuring" contest and a "win-at-all-costs" competition.  The coaches role in the group environment is crucial to ensure everyones safety (even if it means keeping some people safe from themselves) as well as to keep the "competitive spirit" in check.  If your coach isn't stopping athletes from going too hard, too fast, and too soon then (once again) you need to look for somewhere else to train.

Check out this great article on the three reasons you get hurt at CrossFit and see if any of this is happening in your gym!


The Value of Good Coaching

CoachDo you know what your Coach brings to your training?  Do you understand their place in your training and how they are there to support, encourage, guide, and occasionally kick you in the A$$?

Think about how they are making things easier for you by making things harder.  Sometimes they are throwing obstacles in your way to allow you the opportunity to overcome them.  Sometimes they are removing obstacles, especially the ones that you create, so that you can move on to bigger and better things.

The most important thing that your coach brings to your training is knowledge.  They have spent many years honing their craft and are, if you are lucky, still working on broadening their knowledge base and refining their coaching skills.

That is if you are lucky.  If you're not lucky you'll get a coach who learned his craft reading books, magazines or articles online.  They developed their skills by watching videos on YouTube or by going to an three hour (Olympic Lifting, Zumba, BodyPump, Ninja, etc.) certification.

How can you tell the difference?  Look for the clues that will be all around the good ones and the bad ones... and if you still can't tell then you need to find a new coach fast.  BTW - be careful of the coach who "does it all"... but does nothing well!


Dead Hang Pull Ups

Ab_wheelThe debate over which pull up is better (Kipping or Dead Hang) is going to continue - but is there really need for a debate?  I don't think so!

Within reason they are both valuable skills to develop.  There is no reason whatsoever to debate the merit of a ballistic over a grind, let's say the Snatch over the Press, so why would you argue the difference between a Kipping and a Dead Hang Pull up?  you shouldn't because they are two different techniques.

Don't think so?  Try doing Fran, one of the most evil of all the CrossFit WODs, with Dead Hang Pull Ups.  I guarantee that you will find that it is a COMPLETELY different workout than what you are used to.

Look - Pull Ups are good for you... period!  You should be doing ballistic or grinding Pull Ups on a regular basis and you shouldn't favor one over the other.  That's right: if you're really good at Kipping Pull Ups then you should fill in the blanks in your strength by doing Dead Hang Pull Ups.  If you are really good at Dead Hang Pull Ups then you should develop the athleticism and integration that Kipping Pull Ups give you.  BTW - don't bother with Butterfly Pull Ups!?!? Seriously, you need to work on something that is going to give you some time under tension or some end benefit.  I just don't see what Butterfly Pull Ups do... :)


If you need some more reasons to work on your Pull Ups, and want to find out how the Wheel Of Pain (WOP) or Ab Wheel has to do with increasing your Pull Up numbers, then you should check out this article by Dan John on the T-Nation website. 

Whacked Out Wednesday Number 33

WowThis weeks WOW video is from a frequent contributor!  This would be my idea of Hell - having to watch this video (and others just like it) over and over again!?!?

The saddest part about this is that thousands and thousands of people have bought this program and this guy is laughing all the way to the bank.  Unfortunately the joke is on the consumer who is getting duped by the ridiculous claims and the pitiful training that they are being presented...


Do You? Really?

MAK_2012There are a lot of things an athlete needs to think about when they divvy up their training time.  How you utilize the limited amount of time you have is going to go a long way in determining if you fail or succeed long term.  If you are looking for quick results or to lose a few pounds you can stop reading now; if you are in for the long haul then press on.

I've talked to a lot of great strength and conditioning coaches over the last decade or so.  They are all highly regarded and have had tremendous success in their fields and their wisdom will boil down to pretty much the same thing: get STRONG!  It doesn't matter what tool you use (kettlebell, barbell, body weight, etc.) you just need to get strong in a balanced manner and keep it as long as can.

Another thing that they will tell you, and something that has become more prominent in the last few years, is that moving well is very important and to move well you have get all of your parts doing what they are supposed to be doing!  How do you accomplish this?  First thing you do is go through an FMS (Functional Movement Screen) and get a baseline to work from.  Once you've got that you need to attack your asymmetries and weaknesses and maintain everything else.  Sounds simple but it can take a while, a long while, but the hard work will pay off.  The final step is to maintain good movement and make sure that you are in balance.  How do you do that?  Pick a good mobility complex and stick with it - something that will challenge you and keep you working hard but fun to do as well.

Need a good example?  Try this one on for size from fellow RKC Kristy Agan - it's a keeper!