Spring EZ Strength Throwdown!

 
Both cold weather and the CF Games Open season are officially over, and it’s now time for our semi-annual in-house Throwdown to celebrate the arrival of spring and also put a long winter’s worth of hard work to the test!
 
This will be our 4th annual EZ Strength Throwdown, taking place on Saturday April 26th from 10am-2pm. The Throwdown is an opportunity for you to put to the test in a competitive environment all the skills, strength, and fitness, you have been working hard to improve over the past several months training with us.
 
The Throwdown is an individual competition with 4 events spread over the course of the afternoon. There will be an RX’d and a scaled division; you must decide beforehand which category you want to compete in for the duration of the competition. The events we’ve put together will be challenging, but we always do our best to make it as inclusive as possible and everyone is encouraged to compete. We strongly urge you to sign up and partake in what is sure to be a great time full of camaraderie, sweat, and PR’s abound.
 
A sign up sheet will be posted on the whiteboard this week. Each throwdown has been bigger and better than the last; let’s get the sign up sheet filled up soon! Now is the time to showcase all the effort and progress you’ve made here at CFSS and to set new goals moving forward!
 

9 April 14

matias @ the vaticanNever home, but always reppin! Matias at the Vatican!
—-
WOD Bible: Haters ‘Gonna Hate
 
Meringues
 
Will We Ever Accept that Exercise is Often the Best Medicine?
—-

WOD

 
LI Strength:
EZ Strength 2.0
 
LI Conditioning:
AMRAP 3 minutes:
6 Lunges / Leg
8 Balls Slams
10 KB Swings
 
Rest 2 minutes between rounds, repeat for a total of 3 intervals
 
LII Strength:
Wendler Press
cycle 1, week 3 (3 @ 75%/3 @ 85%/3+ @ 95%)
 
LII Conditioning:
AMRAP 3 minutes:
3 Hang Power Clean + Push Press
3 Lateral Jump Burpees
9 Air Squats
 
Rest 2 minutes between rounds, repeat for a total of 3 intervals
 

8 April 14

elements grads 4.5.14

New Elements grads Ian, Sonali, & Kel: official sled pushing, dumbbell snatching studs! Good work, guys!

—-
“The pain of discipline is nothing like the pain of disappointment” – Justin Langer
—-
Artem Okulov 215kg Clean & Jerk (Video)
 
We Need More Disciplinarians
 
Egg-Free Paleo Macaroons
—-

WOD

 
LI Strength:
EZ Strength
 
LI Conditioning:
Shuttle Run (200 meters)
Hang DB Snatch 8 / arm
8 Burpees
Shuttle Run (200 meters)
Hang DB Snatch 8 / arm
8 Burpees
Shuttle Run (200 meters)
Hang DB Snatch 8 / arm
8 Burpees
 
LII Strength:
Wendler Squat/Press/Deadlift
cycle 1, week 3 (3 @ 75%/3 @ 85%/3+ @ 95%)
 
LII Conditioning:
Shuttle Run (200 meters)
DB Snatch 10 / arm
15 Burpees
Shuttle Run (300 meters)
DB Snatch 10 / arm
10 Burpees
Shuttle Run (400 meters)
DB Snatch 10 / arm
15 Burpees
 

How Low Can You Go?

neutral vs flexed spine side by side
 
The topic of squat depth is one that we talk about frequently in the gym, especially with all of our new athletes. How deep are you supposed to go when you squat? The simple answer is this: as low you can*, i.e. heels on the floor, hamstrings touching the calves, ass-to-grass, all the way down.
 
Now, for the real and slightly more complicated answer. Notice the asterisk above- like everything we do in the gym, there are always exceptions to the rule and unique cases that require individual adjustments to be made. So, how deep are you supposed to go when you squat? Ideally through a full range of motion (all the way down, and all the way up), while:
 
• Keeping the feet flat throughout
• Maintaining a neutral spine
• Not excessively outwardly rotating the feet, or letting the feet move during the squat itself
• And lastly, only going into ranges of motion that are pain-free (pain isn’t discomfort)
 
Keeping the feet flat is fairly self evident; we to maximize our area of base and base of support and by staying flat footed, we put ourselves in the most stable possible position.
 
Neutral spine? Simply put, your lower back is extended “ ) ”, and your upper back is slightly flexed “ ( “ . A neutral spine is our ideal default positioning, where things are optimally aligned and in the best position to deal with loading and movement. In the case of weighted squatting movements (especially the front squat), we want our spine to mimic the 2nd picture, where the athlete is globally extended from the lower all the way to the upper back. It is much better to maintain your back and squat to parallel, while actively seeking to improve your hip/ankle/upper back mobility, than to be like the 1st picture, squatting to rock bottom in full flexion.
 
How do we do this in practice? First, slow it down! Squat slowly enough so that you can detect changes to your back position as you descend. Also, have someone watch your squat and have you pause at the moment you start to flex or round out. Once you add too much speed, fatigue, or load to the mix, things are going to breakdown so be patient. One other thing to mention is that there is a big difference between squatting deep with and without weight. I’m much less concerned about position #1 above if it’s a bodyweight squat, or if you are just spending time in your bottom position seeking to improve squat mobility. However, more depth is counter- productive in that same example if we are talking about a front squat.
 
The optimal foot position (width, toe angle) is a topic for another post, but we do need to address pain. You can check all the right boxes when squatting (neutral spine, good depth, proper foot position, etc.), but if you are in pain during any portion of your squat:
• if it occurs below parallel, reduce the range of motion
• if it occurs above parallel, we will try a single leg pattern (think lunge, or split squat)
• let’s try to figure out the underlying cause or meet with a clinician who can (PT, LMT, Chiro, etc.)
 

7 April 14

mike in cali!Never home, but always reppin! Mike in Hermosa Beach, California!
—-
Steve Goggins Deadlift 560 x 10 reps (Video)
 
Why You Don’t Really Need a Post-Workout Protein Shake
 
Slow Cooker Korean Grass-Fed Short Ribs
—-

WOD

 
LI Strength:
EZ Strength 2.0
 
LI Conditioning:
Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes
10 Dumbbell Push Presses
10 Kettlebell Swings
10 Air Squats
 
Perform as teams of 2, alternating work/rest each round
 
LII Strength:
Wendler Front Squats
cycle 1, week 3 (3 @ 75%/3 @ 85%/3+ @ 95%)
 
LII Conditioning:
“Jack”
 
Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
115#/75# Push Press, 10 reps
24kg/16kg Kettlebell Swing, 10 reps
24”/20” Box Jump, 10 reps
 
Perform in teams of 2, alternating entire rounds per athlete
 

5 April 14

matias sandbag cln
—-
JRE Podcast #479 – Joel Salatin (Video)
 
Raw No-Bake Chocolate Pudding Cups
 
3 Reasons You Aren’t Getting Any Stronger
—-

WOD

 
Strength:
1/2 Get Ups
10-20 reps total (heavy)
 
LI Conditioning:
4 Rounds:
10 Single Arm Kettlebell Swings (per arm)
SA Rack Carry (switch halfway; maaco + back)
 
*Rest 2 mins between Rounds
 
LII Conditioning:
4 Rounds:
12 Double Kettlebell Swings
Double Kettlebell Rack Carry (maaco + back)
 
*Rest 2 mins between Rounds
 

4 April 14

4.2 am elements grads

New Elements grads Richard, Lynn, Justin, & Roger: official ‘bell swinging, sled pushing, studs! Well done, guys!

—-
“Tarzan, to me, is the epitome of fitness. The guy is strong, agile and quick. He can run, jump, climb and swing through trees. If we take a person who moves well and put them on a Crossfit type of training program, we turn them into Tarzan. If we take that same program and give it to the majority of people in society who move poorly, we turn them into a patient.” - Gray Cook
—-
Tiger Woods will never catch Jack Nicklaus until he comes to terms with his own frailty
 
Apple and Arugula Bison Burgers
 
Cellulite, Stretch Marks, and a Love Your Body Challenge
—-

WOD

 
LI Strength:
Bodyweight / Banded Pullups
20-30 reps
 
LI Conditioning:
AMRAP 12 minutes:
5 Ring Rows
10 Air Squats
15 Kettlebell Swings
40 Single Unders
 
LII Strength:
Weighted Pull Ups
work up to 5RM
 
LII Conditioning:
AMRAP 12 minutes:
5 Pull Ups
10 Box Jumps
15 Kettlebell Swings
20 Double Unders
 

The Best Exercise There Is

 
Recently, Mark Sisson over at Mark’s Daily Apple did a piece entitled The Best Exercise There Is, Hands Down. In it, he argues that the Best Exercise there is happens to be the one you will actually do.
 
In his words, “by the most objective definition, the most effective exercise is the one you’ll do. Because heavy squats are fantastic for strength, unless you don’t do them. Because sprinting makes you lean and fast, unless you’re not sprinting. The same is true for everything. It only works if you do it.
 
One reason is consistency: adherence begets success. You don’t get stronger or fitter or leaner because of a single workout. You get stronger or fitter or leaner because of the cumulative effect of many, many workouts done on a consistent basis.”
 
Having coached thousands of classes and athletes from all different backgrounds and ability levels, I’m inclined to agree with his sentiments. I can wax philosophical all day long about the merits of front squatting, kettlebell swings, farmers carries, etc. I think variations of all these movements (pulling/pushing/hingeing/squatting/carrying) should have a place in everyone’s training, regardless of their athletic pursuits. However, I’ve long since come to the realization that what we do doesn’t similarly resonate with everybody. If you freakin love cycling, or yoga, or bodybuilding, there is no amount of anecdotal or scientific evidence that I can provide to convince to change your ways.
 
There is also a reality that training you enjoy doing, no matter how “incomplete” it is, probably trumps any other forms of exercise that you will only begrudgingly do (and likely quit doing at some point). As Mark mentions, adherence begets success. It is much better to give 100% effort and devotion to a “sub-optimal” workout routine than half-ass a “perfect” workout routine. When it comes to physical activity, do what you enjoy doing, and hopefully find some time to lift free weights and work on your mobility and flexibility in the meantime.
 

3 April 14

SONY DSC

New Elements grads Sonali, Don, Steve, Lesley, Melissa, Howard, Tracey, Diego, Trina, Will, & Chuck: official ‘bell swinging, sled pushing, beasts! Great job, guys!

—-
A Thank-You and a Warning
 
Gennady Muratov 200kg Power Clean & Jerk (Video)
 
Sea Bass with Chorizo and Onion
—-

WOD

 
LI Strength:
EZ Strength 2.0
 
LI Conditioning:
Shuttle Run (fence + back)
20 H2H Swings
5 SA KB Push Press / arm
Shuttle Run (Maaco sign + back)
20 H2H Swings
5 SA KB Push Press / arm
Shuttle Run (Guardrail + back)
20 H2H Swings
5 SA KB Push Press / arm
 
LII Strength:
Wendler Deadlifts
cycle 1, week 2 (3 @ 70%/3 @ 80%/3+ @ 90%)
 
LII Conditioning:
Shuttle Run (fence + back)
10 2KB Clean & Push Press
Shuttle Run (Maaco sign + back)
10 2KB Clean & Push Press
Shuttle Run (Donohoe sign + back)
10 2KB Clean & Push Press
Shuttle Run (Guardrail + back)
10 2KB Clean & Push Press
 

2 April 14

Brad in Panama CityNever home, but always reppin! Brad in Panama City
—-
“Real fear makes men do amazing things they would never do without it.”Dave Tate
—-
Lidia Valentin 170kg x3 Squat (Video)
 
Simple Baked Halibut with Bacon Herb Butter
 
Diet’s Link to Longevity: After 2 Studies Diverge, A Search for Consensus
—-

WOD

 
LI Strength:
EZ Strength 2.0
 
LI Conditioning:
2,4,6,8,10
KB Swings
2,4,6,8,10
Ball Slams
 
Rest 2 minutes b/t rounds
 
10,8,6,4,2
KB Swings
10,8,6,4,2
Ball Slams
 
LII Strength:
Wendler Press
cycle 1, week 2 (3 @ 70%/3 @ 80%/3+ @ 90%)
 
LII Conditioning:
1,2,3,4,5
Hang Power Cleans
2,4,6,8,10
Ball Slams
 
Rest 2 minutes b/t rounds
 
5,4,3,2,1
Hang Power Cleans
10,8,6,4,2
Ball Slams