Nov 122014
 

Have you seen the latest and craziest things are doing in the sport of functional movement?  It’s been insane with back flip muscle-ups, pistol jump overs and all kinds of good things.  While it’s been AMAZING to watch, it has ALSO been interesting to watch the trend of what is happening in Strength and Conditioning gyms as well as high intensity functional fitness facilities worldwide.

These movements are sexy to say the least, taking a high amount of skill and determination to complete.  The athletes completing them are nothing less than excellent caliber.  The challenge…. now we ALL want to try them….  but should we?

This is a simple reminder about the basic and fundamental movements of strength and conditioning.  You see, many of the programs that are being written out there from the basic gym level to the competitor level have started to drift from the simple and most basic movements.  When I started coaching over 2 decades ago, we focussed on the basics day in and day out.  the fundamental and rudimentary skill sets that would allow our clients and athletes to test their abilities in a more complex pattern later down the line.  We have become a very impatient industry expecting to get ourselves safely and effectively into a muscle up, bar muscle up, reverse musle up, butterfly muscle up, kipping pullup, back tuck and whatever craziness lays ahead right away.  However for probably 80% of us (maybe more) we probably shouldn’t even contemplate trying these movements for quite some time, if ever.

Wait Coach,  it sounds like you are telling me NOT to push myself out of my comfort zone?  Absolutely NOT!  What I am telling you is to consider what you are doing and to look at your fundamental skills FIRST.   let me give you an example.

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In order to perform a strict pull-up, we know that we may have to work months on end performing strengthening exercises, etc. to help develop the muscles required to perform this movement.  BUT what most people do is SKIP this step and move right on into that more efficient movement- the kip.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I use the butterfly kip ALL the time myself unless I am training for strength or I program Strict pull-ups (which is good to do for a change in your workout program here and there) BUT I have alos been performing strict pull-ups for a number of years in a previous fitness life.

The risk far outweighs the benefit in many instances when people begin to kip their pull-up too early.  Let’s think about why this fundamental and seemingly easy (with a kip) movement may be detrimental later on IF you haven’t focussed on the fundamentals (and not with a fucking resistance band)

When we complete a strict pull-up, there comes a point where our muscles may disengage due to strength, mobility etc.  If we don’t know what this point is, then when we go to “kip”  there is a point where we will also disengage thus increasing risk to our shoulder joint.  (remember I said increasing risk, not causing injury) As we Kip, if we “drop” to the bottom, it increase the amount of force applied across the joint and can increase risk.  Notice again, i did not say NOT to do it,  I am just warning of the risk involved IF you have not developed your strict pull-up first.  The kip is actually a very technical movement requiring timing, power and proper structural integrity and activation of the “lats”, rhomboids , “traps” and even biceps, forearms and a whole heck of a lot of other muscles.

SO, let’s step back even further now that I have beat a dead horse with the pull-up.  The fundamentals of movement come from a core set of movements.   One agency’s view is much different than another, but I think you will find that most Strength and Conditioning coaches agree, that there is a core group of both lifts and bodyweight movements that will help to progress you further as an athlete by becoming an expert in those fundamentals.  And it will vary for each athlete and their goals.  this is why S&C Coaches are invaluable!!

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Step back from your program for a moment and really examine if the core movements are being addressed weekly.  I know for FTF, we address core movements all the time and mix it up a few times a week with the basis of the program STILL based in the fundamentals.  Think of it this way, you have to learn to use your feet before you can walk or run.  It may even take baby steps to get things accomplished, but don’t run away from the basics too early.  Remember that this can hinder your progress.

One other thing, ensure you are throwing in accessory work on the smaller more intrinsic muscles used in joint stability and joint integrity.  These muscles should be a priority a few times a week to ensure they are being properly engaged and not in a workout.  They are like any other muscle and need progressive overload in order to make the appropriate growth to handle the loads the joint is able to sustain!

Also consider the movement pattern versus the movement standard in your training program.  If the training program is built around how you move, and not the standard, it will more than likely be more successful for YOU.  we do want you to move better and be able to function in the full range of motion of YOUR body, but that may take work and again, will come from working the fundamentals.  If you try to practice a Snatch long before you have developed the mobility to move through a proper movement pattern of an overhead squat, then we have just increased our risk of injury.   Catch my drift?

Want to know more?  Stop by FTF and ask questions OR shoot me an email if you have some of your won fundamentals you feel you need to work on and I will ensure one of our amazing coaches helps you get what you need out of your program!  We want you to succeed, but we want you to stay healthy and progress as your body sees fit (See what I did there)

More to come on this topic soon… as in how to start breaking up movements to start practicing the advanced stuff!

Nov 102014
 

Since today is about honoring our Veterans,  here is a little workout we will be doing.  This is for our Veteran’s!

VeteransDayHonorThanks

9 minute AMRAP

100-meter sprint

11 sit-ups

11 air squats

100-meter sprint

22 sit-ups

22 air squats

100-meter sprint

33 sit-ups

33 air squats

 

add 11 to the sit-ups and air squats for each additional round

 

2-minute rest and reflection

then

 

9 minute AMRAP

100-meter sprint

11 pushups

11 box jumps (RX 24”/20”)

100-meter sprint

22 pushups

22 box jumps (RX 24”/20”)

100-meter sprint

33 pushups

33 box jumps (RX 24”/20”)

 

add 11 to the pushups and box jumps for each round

 

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War. This Armistice Day was later re-named to Veterans Day.

 

At exactly 11 a.m., each November 11th, a color guard, made up of members from each of the military branches, renders honors to America’s war dead during a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

- The 11 minutes of work and the 11-based rep scheme represents the rich history of Veteran’s Day.

 

- The two-minutes of rest/reflection represents this moment of silence at the tomb of the unknowns.

 

- The 1st round of work represents Veterans of wars past, and the 2nd round of work represents Veterans of present and future wars.

 

- Modified versions of classic military exercises are meant to help connect Veterans and the greater community to connect after the accomplishment of shared hardship during this WOD.

Oct 292014
 

“It’s too cold”

“I’m sore”

“That looks tough”

“I don’t want to do burpees”

“Oh shit… thrusters and pullups?!?!?!”

” I don’t have the time”

“It’s too expensive”

And MANY other things and excuses we could come up with.  You know what they say about excuses…  me either.. it’s ok!

Truly, one of the greatest things we are good at when it comes to our fitness and health is coming up with excuses that get in the way of us taking care of ourselves.  We find things to occupy our time and instead of putting our health and fitness first in our lives as a priority, we tend to put it on the back burner as “I’ll start tomorrow”.  For many people, tomorrow turns into next week, which turns into next month, and so on…. you get the picture!

1) Fear- we have discussed this before as a part of the mental game of fitness.  BUT this one pertains a little more to gyms of our nature,  Strength and conditioning facilities AND CrossFit gyms.  I will throw this two gyms into a similar category for this discussion, and maybe throw in the Globo gym, the MMA gym and many other styles of high intensity and functional fitness gyms.

a) We see a trend of people saying they are afraid or intimidated by these styles of gyms. –  They feel they must be “In Shape” before they join a high intensity fitness gym.  My question is this.  WHY?  Aren’t we finding a fitness solution and a fitness program we enjoy doing?  Not only that, aren’t we looking for a program to fit our goals and fitness styles?  Also, make sure you do research on the gyms you are intending to join.  Not all high intensity fitness gyms are the same.  Some are geared to have more complete programs, some are based on the CrossFit® Methodology, some are based on strength and conditioning foundations that take into account your individual differences (Perhaps there is a an FTF gym near you that does this) , Some are based on other functional fitness systems (TRX, Boot Camp, etc)   It will do you justice to research these facilities before you make a choice to join.  Try out a class, see what the coaches are all about.  Try out a free session with a trainer.  But don’t feel like you have to “get in shape” before you make a change to get in shape, whatever that is for you.

b) Fear of injury-  This is a valid concern.  If a fitness program is based in the principles of Specificity and overload principle, and appropriate training is applied, the risk of this should be decreased.  What should be understood is there is risk in ANY type of fitness from running to yoga.  Injuries happen in every type of fitness.  What is important is to understand risk versus benefit.  Our job (in particular at FTF) is to maximize benefit and minimize risk.  We provide a progressive overload program with a periodization plan and a balance with volume and intensity.  Research the program you are desiring to participate in and ask why it is programmed the way it is.  What’s the science behind it.  How is it going to maximize your benefit and decrease your risk of injury.  Spend time with the owner and learn their philosophy if you can.  Take it slow in the beginning and allow your body days of rest to recover in between high intensity exercise bouts. Manage sleep, drink a lot of water and watch what happens as you increase your ability to become the “Fitness” you want.

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c) Fear of looking silly in an environment- OK, so let me tell you about a few classes I have taken,  a few when I was working as a fitness manager at 24 Hour Fitness in Folsom, a few when I was living in Fresno at FTF Clovis, and even as recently as this year with some of my friends and my sister down here in FTF Pasadena.  So, there I was, a trainer and fitness manager with aspirations of becoming a bodybuilder.  So I was much larger than I am now.  I was weighing in at about 195, and moved very methodically.  One of my clients at the time loved taking a class from Eddie Clark, one of the best “aerobics” instructors in the Sacramento area.  Well, I told her if she reached her goals, I would join her for one of Eddie’s classes.  Well, apparently that inspired her, because about three months later, I found myself in the back of an aerobic dance and fitness class.  If any of you have seen me move, I am the perpetual white boy with hips that only work when I am moving weight around quickly, especially back then.  (I have since learned how to do the chicken dance, two step, swing and can do the macarena, but that’s about it) So, there I was, in the back of this class, with Eddie shouting out and moving like a dance God at the front of the room, and I am trying desperately to keep up, with kicks to the left and kicks to the right.  I think I kicked two or three of the other members while trying to do a turn with a back flip or whatever it was (Because it might as well have been even though i think it was just a hip turn)  Well, come to find out, when I turned around and as I am trying to shake my ass and learn new dance moves,  behind me, I knew there were windows that were pointed towards the rest of the gym.  I had made enough of an ass out of myself in theis class that there were about 30 people lined up outside of the window chuckling at my misfortune of coordination or lack there of.  I politely waved and kept doing my thing.

Class number 2-  Yoga.  WHAT THE FUCK!!!!   OK…  I have done yoga before, but nowhere nearly as laughable as when I took it with my sister at FTF Pasadena.  My sister and I are a little opposite in terms of our approach to life.  For those of you who know me,  Know I am fairly intense, passionate and of course a little excited.  My sister, bless her soul, “heyyyyyy  brotherrrrr.  How’s it goin man” in a very chill voice.  Everything she does is mellow, chill and zen.  She has found the same passion for fitness as I have and loves to teach yoga.  Well,  If you can imagine someone with my energy level, who works out a few times a day, and has no patience for sitting still and how I might perform in a yoga class.  First, I had to figure out what Chataranga meant.. because I just wanted to know.  then I had to try to get in downward facing dog.  Now bear in mind, I have short legs and long arms, so this is not the most comfortable of positions for me.  My hips are ultra tight, and my shoulder flexibility even after working on it because of injury is well… less than maximal.  SO, here I go into downward dog and sure as shit, my hamstrings cramp… I mean not like.. oh it will go away in a second, Like GET A RAZOR AND CUT MY HAMSTRINGS OUT NOW cramp!!  (I know you’ve had that before)   so I start dancing in place.. which we have already discussed my dancing abilities.. so imagine now that I have a broken wing and am dancing on it!!   As that subsides, I then decide I am really going to focus and pay attention, so I do…  and as we get towards the end of it and we are doing our relaxation phase,  I literally start snoring… not figuratively… LITERALLY start snoring like I was in full REM sleep…  so loud I woke myself up!!!

Class number 3-  Zumba….   with Fatima Montenello when she was teaching Zumba at FTF Clovis.  OK.. remember I said I can’t dance… yeah.. Zumba didn’t work out well for me either.  I had a blast but… well.. let’s just say i entertained everyone for an hour!

So the fear of looking silly in a class, to be honest with you, no one in the gym really gives a shit about what you look like while doing the class… they are so focussed on not looking silly themselves that they aren’t paying attention to you…

We are going to discuss more about fear in part 2 of this article,  BUT I want to move on to a topic that I think hits us in the fitness industry as an interesting excuse:

2) “I don’t have the money” – Hmmmmm   let me think about this for a second.  IF you are looking into a membership at a gym and in particular a strength and conditioning facility that runs classes and/or looking to hire a professional coach/trainer I am going to break this down to the ridiculous.

Gym membership at the average functional fitness facility – around $150 per month (I said average…  this is regional and also company dependent and depends on the philosophy of the owner) -

OK guys…  $5 a day to be coached at a professional facility.   yes, to improve your health, you need to give up one of the following: one cup of coffee from Starbucks (Albeit hard, start drinking coffee from a coffee maker at home) , One soda at lunch and one at dinner (Trade it out with water and you’ll feel better too) , one extra drink the night before (Yeah, a glass of wine with dinner or a beer with dinner can add up quick and it’s not good for your results overall) , Let’s face it.. one night out a month ) On my nights out, I think Wells Fargo sits right there and just waits to cut up my ATM card) , 6 times of eating at home instead of eating out (the average meal out is about $20 and the average at home meal can be made for 5-10$), Two Monster Energy drinks a day (you’ll have that from the new energy level you have from the fitness program you are embarked on).  THIS is the cost of your gym membership to these facilities.  Now, imagine if you did ALL of that at the same time.  Trainers are a LOT more expensive than a membership to a full functional fitness facility but definitely have their place and their purpose on the road to your fitness goals, but as you can see, it might be easier than you think to start cutting costs and finding a way to improve your health and fitness.   This is only PART of the cost savings you’ll have…
I will delve into more topics in part 2 in a few days!!  For now, please enjoy and start thinking about what excuses you make to get out of your health and fitness program.  Add some of those excuses to our Comments.  we want to hear what blocks you from your program!

 

Sep 262014
 

This is just a friendly reminder that we are closed 9/27 for several events happening in Fresno and Bakersfield. Please go support our athletes at CrossFit Bako or CrossFit Combat Fitness today for these two great events. We have a lot of people competing in both events this year!! Should be a great time!!

Thank you for your understanding!

Coach K

Sep 082014
 

What goes into your programming at FTF? Well, let’s take a quick look:

Our programming here at FTF is a multifaceted program designed to work around not only the general physical preparedness, but also to take into account the needs of each and every member and client that walks through the door.

Programming is an interesting beast and also truly an art form. In it’s simplest form, Programming for a gym from the outside may seem like random chaos thrown together, but behind the scenes, there is someone who is designing the master plan according to the SAID principle (Specific adaptation to imposed demand) and progressive overload principle. Weights get heavier over time for each level we are programming for.

Our programming is simple in it’s complexity, simple movements and while there are many layers to the program, each is designed to be effective in the most efficient fashion. Programming can be efficient or it can be inefficient. Our program takes into account many different workout schedules. Our strength program is designed with the majority of simple lifts on Monday, Tuesday, thursday and Friday. Our more complex movements are on Wednesday and Saturday. We do this on purpose for our members. It is this coach’s belief that many of you will work out monday through Friday, so practicing a complex movement on Wednesday breaks up the week from our traditional and non traditional lifts and allows you to focus on skills.

Periodization is ALSO important in programming. Making sure that we are working through Macro, Micro and Meso cycles to accomplish goals and have a loading and deloading phase within these cycles. We also take into account volume and intensity. There are so many graphs and charts to explain all this stuff, but in reality, it is my job as the head coach and primary program designer to take all of this into account to minimize risk and maximize benefit.

Programming does NOT have to be difficult or high in volume to be effective. Remember that we actually get our results during our recovery phase and through proper fueling on our off times. We need to ensure that we are balancing stimulus with recovery. And the programming is designed to take this into account. You CAN work out 6 days a week on FTF programming because of all of these factors put together into an effective and great program.

Come check out one of our gyms in Oregon, Fresno and Pasadena. We are also working with gyms in Victoria, Houston San Marcos and Beeville all in Texas. They are running FTF programming and having great success with their members as well!! Proven track record, great results and science behind the programming.