Hey all! Last week we talked about the movement of the deadlift and a few focal points to maintain a great position. Here, we will touch on a few things you can do to to get yourself aligned and primed before beginning the lift. We can think about this preparation in 3 phases;
1)Soft tissue work
3)activate and tie together
We can begin our prep with some soft tissue work, targeting several key areas. We can spend a minute or
two per hip on the foam roller, as well as the hamstrings. If you’re like me, it may be somewhat difficult to set yourself up and find an effective position for those hammies on the foam roller. An alternative that I like to use, requires you to place the bar on the J-hooks with the hooks set around the upper ⅓ of your thigh. Looping one leg over the bar, place the belly of the muscle on the bar. You can manipulate how much pressure you need, simply by bending your grounded leg and/or bending your arms. Settling over the bar, you can gently extend/flex the leg or “tac and floss” by rolling the leg side to side. Again, we don’t really need to spend long bouts of time here, :60-:90 should suffice. However, it can prove helpful to come back to these soft tissue drills in between sets as we warm up and build our bar.
Since the deadlift requires us to hinge from the hip, unlocking the hips and ensuring that the femur can move properly within the hip capsule is a must. One stretch that allows us to do this is the pigeon stretch, or a variation thereof. We perform this stretch by placing one leg in front of us at roughly 90 degrees, placing weight into the “grounded” hip. Variations of this stretch can be done off of a box or using a band to help assist in un-impinge the hip.
Waking up the core is also a crucial component of movement prep for the deadlift. Completing 1-3 short rounds of this circuit is one way to achieve this;
5 Iron Cross/side
15 hollow rocks or :15-:20 hollow hold
There are multiple approaches for preparing for this lift. If you have been missing movement prep as part of your practice or have been in a rut with your current practice, give these a try!
Last week, Coach Tim taught us how to lift a heavy load from the ground via the Deadlift. Today we’re going to break down a lift that allows us to move a load from the shoulder to overhead; the Strict Press. Being able to move a load from the shoulder to overhead and vice versa is a skill that transfers directly to daily activities. The most direct example would be loading a carry-on into the overhead compartment on a plane. The opposite is true when taking an item down from a high shelf. Without proper technique and support these actions could prove to be very difficult, in some cases even resulting in injury.
The Strict Press is a phenomenal lift for developing upper body pushing strength and mid-line stability. So, let’s take a look at the components of the Strict Press and how we can most efficiently perform the task.
We can also break this lift down into 3 steps as we did the deadlift.
- The Set up
- The Execution of the Press
- The Return
The goal of the Strict Press is to move the weight from the shoulders to overhead in the most efficient way possible. The bar path should travel along a straight line both on the way up and during the return. Proper execution of each step is crucial to a successful lift.
The Set up:
- Begin with the feet hip width apart and the bar resting on the shoulders in the front rack position. The forearms should be vertical with the elbows slightly forward of the bar and hands fully wrapped around the bar with a tight grip. The hands should be slightly wider than the shoulders.
- Before executing the lift it’s important to make sure your body is prepared to move the load. With the feet planted firmly on the ground, squeeze the quads, the glutes, the core, and the lats creating tension throughout the body.
- Take a deep breath in and brace through your core in preparation to move the weight.
- In order to keep the bar traveling in a straight line, we must first remove an obstacle; your head! Begin by pulling the chin back. Think ‘double chin’. This will create the space necessary to keep the bar on its path.
- Driving through the heels and using the torque you’ve created, push the bar upward, directly in front of your nose, until you’ve reached full extension. Make sure the bar is directly over your mid-line and you’ve returned your head to a neutral position.
- You should finish the extension with the elbows locked out and active, externally rotated shoulders. Be sure that you are still bracing through the mid-line by squeezing the core with the rib cage down and glutes tight.
Once you’ve successfully lifted the weight to a fully extended overhead position, you must bring it back down! Efficiency in the return is just as important as the initial press. We have the same goal in the return that we did on the way up; a straight bar path.
- Begin by pulling the chin back, once again creating the ‘double chin’ position.
- Keeping the external rotation in the shoulders, begin to pull the bar back down along the same path that it rose until it meets your shoulders.
- Finish with your head in neutral position. The elbows should remain slightly in front of the bar with the mid-line tight and feet gently screwed into the floor, repeating your strong set up position.
There it is! You’ve performed the Strict Press. This lift is a foundational movement that will transfer directly into more complex lifts like the Push Press and Jerk. By perfecting your movement in the Press you’ll be setting yourself up for success in future lifts.
The main points to remember are:
- Create tension throughout the entire body to support the lift. It starts from the ground up! Mid-line stability is key!
- Full range of motion is important. We want the arms fully extended in the overhead position with tight, active shoulders.
- A straight bar path during the extension and the descent will result in the most efficient lift.
I’m going to depart from our normal health and fitness related info to talk a little about life and business. Today is somewhere close to our anniversary (we’ve got about three different anniversary dates for when CFA “Started”) and I wanted to share with everyone some lessons I’ve learned along the way.
- Change is constant, change is inevitable. People change, people’s priorities change, markets change, new knowledge and experiences are gained, and the landscape will never remain static. People generally do not like change and clients and coaches have come and gone over the years due to change. But I’ve learned to embrace change and some of the most successful people I’ve met have seen the need for change far before the masses recognize it.
- Humor is the great equalizer. If you can make someone laugh and / or smile many of your other flaws will be overlooked. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing but it seems to be a thing.
- Priorities are shown through actions, recognize if your words and thoughts match your actions. My priorities are in order my family, my employees, and our clients. My decision are always processed in that order, and I believe that ultimately business owners have to think in this matter for long term success.
- Most people are under competitive or over competitive. Most under competitive people don’t push hard enough to find their true limits. Most over competitive folks bite off more than they can chew and eventually stall out or burn out. Its rare to find the sweet spot between the two. My theory is that once you realize that immersing yourself in the process and journey is more powerful than being motivated by competition you start to make lasting meaningful progress.
- A Toyota Prius is an incredibly valuable asset to own. Mine has a 150,000 miles on it and never once had to be worked on. You only have to change the oil every 10,000 miles and can drive 450 mile on about $15 – $30 depending on gas prices. I can confidently say CFA would not exist in its present state if I did not own a Prius.
- Being the smartest person in the room is far less valuable than being the most effective person in the room. Nobody gets paid for their ideas or their IQ. People get paid for results.
- To this day the greatest piece of advice I’ve ever received is this: “Expect the expected”.
- Lastly Success seems to mainly be a product of motivation, consistency, and hard work. It’s a simple concept that applies to business, training, nutrition, work, parenting, the list goes on and on. Gadgets, hacks, “going down the rabbit hole”, “deep diving”, etc only seem to be aids that can speed the process along. These things (and myriad of other concepts designed to help one succeed) are 100% contingent on a person’s ability to stay motivated, to work hard, consistently, forever.
Each month we spotlight a different CFA athlete who stands out and shows just how awesome they are. What is it that makes up an Athlete of the Month? It may not be the person that finishes the fastest, Rx’s every WOD, or gets a PR every time they walk in the gym. Although we love and celebrate when those things happen, the Athlete of the Month is made up of much more than physical ability. This person shows up, gives their best every time, and then gives a little more. They are hungry to learn and always ready to do the work. They support their fellow classmates and encourage them to reach their goals. This athlete embodies what we believe the CrossFit Austin Community should be about.
Our December Athlete of the Month is Daniel Arredondo! He has been with CFA since March of 2016. Daniel bounces around in his class times, but usually ends up with the lunch time crew. Daniel is a go-getter and has been from the start. As he continues to grow in his training he is always seeking more knowledge with consistent group classes and additional personal training with Tim. All that work has certainly paid off in his short time here. Daniel is always up for the next big thing, even participating in his first competition just 6 months into his time with us! We’ve enjoyed watching him make continuous gains over the last few months and we’re excited to watch him continue to progress for many more years! Daniel, we are proud to have you as our December Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Thanks for all your hard work and the smiles you bring us on a regular basis! Congratulations!
Words to live by?We can’t control the world around us.
We can only control our reaction to the world. Leave the world a better place by being the best version of you while loving and helping the people we share this world with.
Back in the day, I did summer track and took up running again in 2015. I have a minor in dance and love ballet, Latin, and country dancing! I also play sand volleyball.
How long have you been CrossFitting?
Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
I was so afraid of hurting myself and doing workouts that involved “legs”. I was concerned I would not be able to handle the intensity because of all the terrible YouTube videos that give CF a bad name. I had no clue what the acronym-ically (not a real word) challenged…WOD=want one doughnut…
What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
I love the community of friends and family I now have to promote and encourage health and to socialize with outside of the gym. Love each coach and their unique take on coaching while still being united in a philosophy of physical health and training. It’s amazing!! I also like that we are very supportive during workouts and that the competitive atmosphere is friendly. Also there are so many times a day to come work out! I love that with my schedule!
Current Training Goals/PRs?
To one day be RX on all workouts….This year…250 deadlift, 120 strict press, 12 strict pull-ups, master butterfly pullups, 200lb back squat…i’ll stop there for now..oh and beach body!
What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Don’t give up…results will come, I promise! I was just using the bar for some exercises and once you get technique, you will exponentially improve.
There are too many…but I love getting chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, corn, pecan and apple pie, and a coke from Luby’s…yes I’m a southern boy!
When I competed in Night of Champions and finished!
The time Wes said “good job Daniel” because I had finally received his approval
When Tim did the MURPH workout with me because I was out of town. Yeah, Team “34”!
5 power cleans
5 push press
800 meter run
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I love music. Singing and teaching choral music is what I do for a living. I love to dance, play sand volleyball, have now taken up boldering, and running.
I use to be a very shy guy, I have a Phd, and I don’t like the dark.
Longhorns or Aggies? Is this a real question?
Blood runs burnt orange!
Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Each day is a gift and a new beginning. It is another chance to reflect on who you are and who you will choose to be.
Yesterday we posted a video on Facebook recounting the story of Kyle Maynard scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro without the luxury of being born with hands and feet. The most powerful part for me is when Kyle began to describe the mental struggle with what seemed like an insurmountable task. Paraphrasing he said “I had to remind myself to not look up and think about how far there is to go. Instead look back and see how far we’ve come. One step at a time.”
I want to explore this attitude in the context of all of our fitness journeys. There are many things we see people do in the gym that may seem unattainable.
“I want to get a pull-up.”
“My goal is to be able to do a muscle-up.”
There is no question getting your first pull-up and your first muscle-up are incredibly rewarding moments. They also can be an intimidating or seemingly
But sometimes by putting so much emphasis on such tangible milestones, we forget to look back and appreciate the smaller personal bests—and the equally as important milestones—along the way. Sometimes we even get ahead of ourselves trying to skip steps, and move further along in the process than we’ve earned.
The attitude of “One step at a time” is the surest path to obtain goals. For example think about your pulling strength (your eventual road to a pull-up and muscle-up) as being on a 100-step staircase. In this way, pull-ups and a muscle-up are simply just two other steps on the staircase, no less, or no more important, than the step before or the step after.
Using this analogy, let’s say a ring row with a perfectly horizontal body is step 25 on the staircase, while a pull-up is step 50, and a muscle-up is step 75.
he pulling strength you gain going from step 49 to step 50 is equivalent to the strength gained moving from step 50 to 51 (where step 51 might mean you can do 2 consecutive pull-ups), yet we’re more likely to celebrate reaching step 50 than 51. But why? Why is getting a pull-up somehow more important than being able to do two consecutive pull-ups?
It comes down to ego and our perception of what is important.
But if you change the way you think and your attitude about what you should or shouldn’t be able to do you’ll have way more to celebrate along the way. You can also look back and appreciate how far you’ve come, instead of fretting over the fact that you’re not quite to that 50th step yet. You also won’t get as frustrated and impatient waiting to reach step 50 because you’ll also get enjoyment reaching step 46, 47, 48, and 49, too.
Here’s a challenge:
Set 5 small goals along the way to your ultimate goal, and remember to pat yourself on the back when you reach them.
Because the journey is always more fun than the destination!
Earlier this week Coach Tim delivered an in depth analysis on the set up, execution, and finish of the deadlift. As promised, here is a video tutorial outlining the key components of the deadlift. If you missed the accompanying article, read that HERE!