Live A Great Life || Coach Gen

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Longevity

[lon-jev-i-tee, lawn-]

noun

1. a long individual life; great duration of individual life:

Our family is known for its longevity.

2. the length or duration of life:

research in human longevity.

 

Our goal at CrossFit Austin is longevity. Longevity requires dedication and commitment to your health and fitness. With the right motivation and the right tools, we can help you live your best life.

It all starts with finding your why. Every one of you came to CFA for a reason. Maybe you wanted to get healthier, fitter, lose weight, gain muscle, train for an event… The list goes on. While these are all valid reasons to get moving, we have to dig a little deeper to find the why.

Let’s say you came to us on your first day and said “I’m here because I want to be healthier.” Ok, what does healthy mean to you? Does it rely on numbers? Weight, BMI, blood pressure? Maybe your perception of health lies within the Illness – Wellness Continuum and you’re hoping to find yourself on the right-hand side of the spectrum. Or, you could be one of the folks that defines health as feeling good and being able to do the things you want to do day in and day out.  

ill to well

Let’s go even deeper. WHY do you want to be healthier? Do you have a big birthday coming up? Is there a kiddo on the way? Maybe you’ve got a reunion coming up and you want all your old friends to see how “healthy” you are. 😉  No matter what your reason, the WHY is the most important part. We want you to keep asking why until you uncover the reason you really came to start moving with us. That is where your motivation lies.

Motivation is extremely important in the longevity of your life. Starting is one thing, but staying is another. Once you’ve reached your initial goals, what is it that keeps you coming back? You don’t come in and work your ass off day in and day out for nothing. You’ve seen some results and you’re looking, feeling, and performing better. Once your initial goals have been met, it’s time to starting looking at the long term.

 

We want you to be fit for life and we have a few recommendations to help you on the path to those long term health and fitness goals.  

1)    Sweat with us 2-3 times a week MINIMUM! Part of this journey is about making your health a priority and creating the space and habits to do so.

2)    Eat clean MOST of the time. Yes, you have to eat to fuel your machine (your body, your training, your life), but you also have to eat to fuel your heart a little! Think 80/20. Plan your meals, but also indulge a little. When you’re out with friends and everyone is having a drink except you that’s no fun! Just remember, everything in moderation.

3)   Get outside or try a new sport/game at least 1-2 times a week. You don’t have to be good at it, but TRY and have fun. Challenge yourself a little to try something totally new. I’m still staring at this spike ball thing in the gym and no one will teach me how to play…. :/

4)   Go on an adventure once a year. Make this bigger than number 3…. An adventure doesn’t mean the hiking path behind your house. Do something big and new. Go on a trip and explore the parks in the area. Get crazy and try sky diving…. That one is not for me because I think my heart would explode from fear, but maybe you can handle it. Challenge yourself to explore something you’ve always wanted to try, but have always put on the back burner for one reason or another.

 

As you’ve probably noticed, we’re rolling out some new concepts at CFA. One of the things we’re doing to help create a better overall experience is implementing the Coach For Life concept. We are working to create a better, more personal experience for each of you, while continuing to cultivate the amazing community we have.  As a Coach For Life, my goal is to help you to continuously discover your “why” and to create a plan for your best life. Health and fitness don’t just come to a stop when you’ve reached your initial goals. Longevity is key so let’s keep going!

“The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen.” – Simon Sinek

Coach Gen

 

#TBT – It’s HOT! Let’s Hydrate!

Today we are kickin’ it back to an article Coach Tim wrote last year. We are in the midst of 100° days and when you’re sweating it out like we do, you have to be putting it back in. Check out some wise words from a wise man while you enjoy a nice, cold glass of H20!

 

H2O is Mo’ Better! || Coach Tim Garland

The first official day of summer has arrived. As our bodies adapt to the heat and humidity that this season brings us, you hear your coaches tell you to make sure you are drinking plenty of water. What is “plenty”? Why is it so important?

Many of us know that water comprises the majority of our body. So making sure that we are consuming an appropriate amount of this clear, flavorless liquid is a no-brainer requirement for optimal health. Now, imagine yourself this summer hiking the Greenbelt, completing your WOD, or sitting by pool/river/lake for countless hours…without any water. Thirsty thoughts? Thirst is often thought of as an alert for the beginnings of dehydration. According to Merriam-Webster, dehydration is defined as;

 

Dehydration– an abnormal depletion of body fluids

 

I don’t think anyone would argue that the aforementioned activities could bring on the onset of dehydration without appropriate measures being taken. Most of us have heard the 6-8, 8oz. cups of water per day as the standard for water consumption. Yes, this is standard. However, just as our nutritional fingerprint differs from individual to individual, so should our water intake. We all come in different shapes and sizes and participate at different levels in vastly different activities. Additionally, depending on our current state of health, some systems are more efficient than others at regulating the needs of said activities. Without throwing specific recommendations out there for person A, weighing ‘x’ amount at such and such height yada-yada ya…here are some dehydration indicators to be aware this summer to help you key in on your health, thus your performance, as it pertains to water intake.

A few symptoms have been identified as;

  • Little to no urine, or dark yellow/amber hued urine
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion

 

Conversely, proper hydration helps eliminate the chances of these occurring, and can aid us in;

  • Regulating core body temperature
  • Lubricating our joints
  • Keeping our kidneys and liver healthy by flushing out toxins and eliminating waste
  • Helps carry oxygen and nutrients to our cells and tissues

 

Are there other sources to help me stay hydrated other than JUST water? Yes. Although here, water is king, here are a few other ways to sneak in the liquid. Fruits and vegetables contain small amounts of h2o, as well as their juices. Keep in mind that the juices may have unwanted calories due to added sugars. Coffee and teas also contain water, but caffeine can act as a diuretic and lead to frequent urination and counter our purpose.

 

All in all, plan and prepare for your daily activities.

  • Be aware of your environment (heat and humidity) and what your body is telling you
  • Keep a mental note of your previous 12-24 hours of water intake
  • Keeping a water bottle with you throughout your day will help you monitor your water consumption
  • Adjust your consumption as needed to fit your daily activity level

“Mama said Gatorade is the devil”

 

Train smart, live smart,

-Coach Garland

3 Tips to Dominate This Programming Cycle

pull ups

Excuse me… I’d like to interrupt of everyone’s game of Pokemon Go.  Friday marks the midway point for our summer training cycle and I’d like to drop a few tips here to help maximize the next 3 weeks of training. If you’re new and unfamiliar with the structure of our programming cycles take a look at this article for a basic lay of the land.. We have and will continue to focus on improving everyone’s strict pull-ups, back squat, and clean.  So today I will include a tip for each of the three movements.

Tip 1 “Back Squat”:
Stretch your groin.  This  will not only help open of the bottom of your squat position, but also improve your ability to access the gluteus medius which abducts, internally, and externally rotates you femur in the hip. Why is this important?  Because a fully engaged hip gives us a stronger more stable position in our deep squat, which allows us to protect our lower back and knees from common ailments associated with poor squat form. It also help us lift more weight (duh).  If you need some examples of good groin stretches check out this article I wrote back in March with some quick hip and groin openers.


Tip 2 “Clean”:
Improve your rack. One of the most common problems I see with the clean is a poor rack positions. Countless lifts have been missed due to poor rack positions.  Here’s a quick test – Can you squat clean your 3 RM Front Squat? If you can’t, it is most likely a positional issue in the rack or a poor squat depth in your front squats. Lets assume its a shitty rack position. First, go read Coach Tim’s in-depth article discussing the finer points of improving the rack position with dual mobility and stability work.  Secondly, I have a challenge for you… Don’t front squat a weight that you can’t put a full grip on bar with. That’s right, no weight goes on your bar that you can’t keep all four fingers, your thumb, and at least part of your palm wrapped around.  This is will you develop a rack position that is advantageous for the clean and will also probably help improve your squat depth.

 

Tip 3 “Strict Pull-ups”:  
Last, but certainly not least let’s talk strict pull-ups.  Let’s look outside the box a bit here. Besides upper body pulling strength and body weight, the biggest challenge in the strict pull-up is full body control. Most of us naturally relax everything as we try to struggle our chin over to the bar. So the challenge here is to find as many ways to hang from the bar in a hollow position as possible. Full hand, active hang, 90 degree bent arm hang, chin over bar hang, or chest to bar hang.  The goal is to maintain a great hollow position, if at any point you feel your legs, butt, or belly relax jump off the bar.  This is will help you develop proper body positions in different ranges of motion of the pull-up, and ingrain proper positioning in nervous system. Don’t spend more than 2:00 total minutes hanging from the bar however.

pokeball
That’s it folks lets dominate this second half of the programming like you have a rare pikachu in your sights. Full disclosure, I know nothing about the new Pokemon fad, but it sure is popular with the kids these days!

-Coach Wes

The Expert Series || Olympic Weightlifting with Ursula Garza Papandrea

expert series

We are excited to introduce the second session of our Expert Series! Each month we offer The Expert Series we will host a guest coach who is the best of the best in their field of expertise. Our subject matter experts will offer a specialized class for the month. Primarily we will focus on the sports that are featured in CrossFit training such as Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, powerlifting, running, rowing, etc…

CrossFit Austin is proud to welcome Ursula Garza Papandrea as our Expert Series guest coach this July. Ursula is widely regarded as one of the absolute best Olympic Weightlifting coaches in the United States. She’s one of only 25 coaches designated as Level 5 Senior International Coach by USAW. This is the highest designation a coach can receive from USAW. Most recently Ursula guided her men’s Weightlifting team to the 2014 National Championship.

REGISTER HERE

Dates:
Saturdays July 23rd, 30th, and August 6th

Time:
10 am – Noon

Price:
$75/session or $200 for all 3 sessions (limited to 12 athletes / session)
**Contact info@crossfitaustin.com regarding the 3-session discounted price**

Experience Level:
This is an Intermediate to advanced course. Athletes should have at the very least a year of experience utilizing the snatch and clean & jerk consistently in their training program. This is not a beginners course, athletes should have a strong understanding of the two classic lifts (Snatch and Clean & jerk) and also be familiar with accessory lifts such as the back squat, front squat, push press, pulls, etc. If you have any question as to whether you’re prepared to take the class please contact us at info@crossfitaustin.com.

Pre registration:
Wednesday, July 6 & Thursday, July 7 (This will be for CrossFit Austin members and coaches only)

Open Registration:
Friday, July 8th until spots run out

Full Bio:
Ursula Garza Papandrea is an elite international athlete and the one of only two women to attain USA Weightlifting’s Level 5 Senior International Coach. She is one of only 25 such coaches in USA Weightlifting and the only Level 5 coach in Texas. She has trained athletes that have represented Team USA at the Junior World Championships, University World Championships, Senior World Championships, Pan Am Games, and Olympic Trials. including the 2014 Men’s National Championship Team Texas Barbell.

Ursula has extensive national and international experience in competitive weightlifting as an athlete since 1987. She’s a Two-time senior national champion, two-time Olympic Festival champion, 5 time world team member (1992-1996), and former record holder in both snatch (master’s) and clean and jerk.

She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise and Sports Science, and a Master’s Degree in Political Science and has had a career as a Professor at Austin Community College since 1994. In 2009 she competed again, winning Master’s National Championships(best lifter award) and again in 2010. She is CrossFit Level 1 certified and have been part of the CrossFit Olympic Lifting Certification Staff since 2009. She also instructs the USAW Level 1 Sports Performance courses.

Congrats June Competitors!

It is so exciting for us to see so many of our folks getting out into the community to compete! We had a handful of folks get out and compete in June and we couldn’t be more proud. Great job on all your accomplishments CFA! Keep up the great work!

 

Kim Peabody, Leigh LeGare, Austin Coover, and Stacey Magnesio competed in the Guns N Bows competition on June 11

Sarah Dacy and Bev Lopez lifted in the Weightlifting Wise 2016 Championships

Matt Milldrum, Josh Harris, Aaron Garza, Erin Dickson, and Caitlin Coover all competed in the ATX Throwdown

And congrats to everyone who participated in our 4th of July Murph Event!!
murph2016

If we missed anyone please be sure to shoot us a message. If you have an event coming up in April, let us know!
Contact info@crossfitaustin.com with your competition details!

July Athlete of The Month – Jenni Demske!!

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 July Athlete of the Month is Jenni Demske! Jenni joined CrossFit Austin back in June 2015, so she’s been with us just over a year! She’s an early bird, working out with the 5:30 am crew. She’s a sweet little thing on the outside, but she’ll sneak up and crush you in a workout! This girl is in the last few weeks of her pregnancy (wow!), still hanging in there like a champ. We can’t wait to meet the little push-up man! She is one of the hardest working and friendliest athletes in our crew and we’re so happy to have Jenni as our July Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Congratulations Jenni!

State your Name and/or Nickname please:
Jenni

Words to live by?
I am a firm believer in YOLO. You only live once. Live the best life you can.

What is your fitness background?
High school sports were soccer and swimming. I love the occasional hike and bike these days and of course.. crossfit 🙂

How long have you been CrossFitting?
Just over a year~ time flies when you’re having fun

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
Well I didn’t do a prep course, but I highly recommend it! The first time I picked up a barbell, I literally just tried to copy what everyone else was doing. Once I figured out some techniques to the lifts, it became more fun. The workouts haven’t changed for me really. I try to put everything I have into a workout and leave the gym feeling like I did just that. It’s the best!

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
I met my future hubby, made lifelong friends and have worked next to some of the strongest/coolest people I know. You can go anywhere in the world and find a crossfit box, but it’s the people that make the experience. CFA has some of the best.

Current Training Goals/PRs?
Oh boy. 9 months ago I would have a different answer. My goal is to come back smarter, work hard and listen to my body.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Just go out there, do your best and have fun. Work hard, be proud and practice patience.

What is your cheat meal go to?
Ice cream. All day, every day (literally for the past 9 months)

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
Doing the 2015 open. My coach had to show me what a clean and jerk was right before. It was terrifying, but I came back for the rest of them and loved every minute. This year I was 6 months pregnant for the open… bring on 2017 🙂

You are 37 weeks pregnant. How has this journey with training and growing a tiny human been for you? What does it feel like to be such a strong mama?!
This journey has been a wild ride. Apart from the physical challenges of pregnancy, the mental game has been my true challenge. It’s the hardest thing watching your friends get better, faster, stronger while I’ve taken a step back. I’ve learned to listen to my body and do what feels good. Growing a human is the most amazing, hardest thing I’ve ever done and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?

I want to give 16.5 another shot without baby. 21-18- 15-12- 9-6- 3 Bar facing burpees and thrusters. Bring it on!

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
Currently… eating spicy food, lots of squats, long walks….

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I don’t bathe frequently

Longhorns or Aggies?
Who??! GO GREEN, GO WHITE!! MSU all the way

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Leave it all on the floor 🙂 like when your water breaks.

MURPH DAY 2016 + BBQ Potluck

murph2016

{REGISTER HERE}

CrossFit Austin will be hosting Murph Day Saturday (7/2/2016) honoring the memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy and all fallen veterans. Liutenant Murphy was killed in Afghanistan on June 28th, 2005. This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he named it “Body Armor”. We will honor a focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

“Murph”

For time:
1 mile run
1
00 pull ups
200 push ups
300 squats
1 mile run

*Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed.
**Teams of 2, 3, or 4 are welcome.
***All movements can be scaled.
****Be sure to wear your twenty pound vest or body armor if you have it.

 

EVENT SPECIFICS:

 

Event Registration + Shirt 

  • $40 for participating athletes
  • Athlete entry fee includes registration & t-shirt costs and donations

Event Registration without Shirt

  • $25 for participating athletes
  • Athlete entry fee includes registration costs and donations

***T-Shirt ONLY (non-participant) 

  • This event is open to all – members and non-members
  • Athletes must arrive at 7:00am to warm-up, sign-in, and pick up shirts
  • Heats times start at 8 am, 9 am, and 10am
  • Spectators are welcome
  • Donations are welcome and can be made through eventbrite, Navy SEAL Foundation, Team RWB, or on site during the event.
  • You may choose whether you’d like your donation to go toward the Navy SEAL Foundation or Team RWB

In the past, our annual MURPH Day has benefited the Navy SEAL Foundation. Last year, we decided to band together and help out a member of our own community. This year, we’d like to continue strengthening our community by opening donations to Team Red, White, & Blue

Team RWB – 

Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.

Enrichment is defined as creating quality relationships and experiences that contribute to life satisfaction and overall wellbeing. The concept of enrichment consists of three core components—health, people, and purpose—that define a rich life.

 

Enrichment Equation: Enrichment = Health + People + Purpose

People: Creating authentic connections (defined as genuine, quality, supportive relationships that generate mutual trust and accountability), reflected in an increased number of close relationships and improvements in teammates’ sense of belonging, purpose, and community engagement.

Health: Creating frequent opportunities for team members to connect through fitness, sports, and recreation to improve physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

Purpose: Engaging members in meaningful team and community-based experiences such as leadership and service that, beyond physical and social activities, renew self-identity and purpose in life.

We accomplish our mission via our two core programs: our Chapter and Community Program (CCP) and our Leadership Development Program (LDP).

Read more here: https://www.teamrwb.org/

Upon registration you may specify which cause you would like your donation to go to. We will also be taking donatons on site for both charities. In addition, you may donate directly to either foundation through Navy SEAL Foundation or Team RWB

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” – Vince Lombardi

Cook-out/potluck will take place directly after the event!

 

June Athlete of The Month || Tony Campos

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 June Athlete of the Month is Tony Campos!  Tony started his journey with us in January, but he’s no stranger to CrossFit! You’ll either find him strolling into the 8:30 am class with our “coffee crew” or sweating it out with the noon class. He works extremely hard, but you’d never know how much effort he’s putting in, because he always has a smile on his face! (Who smiles during thrusters?!?!) 😉 . He pushes himself to be better every day is always there to cheer on those who are working with him. We’re so happy to have Tony as our June Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Congratulations Tony!

 

State your Name and/or Nickname please:tony1
Tony Campos or big tones or the hispanic titanic (lol thanks Daniel) or Dr. Campos if you’re one of my students…I guess I have a few nicknames.

Words to live by?
Anything in life worth doing is worth over-doing. Moderation is for cowards.

What is your fitness background?
I played football growing up, so the gym life was ingrained in me at an early age.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
I’ve been CrossFitting for a little over a year now. I took a break for awhile when I moved back to Austin from Minneapolis.

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
My first day CrossFitting was with Jason Prudhom and Vinh Huynh at Mash Mafia Minnesota. We did 5 rounds of 5 push-ups 10 sit-ups and 15 squats in the fundamentals course. I thought I died. If I compare that workout to some of the regular CFA metcons, it’s a fairly straightforward workout, but it was really difficult when I first tried it. I have a long way to go to reach my fitness goals, but I’ve come a long way.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The Coaches!!!! I think I’ve taken a class from almost every coach and y’all are amazing! The one coach I haven’t taken a class with is Zach. I’m sure he’s a great coach but let’s be honest here…I would be too busy staring at him because he’s just too darn good-looking.

Current Training Goals/PRs?
I want to be able to snatch 225 lbs and clean and jerk 315 lbs. I’m not anywhere close to those numbers right now, so I have my work cut-out for me.IMG_0314

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Stay the course! The majority of us are terrible at CrossFit when we first start and I think that’s kind of the point. The workouts seem impossible your first month. You’ll end up scaling the workout and struggle through it. You’ll be sore in places that you didn’t think you could be sore. And eventually, you end up doing the workouts as written and you’ll surprise yourself with what you can do. Moral of the story: if you show up a few times a week for the CrossFit classes, you end up doing workouts that you didn’t think you would ever be able to do.

What is your cheat meal go to?
I really want to say pizza, but that’s way too easy. Pizza is like the universal cheat meal. Bread, tomato sauce, cheese, more cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage. My goodness, pizza is delicious. After describing pizza, I think I’ve convinced myself that pizza is my favorite cheat meal.

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout. Workout? What workout!?! I really want a slice of pizza right now. Just kidding. Anytime we have a workout with running, I’m proud of myself if I can get through the run without walking. I’m hoping one day, I’ll look at a workout with running and not want to curl up in a ball and lay on the floor to try to find a happy place.

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
21-15-9 heavy deadlifts (275) and hand release push-ups, run 400 meters between sets.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I really like bar trivia. I went every Wednesday for about 3 years during graduate school. I like drinking beer, hanging out with friends, and answering pop-culture trivia questions. That’s not weird, right?

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I read books about math in my free time. If you’re a dork like me, I recommend Fermat’s Enigma by Simon Singh. It’s a good read and you don’t need a math background to get13043386_10153705865323315_8608801543732281198_n through it.

Longhorns or Aggies?
Longhorns! I graduated from UT and teach Analytical Chemistry there! Sorry not sorry, Wes.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Thank you all for letting me be apart of the CFA community! I have enjoyed meeting all of the members and the coaches. If I haven’t met you yet, I look forward to meeting you!

 

Rack City || Coach Tim Garland

 


Athletes come in all different shapes and sizes, and with a complex balance of strengths and limitations. Taking a look at the set-up in our lifts, our anthropometric measures (body proportions) come into play and are a big factor in dictating position. The front rack position is no different. We use the front rack for a variety of lifts, so the rack position may also vary slightly depending on the lift itself. While we cannot paint a black and white picture with one broad stroke, we can structure a basic framework from which we can meet and/or improve our points of performance. To illustrate; an athlete with a long humerus (upper arm) and shorter radius and ulna (lower arm), will have a slightly different looking rack position than someone with opposite measurements. Similarly, someone with longer arms and shorter legs would have a slightly different set-up in the snatch than someone with longer legs and shorter arms. Again, not black and white.

Please, do me a favor. Before reading any further, close your eyes and complete a few mental reps of your front squat. Next, try the same with your strict press. If the position of your elbows during both movements was/is the same, you’re kidding yourself….Or one of your movements is st-ruggling! Can you imagine letting the bar sit in your fingertips and trying to drive your elbows high before performing the strict/overhead press?

Taking into consideration the above, we can move on to the basics of the front rack position.

Midline stability. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s important! Lacking stability here under any load is like driving a motorcycle without a helmet. Sure, you may get away without anything tragic happening for awhile, but you’re playing against the odds and eventually it can catch up to you. Keeping that rib cage from “flaring up” is the goal. Coach Wes and Coach Zach recently posted a video on bracing. If you missed it, I recommend taking a peek at that video! YouTube gold with those two fellas! [Watch it here]

The next focal point, “elbows up”! This is a cue that is widely used by many coaches, myself included. Oftentimes, it is a cue utilized when the individual is driving up out of the bottom of a clean. While not incorrect, it can be difficult to actually make that happen in the moment. Addressing the muscular and connective tissues of the upper-mid back, chest, shoulders and triceps, allows for better positioning, but like most things in life it requires consistent work and attention. Bottom line…you have to do the work to EARN your position. The posterior side of the shoulder is where the stability of the scapula happens, thus the magic of the position. I often use the analogy of the drawbridge. (Possibly because I’m a Game of Thrones fan and hold steadfast in my opinion that the alligator-infested moat and drawbridge are highly underutilized…but I digress). Once the soft tissue component is addressed,we need to activate this newly accessed tissue. In this method, and analogy,  as the elbow (drawbridge) is being raised, more and more musculature is being called upon to stabilize the scap…just as the cable spool on the pulley system is collecting more and more cable to pull the bridge upward.

Elbows down and out is another commonly taught method for the front rack position. Coach Burgener, an experienced, widely known coach in the CrossFit world, teaches this position at his seminars. His reasoning is to get the triceps more involved and keep tension on the bar as the athlete transitions from the front rack, to driving under the bar in the catch-phase of the jerk. In this method, there is no disengagement and regripping of the bar. The bar sits more to the “meat” of the hands and less in the fingertips. As I stated earlier, it’s not necessarily black and white. Your coach can help you identify which set-up may work best for you considering any structural or soft tissue limitations that you may be working to conquer.

While not everything, personal preference for the more experienced athletes is also something to consider. If the individual ‘feels’ more at ease with one method over the other, it might not be the best idea to try and force them into the other position. Again, everyone has a complex balance of strengths and limitations and should be guided based on myriad, individual factors.

More concisely,

*** 3 main factors of position***

1)midline stability/bracing

2)elbow position: considering any structural or soft tissue limitations as well as athlete     preference and specific movement for the rack

3)bar position: resting on the deltoids and either in the fingertips or more to the palm of the hands depending on method utilized

*** 3 focal points to work to improve soft tissue ***

1) thoracic spine

2)subscap

3) front rack ROM with active/passive stretching

Happy rackin’,

Coach Tim