Muscle Recovery

Muscle+Damage

DOMS is a result of the micro tears that are created in your muscles while working out. These tears occur in order to help you build muscle, creating inflammation in the body. Inflammation is not always bad though! It is a normal process in the body, allowing the cycle of breaking down and rebuilding. But too much inflammation can cause issues, just like too much wine or too much chocolate. The inflammation can cause some of the soreness/pain that we feel. The idea behind the tart cherry juice is that the antioxidants in the fruit help to speed muscle recovery, thus reducing the soreness. Tart cherry juice has anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that gives the cherries their red color. There are also other antioxidants in the fruit, but this is the one specific to tart cherries. The juice must be made from tart cherries (aka Montmorency cherries) because I think the other cherry juices have too much sugar. I just had my first glass of it last night from Eden Foods and it was pretty delicious.

“The cherry tart juice appears to provide viable means to aid recovery following strenuous exercise by increasing total antioxidant capacity, reducing inflammation, lipid peroxidation and so aiding in the recovery of muscle function.” Howatson G. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2010.

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What am I telling you?

Maybe drinking this juice after your workouts will help to reduce soreness. There are a few studies about it reducing soreness with long distance runners, and also increasing muscle force production 24 hours after a strength training workout. You can read more here and learn about the additional benefits of drinking tart cherry juice.

What am I NOT telling you?

I am not saying that you can push yourself harder, wreck your body, drink the juice and then repeat daily. Please remember that rhabdo is a response of pushing your body too hard. Tart cherry juice is not an excuse to do more and rest less. It’s just may help your body recover quicker. Everybody needs a rest day!

Is tart cherry juice Paleo?

I did some research on this, but if anyone else has any input please share. It is one of the better fruits to consume because of it’s low glycemic index. It’s on the Paleo list for some CrossFit gyms, but I’m sure not eating in excess. According to the Paleo diet, you are suppose to have your main source of carbs post-workout. So this makes me think that tart cherry juice is Paleo approved post-WOD. But I’m also not a strict Paleo eater and if you’re doing the challenge Ashley may give you 1 point instead of 2. So if you’re trying to be super strict with your diet, I would do more research. Or ask Miss AVH.

 

References:

Glyn Howatson et al. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. “Influence of Tart Cherry Juice on Indices of Recovery Following Marathon Running.” 2009.

Clarkson, Pricilla. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal. “Oh, Those Aching Muscles: Causes and Consequences of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.” 1997.

Stopping Pain at its Source, Childhood

How many of us live in constant or semi-constant pain? I would say that it is an unfortunately high percentage. Whether it’s that old football injury, nagging rotator cuff, or maybe just a tight low back, there is some little nagging issue that most of deal with on a day-to-day basis. Maybe you have almost become unaware of the pain due to experiencing it for so long. In other cases, the pain can be severe, but could be the product of years of bad habits (a herniated disc in your neck from poor posture would be an example). The most frustrating thing about these types of pain is that most of this pain is PREVENTABLE, especially if we start learning how to take care of our bodies at an early age.

Pain-Management

Pain is trouble

Thus, I am making it one of my life goals to help educate parents, kids, coaches, educators, and many others on the importance of basic physical knowledge to prevent a lifetime of disease and dysfunction. How can we teach kids the basics of math while neglecting to instruct them that pain is a sign that shouldn’t be ignored?

Pain is an indicator of your body’s tissues being in distress (imagine being pinched) and is essentially your body telling you to pay attention and relieve the distress. Chronic pain means chronic distress, which over time can lead to soft-tissue damage (imagine having the inside of your joint pinched repeatedly: now you can see how cartilage and tendon damage happen slowly over time). However, we usually don’t address the pain until it gets bad enough to prevent us from doing what we love. Unfortunately, this usually means we have created permanent tissue damage along the way (cartilage damage, tendon tears, bone spurs, etc). Thus, now we can see why pain needs to be addressed early to prevent irreparable tissue damage.

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How does this apply to kids?

Kids are usually pretty resilient as they grow. They can be dropped, fall down, crash-and-burn, bounce, bang, whack, and conduct a wide variety of other semi-violent activities and still come out relatively unscathed. Thus, as children, we often get the impression that pain isn’t something to worry about, as it will be gone shortly. Yet, this simple misunderstanding about pain and its causes (and consequences) can often lead to long-term issues if not addressed properly on the front-end. Notice, I am not talking about falling down and getting a scrape, but overuse injuries that slowly develop over the course of one or more seasons of play.

I will use myself as an example. Growing up, I went through stress fractures in my shins from running, avulsion fractures on both my hips from sprinting, improper ankle rehabilitation (resulting in long-standing knee and hip problems) and a variety of other crap simply because my parents, coaches, and I didn’t know any better. Now, I hold no grudges, but as I have delved into health, science, and fitness in the last few years, it is amazing to see how such simple things could make big changes in how much pain we have to “live with” as adults.

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Hey, look an avulsion fracture. I did that.
On both sides…

Starting Points

A couple big things I would love to see implemented for kids:

  • Pain awareness – the understanding that pain is a negative thing and needs to be addressed, thus leading to an understanding of how to address pain
  • Healthy practices for sports training (such as little league limiting the number of pitches a kid can throw in a game)
  • Off-Seasons – colleges and pro teams make their athletes have off-seasons to keep them healthy, the same should go for kids
  • Proper strength and conditioning programs for kids (doesn’t have to be weight lifting, especially important if PE isn’t in the picture, and yes it is safe)
  • Delayed specialization (Waiting to specialize in a sport until adolescence as the bones are still maturing)
  • Making “Play” part of a kid’s physical development again – more time moving, less time sitting

MLP_Posture01Now, before everyone starts saying that kids like their video games because they they are lazy, don’t like hard work or physically pushing themselves, I think there is something we need to address: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LAZY KID. Have you ever seen a kid with a video game they like? You physically can’t take it out of their hands without a fight. What if you applied the same idea of fun, games, and control to physically training kids? If you have ever attended a well-run CrossFit Kids class or a practice run by a knowledgeable coach, the kids will tell you that they “LOVE” burpees, and that they show up every day, BEGGING to do plank circles, or that I get mauled when I visit a friend’s house because all three kids want to do “barrow-ball” competitions (we are still working on getting them to understand what a “wheelbarrow” is). It simply needs to reintroduce fun and games as part of the equation.

Endgame

The eventual goal would be to start training coaches, parents, kids, educators, and everyone else involved in a child’s development to the importance of physical development in conjunction with mental and emotional development. Only through a copmlete focus on  development can we truly reach our potential as pain-free, intelligent human beings.

The ultimate goal is how can we create bulletproof human beings? Well, you start by creating bulletproof kids and work from there…

How Functional is CFSB?

It’s official. I have finally reached my goal in life. The group functional movement screen was a success and we now have data from 257 athletes  to help all you you become better athletes! I may just be weird, but it really does feel like a great accomplishment to have finished this. And I couldn’t have done it without all of you and the coaches/staff, so thank you! Now you guys can look forward to me talking about things other than the FMS. I’m sure I’ll find a way to keep bringing it up though. And I do have other life goals, but this one has been in the works ever since I heard the word CrossFit. So now I want to share with all of you how functional we all move as a gym/community/goodcult. Stop for a second an breathe, I will not be saying Dave Fulton go this score. Or Andrew Brown was better at this than Nathan Luczynski. There will be no name pointing, I promise.

Here’s the breakdown of the scores. Each test was out of 3 point. 3 is optimal, 2 is good, 1 is poor, 0 means you had pain and need to seek help from a medical professional. Total score was out of 21 points. Most of the research shows that a score of 15-18 has a 15% chance of injury and < 14 increases your risk to 50%. The total score is good to look at, but it’s more important to look at the individual test scores to see where you are good and where you need to improve.

Functional Movement Screen Data from December 2012

Total members screened: 257
Average score: 13.5/21
Range: 6-18/21
Most frequent score: 14/21

What does all of this mean?

You can see from the graphs above where we excelled. Areas to work on include: core/midline stability, rotary stability, hamstring mobility, shoulder mobility, ankle mobility, single leg balance, quad/hip flexor mobility and hip stability. You can see your individual results on www.functionalmovement.com for you specific areas to work on. We will be taking this information and using it to gear our programming towards improving these scores on the functional movement scores, which will create better athletes with decreased risk of injury. So get excited!

 

Healthy Joints

Congrats to Hollie Palmer for representing CFSB and being an awesome competitor at the OC Throwdown!

photo photo

 

All of you have been drilled the importance of mobility. Preventing injury, getting the proper flexibility before you do certain olympic lifts, warming-up the body, allowing you to lift more weight, etc. These are all very true, and today I’m going to add one more to the list: keeping your joints healthy. This isn’t just to prevent your joints from getting injured (although that is still part of it). It’s more about keeping the joints moving the way they were made to move so they are nourished and last as long as possible. Limited joint mobility does not allow joints to receive nutrients to all areas of the joint surfaces = unhealthy joint.

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Quick Joint Anatomy

There are many different types of joints in the body with different purposes, i.e. ball and socket like the hip/shoulder or hinge like the knee/elbow. Not all joints are the same, but in general they are made up of bones that connect to each other via: tendons (muscular attachment), ligaments and joint capsule. The joint capsule is a fibrous sac that contains fluid to nourish the surrounding structures. Each joint has cartilage that lines the bones and creates a surface to absorb shock and protect the joint as it moves. It also decreases friction between the 2 boney surfaces.

What do I mean by joint nourishment?

Joints like movement. That’s what they were made to do. A lot of joint mobility restrictions are caused from not moving them for long periods of time. For example, sitting causes the hips to tighten up. Sitting with slumped forward posture causes the upper back and shoulders to tighten up. As this video explains, the fascia in our bodies get stuck down when we don’t move. Especially when we are sleeping because this is when so much healing and regeneration occurs in our body. Once the fascia gets locked down and the muscles get tight, the joints underneath are not able to roll, glide, slide like they are meant to do. Then the actual joint gets tight, most likely the joint capsule. When the joint capsule doesn’t get to move, the joint loses it’s nourishment. Just like if you were to not eat for days, the joint does not receive the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

Even injured joints need movement! Sometimes there’s a misconception with injuries that if you don’t move the injured area for a while it will heal and magically be better. This is especially the favored option because there’s usually pain involving the movement so avoiding movement sounds ideal. Some injuries do need to be immobilized for periods of time to heal (fractures, major ligament injuries, etc.). Most, at some point, need movement to heal and prevent major loss in mobility. This allows blood to flow to the injured area so that it is nourished, speeding up healing and recovery. Movement can be done through exercise or joint mobilization (by a medical professional or using the bands like in K-Starr’s Mobility WOD).

The challenge is to find a way to keep moving without increasing pain and/or causing more injury. This varies from injury to injury, which is why guidance from a medical professional is recommended. Using a shoulder impingement injury as an example, a physical therapist may do gentle joint mobilization to get more blood flow to the injured area, while also teaching the patient ways to exercise the arm without using the muscles while the shoulder heals. Here are some other examples to help explain (not to tell you how to treat your own injury because all injuries vary):

  1. Fractured elbow in a cast. Can’t move the elbow, but you can move the wrist/hand and maybe shoulder depending on where the cast is.
  2. Sprained ankle. Within a few days, gentle movements of the ankle to help reduce swelling and get blood flowing.
  3. Lower back injury, keeping you from running and anything else CrossFit. Try taking a walk or bike (depending on activities that irritate the injury). It allows you to move and start to speed up the healing process, rather than sitting on your butt feeling sorry for yourself.
  4. Knee pain with squats, jumping and running. Try the bike. Keeps the knee moving with less stress on the joint.
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This looks painful to move! But it’s important to keep it moving somehow to keep the joint nourished.

Last example has to do with the benefits of moving joints with osteoarthritis (OA). I’m bringing this up because it’s a common injury, with degenerative changes of the cartilage, bone and surrounding structures. Most of the time patients are told to stop doing the activity that aggravates it…..like someone with hip OA should stop back squatting. This may be the right thing to change in order to prevent further injury, but it’s important to find a way to keep the hip joint moving and receiving as much nourishment as possible. So this person with hip OA may benefit from stretching and joint mobilization (like K-Starr does in Hip Impingement 2: Band Variation). This same concept can go for arthritis of other joints as well, but it’s still good to get checked out by a medical professional. Just make sure you ask “Hey (doc/PT/chiro) I know I can’t do _________ because of my injury, but what can I do to keep things healthy?”

So what’s another reason to mobilize?? Joint Health!

Reference: Bretcher J and Sueki D. Orthopedic Clinical Rehabilitation Clinical Advisor. 2010.

Stretch of the Month: Brettzel

Before I go into the stretch of the month I want to thank all of you for being patient with the FMS results as we work out all of the kinks. If you still haven’t seen your results, I have obnoxiously re-sent the invitation e-mail. I promise this will be the only time I do this, but just in case it got lost in the mix of the holidays. If you don’t care to see your scores no problem, we will still be using all the results to help better your programming. I’m still working on exactly how to present the information to all of you, but I think it will be really cool to see how we all move as a gym and use our areas of weakness to improve as athletes and help prevent further injury. Please e-mail me if you are having issues seeing your scores….the website is new so there are still a lot of technical things to work out.

This stretch that I’m sharing with you today (as Kyler is nicely demonstrating above) is actually from the Functional Movement database (named after Brett who created it). I wanted to share it because the results of the screens show that the majority of you could benefit from some more hip stretching. This was probably something you could have assumed were true with all of the sitting we do. This stretch will help to open up your hips, as well as give you some rotation of the spine and stretch out your shoulders like the T-Spine rotation.There is also  Brettzel 2.0 stretch which is excellent as well. Here are the specific areas that these stretches target.

* Everyone may feel this stretch differently because it depends on where your limitations are. Focus on the correct form (shown in the video here) and see if you notice a difference side to side. It’s the asymmetry that we really want to target here, as well as improving overall mobility.

Brettzel (image above)

Anterior Chain Muscles

  • Pecs
  • Abs
  • Quads
  • Hip Flexors

Brettzel 2.00

Posterior Chain Muscles

  • Lats
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • IT Band
muscle-anatomy-chart

Brief anatomy review since Learn Yourself isn’t up on the new site yet.

Both stretches help get the most bang for your buck……hopefully helping to decrease the time you spend stretching in order to increase the chances of you actually adding it into your schedule. Hopefully all of you added stretching to your New Years Resolutions!

 

The Results are in!

Catherine and I have finally finished inputting all of the functional movement screens! Thank you all for being patient and cooperating with us on this big project. And to all the coaches who made it happen!!

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Here’s how you can see your results:

1. You should have received an e-mail from Functional Movement Systems, with the subject line: functionalmovement.com Client Invitation from Missy. This e-mail will guide you on how to set-up an account to access your results. You must click on the link in the e-mail, otherwise it won’t set-up your account correctly and you won’t be able to see your screen results.

 

2. Once you login you can click under screens and see your results. There is also a description of each test, what your results reveal and a video explanation. Do what you want with the info, but it may help you understand some of the stuff rather than freaking out about your score.

 

3. If you have had prior screens…..this is a little messy so I apologize. Each screen has a day and time next to it. The system doesn’t allow you to change this, so it just states when the results were inputted. Look for the 2 screens that were inputted within a few minutes of each other (i.e. 11:34pm and 11:35pm). These are your 2 previous results, with the earlier one being inputted first.

 

Warning: please leave your ego at the door before you read your results. This is hard with all of the competitiveness we have at the gym, mainly with ourselves. This test points out your areas of weakness so that you can improve. Not so you can get down on yourself and give up on mobility all together.

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Other important info

  • You should focus on the individual test results rather than the total score. You could have a good score (say 17/21) but completely failed (0/1) on shoulder mobility.
  • Please contact myself or Catherine if you have questions or issues accessing your results.
  • You will have the opportunity to set-up a consult with Catherine or myself if you would like to review your results and go over some recommendations. Each consult will be 20min and cost $15. Just shoot us an e-mail so we can set something up. Catherine@crossfitsouthbay.com or Missy@crossfitsouthbay.com.
  • We will be using the results to better your programming and make recommendations. So even if you don’t schedule a consult, you will still benefit. We will be running a few reports with the data and will share the info as we go along.
  • If you had pain with any of the tests, expect a check-in e-mail from me to see what’s going on and to make sure you are taking care of the injury.
  • We would love any feedback from all of you about how the first group FMS went at CFSB! Leave a comment on this blog or shoot me an e-mail if you have something private to share.
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Catherine, Gus and I did the FMS for the Berrics baseball team. Here they’re showing off their favorite exercise of the warm-up and cool-down we gave them…..so much fun!

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Workout of the Day 12/17/12

Level 1

A. Deadlift
8-8-8-8

B. 4 Rounds
1 Min on 30 Sec Off
Wall Ball (16/12)
Deadlift (135/83)
Renegade Row (20/15)

C. 3 Rounds (not for time)
10 GHD Hip Extensions
5 Turkish Gettups
5 Dead Bugs

Level 2

A. Deadlift
5-5-3-3

B. 4 Rounds
1 Min on 30 Sec Off
Wall Ball (25/20)
Deadlift (155/115)
Renegade Row (35/25))

C. 3 Rounds (not for time)
10 Toes to Bar
3 Muscle Ups (unbroken)
5 Pistols

Fundies

A. 2 Rounds
10 Thrusters
Hip Stretches – group

B. For time: 3 Rounds
20 reps of each
Thrusters (bar only for newer athletes)
Ball Slams
KB Swing
Good Mornings
Pull-ups
(scale down reps or rounds for new athletes)

 

Details for the Group FMS

I hope you’re all excited to see how well you move! We are all excited to get the results of these screens to help all of you become better athletes. If you have no idea what I’m talking about read last week’s post here.

Rusty is really really excited about tomorrow….and his new bumble bee

Here’s how it’s gonna work:

When you get to the gym (on time) you will be handed a form which we will be using to score you. It has some initial info that you have to fill out (name, age, other sports, injuries, etc.) before we get started. If you don’t get a chance to do this before we get started you can just put your name on it and finish filling it out at the end of class. This is also to keep you entertained because you can not warm-up before the screen. No foam roll, lacrosse ball, run, row, stretching, etc. This is cheating and will alter your true score of the test. We will be starting on the hour for all classes. So please get there on time and be ready to follow instructions because we have a lot to do in a short amount of time. I don’t want to get out the loud speaker, but I will if need be. Actually, I’ll let Ashley do that  because she’s so good with it :) There will be a 25min time cap for the screen, so if for some reason we don’t get through all of you then we will finish Tuesday (or later in the week if need be). This is so that you can all still get in a good WOD for the rest of class time (we picked a special one for this special occasion!). Help your coaches out by trying to stay focused so we can get through all of you if time permits. Try not to ask too many questions or go into details about injuries unless doing the test will cause more injury. There will be plenty of time for you to talk to me afterwards or you can e-mail me if you have any questions/concerns. We need to keep moving through the test so we can be as efficient as possible. Once you are done with the screen you may start warming up for Part B.

Anticipated questions:

 

  • When will I get to see my results?

All of your results will be put into a database, hopefully by the end of the week. You will then be able to see all of your results and what they mean. Then when we do this again in a few months you will be able to compare. We will also be able to generate some other cool reports with the info which we will share later as well.

  • What if I have been screened before?

Your old scores will be inputted as well so you can compare your old results and see your progress!

  • Why did I have to pay for the screen initially and now it’s free?

The set-up was initially spending 30min with me to do the screen and go over your results. This was nice because it was very individualized. However, there are still too many people out there that have not been screened! We have now organized it in a way that allows us to screen all of you in a group to ensure that everyone gets tested. You will still have the option of signing up for individualized screen sessions to either go over your results from the screens this week or do another screen if you want to do them more frequently (same cost as before).

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Workout of the Day 12/3/12

Level 1

A. Functional Movement Screen

B. Warm-Up

C. “Russian Helen”

3 RFT:

400m Run

21 Russian Kettlebell Swings (24kg/16kg)

6 Strict Pull-Ups

Level 2

A. Functional Movement Screen

B. Warm-Up

C. “Helen”

3 RFT:

400m Run

21 American Kettlebell Swings (24kg/16kg)

12 Pull-Ups

*Compare to 4/30/12

Fundies

A. Functional Movement Screen

B. AMRAP 10

10-1Thrusters

10 Reverse lunges (same weight)
Rest 2 min
AMRAP 10 10-1 KB romanian deadlift 100m Sprint

 

 

 

 

 

Group FMS at CFSB!!

We are finally doing a group Functional Movement Screen at the gym! It will be required (at no additional cost) that every member get screened starting the week of December 3rd. Think of it as an early Holiday present! Or just another added benefit to being a member at CFSB :) Here are the details…

What

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is an injury prevention test that I have been offering at the gym for the last year. You can read more about it here, but it basically looks at how your body moves as a whole and brings out any imbalances, weakness or inflexibilities that may put you at more risk for injury. We have a team of coaches at CFSB that are now certified through Functional Movement, so we will be screening each and every one of you. We won’t be going over your score or recommendations that day. Your results will be inputted into a database which will allow you to see the results of the test and detailed descriptions of what the test results mean. We will then take the results and incorporate them into our programming at CFSB to make all of you better athletes. Yipee!

When

December 3rd during part A of all classes. If you can’t make it to the gym that day it will be required that you get screened at some point during the week instead of doing part A.

Why

The goal of this is to reduce to number of avoidable injuries at the gym AND to help give you guys an idea of how well or not-so-well your body moves. We will be implementing this into the programming every few months so that you can be re-tested and watch your progress. It will also help us make sure that the programming is tailored towards YOU because we will know where you all stand.

** If you guys have been screened before I will make sure that you have access to your previous score (s) so that you know if you have made improvements.

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Workout of the Day11/26/12

Level 1

A. 3x
30 sec. HS Hold
10 Push-Up Shoulder Taps

B. Snatch and Overhead Squat Work

C. 2x
Calf Stretch 30sec/side
15 Hard Kettlebell Swings

Level 2

A. 3x
6 Wall Walks
6 Handstand Shoulder Taps

B. Snatch and Snatch Heavy

*That is all

C. 2x
Calf Stretch 30sec/side
15 Hard Kettlebell Swings

Fundies

A. AMRAP 10
10-1 Rom. Deadlift (w/KB)
10-1 Kettle Bell Clean

2 min rest

B. AMRAP 8
8-1 Thrusters
8-1 Knees to Elbows

2 min rest

C. 1 Round
500m Row
400m Run
250m Row
300m Run

 

Learn Yourself Lesson: Bursa

Nagging injuries suck, for lack of a better description. They can limit our exercise routine and possibly create an even larger injury that causes us to be out of commission for several weeks or months. And even if you don’t take time off exercise (we’ll talk about that later) they are still very annoying and can affect our daily lives. There are a lot of things that can cause these nagging injuries, but today I want to talk about a part of the body that can be a major source of nagging injury: the Bursa. I will give you an overview of the bursae in the body and then go through areas that are most commonly injured (especially among CrossFitters). I will also throw in some treatment ideas so you know what you should do if you think have have injured one.

What is a bursa?

Bursae are fluid filled structures (kind like a little sac) that help reduce friction between bones and tendon. This means they help to make sure the tendon moves smoothly over the bone. They are not located between every bone and tendon, but most of the major ones such as hips, knees, feet, shoulders and elbows.

Injury to the Bursa

In general, injury to the bursa is an overuse injury with symptoms that gradually appear and worsen if the symptoms are ignored. This is usually a case of inflammation (aka bursitis) which means that the bursa is being irritated do to joints that are not moving properly (tightness, weakness, overworked, etc). The bursae can also be injured by traumatic impact like a fall or contact sport. This can cause inflammation to the bursa and bleeding in the bursa.

Signs and symptoms of an injured bursa can include:

  • Tenderness to the area
  • Visual swelling
  • Aching (sometimes feels deep in the joint)
  • Pain with certain movements (i.e. lifting shoulder overhead)
  • Pain with static positions (i.e. sitting for long periods)

Iliopsoas bursa

General Treatment

The bursae do not have a good blood supply to nourish them and allow them to heal quickly, so treatment can be challenging. It all depends on the area that is affected, but initially ice and compression is indicated to see if the swelling and pain is reduced. Modalities such as laser or ultrasound can be used to decrease inflammation. Some people will recommend ant-inflammatories, but that’s not my favorite choice because some inflammation is needed to heal (read more here). Resting from activity is usually stressed in order to decrease irritation of the bursa, especially if the cause of the injury was overuse. This is usually the most important factor of letting this injury heal and the most challenging because resting from exercise can be challenging. But it’s important to allow the swelling to decrease so you don’t cause more damage. It’s hard because you can’t always see the swelling because of the location of the bursae, so it won’t be like a swollen knee. But you wouldn’t keep running on a swollen knee, so it’s not good to keep going on a swollen bursa. If the bursa continues to be inflammed even after the above treatment options, sometime the sac will need to be drained (aspirated) in order to allow the area to heal. If the bursa is drained, it’s important to figure out the original cause of the injury and address any factors that may cause it to become inflammed again.

Hip Bursitis

Common areas of injury

  • Shoulder “subacromial”: the bursa located between the top the arm bone (humerus) and shoulder blade (scapula) can get irritated by repetitive overhead activities and poor shoulder mechanics (weakness, poor mobility, too much weight). This can sometimes go along with other shoulder injuries such as impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tears and labral tears. Pain is usually located on the top/front of the shoulder, which is where the brusa lies.
  •  Elbow “student’s elbow”: the bursa located between the skin and the tip of the elbow. This is usually caused by people constantly leaning on their elbow, which is why it was given the name student’s elbow.
  • Lateral Hip “trochanteric bursitis”:there are three different bursae that are

    Elbow Bursa

    clumped in this injury term, with all of them involving the top of the leg bone (femur) and gluteal muscles. Pain will usually be felt on the bony side of your hip, which is called the trochanter. Some will complain of a snapping sensation on the side of the hip, with pain also noted walking upstairs or lying on the affected side. Runners are more prone to this injury, especially if they constantly run on a slanted surface (such as the strand in Hermosa!).

  • Anterior Hip “iliopectineal/iliopsoas bursitis”: This bursae lies beneath the main hip flexor muscle in the front of your hip. I put this one if red font because almost all of the causes include overuse of CrossFit activities: weightlifting, rowing and uphill running. Pain is located in the front of the hip or near the groin.
  • Knee “housemaid’s knee”: There are a few bursae in the knee, especially surround the patella. These are usually irritated by people who work on their knees a lot, but can also be caused by repetitive poor form with exercise.

Take home message……this injury needs TIME to heal. Sometimes we all want to go go go all the time and never give our bodies the rest that it needs. This doesn’t mean that every nagging injury that you all have has to do with the bursae and resting will let it heal, but it’s a possibility. Just listen to your body and seek medical care if something persists. We only get one body, so take care of it! And the coaches at CrossFit Southaby can help you modify your workouts until the injury heals :)

References:

Brunker, Peter and Khan, Karim. Clinical Sports Medicine. 3rd edition 2006.
Placzek, Jeffrey D. and Boyce, David A. Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Secrets. 2nd edition 2006.

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Workout of the Day 11/19/12

Level 1

A. EMOM 10
2 Strict Pull-Ups
3 Jumping Lunges/leg

B. 3x: AMRAP 4, 1 min. rest
10 Push-Ups
10 Ring Rows
10 Jumping Air Squats

C. 3x
Lunge Stretch 30sec/side
Pec Stretch 30sec/side

Level 2

A. EMOM 10
2 Explosive Strict Pull-Ups
3 Jumping Lunges/leg

*Each set of Pull-Ups and jumping lunges should be as high as you can get without a kip

B. 3x: AMRAP 4, 1 min. rest
10 Clapping Push-Ups
10 C2B Pull-Ups
10 Jumping Back Squats (45/33)

C. 3x
Lunge Stretch 30sec/side
Pec Stretch 30sec/side

Low Intensity / Crossfit Mom Modifications (adjust rounds, reps, rest and rx as needed)

A. EMOM 10
2 Strict Pull-Ups
3 Weighted Walking Lunges (each leg)

B. 3x: AMRAP 4, 1 min. rest
10 Push-Ups (use a bar, box, wall or bench as needed)
10 Ring Rows (sub with one arm dumbbell rows or bent over rows if more stability is needed)
10 Squats, holding a light weight (kb, db or plate)

C. 3x
Lunge Stretch 30sec/side
Pec Stretch 30sec/side

Fundamentals

A. 3 Rounds
10 Deadlifts
100m Run

B. AMRAP 12
10 Deadlifts
8 burpees
20 Walking Lunges (OH bar opt)

Rest 2 min

AMRAP 10
10 goblet Squats
10 Push Ups
10 kb swings

Understanding Your Environment

The attack of the killer mold…

It began as Savana simply feeling her allergies and asthma acting up a few weeks after moving into our new apartment. We originally thought it must have been the dust, as the apartment had shag carpeting and dirty drapes. Thus we began doing everything possible to combat dust, from purchasing new drapes and multiple HEPA air purifiers to buying the best $500 vacuum cleaner I could find. While each new addition seemed to slightly help, the trend of more intense allergy symptoms has continued. As the months went on, I began to become affected as well, until we both began to wake up fully congested every morning. While we continued to fight what we thought was dust, the problems continued until we both were experiencing blood in our mucus on a regular basis due to the intense irritation of the nasal cavities. It wasn’t until we noticed an off-putting smell that we even considered mold. However, once we started to research mold, it seemed that we were experiencing the textbook symptoms of mold exposure. The most recent symptoms have been intense sinus headaches and extreme fatigue, even though we have both been sleeping an average of 8-10 hours a night. To test our theory, we have even spent nights outside the apartment, at both friends houses and hotels and have immediately experienced a reduction in the severity of our symptoms.

http://o.b5z.net/i/u/10018599/i//moldy_cabinet_ezr.jpg

Now, what does this have to do with you?? Simple, I want you guys to analyze what you surround yourselves with everyday. In my case, I regularly analyze my performance on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. Thus, I found that I did not PR a strength movement in 10 months. In fact, most of my lifts regressed over the past 10 months, even though I was focusing on them more. My joint issues increased exponentially, leading to an injured shoulder and knee, even though I was upping my fish oil, stretching, rolling and other recovery methods. I constantly felt fatigued and overtrained, even when I tried greatly reducing my volume to the point where I was deloading 1 week for every week I trained hard. In the end, it finally clicked, as what seemed like a simple allergic reaction was actually affecting my recovery, as my sleep suffered every night spent at the apartment (as evidenced by my daily sleep notes). As the mold issues continued, it led to a multitude of other issues as well (imagine if both you and your boyfriend/girlfriend/roommate are almost permanently sick and you will start to grasp a bit of the issues).

What are the environmental factors you surround yourself with on a regular basis that are affecting your ability to succeed and perform at the highest level?? (Hint, this might not be a mold issue. It could be your melodramatic boyfriend/girlfriend, that skipped dentist appointment that you keep thinking about, a job that you hate, or a neighbor that smokes) Discuss in comments!!

 


Workout of the Day

Level 1

A. Every 3:00 for 18:00 (6 Sets)
5 Back Squats (Heavier than Last Friday)

B. “Tabata Grace”
4 Rounds:
20 seconds Power Cleans (85/65)
10 seconds Rest
20 seconds Push Jerks (85/65)
10 seconds Rest

C. 2x
5 Handstand Attempts
250m Row

Level 2

A. Every 3:00 for 18:00 (6 Sets)
6 Back Squats @ 80%

B. “Tabata Grace”
4 Rounds:
20 seconds Squat Cleans (135/95)
10 seconds Rest
20 seconds Push Jerks (135/95)
10 seconds Rest

C. 2x
Wall Stretch (30sec/side)
5 Handstand Attempts

LOW INTENSITY / CROSSFIT MOM MODIFICATIONS (adjust rounds, reps, rest and rx as needed)

A. 6x
5 Back Squats

B. Reverse Tabata Grace
4 Rounds:
10 seconds Power Cleans
20 seconds Rest
10 seconds Push Jerks
20 seconds Rest

C. 500 M Row

Fundamentals

A. 5 EMOM (incr. weight each round)
6 Front Squat

B. Kelly
5 rounds
Run 400m
30 Box Jumps
30 Wall Balls
(new athletes scale down reps and running distance or reduce rounds)
30min cap on time

New Morning Routine

Happy Veteran’s Day and thank you to all who have served our country!


I want to share something to add into your daily routine to help improve your overall flexibility, without adding to the long list of things you have to do. I didn’t want to put yoga into the title of this post…..and that’s because a lot of people may have become uninterested and move on to the next blog on their list of reads. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that yoga can help clear your mind, decrease stress and improve your life dramatically (although I believe it). I don’t want to stress the “zen” side of yoga because I know this causes a lot of people to shy away from it.  I want to focus more on the ways that it can improve your overall flexibility, without having a long list of stretches that you have to do……holding for 1 minute…….and repeat on each side. Not that I’m against the latter, but sometimes it’s exhausting to think about the long list of things you have to do and that’s why we don’t do it!

*** If you want to skip my story on why I love yoga you can skip right to the heart of this post Good Morning Yoga Sequence.

I have tried yoga many different times for many different reasons. It was way too “out there” for me in college, and that’s probably because I was in Davis taking classes from the ultimate Zen-hippie people. I don’t mean to offend with the generalization….especially because my best friend just called me a hippie last night. Maybe it’s time for me to move back to Davis? Anyways, I tried yoga again in grad school because I needed something to chill out with all the stress of class and tests. I used to be able to get stress relief from running, soccer and lifting weights….but I’m such a competitive person that sometimes I was leaving my workout even more frustrated. So I did yoga for a little while, but it didn’t last too long. Probably because I was a starving student, but I think the classes were also too long to fit into my schedule. My most recent bout of yoga started about 11 months ago because I needed a workout where I didn’t think. I love my profession, but can’t seem to do any type of workout without analyzing the heck out of it. I also just spent 3 years learning everything that was wrong with my own body and was getting overwhelmed trying to figure out what area to focus my stretching on. What was my solution? Yep, yoga. I can go to a yoga class, get my stretch on and not have to think about what to stretch and how long I have to hold it. Love love love it.

Stretching is SO MUCH FUN!

A lot of you have either asked me about yoga or I have recommended adding one day in a week to your workout regimen.   CrossFit does a great job of training your body to become fit and strong. And it actually creates more flexibility in areas that you may not have had before because of the extreme ranges that some of the movements require. But it can also cause a lot of tightness if you are not complimenting it with enough stretching. We all know it’s hard to find time to do this additional stuff…..especially when you don’t see immediate results. Some of you actually do spend a lot of time stretching, but may find that you will benefit even more if you try yoga because it is active stretching. Kinda like dynamic stretching because you are moving, getting warm and using your muscles while gaining flexibility at the same time. The studios that I usually recommend are The Green Yogi and Harmony Yoga, but it doesn’t really matter where you go as long as you find what works for you. And in a few months you will have yoga at your very own CrossFit Southbay!!!

The challenge sometimes is finding a class that is A. not too long B. fits into your schedule C. is not too expensive D. not so advance that you feel intimidated by the people doing head stands around you. So it’s nice to have something convenient that you can do at home if you can’t make it to a class (or don’t want to). I’ve done my research and found this sequence that is easy to do in home and can be tailored to how much time you have. Try this Good Morning Yoga Sequence by Jennier Jarrett. I have timed myself and it takes 7 minutes. That’s it!!! Even following the breathing counts that she recommends. Doing something like this will also help to decrease the Fuzz that builds up why we are sleeping, but you will also benefit from doing it anytime throughout the day.

I’m also leaving you with another morning stretche that I love doing and have added into the Good Morning Yoga Sequence.

Cat-Cow pose

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Workout of the Day 11/12/12

Level 1

A. EMOM for 6 minutes
5 Back Squats
Rest 2 minutes
EMOM for 6 minutes
15 Russian Kettlebell Swings (heavy)

B. 4 Hill Sprints
1@80%
1@85%
1@90%
1@90%

C. 2x
Hamstring Stretch 30sec/side
Wall Stretch 30sec/side”

Level 2

A. EMOM for 6 minutes
2 Weighted Pistols/Leg
Rest 2 minutes
EMOM for 6 minutes
13 Wall Balls (25/16)

B. 4 Hill Sprints
1@85%
1@90%
1@95%
1@100%

C. 2x
Hamstring Stretch 30sec/side
Wall Stretch 30sec/side

CROSSFIT MOM MODIFICATIONS (adjust rounds, reps, rest, and rx for how you feel today)

A. EMOM for 6 minutes
5 Back Squats
–Rest at least 2 minutes–
EMOM for 6 minutes
5 Russian Kettlebell Swings
3 KB Push Jerk (each arm)
**I reduced the KBS and added KB Push Jerks so as to lower the amount of hip intensive work. Feel free to sub in another movement if you prefer**

B. Each time the class does a hill sprint, do 12 (6 each leg) Uphill Walking Lunges
—or–
Bring the rower outside, and each time the class sprints begin your row.

C. 2x
Hamstring Stretch 30sec/side
Wall Stretch 30sec/side”

Fundamentals

A. 3 Rounds
10 Back Squats
30 sec Couch stretch (ea. leg)

B. AMRAP 12
10 Wall Balls
10 Back Squats
10 Kettle Bell Swings

Rest 2 min

AMRAP 8
40m OH walking lunges
10 Push Ups

Fix Your Pain

NEW CLASS TIMES

We are going to be adding some new classes into the mix starting Sunday. The goal for these classes will be to help alleviate some of the big 6PM and 7PM classes. So what’s the plan??

Sunday

There will be two “regular” classes on Sunday afternoon, 3PM & 4PM, with 2 hours of open gym going on next door. These will in no way change Chris’s “Man School” at 10AM, but will instead consist of Monday’s programming done a day early. Chris Roman will be the coach for these new classes.

Tuesday and Thursday

We are adding an 8PM class on both Tuesday and Thursday to give you guys the chance to go to an 8PM instead of the busier 7PM class. These will be the regular programming for the day and will be coached by Mr. Gus Garcia.


Tons of you guys have been asking me about pain related stuff recently, so I am re-posting this blog on pain, and hoping to help you figure out your dysfunctions:

Alright, so I know a bunch of you are crying “enough with the pain blogs already”, but here is where we finally get to the helpful stuff. The first posts had to address how to talk about pain, so that we can now figure out our pain. In the first post, we discussed how to describe your pain. In part 2, we got into the basic, and likely normal, pain that athletes experience and what to do about it. Number 3 was about the difference between acute and chronic pain. Now we finally get to the really good stuff, how to fix/help those aches and pains you guys all seem to be running around with.

While all my posts have this disclaimer, this one has priority. I AM NOT A DOCTOR. My advice is not medical advice. There are contraindicators (means signs that you shouldn’t do what I am suggesting) for every single one of the things I am describing. These are just some mobilizations that might help alleviate your issues if they arent too serious and are caused by mobility issues. In addition, you will need to work to find out what caused your issue in the first place, as these fixes do not always correct the underlying problem. If you feel pain, STOP. If it doesn’t feel right, STOP. It is worth the $100 to get it checked out by a high end PT and orthopedic doctor to get it fixed right the first time instead of spending $20,000 on shoulder/hip/knee/back/dumb surgery later. Also, if you are not doing a proper warm-up and cool-down, you are bringing this stuff on yourself, so be proactive about it.

Chronic or Acute Low Back Pain

  • Your low back is a catch-all for all poor movement patterns, so this might be a long list…
  • Weak core – If you core is weak, you will use your back to stabilize challenging. Regardless of how strong you think your core is, it can almost always get stronger. Add some hollow holds, ab wheel rollouts, or other core stabilization moves to your cool-down.
  • Tight hamstrings – test is a straight-leg deadlift to the floor without bending your knees or rounding your back. If you have to bend, then go mobilize after watching this.
  • You rounded your back during deadlifts (due to tight hamstrings listed above). Stop deadlifting in a crappy positioning and fix your flexibility. In the mean time, deadlift off plates or do straight-leg deadlifts with a tight torso.
  • Tight Hip Flexors and Quads- test is a deep, long lunge with a vertical torso with your abs and butt squeezed and being able to get your knee to the ground without feeling like you are tearing your quad off. If you have to lean forward or are feeling generally tight in the front of the hip/leg, then you need to mobilize this.
  • You pull with your low back when finishing hip dominant movements (Kettlebell Swings, Deadlifts, Glute-Ham Raises, etc) causing a super tight back and possible spine pain (due to weak abs and glutes combined with tight hip flexors listed above). Stop moving in a crappy positioning and fix your flexibility issues. In the mean time, work to engage your abs and squeeze your butt on hip dominant movements to avoid over-extending the spine.
  • Compression of the Low Back – Hit the Reverse Hyper or just use some simple decompression tricks for the low back here.
  • Tight Shoulders – If you have tight shoulders and try to go overhead, you will compensate by arching your back, thus putting undue strain on your low back. See the shoulder mobility section below.

Chronic or Acute Knee Pain

  • Tight Hip Flexors and Quads- test is a deep, long lunge with a vertical torso with your abs and butt squeezed and being able to get your knee to the ground without feeling like you are tearing your quad off. If you have to lean forward or are feeling generally tight in the front of the hip/leg, then you need to mobilize this.
  • Junky stuff above the knee. Put a ball right above your knee, and pull heel to butt looking for the most tension.
  • Bad Squat Form – Whether mobility or movement is causing this, no excuses. Fix it. Knees-over-Toes or no go. Only go as deep as your flexibility allows while maintaining good positioning. In the meantime, fix your hips, hamstrings, calves, and adductors.

Sharp pinching in the front of the hip

  • Tight Hip Capsule – If your femur can’t move properly in the hip capsule, you can piss off all types of things by running it into things. Try this.
  • Lacking Internal or External Rotation – Number 1 is same as above. Number 2 is here.

Chronic Achilles/Heel Pain

  • Tight Calves – This is a HUGE issue that many of us don’t deal with or even realize until your Achilles goes “POP”. Simple stretch for your calves here. Release all the sliding tissue in your calves by rolling them, smashing them, whatever. If it makes you feel better, do it.
  • Inflamed Plantar Fascia – Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of your foot. It is really painful and can lead to some nasty things in the future if it is not addressed. Luckily, it is an quick fix for most, roll the bottom of your foot with a ball and back off on the jumping/running a bit until it feels fresh. Check K-Starr’s info here.

Chronic or Pinching Front of the Shoulder Pain

  • Tight Front of the Shoulder – Regardless of what is tight, your shoulder gets pulled forward into a poor position. This leads to the soft tissue of your shoulder running into things that it isn’t supposed to. Often, this shows up in overhead movements where you cannot fully extend your arm into a good position overhead. This can be from a variety of muscles, maybe your chest and anterior delt or possibly your lats and traps.
  • The Infamous Rotator Cuff – Strengthen the back of your shoulder (your scapular stabilizers) and loosen the front of your shoulders by addressing the above. There are a wide variety of excellent scapular movements, but Ido Portal has some good ones here and here.
Acute Wrist Pain
  • Not Enough Warm-Up – Wrists are little joints that we stress a great deal more than we realize. Not doing enough warm-up for these joints will often lead to strained wrists. Good warm-up here.
  • Lack of Wrist Mobility – Same idea, if you are missing mobility, you get into compromised positions. Add the warm-ups done in the above link.
  • Lack of Shoulder Flexibility – If you have a rack position like the one above, you are liable to catch the barbell on your wrists when cleaning or jerking. This repetitive stress will definitely lead to sore wrists over time. Thus, we need to get you in a good rack position, so check out K-Starr’s info here.

So, I know that was a ton of info for one day, but hopefully, you can refer to this post in the future when you run into a bit of pain.


Workout of the Day

Level 1

A. Every 90 seconds for 9 minutes (6 Sets)
5 Back Squats (Heavier than last Friday)
Rest 3 minutes
EMOM for 6 minutes
3 Hang Power Snatches

B. 6x
100m Row
2 min.+ Rest

*No times, simply to put out and race the other people in your class
**Coaches: try to organize classes in heats by experience

C. 3x
Jog 200m
Stretch Hamstrings 30sec/side

Level 2

A. Every 90 seconds for 9 minutes (6 Sets)
4 Back Squats @ 80%
Rest 3 minutes
EMOM for 6 minutes
3 Snatches (70%)

*Must Squat

B. 6x
150m Row
2 min.+ Rest

*No times, simply to put out and race the other people in your class
**Coaches: try to organize classes in heats by experience

C. 3x
Jog 200m
Stretch Hamstrings 30sec/side

CROSSFIT MOM MODIFICATIONS (*adjust rounds, reps, rest and rx for how you feel today)

A. Every 90 seconds for 9 minutes (6 Sets)
5 Back Squats (only go as low as you feel comfortable, without straining)
–or 3×10 squat of your choice–
Rest at least 3 minutes
EMOM for 6 minutes
3 Hang Power Snatches

B. 6x
100m Row

C. Hamstring stretch, foam roll lats

Workout of the Day

A. 3 Rounds
Romanian Deadlifts w/KB
Goblet Squats

B. 10-9-8-7….1
KB swings
Box Jumps
Lateral jumps
100m Sprint

Muscle Spotlight: Posterior Tibialis

Muscle in the Spotlight: Posterior Tibialis

Location: this muscle originates on the posterior surface of the tibia and fibula, which are you 2 lower leg bones. The muscle then runs down the back of your lower leg, behind the medial bone of your ankle and attaches to the bottom of many bones in your feet (see image for details).

* Usually your lower leg is termed the calf, but there are other muscles in the lower leg that lie deep to the “calf” which is a combination of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.

Function: this muscle causes plantar flexion and inversion of your ankle (see video for a visual of these movements). It  also helps create the arch of your foot, along with many other structures, so it needs to be strong to support our body weight.

When your posterior tibialis becomes problematic….

What does this muscle have to do with people who lift heavy weights like all of you? A lot! Especially if you’re wearing the barefoot shoes, so read on…

This muscle can be a common site of inflammation, leading to long term tendon damage if not treated (i.e. tenodonitis, osis and/or opathy). Because of it’s location in the arch of the foot, the muscle/tendon needs to be strong and be able to support our body weight. The problem usually doesn’t stem from this muscle originally, but from some other alteration in the foot and/or ankle joint. For example, limited ankle flexibility (dorsiflexion) maybe caused by an old ankle sprain. This causes the foot to have to turn out more which then causes the arch to collapse. With every collapse, the posterior tibialis tendon is overstretched and weakened, eventually causing little tears in the tendon. This can cause pain and eventually the image below….

Everyone take a look at how you stand naturally with your shoes off. Do you have one arch that’s flatter than the other? Do you turn this foot out more when you squat, walk, or run? Do you sometimes get “shin splints” on the medial/posterior side of your shin? Or pain in your arch? Maybe a hammer toe forming on that foot?? If yes, you may have some stage of this tendonopathy. The reason, you want to take care of it is the tendon can eventually rupture, leading to long term consequences and possibly surgery.The foot is a very complicated and detailed area of the body, so if you really have pain make sure you get it checked out by a medical professional. This info is just a generalized summary of how tendonosis of this muscle can present.

What should you do to prevent further damage?

1. Orthotics may be a temporary solution! I thought I’d get this one out of the way because there is so much debate about it. If the tendon is highly inflammed, pressure needs to be relieved in order for it to heal. The orthotic will give your arch just enough support to relieve pain and let the tendon heal. Then you can start to add in arch strengthening to help wean you away from the orthotics. If you already have some bad damage to the arch of your feet, this is when barefoot shoes may not be your best friend. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

2. Make sure you have good ankle flexibility. This will keep your ankle happy overall and decrease stress on other areas. If one area is stiff, other areas must compensate and work harder than they should to make up for it.

3. Decrease the time you spend in flip flops. The constant grabbing of your toes to keep the shoes on puts extra stress on your foot and creates more problems in the long run.

4. Get into the posterior tibialis with the lacrosse ball. You will most likely need to put the ball on the yoga block or a book to get more pressure. Go all the way along the medial side of your shin bone, moving your ankle around as you work through tight spots.

5. Strengthen your arch! The video below has a great exercise towards the end. I would even recommend everyone do this exercise as a transition into barefoot shoes because these muscles probably haven’t been working much while wearing extremely supportive shoes.

Reference:

Peter Brukner and Karim Khan. Clinical Sports Medicine. 3rd edition 2006.

 

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Workout of the Day 10/29/12

Level 1

A. EMOM for 6 minutes
5 Front Squats
Rest 2 minutes
EMOM for 6 minutes
10 Kettlebell Lunges (heavy)

*If you did the Paleo Challenge, work up to a 3RM Deadlift instead

B. AMRAP 8
5 Front Squat (115/73)
12 Jumping Lunges

C. 3x
30 sec Chin over Bar Hold
30 sec. Pigeon Stretch/side

Level 2

A. EMOM for 6 minutes
2 Overhead Squats @ 80% of 1RM
Rest 2 minutes
EMOM for 6 minutes
15 Wall Balls (20/16)

*If you did the Paleo Challenge, work up to a 3RM Deadlift instead

B. AMRAP 8
5 Overhead Squats (115/78)
12 Jumping Lunges

C. Bar Muscle-Up Practice

Crossfit Mom Modifications (adjust rounds, reps, rest and rx for how you feel today)

A. EMOM for 6 minutes
5 Squats (front, back or overhead)
Rest at least 2 minutes
EMOM for 6 minutes
8 Kettlebell Lunges

B. For 8 Minutes Do:
5 Squats (weight and style of your choice)
10 Lunges
5 Pull Ups

C. 3x
30 sec. Pigeon Stretch/side (use a box if needed)
Foam roll!

Fundies

A. Row Intervals
10 x 250m
Rest 5x (interval time) after each row interval

B. 3 rounds
20 Pull-ups
20 Push-ups
20 Burpees
20 Squats
20 Walking lunge steps, each leg

Stretch of the Month: Quad/Hip Flexor with a Twist

This is my new favorite stretch. I have been doing it a lot in my yoga class and thought it would be great for CrossFitters. Especially if you’ve been doing the couch stretch for a long time and don’t really feel it. Or you just want to mix things up. This stretch, as seen below, targets more hip opening than the couch stretch and adds a spine twist to help you get more bang for your buck. The only thing I would change with the picture below is switch the arm that grabs the foot to get more of a stretch in the spine. You can place the other hand on the ground for balance. Still focus on squeezing your butt (of the leg with the foot up) and keep your midline tight……..while breathing!!

Try this trick: instead of holding your stretch for an amount of time, hold it for a series of deep breathes. So to hold for 1min, maybe hold for 10 deep breathes. This will help remind you to breathe and relax deeper into the stretch.

SWITCH THE ARMS TO GET A DEEPER STRETCH IN YOUR SPINE

I also wanted to share a post by a friend of mine who is also a physical therapist and CrossFitter up in San Jose. I think it’s good to hear other perspectives and I he did a great job explaining the importance of taking time to do these stretches.

* One thing that may be confusing is his time recommendations for how long to hold stretches. I’m sure all of you have realized this is a grey area, but I normally recommend 1-2min. He says 30sec at a time, repeating this 3-5 x on each side. This is because he was talking about stretching PRE-WOD. If you keep your stretches below 30sec, it doesn’t affect your muscles before your WOD. If you hold it longer, the muscle shuts off and it can actually injure you more (unless you take time to warm-up again). So my 1-2min recommendation is for POST-WOD stretching.

 

Stretching Those Quads

 

By MIKE CHIN, DPT, CSCS

I would like to address the topic of stretching, and in particular the quadriceps muscles. There is great content on ways to stretch every part of the body, especially on MobilityWOD.com, but I hope to give you the background and an understanding of why it is important to stretch, and a prescription for how to do it to get actual tissue changes.

Muscle length and flexibility can be changed and will adapt from your daily mobility work.

It may be obvious, but flexibility is essential to performing functional movements. You may have noticed this when trying to pick up grocery bags off the floor or reaching under the kitchen sink for cleaning supplies, and definitely at your local box when your coach was yelling at you to get your butt down lower. This is what is great about CrossFit: it reveals our range of motion deficits when performing functional movements. Although I can’t say what is limiting your movement without seeing you, muscle tightness is often one of the culprits. Fortunately for us, muscle length and flexibility can be changed and will adapt from your daily mobility work.

The Benefits of Stretching

Further stretch results in tissue deformation, which doesn’t revert back to normal length when the stretch is removed. The result of this stage is greater flexibility.

Stretching that increases flexibility has a huge benefit for us CrossFitters. It can improve posture/biomechanics, which leads to improved sport performance, which translates to faster WOD times and more PRs!  Besides helping you to become a better mover, stretching also increases prevention from injury. When our muscles get tight, they begin to have abnormal forces of pull or stress on the joints they cross. Specifically in the case of the quadriceps, if they are tight, it can increase patella-femoral pressure and lead to anterior knee pain and chondromalacia patella.  There is also some correlation with a tight rectus femoris muscle, one of the quadriceps muscles that also acts as a hip flexor, and low back pain. As if those weren’t enough good reasons to stretch, another great potential benefit is a reduction in post-exercise muscle soreness.

So what’s going on when we stretch? We have many different elastic fibers intertwined in the muscle that contribute to flexibility. These elastic fibers are wavelike, and when they are stretched, they straighten out.  When we initially stretch, muscle fibers straighten out and looseness occurs, but there is little deformation of the muscle tissue.

Relax:Remember to keep breathing when you are stretching & mobilizing.

As muscle is stretched further, muscle deforms but quickly reverts to its normal length when the stretch is removed.  Further stretch results in tissue deformation, which doesn’t revert back to normal length when the stretch is removed.  The result of this stage is greater flexibility.

My Stretching Guidelines

  • Stretch after workouts when the muscle is warm.
  • Perform static (holding position) stretches for 30 seconds x 3-5sets.  Alternate to the opposite extremity so there is a 30 second break.
  • The “alternate to the opposite extremity” implicitly says it, but always stretch both sides.
  • You should feel a mild stretch rather than pain.
  • Emphasize relaxation. Breathe!
  • Utilize hold-relax PNF technique to increase muscle relaxation and flexibility. This will be explained with the Sampson stretch for better understanding.

A Few Quad Stretch Ideas…

Sampson stretch against the wall:

  • Initially make sure the knee is in the corner up against the wall so that the leg is parallel to the wall. Adjust your stretch by leaning back and flexing the knee. Key points are to keep an abdominal contraction so you do not arch your back into extension, and keep your trunk in line with your thigh to isolate the rectus femoris.

Hold-relax PNF technique:

  • Contract quads isometrically in stretched position by pushing foot or kicking leg into wall for 5 seconds.  Relax the quads and stretch further.

Prone quad stretch:

  • If you have difficulty getting into the Sampson position, you can use a resistance band to pull your leg towards your butt while lying on your stomach.  Key points are to keep your thighs close together and not let the hip rotate inwards or outwards.  You can make this stretch more intense by adding a foam roll under the quads

Side-lying quad stretch:

  • Use your top leg to stabilize your bottom thigh.  Use your hand or resistance band pull your heel to your butt.
References

GA Brooks, TD Fahey, KM Baldwin. Exercise Physiology, Human Bioenergetics and Its Applications 4th ed. New York, NY. McGraw –Hill. 2005

WR Thompson. ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 8th ed. Balitimore, MD. Lippincott Williams &Wilkins. 2010

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Workout of the Day 10/22/12

 

Fundies

A. Handstand Progression: 2 Rounds
15-30 Hollow Hold
10 hollow hold/supermans
Max sec Handstand Hold
3 Wall Walks

B. For time
Row 500m
20 Pull-ups
20 Thrusters
Run 400m
20 KB swings
20 Pull-ups
20 Box jumps
20 Thrusters
Run 400m
20 Box jumps
Row 500m

 

 

 

Physical Therapy Updates

First things first, congrats to the St. Louis Cardinals (and Daniel Descalso) for a great comeback Friday night and defeat against the Giants tonight. UC Davis is representing very well :)

Today I wanted to announce a few updates to the services offered to all of you as CrossFit Southbay members. With all of the questions that I have received from all of you, I need to clarify what is available for you and what you need to do in order to obtain some guidance with either an injury or mobility issue.

Functional Movement Screening

  • Used to assess the way you move and focus your training towards your individual needs
  • Helps to prevent injury and improve athletic performance
  • For more info read here

* There are a few coaches that will soon be helping me out with the screens, which is very exciting :)

Free on-site injury assessments for CrossFit Southbay Members

  • Quick assessment by a physical therapist to create a plan to treat your injury
  • Appointment required

Physical Therapy Evaluation and Treatment

Injury Consulting

  • Specialized WODs for athletes with current injuries and/or returning from injury/surgery.

For more information or to schedule an appointment please e-mail me at missy@crossfitsouthbay.

As of now most of the physical therapy treatment will be taking place through ProWellness Physical Therapy because of the limited space at the gym. This is only a few minutes from the gym and a great environment. But what is even more exciting is that we are working on having space at the gym dedicated strictly for the above services mentioned. Which means in-house physical therapy. Yep, just like K-Starr. So bear with me while I continue to organize everything so that all of you can receive the most optimal treatment possible and continue to reach your fitness goals!

I want to emphasize that I can also help with mobility issues, with a more hands on treatment approach. Step one is to get a functional movement screen and visit Cody’s mobility class. But sometimes you can be doing all the stretching/mobilizing in the world and find that you are not making progress. Using techniques like ART, I can help you gain this mobility quickly and help you maintain it!

The free injury assessment is a new thing to help me stay organized so I can help you with all of your questions. I want to help all of you to the best of my ability, but in order for me to give you my best advice it needs to be during a scheduled appointment with me. Otherwise I am usually helping someone else out or trying to workout, and although women are known for multi-tasking it is not my specialty! Don’t be afraid to come up and ask me questions, but depending on the nature of the question I may just have you schedule something with me.

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Workout of the Day 10/15/12

Level 1

A. EMOM for 5 minutes
5 Backs Squats

(try to use 60% of bodyweight if you are capable, otherwise use the heaviest loading you can with good form. If you are using 60%, have a partner time you, you get 1 point for every time you get the reps done in less than 5 seconds)

B. Standing Broad Jump Test

5 Attempts to establish the max distance possible in one jump. Must jump and land with two feet together. Falling or taking a step forward negates your attempt.

C. AMRAP 15
10 Double Kettlebell Lunges (16kg/12kg)
30 second Plank
10 Goblet Squats
200m Run

D. 3x
30 sec. Handstand Hold
30 sec. Glute Stretch/side

Level 2

A. EMOM for 5 minutes
Perform 5 BS @ 60% of your bodyweight in less than 5 seconds

(Have a partner time you, you get 1 point for every time you get the reps done in less than 5 seconds)

B. Standing Triple Jump Test

5 Attempts to establish the max distance possible. Must jump and land with two feet together for three jumps without pausing. Falling or taking a step forward negates your attempt.

C. AMRAP 15
10 Double Kettlebell Lunges (24kg/16kg)
30 second Hollow Hold
10 Goblet Squats
200m Run

D. 3x
3 Freestanding HS Attempts
30 sec. Glute Stretch/side

Fundies

A. Med Ball Core

B. 4 Rounds: 1 min stations
Wall Balls
Box Jumps
Hand Release Push-ups
Leg Raises
Dumbbell Push Press
300m Run

Lat Activation (+ tangent on neuromuscular control)

This topic is based off a question from Mr. Sergio Nazzaro(the famous guy in the glute bridge and clams video found on the hip page of learn yourself), who is currently overseas serving our country. Great man for that. And he’s stuffing his face with the cookies I sent him. You’re welcome, Serg. He sent me an e-mail because he’s been having trouble activating his lats with his deadlifts, so he thought it could be a could topic for this weeks post. And I agreed….so here we go.

*For a quick overview of the shoulder and a pitcure of the latissimus dorsi (AKA lat) check out the shoulder page of learn yourself

I think a lot of people may struggle with lat activation during deadlifts, although the other coaches would know more because they spend more time with all of your coaching these movements. I’m sure they have some great tips to help get your lats working during the deadlift, so never be afraid to ask! But I figured I would add in my point of view too. Sergio mentioned neuromuscular control in his question and which leads into my tangent that I want to start with……..then we will get into how to improve lat activation during the deadlift.

Neuromuscular control defined (I liked the definition at www.wikianswer.com): “Neuromuscular control is the mind’s attempt to teach the body conscious control of a specific movement.”

I thought this was a great example of neuromuscular control, written by Mark Dutton in Orthopedic Evaluation, Examination and Intervention.

It is believed that there are certain programs for movement patterns that are inherent in the CNS (central nervous system) and that these naturally develop furing the maturation procress of the CNS. For example, [walking] is an inherent motor program. Other activities require learning through successful repetition and the formation of a program within the CNS. Once this program is formed, the individual no longer has to concentrate on performing the activity but can do so with very little [brain] involvement.”

Neuromuscular control is something that develops with us as we grow. When we try something new, it’s usually challenging because we have never done it before. Like learning olympic lifts. Even if you have a lot of strength, it’s still going to be difficult to do an olypmic lift because your brain has not had to connect that specific movement with your muscles. Just like having to activate your lats with the deadlift movement. But like Mark mentions above, new programs can be formed with practice so that you don’t have to think about them as much and they become automatic. I think it’s 2,000 repetitions right?!?! Something crazy like that, but I’m sure we’ve all experienced that moment when you’ve been practicing something FOREVER and finally get it. It doesn’t feel like you did anything particularly different to get it that time, it just clicks. That clicking is your body’s neuromuscular system creating a new program allowing this new task to become more automatic. Which, back from my tangent and on to Sergio’s question, is exactly what we want you to get with activating your lats during the deadlift. As well as all the other movements at CrossFit.

So how can you improve lat activation with deadlifts? The next time you get set-up for a deadlift, take a second and try this first. Stand with your back against a wall, palms facing the wall. Keep your elbows straight and push your palms into the wall. THIS is what you want to activate with your deadlift…..turning on your lats (and teres major which is lats little helper). Then get back to your bar and try to create that same movement as if you are pushing against the bar…… then PR on your deadlift! Well, yes you may actually have to practice this before you start PRing from this, but you’ll be amazed at how much more you will be able to lift when you get your whole body into the lift. And safer! (decreased stress on the low/mid back)

If you get your lats working you will be able to lift THIS MUCH!

If the above doesn’t really work for you, there may be something else limiting you…..

1. Are your lats are weak? Try lying on your stomach and doing the superman exercise, but with your arms down at your side (see image)

2. Is your upper body mobility bad? All of the following can limit you achieving a good upper back position for the deadlift:

- tight pecs/anterior deltoid FIX: lacrosse ball, T-spine rotation

- decreased thoracic spine extension  FIX: jump on the foam roller horizontally and work on extending your back

- tight lats (not allowing them to activate) FIX: foam roll and stretch with the band

3. Are your shoulder stabilizers weak? If you can’t get your shoulder blades to squeeze together (especially when fatigued) you may need to do some basic strengthening. Try just practicing squeezing your shoulder blades together throughout the day, making sure that you keep your neck relaxed. Think of squeezing your shoulder blades down and back. This is a small movement though, don’t over power it. Ring rows will also help to strengthen your upper back, as long as you initiate the movement by squeezing your shoulder blades together.

Last little tangent….

The reason I didn’t just tell all of you to go do pull-ups to increase your lat strength (and in turn improve your lat activation with deadlifts) is because neuromuscular control doesn’t work this way! Besides that fact that you use a lot of muscles doing pull-ups, the specific movement has to actually be trained. And it usually has to start from the very basic level, without weight, in order to make sure that the movement is being done correclty. This is the basis behind corrective exercise (like the one’s given during the (Functional Movement Screen) and rehabilitation after injury. Neuromuscular control can be lost from injury or from disuse, like glute weakness from sitting on our butts. Which is why exercises like the clams, glute bridges and shoulder alphabet are SO IMPORTANT. These are improving neurmuscular control, so that you can improve as  an athlete and reduce injury.

Miss you Serg!!


Workout of the Day 10/8/2012

Level 1

A. Backsquat
3 Rep Max
Rest as needed then perform an 8 rep max. Record both for next cycle.

B. 1 Mile Run Max Effort

C. Max Unbroken Push-Ups (unbroken means no pause at the top)

D. Max Sit-Ups in 4 Minutes

Level 2

A. Backsquat
1 Rep Max
Rest as needed then perform an 5 rep max. Record both for next cycle.

B. 1 Mile Run Max Effort

C. Max Unbroken Push-Ups (unbroken means no pause at the top)

D. Max Sit-Ups in 4 Minutes

E. Optional
3 Sets
10 Depth Jumps
10 GHD Hip Extensions

Variety and Strength in Young Athletes

I have a pretty good memory of my sport adventures growing up as a kid. I started gymnastics in preschool, which was fun until I threw myself through a glass door…..maybe lack of coordination or rhythm? Or both if you’ve seen me on the dance floor. Then I started T-ball, which didn’t end up to be my sport either because I refused to run the bases after I hit the ball. Tried softball too, but maybe too close to baseball. I think I also started to realize that hand-eye coordination wasn’t my strength. I was playing soccer at the same time (around age 6/7) and began to really like it. That is after I realized I wasn’t built to be a goalie because I stood by the goal post every time I got scored on and cried my eyes out. So I moved onto the field and and began my love for the greatest sport ever created :) I continued to play other sports at recess and stuff…..tetherball, dodgeball, hand ball, bars, etc. But my focus was on soccer. I also started to enjoy volleyball in middle school and thought that I would maybe try to play that in high school. Wrong. Apparently it was time to be serious and only play one sport. I made the team, but was told that I had to join a club volleyball team on top of club soccer and high school soccer. This was just physically impossible, so soccer is what I picked.

So high school was when I started to “specialize” in my sport and I loved it. No more recess to play with other sports, no more PE, just soccer. I didn’t know at the time that this would be detrimental to me in the future because my body was still growing and needed variety. I did cross country and track to stay in shape, but this was still high impact running that was too similar to soccer. The point of me sharing my long history of sports is to show the change in sports that has occurred over the last 10 years (man I feel old). I think it’s safe to say that I had way more variety than kids these days have. Kids are starting way younger (3/4) and beginning to specialize in one sport, not allowing their body to develop with variety and different movements. They also tend to skip strength training because there’s just no time with the long practice hours and games. What’s the problem with this? Overuse injuries, imbalances, and weakness. This hinders their ability to excel in their sport and can cause problems down the line when they become adults.

Here’s a good quote describing the shift in children’s athletics from an article in CrossFit Journal titled 400 Percent by Jim Martin.

“Today, P.E. in elementary schools is largely abandoned—
only 36 percent of our kids get daily P.E. Most get less
than two short sessions a week of P.E. Kids no longer learn
gymnastics skills, throwing or running in their P.E. classes. In
fact, only 27 percent of a P.E. class is devoted to actual motor
activity (8), according to PE4Life. Kids no longer gather in
a back lot to play ball after school. Now they’re too busy
being shuttled off to their two-hour soccer practice.”

Back to my story ( it’s all about me today) I started having injuries in high school, basically running year round. No strength training…..maybe some stretching that I now realize was not done the way it should have been. I’m sure my coaches are not reading this, but I don’t really blame them. I just think it’s something that everyone is starting to realize. I didn’t start strength training until I received my fitness packet the summer before starting college soccer. And of course I did this on my own and had NO IDEA what I was doing. Once the season began we were forced to get into the weight room and I learned proper form for all these fun things that we do at CrossFit (squat, snatch, etc.). But by this time I had already created imbalances in my body and bad habits. Our strength coach was good, but now that I’ve had really good ones at CFSB I realize that I still wasn’t doing everything right. So more injuries came on, and now I’m left with some imbalances that I have to work on daily to really keep my body healthy. Now you guys can see what I love the human body and helping people with their injuries/imbalances :)

The correct balance

Now that kids are starting to specialize in their sports at such a young age, it’s important to continue to maintain variety in their activities. I know that it order to get good at something you have to practice, but you also need proper strengthening and variety. Most of the kids that I treat for injuries play one sport and that’s it. The problem once I start to educate them on the importance with variety is time. Especially because you want to make sure the kids are still having fun and don’t get burnt out. With practice, games and life, there’s no time to add one more thing. Especially for the parents who have to cart the kids around and need to have time for themselves as well. So the challenge is finding time in the child’s schedule (and the parents!). This takes coordination with the parents and coaches to figure out a plan for the kids and make sure they aren’t getting burnt out. Of course there are some injuries that can’t be avoided, but why not prevent what we can.

Variety….

And this is why I wanted to get on my soap box today and share this with all of you. Some of you have kids or experiences sport-specialization growing up, so you can relate to what I’m talking about. The cool this is that you have all gotten into CrossFit which strives to create variety in training. I always say that if I had done CrossFit when I was training in high school I would have been a rockstar and my body would feel a lot better than it does today. That doesn’t mean that all kids need to do CrossFit, but they should get into something that gives the overused area of their body a rest and works other areas. Swimming is a great thing to add in, or yoga. If these are the main sports, just pick another sport to add more variety. The great thing about CrossFit is it gives the variety, but also gives the strength training that so many young athletes are missing. One of my high school patients runs cross country and says that the team is given free time in the gym to do whatever they want 2 day/week. I asked her what they normally do and she said they just do whatever the pictures say to do on the machines. Seriously?!?! No education on how to do things properly or how to program the exercises together. And I just hate machines. Anyways, the point is that all athletes need strength training (that cannot be achieved by just practicing a sport) in order to stay healthy and be better athletes!

And fun!

CrossFit Kids has been an excellent addition to help get kids into strength training early and in a safe way. Not doing everything that we do, but getting them to do something rather than their one sport. And they always seem to have so much fun! We even have a few high school athletes in the gym doing CrossFit to help compliment their sport of choice. In the future we hope to develop some more sport specific programs for the kids and young adults, just like our neighbor CrossFit310 already has set up. I’m hoping to dedicate some of my time to the young athletes in the South Bay, educating them on the importance of strength training and preventing overuse injuries. Starting with Savana’s softball girls :) If you’re interested in reading more on this topic, check out the following….

 

  1. Martin, Jeff. 400 Percent: Forcing children into sport-specific training can be detrimental. CrossFit Journal. April 2012
  2. www.stopsportsinjuries.org

As adults, all of you CrossFitters are doing a great job, experiencing variety in your workouts and getting your body to move in ways that you have never done. But that doesn’t mean you are off the hook from needing variety! No you are not a growing child, but you should still have variety. CrossFit gives way more variety than other sports BUT you should still try to do other things occasionally. Run, swim, yoga, etc. CFSB prides itself in giving more variety in it’s programming than most CrossFit boxes, adding in mobility, fundamentals, Pilates, swim and run. De-load week is also meant to help add in a rest from the normal routine. However, you also need to take it upon yourself to get some variety in your workouts as well. Yes you do need to do CrossFit to get better at CrossFit, but you still need variety. Think active rest (swim, yoga, bike, etc.) I’ll save my rant on how much I love yoga for another time…..but CFSB will soon be having yoga classes! As well as cycling and Pilates to help all of you conveniently add more variety into your training.

Mrs. Wogy is a great example of someone who varies their workouts

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Workout of the Day 10/1/12

Paleo Challenge Benchmarks

Level 1 + Level 2

A.  Deadlift 3 Rep Max

B. “Cindy”

AMRAP 20
5 Pull-Ups
10 Push-Ups
15 Squats

*Level 1 record any scaling options for your Paleo Challenge benchmark workout.

Fundies

A. 3 Rounds
10 Push Press
5 Pull-ups

B. AMRAP 12
5 Push Press
10 KB swings
15 Squats

C. Death by Push Up / 40m sprint

Stretch of the Month: T-spine Rotation with Arm Sweep

After teaching mobility last week I was inspired to try a new type of post with a focus on different monthly stretches. Kinda like the muscle spotlights, but going over a stretch to focus on for the month rather than talking about a muscle. Sometimes it can be quite overwhelming to know what to stretch, especially when you know your list of areas to work on is long. The functional movement screen has helped a lot of people learn what they should be focusing on to keep their bodies healthy and improve in their WODs. As I continue to do the screens I see a lot of patterns with people and realize that I’m giving a lot of the same exercises out because a lot of us have the same issues. This monthly stretch idea will allow me to share some of the common stretches I recommend after the screen with everyone so you can all benefit! I know you’re all excited. This is NOT a replacement for the mobility class, so make sure you get in and hang out with Cody as much as possible too.

During the last few months I have been doing a lot of research/play trying to find full body stretches to help save time but make sure I’m still covering all the bases. I’ve learned a few from the functional movement screen and also a lot from doing yoga. This month I’d like to share a stretch that really gets a lot of areas at once. I showed this one to the mobility classes last week and I also give it to almost everyone I screen because I think it’s so good. It’s call the T-spine rotation with arm sweep.

Instructions (copied from www.functionalmovement.com): While side lying, flex the top hip about 90 degrees and support the knee with a foam roll or medicine ball.  Keep the foot on the ground and the head is supported by a towel roll. Begin rotating your top shoulder to the floor, so that the shoulder blade is on the floor.Flex the elbow so that the hand is under the lower back and pull the hand up the back.  Then extend the elbow and bring the hand overhead, grab the hand with the opposite hand and pull for an extra stretch.  Maintain contact between the knee and the foam roll.  The elbow and wrist should maintain contact with the floor.

* You’ll notice that it may be really hard for you to actually get your shoulder blade on the ground. This can be due to a lot of things, but just try to relax into the stretch. Focus on breathing deeply into you rib cage and make sure you neck stays relaxed. It takes time to work up to having your shoulder blade on the ground, but I’ve seen people make progress! If you want an even deeper stretch, try rolling out your upper back and lats before you start the stretch. Or use the lacrosse ball to get into the back of your shoulder and chest.

Benefits of this stretch

This stretch helps to get your entire spine, chest and shoulders stretched out. I don’t think a lot of people have a twisting stretch in their regimen and it is really beneficial for your spine and body as a whole. Twists help keep your vertebrae limber and muscles loose (twists also have a lot of detoxifying benefits for your organs, as the yogis say). You would be surprised to see how much a flexible spine will help you during the WODs, especially olympic lifts. I like to do this one after I’ve been sitting for a long time or as a warm-up before any WOD with upper body exercise, especially overhead (15-20 each side). Because it’s an active stretch and your are moving your arms the entire time, it helps to really get your shoulders and chest warmed up before a WOD.

So give it a try and see if it helps!! Do some pre and post testing…..maybe OH squat or just raising your arms up overhead to see how high they can go.

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Workout of the Day 9/24/12

Level 1

A. High Hang Power Snatch
Set 1 – 12 @ Heavy Weight
Set 2 – 12 @ 5% lighter (than set 1)
Set 3 – 12 @ 10% lighter (than set 1)

B. 30-20-10
Wall Ball (16/12)
Hang Power Snatch (45/65)
3 Min Rest
10-20-30
Jumping Lunges
Push-Ups

C. 3 Sets
5 Negative Pull-Ups (3 Count)
10 Hollow Rocks
3 Turkish Get Ups

Level 2

A. Hang Squat Snatch
Set 1 – 8 @ Heavy Weight
Set 2 – 8 @ 5% lighter (than set 1)
Set 3 – 8 @ 10% lighter (than set 1)

B. 30-20-10
Wall Ball (20/16)
Power Snatch (65/95)
3 Min Rest
10-20-30
Jumping Lunges (10/20# Dumbbells in each hand)
C2D Push-Ups

C. 3 Sets
15 GHD Sit-Ups
5 Kettlebell Power Snatches (each arm)
8 Heavy Slam Balls (concentrating on violent close of hips)

Fundies

A. Core Work & Mobility

B. For time
1 mile run
20 hand release push ups
10 Deadlifts
Row 500m
20 Burpees
10 Deadlifts
Row 500m
20 Pull-ups
10x Deadlifts
1 mile run

Muscle Spotlight: Levator Scapula

Announcement: Mobility class will be on Tuesday at 5pm this week only (Wednesday’s class is cancelled). I will be teaching the class while Cody is out of town. Thursday’s mobility will still be at 10am, and I will be teaching that one as well. Come hang out with me!

Muscle in the Spotlight: Levator Scaplua

Location: this muscle originates from the first 4 cervical vertebrae and inserts onto the top/medial angle of the scapula (shoulder blade)

Function:

- elevates and rotates the scapula downward

- rotates and sidebends neck to the opposite direction

The levator scapula creates movement in the neck and shoulder complex (humerus and scapula). It works with the pec minor and rhomboids to rotate the scapula downward, which occurs when you bring your arm down from being overhead. This muscle doesn’t appear to have a lot of significant function, but it coordinates with all of the other surrounding muscles to keep the shoulder moving properly. It also helps to stabilize the neck when the shoulder has to move, and vice versa.

How it limits mobility

Although the levator scapula is an important muscle, I think of it more as a limiting factor in shoulder and neck mobility. This muscle usually becomes tight from poor posture. Whether it’s sitting with your shoulders shrugged up because you’re stressed, tilting your head to hold your phone to your shoulder, or just sitting in a slumped position this muscle takes the brunt. So what happens when this muscle becomes tight? Just like most other muscles, it limits mobility. If the levator scapula is all balled up, the scapula cannot rotate up when you lift your arms up. This can be a cause of a lot of inflammation and impingement in your shoulder because it narrows the space between your scapula and humerus. But do you ever think of working on your neck if your shoulder mobility is limited? If you don’t, then you should start because this muscle can be the main muscle limiting your overhead mobility. It’s the hidden secret!!

** If you find that you can never keep your neck relaxed during lifts (press) or even body weight movements (push-ups, pull-ups) you may have an overactive levator scap and really need to get into working out the muscle. The levator scap will take over when other muscles are weak/tight in order to help you push heavy weight overhead (along with the upper trap). This is usually what the coaches are telling you to avoid! So if you fee like you try and try and still can’t keep them relaxed try working on the things below.

What to do

1. Mobility work with the lacrosse ball: lie on your back with the ball anywhere on the levator scapula muscle (see images above). It’s harder to stabilize the ball close to your neck, so it’s better to have it closer to your scapula. Then play around with moving your arm up over your head or out to the side and this will help to loosen up this muscle. You can also turn your head away from the ball to help work the muscle from the other direction. If this is too much pressure you can always just lean up against the wall.

2. Ball on stick: you can either create your own with a lacrosse ball and stick, or use the little one at the gym ( I think it’s all made of wood?).

- put the stick against the wall with the ball side facing you

- lie on your back (knees bent) with the ball into the meaty part of your neck, near your levator scapula

- use your legs to push your body weight into the ball and use the pressure to help release the muscle.

- you can also move your arm up and over your head to mobilize more aggressively. The wall will get in the way though, so you will have to put the stick on the rack in order to allow space for your arm to move

* Check out K-Starr’s homemade lacrosse ball/pvc here

3. Stretch! Here are some ideas.

Reference:  Neumann, Donald A. Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System: Foundations for Physical Rehabilitation. 2002.

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Workout of the Day 9/17/12

Level 1

A. Hang Power Clean Set 1 – 12 @ Heavy Weight Set 2 – 12 @ 5% lighter (than set 1) Set 3 – 12 @ 10% lighter (than set 1)

B. 300M Run 21-15-9 Hang Power Clean (85/53) V-Ups Push-Ups 300M Run

C. 3 Sets of: 10 Double Unders 10 Glute Ham Raises 3 Turkish Get-Ups

Level 2

A. Clean Set 1 – 8 @ Max Weight Set 2 – 8 @ 5% lighter (than set 1) Set 3 – 8 @ 10% lighter (than set 1)

B. 300M Run 21-15-9 Squat Clean (115/75) Toes to Bar Push-Ups 300M Run

C. 3 Sets of: 50 unbroken single unders 8 Handstand Push-Ups Strict 3 Muscle Ups

 

Fundies

A. 3 Rounds 7-10 push press shoulder mobility (10 band pass-throughs, stretch)

B AMRAP 15 10 Push Press 20 Mt. Climbers 10 Pendlay Rows

C.  Death by Squat and Burpees Min 1: 1 squat, 1 burpee Min 2: 2 squats, 2 burpees Min 3: 3 squats, 3 burpees etc….

 

 

Give Your Wrists a Break

Don’t forget to pre-order Kelly Starrett’s book Becoming a Supple Leopard!

Nice job to all who competed this Saturday! It was a lot of fun, and I’m sure VInny/Jenny will be sharing highlights and pictures later this week. It was also a lot of fun helping the competitors with nagging injuries! The 2 major things I saw this weekend were low back and wrist problems. I’ve been working on a wrist post, so I want to touch on that today and save the low back for another day. Lots of achy wrists in general, especially preparing for the OH squats. I’ve also seen a lot of wrist injuries from front squats, cleans and thrusters. So what’s causing this trend of wrist injuries? Here are my thoughts….

1. Decreased wrist flexibility. Sounds simple enough, but if you think about it we don’t give enough time to stretching our wrists. And think about how hard they work throughout the day! And then you come to the gym and lift heavy  weights with tight wrists so no wonder they are not happy. If you take a look at the picture below, you can see the the wrist muscles cross not only the wrist, but also the elbow. So when you stretch or get into the muscles with the lacrosse ball you have to make sure you target all areas. I will go over some ideas below.

2. Decreased shoulder and elbow flexibility. If you think about each of those 4 movements (front squat, clean, OH squat, thruster) you can see how much shoulder and elbow flexibility is actually required to do the lifts correctly. If you don’t have the flexibility, more pressure is placed on your wrists. Let’s break down these movements to help explain my point:

- Front squat/clean/thruster (grouping these together because the arms are essentially in the same position for both)

Keeping elbows up helps to decrease the stress placed on the wrists. If you can’t maintain this position you probably have some shoulder flexibility to work on.

Increased challenge of keeping your elbows up when your go down into a squat which can lead to more stress on your wrists. This is usually from tight lats because the lats connect from your shoulder to your low back.

- OH squat (see image below): Please see the K-Starr video below for in-depth info on this. Basically, you need to keep your armpits forward (external rotation) in order to decrease stress on the wrists.

3. The last idea is that all 4 movements create a lot of stretch on the nervous system. For a more depth description on this topics you can read my old post on neurodynamics, but basically the nerves are being tugged and pulled as your body moves into extreme ranges of movement as seen with the above lifts. And if you have poor mobility, your nerves are being stretched even more! This can cause damage to the nerve and lead to pain/numbess/tingling/burning type symptoms. And because it’s the nerve being irritated, the symptoms can travel down the arm to the wrist, even if the wrist is not the source of the problem. For example: you can have really tight shoulders, but feel wrist pain during your OH squats because your nervous system is being stretched so much.

Extreme stretch on the nerves!

So if you have wrist problems it could stem from one of the above causes. The pain in your wrist may start as just a nagging injury, but if not addressed can lead to actually damage to the ligaments and bones in your wrist. Especially if you are repetitively catching heavy weight in a clean. The wrist wraps that a lot of you wear can help to support your wrists and protect it, but they can only help so much if you have tightness somewhere else that’s putting more stress on your wrists.

First step to fixing your wrist problem, watch this video from K-Starr. He goes into more depth of why we have wrist problems and how to fix them!

What you can do to give your wrists a break:

1. Shoulder flexibility: get on the foam roller, lacrosse ball and bands.

2. Elbow flexibility: this is an area that may be skipped a lot, but can be a major source of problems for the wrists. The muscles (shown in image above) work really hard all day, especially when gripping heavy weights or the bar. The lacrosse ball is probably the best to get into the muscles, but just make sure you get the muscles all around your elbow.

3. Wrist flexibility: stretch your wrists! Easy, just pull your hand down/up and hold. Here’s some K-Starr videos for more ideas…

- Wrist flexibility

- A front rack wrist mob and more!

4. Practice using the hook grip when appropriate! This will increase efficiency (so you don’t blow out your grip strength) and decrease stress additional stress on your wrists/forearms.

This is a pretty front rack!!

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Workout of the Day 9/10/12

Level 1

A. Back Squat
Set 1 – 12 @ Heavy Weight
Set 2 – 12 @ 5% lighter (than set 1)
Set 3 – 12 @ 10% lighter (than set 1)

B. AMRAP 8
8 Wall Ball (16/10)
8 Burpees

2 Min Rest

AMRAP 6
6 Pull-Ups
40 Single Unders

C. 3 Sets
10 GHD Sit-Ups
8 Kettlebell Cleans (each Arm)

Level 2

A. Back Squat
Set 1 – 8 @ Max Weight
Set 2 – 8 @ 5% lighter (than set 1)
Set 3 – 8 @ 10% lighter (than set 1)

B. AMRAP 8
8 Wall Ball (20/16)
8 Burpees

2 Min Rest

AMRAP 6
6 Pull-Ups
15 Double Unders

C. 3 Sets
10 Toes To Bar Strict
8 Kettlebell Cleans (each Arm)

Fundies

A. For time: (take stopwatch)
Run 1 mile
Stop every minute and do 30x jumping jacks

B. 2 rounds
10 Burpees
20 Knees to elbows
30 Push Ups
40 Box jumps
50 Leg Raise
60 Squats
70 Single Unders