Friday, October 19, 2007

kipping like a gymnast

Kipping like a gymnast:

Crossfit encourages kipping while doing pull-ups for the simple reason that the faster you move with a load the more "work" is being done.
and can even be used during a handstand push-up, to kip to the handstand.

work= (force)(distance)/time

1.) Kipping on a pull-ups is a good interim step, using hip power to drive the body above the bar.

2.) The next step would be kipping into a muscle-up, while still doing most of the pulling.

3.) The next being kipping to supported, on the rings. Starting hanging upside down and then moving completely based on the kipping motion to catching in the supported position (bottom of the dip) This is a dynamic move that the body will move at more than double the speed of a regular muscle up. (dynamic moves aren't meant to be done on "elite" home rings) the risk for falling or missing the catch is much greater while doing this move.

4.) The next move is doing an actual kip... this is performed on a highbar or the uneven bars. starting from a a basic swing the body folds in half at the forward part of the swing. at this point, the toes should fire toward the bars and can even hit the bar lightly. The the body straightens rapidly with the arms still straight and the body swings so fast the the momentum will bring you to the supported position of the muscle-up. WOW hip explosion at its best.

About half of the routines in the video start with kipping to supported.

3.5) Flexibility may limit the ability of the athlete to kip hard enough to get to supported. If this is the case start at the supported position lean forward onto the bar until the body is parallel to the ground. At this point you will need to fold the body in half rapidly while pushing off the bar. by the bottom the arms will straighten and the legs will still be as high as possible. Rapidly straighten the body at the peak of the forward swing as before. hip explosion with get you to the supported, any failure will ensure you don't get there. If the body doesn't straighten all the way there will be a falling portion and the falling motion will steal the momentum you need to get up. It will also add extra pressure onto your hands and may help make your baby soft hands tear.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

History of 15 reps BW Overhead squat

The Overhead Squat

Dan John -
It's amazing what you get stuck with in life: about five years ago, I wrote a small article for a lifting magazine about the "Overhead Squat," also know as the Snatch Squat. (You can find it at Since that time, this article hasbeen quoted, reposted, linked, referenced, and outright stolen so many times that it simply amazes me. Moreover, I gained this international reputation for being "the" Overhead Squat expert. So much so that when athletes come to train with me they are disappointed if they don't suffer through a difficult and painful session on mastering the Overhead Squat!

So, one article and I am branded for life. But, you know, if you are going to be stuck to something, the Overhead Squat is not a bad thing to have your name associated with for the next few decades or so. What is funny about the Overhead Squat is, well, it is that amazing. It really does deliver the "goods" for the athlete in any endeavor.

You want flexibility? Step right this way. A stronger lower back? Can't think of a better way to build it. You want this thing we call "overall body strength" but can never agree on how to get it? Overhead squats, my friend. It is the "one size fits all" of the lifting world.

For the record, I am renowned for my hyperbole on things, but in this case, I can say this: if you only did Overhead Squats, you could probably achieve the bulk of your athletic goals. I have trained athletes using nothing but Overhead Squats in the weight room for up to six weeks and have found that they not only improved on the athletic field, but also came back to increase their max lifts in such divergent lifts as deadlifts and bench presses.

So, what are they? Simply, with a wide grip on the barbell, you hold the bar overhead and perform a simple squat down and return to the standing position. Repeat. Simple isn't it? Well, except for this: the bar seems to have a mind of its own, this gravity thing seems to actually be working in a few new directions, and you seem to need to remember what bone is connected to what bone. Overhead Squats make you very strong by making you tense literally every muscle and system in your body!

Well then: how do you get the bar overhead? I get the bar overhead for Overhead Squats by snatching it from the floor. I gave my racks away a couple of years ago, so I take everything from the floor. However, when I go out to Juan Diego Catholic High School, I use their racks and push jerk them up with the snatch grip. I find I can add a lot of weight with the racks, but, for me, the amount on the bar is no longer much of an issue.

As to "how much," it is going to vary. I had a high school boy do close to 300 at a bodyweight of 215. I always used this weird formula I got from Coach Mike Weeks –the goal is to do 15 reps with bodyweight. It doesn't mean you do this as a workout!!! It is a yearly or seasonal workout to test yourself. My best snatch in a meet is 314 and the most I have ever done for a single is 315. I think most guys would agree that going "top end maxes" on overheads would not have a ton of value. I like to keep the reps in the 3's, 5's, and 8's. Doing two sets of five with the overhead three times a week is not a bad plan of attack. Don't miss, by the way, this is always bad with the Overhead Squat. If you do lose the bar, don't fight it; let it go and you will get pushed out of its path; fight it and things can go badly, badly wrong. Build up slowly and go deep.

I'm a big fan of overheads, but you need to be sure you know why you are going to add them. Seriously, they will help with any goal I can think of, but if you are going to start doing them, there is going to be a learning curve. Six months from now, they will pay off with better flexibility, better "support" structure (I know some people don't believe in ‘support muscles’, but I do), and great thigh, hip and lower back strength. If you are doing them for sports, I think you will find an immediate carryover.

So, how to add? One idea is based on what Pavel Tsatsouline recommends: do them EVERY day for two sets of five for two weeks. First set heavy, second set is a back off.

Another is to simply make one day a week ‘the overhead squat day’. Or, take a couple of weeks out and just do overheads three days a week. The few weeks of specialization will not retard your overall progress. Some guys act like a week or two of specialized work will kill them. That is bodybuilder thinking, "Oh no, I'm a quarter inch off my left bicep."

Another idea is just to toss them in and do them. It would be a great complement to your front squats. I often do overheads and front squats together. They really do seem to be a nice blend.

I usually teach athletes the overhead squat fairly early. Trust me, a kid who overheads with 95 pounds will find the back squat a fairly easy thing to learn. It is an odd thing about my coaching style: I don't teach discus throwers how to hold or release the discus. I use handled medicine balls and they do countless full turns and drills with throwing into walls or onto fields. So, they master advanced drills like "float-float-stings," three turns and a throw. One day, with nice weather, we go out to throw the disc. On the way down the hill, the new kid asks another, "How do you hold this thing?" An experienced kid takes two or three minutes to show how to hold and release the disc. So, now the young kid goes to ring with a mastery of the big picture that will make the implement go far. Doing it the other way, like most coaches, the athlete will spend the whole first year doing standing throws trying to make the discus fly right. There is no carryover at all to big throws.

If you teach a young athlete to overhead squat, the back squat and the front squat are a breeze. You don't even coach it, they pick it up by simply watching the kid before them. Teach an athlete to snatch, they usually pick up the clean. Show them the clean and jerk and they rarely need a great explanation of the bench.

I think we need to raise the bar high for new athletes and really demand a lot. I think the same about teaching, too.

So, dive in, so to speak, and just start doing them. You'll be glad you added the Overhead Squat to your regime.

Dan John is the Diocesan Director of Religious Education for the Diocese of Salt Lake City and a full-time "on-line" religious studies instructor for Columbia College of Missouri. Originally from South San Francisco, Dan came to Utah to throw the discus for Utah State University and never left. Dan has Masters degrees in history and in religious education, as well as intensive work at the American University in Cairo, University of Haifa, and Cornell. Dan has written articles for "Catechetical Update" and "Utah Historical Quarterly," as well as being a columnist for the Intermountain Catholic. Dan has been teaching for over twenty-five years.

At home, he is humbled by his lovely wife, Tiffini, whose middle name is not "long suffering" no matter how often it is repeated and his two daughters, Kelly and Lindsay. At home, Dan wins arguments with the dog, but not the cat.

Currently, Dan is ranked Number One in the world in the Highland Games,ages 45-49, broke the American Record in the Weight Pentathlon last August, holds numerous National Championships in weightlifting and throwing and maintains a full-time free internet coaching site.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Train your brain

Matt Fitzgerald - Runner's World
As any runner who's ever felt his legs turn into lead anvils at the end of a hard workout or race knows, running farther or faster all boils down to a battle against fatigue. And so you train to increase either the distance or the pace-or both-you can sustain without tiring. But hold on just a second: Fatigue might not be what you think it is. According to the latest exercise science, that dead-tired feeling could be all in your head. What's more, the way you've been training to prevent fatigue in your legs may not be the best way to train to prevent it where it really starts: in your brain.

Throughout most of the 20th century, the prevailing theory of exercise fatigue was the so-called "catastrophe" model. According to this theory, fatigue is an involuntary drop in performance caused by the loss of homeostasis (or balance) somewhere in the body. For example, due to lactic-acid buildup, the muscles lose pH balance and become too acidic to function properly, causing you to slow down. Or the muscles become depleted of glycogen (their primary fuel source), so there's no longer sufficient energy available to sustain performance.

But in the 1980s, a new generation of exercise scientists, led by Tim Noakes, M.D., of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, began to poke holes in the catastrophe model. First, they found that the common functional breakdowns-things like lactic-acid buildup and glycogen depletion-don't always occur as we tire. Studies, in fact, showed that fatigue often develops before the muscles reach a level of acidity that would cause direct muscle dysfunction, and that you can feel tired even when there is still muscle glycogen available in the working muscles.

What's more, these researchers also argued that the old catastrophe model couldn't account for the peculiar phenomenon known as the "end spurt" - you know, the guy who elbows past you in the last few yards of a marathon. If fatigue was always caused by direct physiological events within the muscles, then runners who began to slow down during the latter stages of a race couldn't possibly sprint the last 100 yards or so. "Athletes can often surge during the latter stages of a race, knowing that they won't have to continue once they cross the finish line," says Chris Abbiss, Ph.D., a biomedical and health-science researcher at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia.

In one 2001 experiment on end spurts, Australian researchers put a group of subjects through a 60-minute simulated time trial on stationary bikes. They interspersed six all-out sprints throughout the hour-long effort. The results showed that maximum power output began to decline in the second sprint, indicating a very early onset of fatigue. Maximum power continued to decrease through the fifth sprint, but then suddenly shot upward in the sixth and final sprint. If the fatigue that began to set in as early as the second sprint had been caused by a catastrophic loss of homeostasis in the muscles, where did the cyclists find the energy for the final surge?

Are We Done Yet?

As more research challenged the catastrophe theory of fatigue, an alternative emerged, suggesting that fatigue is a protective mechanism that the brain uses to prevent a catastrophic breakdown. Feedback signals from the body to the brain indicate the imminent likelihood of a physical crisis if exercise continues at the current intensity level. In response to these signals, the brain decreases muscle activation and produces feelings of discomfort and loss of motivation, resulting in reduced exercise performance. That is, your brain tells your body to quit working so dang hard.

The new, brain-centered model of exercise fatigue-called the "central governor" theory-also explains the end spurt. Proponents of this model believe that, throughout exercise, the brain continually reads feedback signals from the muscles, blood, and elsewhere in order to answer the question: "How much longer can my body go at the present work level before something terrible happens?" When the answer received is "not much longer," the brain reduces motor output to the muscles and generates those familiar feelings of suffering to reinforce the need to slow down. But when the finish line is within sight, your brain allows you to pick up the pace, knowing it will all be over with soon.

"The brain diminishes muscle activation during the middle of the race in anticipation of calling in a reserve toward the end," says Frank Marino, Ph.D., head of the School of Movement Studies at Charles Sturt University in Australia.

Studies involving simulated races (usually on stationary bikes) have shown that a decline in performance due to fatigue almost always coincides with a drop in electrical activity in the muscles. "This suggests that the brain reduces the drive to the muscles as a means of protection," says Marino.

The Power Of Thought

If fatigue really does start in your head, how do you train to delay its onset? By doing workouts that will convince your central governor that you're capable of achieving your goal times without suffering bodily harm. Such workouts should be highly race specific-simulating both the pace and distance of your goal event-so that your brain will be less likely to feel endangered during the race and won't put the brakes on motor output to your muscles, causing you to bonk.

The perfect example of a highly race-specific workout for a 5-K runner is an interval session of 5 x 1000 meters at 5-K race pace with a three-minute jog recovery between. Because the workout entails running 5-K at 5-K goal pace, it serves as proof to the brain that your body can handle the workload. If you're training for a longer race, such as a half-marathon or a marathon, you need to alter this approach by running only about half the race distance at goal pace, since not even the toughest elite could recover quickly enough from a workout totaling 26 miles of race-pace intervals.

Most runners can't jump right into demanding race-specific workouts without first developing the speed and distance components of race fitness individually. So start by doing one challenging speed workout and one challenging distance workout each week, along with however many easy runs you want. Early on, most of your speed training should be much faster and your distance training much slower than goal race pace. As your body adapts, your speed efforts should become longer and slower, and your distance efforts should become longer, then faster, until your workouts closely simulate the upcoming race experience. Once you've proven to your brain that you can complete these race-specific workouts, come the big day, it should respond to your efforts with a "been there, done that, no problem."

Eva T

Some of you know who Eva Twardokens is - she’s been in a lot of the CrossFit videos and is an amazing athlete. She is a 2x Olympian and was a 12 year member of the US ski team.

She also keeps a cool blog where she posts different bodyweight workouts every day—it’s great for those of you who are doing extra workouts at home or on the road where you don’t have access to a lot of equipment.

The link to her blog is here:

And below is a complete list of all her workouts!

Run 1/2 mile 50 air squats - 3 rounds.

10 push-ups 10 sit ups 10 squats - 10 rounds.

200 air squats for time.

“Susan” Run 200m 10 squats 10 push ups 5 rounds.

Sprint 200m and do 25 push ups, 3 rounds.

10 Handstand push ups and a 200m run 3 rounds.

Tabata squats and tabata pushups.

5 push ups 5 squats 5 sit ups, 20 rounds.

Walk 100 meters on your hands, even if it is 2 meters at a time.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 sets of sit-ups and a 100 meter sprint between each set.

Invisible Fran...21-15-9 of air squats and push ups for time.

Spend a total of 5 minutes in a handstand, or headstand. If you are using the headstand do not stay over a minute at a time.

Run 1 mile for time.

10 push ups 10 air squats and 10 sit ups, 6 rounds for time.

Do one air squat and take one breath, ( you can breath all you want while you do the squat or squats) do 2 and take 2 breaths etc...up to 10, and then come back down to one.

3 vertical jumps 3 squats 3 long jumps - 5 rounds.

Handstand 30 seconds and 10 squats, 8 rounds.

10 push-ups 100M dash 10x.

Tabata squats.

5x 400M sprints.

10 X 100 m dash.

25 pressing snatch balances each arm. No weight.

Run 1 mile, lunging 30 steps every 1 minute.

handstand 30 seconds and 20 air squats, 5 rounds.

10 handstand jackknife to vertical jump, 10 handstand jackknife to tuck jump, 10 handstand jackknife to straddle jump.

100 air squats. For time.

4x 25 jumping squats

10 vertical jumps, 10 push ups, 10 sit ups, 4 rounds...for time.

10 air squats every 1 minute of your 1 mile run.

100 burpies for time.

Run 1 mile for time.

10 push-ups 10 squats 10 sit ups 10 rounds.

10 vertical jumps, run 400 meters, 5 rounds.

spend a total of 3 minutes in a handstand.

100 air squats for time.

Handstand 1 minute, hold bottom of the squat for 1 minute, 5 rounds.

Sprint 100 meters, Walk 100 meters, 10 rounds.

100 push ups for time.

Run 1 mile for time.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Burpies and Sit ups.

50 sit-ups, 400 meter run or sprint or walk. 3 rounds.

10 walking lunges, 10 push-ups, 10 rounds.

Tabata Squats.

50 split jumps for time.

Workout...Handstand for 30 seconds or 5 handstand push ups...400 meter run. 4 rounds.

10 burpies, 100meter sprint 10x for time.

“L” sit off the floor. 10 rounds of 10 seconds...if you can’t do it sit with your legs straight out and try to lift your heels of the ground for 10 seconds instead!!!

run 400 meters, 50 air squats. 4rounds.

handstand 30 seconds, to squat hold 30 seconds. 10 rounds.

Ten vertical jumps ( jump as high as you can, land and do it again), 10 push-ups 5 rounds.

Thanks to Becca from petranek fitness for putting all of these into one place...
I find a lot of these to be watered down a bit, mix and match as you please but a great resource for those on the road.