Wednesday, April 25, 2012
-Nick Becerra, NorCal CrossFit Regionals 2011
We are excited to now offer our Olympic Lifting class on a weekly basis! The class is held every Wednesday @ 6:30pm with Coach Nick Becerra. All members of Paradigm are welcome and encouraged to attend! Olympic lifting includes the Clean & Jerk and the Snatch. Our OLY class focuses on skill work designed to improve technique and strengthen these lifts. Whether you are a certified OLY lifter or have no idea what a Snatch even entails...this is the place for you!
Olympic lifting demands incredible speed, coordination and power. It is generally agreed upon that the snatch trumps all when it comes to teaching explosive hip power and demonstrating athleticism. You may be surprised by how learning Olympic lifting will positively carry over to improving your other skills. You will find yourself becoming faster and more coordinated, thereby enhancing your overall athlete.
The class's programming varies week to week. Some classes will focus more on technique and skill work, some on maxing, while others will incorporate WOD's involving OLY lifts, such as "Grace" or "Isabelle".
Congrats to Julie and Robert Pitts on the arrival of their baby boy - Nolan Elliott, who made his debut on Monday, April 23rd, 6 lb 8 oz. And congrats Vicki Sousa on another beautiful grand baby! Given the fact that Nolan has been "CrossFitting" for the past 9 months, we are so excited to see him grow up into a little Panther who tears it up with his mommy and grandma!
In preparation for tackling the Hang Power Clean today, check out this helpful technique video from Miranda Oldroyd. This fast and powerful movement drives home how important it is to keep the arms long in the pull, and to contact the bar high on the hips as you explosively open. By eliminating the first pull (pulling the bar from the ground to above the knees) the hang power clean can solely focus on the second pull, which is the explosive section of any clean. After hitting triple extension, (a point we want to strive for in all types of cleans), there can't be anything slow about dropping under that bar. Open explosively, and drop rapidly. The key is to get under that bar fast with elbows whipping through high. Remember: when the arms bend, the power ends. So often we tend to instinctively pull first with those arms, bending early at the elbow. This is a common beginner's mistake - take the time to rid yourself of this habit.
This is the "triple extension" we are going for in all of our cleans!
(added bonus is that our faces look really fantastic in this position...)
-Courtesy of Crossfit.com
If the bar is dropped between reps, you must Deadlift the weight up to standing position, and then drop down to the "hang" position just above the knees, as you begin the clean.
-Annie Thorisdotter, courtesy of CrossFit HQ
This is the end position we are going for in the Presses...all of them! Our strict press, push-press, and push-jerk are slightly different in how the weight is pushed overhead, but the finish is the same for all three: weight in the heels, hips at extension, tummy tight, arms at extension/locked out, with head through. If the feet move in the jerk, which they will when the weight is heavy, they need to be walked back in under the hips before that weight is dropped.
The strict press is a throwback for some of us to our old-school gym ways! Hopefully we have better form than back then, thanks to our improved midline stability. The following points are very important to keep in mind when it comes to strict pressing:
1. Take a big breath before you press the bar, or if you are going to build rep #2 off of #1 with a "tap and go", take that big breath at the top of the lift (at extension). Either way, big inhale = a more successful lift.
2. Retract your head back as you press so that the bar path is vertical, not arcing away from your face. The shortest line is a straight line - meaning that bar should narrowly miss your nose!
3. After the bar has passed your nose, push your head back through. Often when we miss the press, we are pressing that bar away from us rather than over us. If you can get your head through, you will most likely get the lift.
4. Maintain MLS throughout the entire lift (midline stability). It's extremely important. Nothing looks and feels more off than strict pressing with weight in the toes, hips pushed forward, spine arched, and bar over the face. Get your weight in your heels, engage your abs like never before, and stay tall.
5. Don't drop the bar early! Show balance and control at the top with your arms at extension - that means ear showing from the side profile. Weight should be in the heels for a successful a lift.
6. The bar must touch the shoulders between each rep when going for multiple rep sequences. A good rep starts from the shoulders and finishes overhead at extension. Make sure the bar contacts the shoulders for each new rep.
Excited for all of you who are coming out to the NorCal CrossFit Regionals May 18, 19, and 20. It will be quite a show. You will come away newly excited and inspired. In my opinion, it's the best spectator sport out there because practically everyone in the stands does the same stuff that's happening in the arena - many on a daily basis. The workouts this year are brilliantly and creatively programmed to demonstrate team communication, exhibit team depth, and expose skill weaknesses. Checkout what is in store for the athletes HERE and plan on making it out - guarantee you will have a great time!
Today @ Paradigm:
-"Strict Press Medley" Find 3 rep max. Then complete max reps @ 85%, and max reps @ 75%.
- Suicide Sprints
"Optimal development comes on the margins of overtraining. If you are far from overtrained, you are far from peak performance". -Greg Glassman
Do I overtrain? Perhaps you have asked yourself this question before. Problem is, so many ideas are floating around of what that even is. Overtraining entails training for too long or with too much intensity. How is that for a vague definition? Is running a marathon then, overtraining? Is a 4-minute Fran, which induces "pukie", causes you to feel delirious for hours and leaves you with a lingering "Fran cough", overtraining?
Here are some things to think through which should shed some light the issue.
1. Adequate ramping up to higher intensities is key. Avoid too much too fast - that usually leads to problems in any arena! How many times you train per week during month #1 of your CrossFitting career, will most likely look very different from a random week from month #20. Your first foundations, which included a handful of bodyweight squats, probably left you somewhat wrecked. A year later, you do Cindy, and are back at class the next day. Build up to higher intensities and workloads smartly and safely. Mechanics. Consistency. then Intensity.
2. The people most likely to be guilty of overtraining aren't the ones asking if they are overtraining! They are the ones who are injured and running ragged with decreased performance capabilities, and yet are asking for heavier sandbags...not surprisingly, they are also the fire breathers who are setting records! Be smart. Allow your injuries to heal. Get more sleep than you are getting. Refuel your body with proper nutrition. But know that our bodies are designed to do work. Back to back days? Double days? Maybe not in your first month of CrossFit, but the best athletes out there don't stick to a perfectly crisp "on and off" training schedule.
3. In Glassman's opinion, "overtraining is indicated by retrograde performance and specifically does not include symptoms mitigated or alleviated by additional sleep, fluids, massage, or pampering alone". It doesn't mean that those things aren't good, or even that you don't need them. But rather that the need for those things is not indicative of overtraining. Dehydrated? Then drink more water. Sore? Congrats - you probably trained hard. Doesn't necessarily mean that you are overtraining. If your performance is slipping and yet you are "working" more and harder, then you may have a problem.
4. If you program properly (or your awesome coaches take care of that for ya!) you will most likely avoid the "routine" devil, which leads to overtraining. Marathon runners can easily develop chronic injuries and plateau in their results because they run...and run...and run. If you trained for the past 4 days and want to hit the WOD on day 5, just be logical about it. If you did 500 wall-ball yesterday, don't do 500 thrusters today. If you ripped your hands yesterday, please don't do pull-ups today. Redundancy in training leads to problems and injuries. But try to not over think it. CrossFit, by nature, involves functional movements which require your entire body to work in synchrony. If you snatch one day, can you squat the next? Of course. Don't feel like you have to follow some formula in order to avoid redundancy; reserve the outdated "Upper body on Monday and lower body on Tuesday" for bodybuilders. Just use common sense.
5. What constitutes a "rest" day anyways and when do you need one? Let's start with what a rest day is NOT. It is not a complete day of laziness where you lounge on the couch all day munching on salty snacks while beating 6th graders in Modern Warfare. It IS a day where you refrain from abusing your muscles with high loads and intensities, and you relax a bit with some active recovery. Head off for a hike or a long walk. Go for a swim. Take a yoga class. Play some volleyball at the beach. Every athlete is different with how often their body needs a rest day. Most avid CrossFitters take one a week, and 3-7 days in a row off, at least twice a year.
The OHS, when done correctly, can be an effortless and simple movement. Many struggle with this movement because at it's core, it is one of the most comprehensive exercises around. If someone doesn't have sufficient core strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, and accuracy - they will probably hate workouts like "Nancy".
Well, "Nancy" is here. And for those of you guys who hate her (you know who you are... ) just know this - she's a girl that you'll grow to love and hate at the same time. Yes, it may suck while you're in the middle of the WOD, but afterward, the sheer volume of OHS's that is performed will help to build and strengthen those same aspects that make the OHS challenging.
Be sure to use a weight that's appropriate for you. Your focus is to develop your form and technique BEFORE the strength and speed of the movement...otherwise you'll find yourself staring at the bar laying on the floor rather than overhead.
Post comments below for your "Nancy" time and 5 rep max OHS.
-Lee Pappas, Mexico
One of my favorite bedtime stories growing up was "The Little Engine That Could". If you haven't read it, go pick up a copy and treat yourself to a nice story - I promise it's a light read. It's about a petite train engine that is weaker than all the rest. But when desperate times call for that little engine to step up to the plate and pull the train up the steep mountain, she does. Because she believes she can and doesn't quit.
It's amazing how even though I loved that story growing up, understood the metaphor, and read it a few hundred times, here we are over two decades later and I still struggle on a daily basis with having faith that I can accomplish the given task before me. Keeping a positive mindset and holding onto our confidence is often the hardest part. Especially on the days when nothing in our body feels like it's working. So often, we sell ourselves short. Give up before we have even given ourselves a decent shot. Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or you can't, you are usually right". How much more could we achieve with our bodies if we got our minds in the right place?
We can't really separate the mind and the body into separate entities. We might try to put the two into their respective boxes...visualize prior to the workout, grind during the workout...but it doesn't play out nicely like that; the two are completely interdependent. Strengthening one without the other is short-sighted at best. It is why productivity in companies will skyrocket when the employees are more active. It is the reason why cutting out recess and P.E. for kids during school, in order to place a higher emphasis on standardized testing, will always backfire. It's why our home life is happier when we set aside time to focus on our health. It explains why believing they will overcome their disease is so critical to cancer patients. It should come as no surprise then, that our best gains in the physical realm, come when the mental is strong. Have you experienced that split second before a snatch where you have a visual flash of whether the lift is going to be executed properly or just crash and burn? It's amazing how often that little feeling is then exactly played out. It's mindset. Perhaps we have way more power than we think...if we could just learn to tap into it.
One of the best parts of the "job" as coach is when we are blessed with the privilege of watching someone surpass what they even thought was possible. To random spectators, it might not be that impressive of a PR, or it might even be unmeasurable...(imagine that!!) But to a coach, who knows the background story of that moment, it can be an all-time highlight. We need to believe in ourselves a lot more than we do. And it helps to have others by our side who believe in us when we start to doubt! It's called being on a team. We don't always have a perfectly calm and confident mindset, and not every day can be filled with PRs. But every day can be filled with support by those who have our back and desire us to succeed. The other day while driving alone, I saw the most gorgeous rainbow...and I had no one to share it with. How cool would your max overhead squat be if no one was there to witness it and share in your success? So thankful to be a part of a CrossFit family. Thanks to my coach for the past three years who believes in me even when I'm pretty sure I can't do a single air squat to save my life. love.
Just a few days into April, and Dalia's name was already sprinkled several times on the monthly PR (Personal Record) board at Paradigm. With freakishly good attendance and a continually positive attitude, Dalia has steadily gone after her training in an exemplary fashion. People often ask how soon they will see progress after diving into CrossFit. Results can vary based on dozens of factors...most of which you can control! Our output is directly related to our input. If you want results faster, even just 4 months into the program like Dalia, take a look at her approach to training and glean what you can. Keep up the good work Dalia - you are awesome to watch!
Name: Dalia Marie Hamouie
Hometown: Houston TX
When did you first start CrossFitting? Mid-January, when I began at Paradigm
Favorite WOD: Fight Gone Bad
Least favorite WOD: 7 mins of Burpees (Open 12.1)
Tell us about your sports and fitness background:
I played volleyball throughout high school and part of college. I also took up running last year and have completed two 10ks, two half marathons and one full marathon.
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD...What was it, and how did it feel?
I was first exposed to crossfit by my friend Jamie Miller. I had seen her out and saw how great she was looking and asked her what she was doing. She told me she was doing CrossFit and how much she loved it and that I should try it. A couple of weeks later I signed up. My first work out was hard! After going through foundations my muscles were so sore and tight that it was really hard to move. Even the simple things like an air squat were hard and painful.
What kind of changes have you seen with your body, health and fitness level since starting CF?
Before I started CF I was running 4 to 5 times a week. I felt that I had reached a point with running where my body was not really changing anymore. Since I started CF I have noticed a huge change in my body. I am starting to see definition in my arms and all over my body is getting toned. I also feel stronger mentally and physically.
Any changes in your life that you have experienced out of taking on CF that were totally unexpected?
One change that I have experienced since starting CF is a better understanding of nutrition and how to eat the right way. I learned a lot from the nutrition seminar that I attended and have tried to incorporate what I learned into my daily routines.
Any favorite CF moments that you have had so far?
My favorite CF moments so far were getting my Double-Unders down as well as my first handstand! It sounds really silly, but when you are able to do something that you were not able to do before it is a huge accomplishment and it makes you feel so good about yourself.
Any advice for people just getting started?
My advice is to be consistent with your workouts. Come as often as you can because with more practice you will improve and the pain eventually will go away.
What are your hobbies, interests, and/or talents outside of CF?
My hobbies are hiking, running races, traveling the world, cooking, baking, dancing, and shopping.
-East Sac Throwdown 2012
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When CrossFit gives you handstands, its time to embrace being upside down. Hey, you get to see the world from a completely different perspective! When I started CrossFit, I had no idea I would be practicing handstands and forward rolls; I thought it would be a lot more dumbbells, barbells, and tractor tires. Turns out, the tire flips are a lot easier to learn than the handstands!
The gymnastic components of CrossFit can be the most intimidating at times...but also the most rewarding when they are conquered. Greg Glassman always stresses that gymnasts pick up other new skills the quickest. I've witnessed this to be true over and over. Gymnasts have mastered how to move and control their own body weight through space. So often, people want to work with the weights before it's even appropriate. Because we are thinking we want to get stronger, we thing we have to grab the barbells! While that's true, it can be completely jumping the gun. We can't lose sight of what the overall goal is with any skill - control. Have you ever cringed in the gym as you watch someone lifting a weight without core control? Have you seen them arch their back and come into their toes as they strain to push that bar overhead? We must keep in mind that we have no business back squatting anything if we can't reach depth while maintaining a proper lumbar curve. If we lack the flexibility to stand straight up with arms reaching overhead all while maintaining a proper spine, we shouldn't be shoulder pressing bars and bumpers. Until we can move our own bodyweight through the proper range of motion demonstrating balance and control, why would we add additional weight on top of that?
I used to think that gymnastics would be the last thing to add....someday if I was lucky and worked hard enough, I might be able to do the ring dips, pull-ups, muscle ups, handstands, and L-sits. 3 years later, I've completely switched the priority; I think the gymnastics should be tackled first! Learn how to roll, jump, hang, and pull your bodyweight first. Become comfortable with taking your body upside down. Focus on being aware of the positioning of your own body - this lays the groundwork for everything else in they gym and in life.
Today's WOD involves Handstand Push-ups and Muscle-Ups - both gymnastic skills. Often thought of as the "pinnacle" CrossFit skill, Muscle-Ups are quite technical and challenging - but that doesn't mean that they are completely unattainable by any means! Come in and start honing in on your push-ups and ring dips to build the strength that they demand.
Monday @ Paradigm
WOD: "Nate" 20 min AMRAP, 2 MUs, 4 HSPUs, 6 KB
Conditioning: 50 hands off pushups. each time a set is broken, run a lap.
"If you are looking for an excuse to fall off the wagon, the universe will provide one".
- Oprah Winfrey
As I grow up, I'm realizing that life never really slows down…you just have to choose to prioritize appropriately. Life is all about choices. Yesterday was the day to go after what you want and what you need. If you missed it, at least don't miss out on today!
It is so inspiring to learn how many Games athletes have an insane amount on their plate. While the sport of CrossFit has grown enough now that some top competitors can focus solely on their competition, that doesn't mean that all athletes are in that boat! In 2009, as I was eying her washboard abs with envy, I learned that Lindsey Smith had a baby girl just 7 months prior. In 2011, Deborah Cordner earned a coveted spot at the Games and put on an awesome performance, despite the Lymphedema in her left leg that she deals with.
So often I hear someone say that they will get serious about their fitness level after the new job quiets down, or after the baby arrives, or after the the house move. What about after Medical School? Apparently, Julie Foucher doesn't want to wait that long. One of my favorite athletes to watch, she placed 5th at the Games, which shocked a lot of her competitors. For anyone who thinks that CrossFitters have more muscle than brains, Foucher is a Biomedical Engineering Grad, currently in medical school...makes my brain hurt just thinking about it. She goes about her work with an incredible, calm diligence. Read about a day in her life HERE.
"Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently."
The words that we use to talk about a situation has a direct effect on how we start to perceive the situation. When we constantly make excuses, we push ourselves towards being more defeated as we take on a "victim" role. When we assume ownership and responsibility, great things can happen.
It's double WOD day @ Paradigm!
"Annie": 50-40-30-20-10 Double Unders & Sit-ups
"Cindy": 20 min AMRAP, 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squats
3 Runs for time - slowest time counts
CrossFit Events Section
Next Happy Hour!
Sign up for our Happy Hour… limited to first 25 people… HERE. This will take place on 5/10 at 6pm until 8ish.
Beach Body Competition!
Are you ready to get in a bikini?? Or Man-kini? Summer’s around the corner, weather is getting hot, and clothes are coming off!! Strut your stuff this summer, and let this challenge drive you!
2013 NorCal Regionals
In the biggest NorCal CF competition of the year, 48 women, 48 men, and 30 teams battle it out for the coveted 3 Games spots granted each division. Don’t miss this spectacular event going on in Santa Rosa, Friday May 24th-Sunday May 26th. Check out details HERE. Paradigm Schedule: Friday all classes except Ninja, all Saturday classes, NO Sunday Open Gym.
Allergy Elixir: Summer Edition
Communication Hill: Summer Field Trip #1
Allergies “Bee Gone”!
Paradigm Beach Body Challenge
Keeping Priorities Straight
Athlete Spotlight: Scott Wojnowski
13.5 Coaching Advice
13.4 Coaching Advice
Paradigm/Brethren HOOVER BALL Tourney!
Lunch For A Week
Success Depends on Commitment
The Best Smoothie EVER
Easter Bunny Gone Paleo
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