We have had some questions related to why we do pauses when Olympic lifting. I wanted to share some information to help you understand the importance of the drill and what you should be looking to accomplish when using pauses in our strength cycle. Why do we pause? Strength in Key Positions – Using pauses in key positions will strengthen you isometrically more so than with regular lifting. If you aren’t strong enough isometrically to hold the body in perfect form at the most important points in the range of motion, that’s where your form will break down when under maximal loads. For example, if you can’t maintain a tightly arched back when the bar is just below the knees in a pull, this weakness will manifest itself as a sticking point when you attempt maximal weights. The stronger you are isometrically at those potentially weak positions, the less likely you are to have a form breakdown. Now, when you lift regularly you build momentum gradually throughout the movement, and the momentum can help you blast through the key positions. Likewise, the use of light weights will allow you to compensate for being weak in those positions, but not so with big weights. The stronger and more solid you are in the key lifting positions in a movement, the better your performance. Strength to lift the barbell – Most of your strength should be built via regular sets (no pauses) on the big lifts. However, the strategic use of pauses can help strengthen weak parts of the range of motion. When you lift submaximal weights (85% or less), you’re able to produce a lot of momentum from the start. As a result of this momentum, the body becomes “lazy” during some points in the range of motion. It ends up reducing muscle at those points because you don’t need maximal force production. As a result, the body learns to modulate muscle activation in such a way that you develop weak zones that end up being sticking points while using heavy weights. A lot of sticking points are due to suboptimal […]
Some common problems I see with toe-2-bar each week are that members have not developed the prerequisite strength to kip T2B effectively, losing active tension while bringing your feet down from the bar, and not understanding the relationship your chest, hips, and feet should have to the bar in order to effectively perform the movement. Prerequisite strength: as with every CrossFit movement there is a progression to being successful. Strength should be built through a strict range of motion before adding a kip to the movement. While it may be an aggressive prerequisite for kipping T2B, I feel if you have 5 consecutive strict reps that learning to then kip the movement will be much easier. I commonly see frustration in the gym from people trying to kip movements that they cannot perform strict for even one rep. Get strong by doing the movement strict and then develop the skill of kipping; don’t think of kipping as a shortcut to do a movement sooner. Active through the entire range of motion: when kipping a T2B getting your toes to touch the bar is only half the battle. I frequently see people swing their feet up to the bar for a successful rep only to allow their bottom half to drop like a sack of potatoes on the return back down. This turns your kip into a swing and nullifies any efficiency you could hope to have in the movement. Instead, once your feet reach the bar you must actively bring them back down through the same path they went up. The entire movement is active on your part, there is no passive portion where you are taking a break. Relation of chest, hips, and feet to the bar: there is a reason we practice our hollow and arch positions each week as they are the building blocks for kipping T2B. During effective T2B in the bottom position your feet are behind the bar and your chest is in front of the bar. Conversely, in the top position your chest is behind the bar while your feet are in front of […]
How many fingers should be on the bar when you front squat? The answer depends largely on your flexibility. When new members start front squatting I assess their mobility restrictions and often tell them to use a two finger grip when front squatting. This allows elbows to be in good position and to get the bar on their shoulders instead of in their hands. However, I also tell new members, while I tell you this is correct today I reserve the right to tell you something different in 30, 60, or 90 days. This is because learning with two fingers may be the easiest but it doesn’t mean it’s the best way to hold a bar when front squatting. As seen in the pictures above of world class weightlifters, Mattie Rogers and Dmitry Klokov, actually having a four finger grip is something you should aim for. This is because you want to activate your thoracic spine musculature when front squatting as much as possible. You don’t often miss a front squat because the weight is too heavy for your legs to squat. If we put the same weight on your back, squatting it would be no problem. The issue is losing your posture and leaning forward; the bar moves too far forward of your center of mass and you miss the lift. Activation of your thoracic spine musculature helps to maintain your upright posture. If you have been a two finger gripper for a long time I can promise you this change will feel odd. However, if you have the flexibility to grip the bar across your calluses for the entire movement I highly recommend making the change to improve your front squat long term. If your flexibility limits you to two fingers that is okay but please realize you should be improving your mobility and striving to improve your grip. Watch the following video from former Olympic gold medalist, Aleskey Torokhtiy, for a brief discussion and demo of the front squat. Make sure to turn the subtitles on!
When double unders are done correctly they look so easy but if you don’t have double unders they might be the most frustrating movement we do in CrossFIt. For those of you that don’t have them yet please don’t quit and automatically do single unders every workout. While it can take a long time to understand the movement and get the timing down, I do feel everyone is capable of doing doubles. While I won’t name names there are some great examples of people in the gym that had to work on doubles for a long time but now do them regularly in workouts so don’t give up! Keep in mind like most movements we do there is a progression to achieving them. Double unders are no different, the obvious prerequisite to double unders are single unders. However, these singles must be smooth, not take much effort, and the technique must be highly repeatable. If you can’t do 100 consecutive singles staying in the same place with your eyes closed (literally…it helps you feel the weight of the rope and its location in space) and finish with little to no fatigue you need to keep practicing singles before worrying about doubles. However, if you are ready for double unders I have bad news for you…there is no magic trick to doing them. The people in the gym with the best doubles have simply practiced and continued to refine their technique. My most important tip is to make your process very repeatable by minimizing wasted movement. The jump for double unders must be vertical, no donkey kicking and minimize any piking. Keep your elbows very close to your ribcage which keeps the rope the proper length. Your hands should be slightly in front of your body. If your hands drift behind your midline you are pulling the rope into your feet, conversely if your hands are too far in front of your body the rope hits the ground in front of you and bounces into your feet. If your elbows drift away from your ribs you are shortening the rope and […]
Olympic lifting is a staple of our programming and I don’t see that changing. Clean and jerks and snatches improve your speed, strength, power, coordination, mobility, agility, endurance, balance, and accuracy. I’m sure I can come up with more but you get the point. While the people in the gym that really love these lifts probably already know this but the Weightlifting World Championships are this week and they are being held in Anaheim, California. The event being held in the US is a nice perk because the pacific time zone makes the action much easier to follow than when the event is held on the other side of the world. While I understand that watching this event is like watching Lebron James play basketball or Serena Williams play tennis and that our skill sets don’t exactly translate to what we are seeing. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the sport and the lifts. I know every time I watch a live event streamed I pick up at least one thing I didn’t know from the announcing team. The links below bring you to a couple websites so you can stream the event live, get an official start list for anyone you may want to follow, and a list of the USA Weightlifting team members there participating STREAM THE EVENT START LIST USA TEAM MEMBERS
A quick technique note on improving your rope climbs! To improve your rope climbs consider the following tip to get a more secure hold with your feet and therefore take the onus off of your arms. When scooping your bottom foot to create a foot lock simply continue the bottom foot over the top and step on the forefoot of the other foot. The first picture shows the very common but not as secure foot lock used in the gym. However, the second picture shows the foothold with the scoop foot over the top and on the other foot. This foothold is more secure and will not require more time on your part. After getting used to the change you should expect rope climbs to be less fatiguing on your upper body. Also check out this short video from CrossFit games competitors, Matt Chan and Spencer Hendel, explaining how to properly secure this foothold.
By Kevin Ostrander Hello LGCF members! We have had requests on a number of occasions around having the opportunity to work on your Olympic lifts. We are excited to announce that this Saturday January 30th Lisa and I will be holding a FREE Olympic Weightlifting 101 Seminar from 8:00am-10:00am at the gym. There will be no normal CrossFit classes so take advantage of this opportunity to fine tune your skills or learn some new ones. The purpose of the day is to teach both the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk. Whether you are just starting out or looking to expand on your current knowledge base, this seminar is a great learning opportunity, so please consider participating. The focus is on participants experiencing the basic positions and learning the foundational technical points to properly perform the lifts. The snatch and clean and jerk bring speed, power, coordination, agility, accuracy and balance to training and are indispensable to CrossFit programming and developing a well-rounded athlete. Learning Objectives The proper stance, grip and positions for the snatch, clean and jerk. The Burgener warm-up, skill-transfer exercises and the rationale for each component. Common faults and corrections for each lift, with opportunities to coach other participants in the lifts. Attendees will also have the opportunity to perform the snatch and clean & jerk under actual working loads and receive feedback, coaching and corrections from Lisa and I throughout the session. I look forward to seeing you on Saturday!
By Kevin Ostrander: Now that we have had a few days for the dust to settle on the announcement of our partnership, I want to take a moment to weigh in with some additional comments. First I would like to thank Dirk for trusting Lisa and I and providing the fantastic opportunity of growing the LGCF community together. I can honestly say, we both feel honored to be able to collaborate with Dirk and collectively look forward to bringing the LGCF membership additional products and services to help you achieve your fitness goals. Lisa and I, like all of you, have been members enjoying the programing at Lake George CrossFit and have learned that we lift weights, a lot! As Dirk indicated in his last announcement, we should expect some small refinements, all for the greater good of the membership. This past week, the addition of “Skill sessions” has been very well received and as a coach, I can say that teaching rope climbs, tall snatch and the atlas stones was some pretty exciting stuff. We had number of “firsts” for members this week and with that came a lot of excitement in the gym. More importantly, working on things that are outside of our comfort zone is what makes you more fit. We plan to have plenty of time for Oly weightlifting at LGCF and we will continue to be the strong weightlifting gym we have all come to love. For those who have been participating in the Saturday Morning Winter Partner Series, the gym has been electric! Too many PR’s, firsts and outstanding efforts being made to single out anyone in particular. I couldn’t be happier with the participation from the members. The programing has been creative, challenging and even a little lucky with getting a 1 mile run in during Week 1. There has been great overall camaraderie amongst the members that happens only when we as the LGCF community get together in the gym. With that being said, the 2016 Open is right around the corner. We will run the open workouts for those 5 consecutive […]
August 26th By Kevin Ostrander I wanted to give you all a heads-up on a really fun online competition that’s now open for registration. It’s called The CrossFit Team Series. Last year, we had one team from LGCF put their toes in the water and do this competition. The unanimous consensus from Lisa, Katy, Jeremy and Rick was that doing the Team Series was a ton of fun! It’s a lot like the Open, where workouts are posted and you have a certain time frame to do them, but this time the competition is a team one, with two men and two women. Also like the Open, the workouts are very approachable and will challenge you regardless of your fitness level. There are Rx’d and Scaled workout options. However, if you do one workout Scaled, it doesn’t mean you have to do all of them Scaled (you can mix and match). There’s really no downside and this will satisfy you no matter what your fitness-related goals are. If you’re just doing this for fun, this is going to be right up your alley. If you want to see how you stack up against the hard-chargers out there, this is going to be a great test, too. The Team Series takes place over two weeklong periods, which gives you plenty of flexibility for you to get your workouts done. The workout completion window runs on a Tue-Mon time frame. The first set of workouts (we don’t yet know how many will be released) is released on Tuesday September 8th and must be completed no later than Monday September 14th. The second set of workouts is released on Tuesday October 6th and must be completed no later than Monday October 12th. You can do the workouts at any time and you can do them as many times as you want. I’m already registered on a team that’s doing this just for fun (aptly named LGCF Team Swole Train). Lisa and Katy have returned to do it again this year with Keenan stepping in for Rick’s absence and I am going to try […]
As promised we will be doing a Hero workout during our only class on July 4th (it’s at 8am but you already knew that?!). Expect a pretty normal class; you should plan on a group warm-up, some midline stabilization, a little weightlifting, and the met-con. The workout is challenging but very fair! So file your calluses, bring tape if you’re prone to ripping, and be ready to run.