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In recognition and support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this Friday, October 20th, Crossfit Factory Square will be hosting our annual Barbells For Boobs fundraiser!

For those who don’t know, Barbells for Boobs® is a 501(c)3 nonprofit breast cancer organization dedicated to the early detection of breast cancer, with an emphasis on women under the age of 40 and men. They believe that everyone has a RIGHT to know if they are living with breast cancer.  All funds collected from Barbells for Boobs events will contribute to support their nationwide grant program. Although not all of their work can be measured, the Impact from their Grant Program can. To date, they have provided 38,517 procedures, served 20,530 individuals and detected 271 cases of breast cancer.

Together as a community we have already raised over $2,000 towards this years fundraising event! Donations can be made directly online here or in person on Friday. Space is still available if you are interested in registering – you may do so online here. All ages and abilities are welcome to participate. The event starts with the Kids Heat at 6:15 PM with adult heats directly following. Don’t forget to wear pink! Spectators are welcome to come as well!

After the event our very own Box Bistro will be serving up two types of chili to keep everyone warn and fueled! Paleo beef chili over butternut squash and green tortilla chicken chili over basmati rice. Kid portions will be available as well! Box Bistro will be serving at 8:00 once everyone is finished working out. You can preorder online here or purchase the night of. As an added bonus this year Athleta will be at our event from 6-9 PM with items available for order/purchase and giving out prizes to the best dressed teams! Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

REMINDER – This Saturday morning from 10-11 Paul Poutouves will be hosting an additional mobility class at Factory Square.

 

Common Snatch Mistakes & How to Correct Them

By Daniel Camargo

 As complicated as Olympic weightlifting movements may seem, they really are simple. Some athletes might disagree when I say that the snatch is easier to learn than the clean and jerk. Why? Because they don’t feel a sense of control with their center of gravity.

 

Remember, an object’s center of gravity isn’t the ‘center’ of the object, but rather the point where the object can be balanced. As it relates to your body and the barbell during a lift, your center of gravity (or weight distribution) will always shift towards whichever is heavier. So when the bar is light, the center of gravity shifts towards your body. However, when the bar has heavy load, it will move towards the barbell. This is why it takes strength, coupled with speed, to keep us from leaning forward during these lifts. The overhead movement in the snatch challenges our sense of balance.

Let’s break down some common mistakes, to help you find the joy in the snatch.

Mistake #1: Jumping forward
The most common mistake athletes make.
When performing the snatch your feet can do one of two things: stay in one spot or hop back a little—and I mean a little; given that we receive the bar just behind our heads, moving back may be natural. What you should never do is jump forward, breaking the frontal plane. Doing so makes the bar feel heavier—and much harder to chase.

3 times you might make the mistake of jumping forward:

1. During liftoff, because you are: a) distributing your weight onto your toes in your initial pull as a result of bending your elbows early, your knees being too far forward, or no core activation; or b) not completely active— allowing your hips to rise prior to the bar leaving the ground, which may cause you to lean forward. Whether it’s weight distribution to the toes or fast hips shooting up, any forward movement at this stage of the lift throws you off course– making you jump forward even if the rest of your technique is spot on.

Corrections & Cues

  • Drive your heels into the floor when picking up the bar. Though you can set up on mid-foot, once you start lifting do not lean back—keep your weight on your heels.
  • Remember to move your hips at the same time as you move the bar. Your hips shooting up faster will cause you to lean forward.
  • Keep your chest up as you lift and focus on a spot right in front or slightly above your line of sight, to ensure you stay on your heels.

2. During the transition, because you are: shifting your hips too far into the bar; or simply shifting your weight to your toes too early during the transition, therefore having to jump forward to catch the bar. Remember, the bar must come back into your body, not your body into the bar.

Corrections & Cues

  • Practice hang snatches—specifically mid-hang (above knee) and high-hang (mid quadriceps). Starting from the hang will force you to use proper mechanics.
  • Practice romanian deadlifts to work the posterior chain and focus on proper heel distribution at a slower pace than that of the snatch.
  • Have a coach cue you to delay your jump (triple extension aka 2nd pull) and to be patient during your transition. Don’t rush. Trust the movement.

3. During the 2nd pull, because you are: not keeping the bar close to your body. You keep control of the bar the closer to you it is. If the bar hits your hips the contact should be up not out.

Corrections & Cues

  • Practice the power position snatch—it’s fastest way to fix this mistake. You’ll find it nearly impossible to do this lift right if you are letting the bar out too far.
  • You can also try dip snatches and high pulls.
  • Have a coach cue to you to remain vertical, to aim for your chin and to use more leg drive rather than hips. Less hips, more legs.

Mistake #2: Bending your arms
During the snatch, bending your arms too soon can result in a loss of power. Some tension and slight bending of the arm is okay if you keep that bend all the way into the receiving position. The wrong type of ‘arm bending’ is when you straighten your arms during the jump, and bend them a second time. This bend, straighten, then re-bend is what causes a loss of velocity. Either the bar will slow down or you will develop a hitch at the hips and stop.

Corrections & Cues

  • Don’t worry about your arms. Focus on the power position and using your legs. Athletes sometimes bend their arms to generate velocity and explosion but that’s exactly what the power position will do for you.
  • Practice power position snatches to get the feel of proper leg explosion without using your arm. Focus on your legs.
  • Use blocks. Starting high without any preloading of the legs, as in a hang, will help you focus on the lower body doing more work.

Mistake #3: Not getting under the bar
For those learning the snatch, getting under the bar is crucial. For many it’s a matter of fear, but for others it’s a matter of mobility. Once you overcome your hurdle, the goal is to get comfortable down there. You don’t have to hit the bottom, but the further you get the better. Newer athletes tend to focus on getting the bar overhead whereas the experienced athletes focus on dropping under. It does you no good to have a massive pull of the bar if it’s not coupled with the ability to get under it. It’s a two part equation. Having one without the other will limit you. Lastly, when you get into that overhead squat position you must stay tight. As USA Weightlifting says: “all body levers must be tight.” It’s a wasted effort to have perfect technique yet lose an attempt because you loosen up at the bottom.

Corrections & Cues

  • Practice the simplest drill there is: overhead squats.
  • Try snatch balances to help you drop under further and drop snatches to teach you how to receive the bar in the most advanced way.
  • Have a coach cue you to turnover hard; to remind you there is nothing to fear. You have to commit, not hesitate and believe. You will get it.
  • Remember to stay tight and fight while under the bar. Don’t get lazy at the bottom. The lift isn’t over until you stand back up.
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Don’t forget to register for Barbells For Boobs!! Register by October 11th to get a shirt! Register HERE.

 

 “Rest-Day Recommendations” by Abi Reiland – The Box Magazine

For those addicted to the rigorous activity a CrossFit workout offers, a sense of boredom can become a rest-day damper. That feeling in the back of your head that you just can’t shake, like you’re missing out on something that will make you a better athlete and potentially improve your speed or strength or stamina. It’s enough to send some people into a panic. But truth be told, rest days are an imperative part of fitness. An athlete can only go so long before his body rebels in a dire attempt to recover. Varying the way in which you rest gives your body some time to recuperate while keeping your mind at ease. Here are my rest-day recommendations.

– Consequences of not taking rest days. –
Unless you’re an alien life form (or Rich Froning), your body needs a break. CrossFit’s structured beatings actually break down muscle in an attempt to build it back up, but if that rest period isn’t put into place, the breakdown begins to hinder development. Fatigue, strength losses and injury are all major concerns when an athlete is too active at an intense and demanding level. And overtraining will not only hinder your physical abilities but also have a detrimental effect on your mental state. Digressing is never an experience athletes embrace. When your body won’t operate up to your standards, the mind takes a toll as well. Frustration, irritability and lack of concentration rear their ugly heads in cases of physical and mental exhaustion. So do everybody a favor and take a day off.

– When to take rest days. –
Many trainers will suggest rest days be scheduled every 4th day. 3 days on, 1 day off, repeat. For folks with a little flexibility in their schedule, this is a fantastic option and ensures your body is allowed some relaxation. However, for those who have a set schedule that binds them to particular days and availability, 2 days rest per week is a respectable regimen. For personalities that prefer predictable structure, those days can be set. Perhaps every Thursday and Sunday you take a day off. Personally, I listen to my body. If I feel great, I’m going to workout. And if I’m feeling run down or extra sore, I might lay low for that day. Develop a rest strategy that works for you and your fitness goals, and as your athleticism progresses, adjust accordingly. Just be sure you recognize the messages your body sends you to avoid overdoing it.

– How to spend rest days. –
There is no right way to spend a rest day. If the couch is calling your name, pop in a couple movies, eat a bag of M&Ms and enjoy the lethargy. But to ease your tight muscles and maximize your recovery results, take a lightly active approach. I like to treat my rest days as a form of therapy for any aches, so I try to incorporate stretching, light cardio, or maybe yoga. And to spice things up, it’s always fun to throw in some adventurous activities like hiking, swimming or a day of retail therapy with some speed-walking and light lifting at the mall. Get your heart rate up, work on some mobility and break a small sweat. Seems only fitting given the fact that CrossFit embraces constant variation. And after some rehab, back to business.

The addiction to your newfound fitness is inevitable. But exhibit some common sense and caution to maintain the health you so desire. Going overboard will do you more harm than good and will sabotage your mission for a stronger, faster, fitter you. Your body gives you everything it’s got in a workout, so return the favor and learn to embrace your rest days, regardless of when and how you spend them.

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Registration for Barbells For Boobs is now open! Register Here. Save the Date: Friday, October 20th

There comes a point in our training where one day you could be post workout rolling out on the floor, still somehow out of breath, wondering what in the heck you are doing and how you got there. It’s very easy to get in to a routine. Before we know it days, weeks, months start to pass us by. We get wrapped up in the lifts, the wods, going through lifting and conditioning cycles. . . so many little things to make up the big picture.Then suddenly you’re back on the floor rolling out again wondering what’s next? Sometimes all we need is a little fire in us.

This is something as easy as the first time you even had the thought to start crossfit. . . it’s to do something out of your comfort zone. Something to challenge you to the point where you are astonished in yourself once you succeed. It’s the fire in your eyes to continue your search to better yourself. If you find yourself getting frustrated or angry in your performance lately, believe it or not, that can be a good thing! Means you still care and that Crossfit/lifting is just as important to you as it was when you first started.

Now let us take that fire within us and use it. For the month of October, I challenge each and every one of you to do something out of your comfort zone. Take the plunge and sign up for that competition. Go hike that mountain that has been calling your name for a few years now, that you just haven’t had the time to go hike. Pick a movement that you need to work on and dedicate 5 minutes before or after class, 3 times a week, to do some accessory work for said movement. Do something to challenge yourself and watch everything around you grow. Over time, even the smallest amount of effort will prove to be beneficial. We can never expect ourselves to grow if we don’t do anything to help promote it in the first place.

Aggghhhh yes, flexibility . . . .something I swear I have nothing of. Even with putting in a lot of extra time and effort into my mobility, somehow I still constantly feel like the tin man. Don’t get me wrong, when I put in the extra time to focus on my mobility and flexibility I absolutely 100% feel better, but even on my best days it’s still difficult for me to do something as simple as touch my toes.

That in mind, here’s a good article (I know it’s a bit long, but a very interesting & worth while read) to remind ourselves how important our flexibility really is . . .

How Flexibility Affects Strength (& Vice Versa)

By William Imbo

The term ‘muscle-bound’ has long been associated with athletes and individuals that have developed large muscle mass through strength training, but in so doing have significantly reduced their ability to move freely through a full range of motion. This is certainly the case for many people in sports and fitness, and yet, we need only look at gymnasts, Olympic Weightlifters and elite CrossFitters to know that the opposite is true as well. These athletes compete in sports where an imbalance between these two fitness skills would limit their progress and impair their success—and the same applies to you.

How flexibility affects strength
A limited range of motion is going to hold you back from maximizing your strength gains. Think about the mobility you need in your hips and ankles for a typical barbell squat. Then consider the added shoulder and wrist mobility you need for the front and overhead squat. Yet the squat, in all its variations, is renowned as the best compound movement (involving more than one joint) you can possibly perform, especially when it comes to improving overall strength. Because it does involve so many muscle groups, your body will be triggered to release more testosterone and HGH—two powerful hormones for building muscle mass and strength. And studies have shown that in order to maximize your strength gains, you need to execute full range of motion when squatting in order to have your muscles have greater time under tension. But what if you aren’t mobile enough to break parallel in the back squat, to maintain a front rack position in the front squat, or even hold an empty barbell overhead during an overhead squat? Well, you will inevitably hit strength plateaus that will take some time to break. Needless to say, being flexible enough to put your body in the right positions when moving heavy weight is vital. If you want to clean, jerk and snatch like an Olympian, first make sure that your body is mobile enough to receive heavy weight—then you will be able to reap the strength benefits of standing up monster weights from the hole. The same concept applies to developing bodyweight strength. One need only look at the body of a gymnast to realize how strong these men and women are—yet they are highly mobile too. Consider this—how many of you struggle with pistols? And, for those who do, do you think it’s because you lack the individual leg strength to perform the movement, or you’re missing the requisite mobility in your hip and ankle to get into the position? I’d wager that for the vast majority of people, the latter is the limiting factor.

lifting gBut before you start going to yoga 10 times a week and spending countless hours flossing, rolling, banding and performing every stretch known to man, it’s important to remember that there is evidence that too much flexibility can have a negative impact on strength. An increase in flexibility without a corresponding increase in strength can result in joint instability. When someone is hypermobile, their ligaments become loose. This is a problem because ligaments act as the “strapping tape” of our joints by connecting bone to bone. If they become too loose, they have no recoil property. Corrective exercise specialist Brooke Thomas provides the perfect analogy: “Imagine the difference between a rubber band and Silly Putty. Stretch out the elastic and “boing!” back it goes. Stretch out the Silly Putty and you have stringy globbery-goop.”

If the ligaments are too loose, this is where your muscles step up, as part of their job is to determine the appropriate range for a joint (where the bones get to go). “This means if they are functioning in a balanced way, the ligaments do not need to take on a load. And our muscles weave into the bones via tendons, and all of this is living in a sea, inside and out, of fascia [connective tissue that runs throughout the body],” Thomas adds.

Of course, if there isn’t the right balance between muscle strength and flexibility (in this case a lack of strength), the ligaments have to shoulder the load, making them highly susceptible to wear and tear and increasing the risk of serious injuries to the joint. So, we cannot overlook the importance of strength as it relates to flexibility.

How strength affects flexibility
Just as being hypermobile can cause damage to a joint, an increase in strength without a balanced rise in flexibility can result in soft tissue tears, sprains and postural changes. Now, strength is obviously an important skill that we’re always looking to improve. Being strong allows us to move heavy weight and perform functional tasks outside of the gym. In addition, many joints in the body require stability so they are able to resist movement from an outside force. For example, ideally we want the knee joint to be stable so that it doesn’t buckle or twist when we run, squat or jump. One of the best ways of doing that is by increasing the strength of the supporting musculature of that joint—in this case, the quadriceps, the hamstrings and the muscles of the calf. When our joints are stable, we are better able to transfer power throughout the body too. This manifests itself well in the thruster, where we need to generate a lot of force through the joints as we move upwards in order to help get the barbell of the front rack before pressing it overhead.

But wait a second, isn’t squatting one of the best ways to strengthen the supporting musculature of the knee? And didn’t you just write that an athlete needs to have good flexibility in the hips and ankles to be able to perform a squat? Yes I did—that’s because while some joints of the body require stability (like the knee), others need to be more mobile (such as the hips and ankles). You can emphasize strength training all you want, and the joints that need stability will thank you for it, but if you can’t execute a full range of motion because of how immobile you are where it matters, your strength won’t count for anything. In fact, overly focusing on strength without mobilizing muscle groups can lead to conditions such as anterior pelvic tilt and upper crossed syndrome. Take someone who spends most of their day sitting at a desk. In this position, their hamstrings are going to become stretched and tight. They then go to the gym, and expect to bang out heavy sets of deadlifts. Deadlifts require the hamstrings to be strong, but they also need to be mobile. What happens when you place excessive strain on an already strained muscle group? They tear.

So, it’s obvious that the body in general needs to be supple and strong. A balanced ratio between the two allows an athlete to perform functional movements at full range of motion with heavy weight, while an imbalance in either direction paves the way for injury and postural problems.

 

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Mark B., CFS Member

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If you told me I would be able to deadlift 200lbs, do 65lb thrusters, jump onto the 20in box, make my mile time the fastest it has ever been or buddy carry my best friend over my shoulders, I would have told you, you’re nuts!

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As a woman, I’ve never felt more empowered or beautiful! I can’t wait to see what this upcoming year will bring! Thank you CrossFit Factory Square! ♥

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