Monday- Crossover Symmetry

20150809_101227Mayhaps you have noticed a few improvements going on around the box lately.  Newly places cargo nets and ropes, new rings in the “warm-up” room, and this funky little number bolted to the wall (enter image, stage right ——–>)

This series of resistance bands and movements in called the Crossover Symmetry H.I.T.T. (high intensity interval training) System.   According to the Rogue website, “The goal is to facilitate safe and efficient shoulder mechanics, reduce the risk of shoulder injury, and improve overhead performance.”

There are a variety of bands and exercises to be used, and each is meant to be used in a specific fashion depending on your fitness level, exercise chosen, and if you are using the C.O.S pre- or post- WOD.

Let’s first take a look at the movements, you’ll notice that the board in hooked to the wall…. it is two, yes TWO sided!


Looking at the board you’ll see side one (above) includes activation, recover, and plyometric movements for each of the exercise listed to the left.  Activation is a shoulder warm up, meant to be done pre-wod.  Recover and plyometric are post-wod variations.  Each comes with its own specific instructions that should be followed when using the C.O.S, including the reps prescribed and whether you should “hold” a position for a few seconds during the activation phase or complete a “negative” in which you are controlling the movement back to the start position in the given time, like in the recovery phase. Watch here for a complete activation/recovery demo.

The plyometric (also a post-wod recovery) gives it’s instructions in reps/plyo (5/5).  Huh?  In this protocol, you will preform the given exercise just as you would in the activation phase.  However, once you reach the end of the movement, you will then preform 5 high speed oscillations, or pump actions, if you will.  You will notice that at the bottom of each plyometric photo there is either end range or mid range, this in the length you will pump your arms 5 quick times before returning to the start position. End being the very end of the movement, and mid being the middle.  WATCH THIS VIDEO PLEASE.  IT gives a great explanation of this.


Side two of the C.O.S has a program called Iron Scap designed to strengthen your  scapular stabilizers, the muscles that give you better posture, and strengthen shoulder strength and rotator cuff stability. This should leave you fatigued, but you should be able to complete the full range of each exercise through out to target strength in specific areas of the shoulder.  You wouldn’t squat above parallel or only deadlift the bar to your knees- don’t gyp your shoulders! This video gives a complete demo of each exercise.


Something else to pay attention to is the band you use and the band prescribed.  There’s a rainbow of colors to choose from.  But not all bands are the right bands for you.  Choose a band that’s a struggle but allows you to do the full range.   At the bottom of the board there is a guide with fitness level, here are the suggestions from the company on who should use what color.

Novice- New to the game or rehabbing a shoulder injury
Competitor- Most athletes, works out regularly but not using RX weights.
Elite- Males who frequently use RX weights. Females who are high level lifters. 

The guide also give you a HIGH (H) and LOW (L) level band in each category that should be used in specific exercise.  You will also see on the board, between the exercise name and picture a L or H- this is the band you use are your specific level. It is not wise to use a band marked high level for an exercise requiring a low level band.  Doing so will increase risk of injury, impede range of motion through exercise and in turn reduce effectiveness of exercise and hinder overall progress.  If you need to substitute, sub a low for a low, and a high for a high.   Granted, there maybe times where a novice may use a pink band marked low and their high level band instead of the yellow.

When running through the C.O.S exercises, either activation or recovery, go through the entire list once for full benefits.  The plyometric phase, shoot to do 2 sessions per week and the Iron Scap 3 times per week. The program site the activation and Iron Scap as the two more important pieces, since time is limited, focus on doing these fist.  Any scap work is better than no scap work so set a schedule that works for you!