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Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 - A Braver and Stronger New World

1. A decent bridge is a gateway to youth and complex play. Whenever someone becomes proficient at a bridge and a bridge push up I always congratulate them with the following remark: "Now the fun begins". Want to expand the horizon of possibilities? Get yourself a bridge! QDR circles, high bridge rotations, back flips, macacos, macaquinos, back walkovers, MPAs and so much more.

Yes, you have heard it before, "You are as old as your spine". I have seen 20 year olds perform like  70 years old when they attempt a bridge and I have witnessed many Fluxers in their 50s and 60s display a feline grace as they articulate the spine. More importantly, I have witnessed 50 and 60 year olds transform their physicality as they chase after the bridge. The bridge is the fountain of youth.

Even if we take a completely instrumental approach to movement the bridge is still relevant. Folks with mobility issues with the snatch and overhead squat would be wise to incorporate various bridge drills as a way to open up the shoulders (and not just the lumbar region). Likewise, when I see people with arches so wide on their handstand push ups that a truck could easily pass through, one of the first thing I have them perform are various bridge progressions.

2. Understand the importance of conditioning and high volume work for more efficient training. Too often,  people desire to do a wod at a weight that is too close to their 1 rep max. High volume training is mentally tough. It is an area that the sport of CrossFit does very well.  But not everyone can walk in off the street and perform a wod as prescribed. And this is where it becomes very important that a teacher and her or his students understand the difference between merely scaling a wod versus individually prescribing a wod. Now this doesn't mean that new students should do thousands of reps with a pvc stick either! There should be enough of a load that adaptation will occur. 

3. It doesn't matter how hard you work at the gym or how often you train, if your diet sucks your performance will lag.  

4. Get comfortable being upside down and playing on your hands. Do not underestimate the shoulder, elbow and wrist strength required for hand balancing. Handbalancing also loads and thereby strengthens the joints. Chest to wall holds are also a great way to improve scapular strength. If you suffer from the pesky arm bend and have trouble locking out movements (arms bent on the OHS?) get upside down! The handstand is another gateway movement and it leads to more and more movement freedom. There are many people at Flux that might not ever get to a freestanding handstand in the middle of the floor but that doesn't matter. A solid 60 sec chest to wall handstand with properly positioned hands and a solid body line will deliver many health benefits.

5. If you have designs on becoming a competitive CrossFit athlete, you will need to take several months to increase your numbers on the classic lifts as well as the squat. At the same time, you should also be developing your gymnastics strength and skills.

6. Understand the nuances between skill, strength and conditioning work. It doesn't matter if you are training for CrossFit or any of Flux's other movement disciplines - parkour, movement, capoeira. We currently have many kids coming to Flux specifically for parkour. This is not surprising when there are so many inspiring videos on YouTube. But before you get to the fun and exciting tricks, ie. the skill work, know that a fundamental athleticism is required and this means thousands of repetitions of basic physical conditioning often at two or three progressions below the actual skill itself.

7. You need to squat. Load the spine, the hips, the knees, the ankles. The weighted squat is foundational to good movement health.

8. Be adaptable rather than one-dimensional. If you love CrossFit venture out in the new year and attend a new class - maybe capoeira or movement. Likewise, if you tend to avoid CrossFit classes, come out and give it a try.


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