Archive | February 2013

Compound yet irreducible?

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I just read this article:

http://breakingmuscle.com/crossfit/it-s-crossfit-and-it-s-going-hurt

And then I read this article:

http://breakingmuscle.com/crossfit/crossfit-doesnt-hurt-bad-coaching-hurts

The first article is basically hater fuel. It says that it is inevitable that people will get hurt in CrossFit. I protest – “Not necessarily”.

In the second article the author seems to think it is more likely that someone will be injured doing CrossFit if the coach or trainer is inexperienced and i tend to agree. He states:

“This certification( BF: level one seminar) alone does not prepare you to understand programming, modalities, movement patterns, periodization, mobility, proper lifting technique, etc. You need more education. It is a good cert to prepare you to work under someone, but not to open up your own box.”

That said I know there are plenty of affiliates out there who are lacking in experience or picking it up as they go. So I was hoping to give some basic rules to coach by:

1. Straight from the level one seminar – the CrossFit charter is: Mechanics, Consistency and then Intensity. If you stick to that then you cannot go wrong. At worst you will lose potential members who will bad mouth you to their friends with comments like : “Don’t train there, they wouldn’t let me lift heavy just because I couldn’t set my back!” or ” They don’t let you try the snatch unless you can overhead squat.” This is the reputation I would love CrossFit gyms to have in the wider fitness community. Refresh your knowledge of good Mechanics by continuing to educate yourself perhaps sit another L1 or a CPC.

2. Stolen from Dan John (http://danjohn.net): Manage options or manage compromises.

Most athletes at your box are not going to make it to the Reebok CrossFit Games. So it is ok for them to front squat while everyone else overhead squats until their positions make it safe for them to join in the overhead squatting. This is an example of the options vs comprimises piece. If you are trying to get fit using CrossFit at an affiliate and the WOD calls for squat snatch but you are struggling with that movement then you can either choose a better option (one of the progressions in my picture) or adopt a compromised position to get the work done (this is ok at home but is straight up NEGLIGENT if you are at a supervised facility).

3. The affiliate must have clear relationships, coaches and athletes. When the coach directs the athlete the athlete must comply. If the athlete thinks they know better perhaps they would like to train with someone else or on their own.

I realise this can be tough for new affiliates and new coaches which is why the logical decision if you are new to CrossFit and considering opening an affiliate is to start small, build an athlete base and a culture then slowly grow. You will grow. By making the hard decisions and culling the herd of those that are uncoachable or don’t want to be coached you will increase the experience for those that do want to be coached.

– A tool to help implement MCI and give your athletes options:

If I may refer to my elaborate diagram at the start of the post, This is a thought exercise on the snatch or squat snatch where I tried to include all of the building blocks for a snatch. I put to you that an athlete that claims to have consistently good mechanics, or proficiency, on the snatch should be able to demonstrate proficiency on any of the prerequisite movements (this is implied by the arrows on the outsides) and any athlete that hasn’t got proficiency in the snatch should be able to work from the ground up on the diagram and progress to a snatch by achieving proficiency at each of the stages. An athlete that can complete the task requested by the snatch ( load from ground to overhead) but who can not demonstrate competence in the preceding movements has found a loop hole that may set them up for an injury. It might not but that is not a risk I would take with my athletes.

Brett