Voodoo Floss….

voodoo-h1_2   Have you seen these bands in the gym?

Voodoo Floss helps break up intramuscular junk to allow for greater mobility and blood supply to an        area. By squeezing the muscle in a tight wrap then forcing it through range-of-motion, friction between muscle fibers helps break up fuzz, scar tissue, lactic acid and other junk in those tiny places that foam rolling and lacrosse ball techniques can’t address.

Healing & Cleansing Power
When you release the band, a rush of blood washes through the muscle not only bringing it nutrients for growth and healing but also clearing out all that junk you just broke up. This is also true for injury recovery and can be used to aid the healing of strained tissue.

Stretching Those Hard to Stretch Places
To work elbows and knees and the little pieces within, wrap one band above and below the joint then do some squats or push-ups. When you put the joint through ROM with bands anchored on either side, they stretch everything in between which can greatly improve not only joint ROM but also relieve pain, stiffness and tendonitis.

Good to Go vs. Probably a No No
Good: shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists, hands, thighs/hamstrings, calf, ankle, foot
No No: head, face, neck, chest, torso, abdomen, back, over knee cap

Test and retest the ROM and/or do one side and compare it to the other the first few times you Voodoo so you can see what a difference it makes. After you’re a pro, you can wrap more than one body part at a time and come up with your own movements and motions with them depending on your needs and what feels like it works best for you.
For more information about Voodoo Floss, check out MobilityWOD and hear the master of the floss himself describe and demonstrate its many benefits.
-content via CrossFit Invictus


Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness for CrossFit….

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness for Crossfit
Eat to Perform

This is part of the information I teach in the “Science Lab” seminars that we offer free when you purchase things that support our site (it’s mostly stuff you would buy anyway). Click the link and it will give you more details.

DOMS is delayed onset muscle soreness, much smarter people than me have absolutely no clue on how to prevent it but there are various ideas that seem to work for me. I am rarely sore.

I am not a marvel but I have priorities others don’t have. If I Rx a WOD that looks to be difficult I know that dramatically affects my training schedule for the next few days. People consistently give me noise about some of my modifications because they are of the opinion that if I can do a lift I should destroy myself like they are doing. To be honest I don’t care what others do, are they going to be doing speed work with 315 pound deadlifts the next day? Because I might be. So that is one of the answers, when you push your abilities too far you could end up with DOMS. Does that mean I never Rx a WOD, of course not, I would say I Rx at least 75% of the WODs but scaling down isn’t the only way to Modify your workouts. For instance, let’s say that a WOD looks particularly tough, you look at the top athletes on the board and you know you aren’t going to get there. I would say 75% of the time this is the gauge I use when modifying a workout. So that is one trick, how could you modify the workout to be closer to the times of the top athletes in your gym.

Which brings me to a point I have been wanting to make for some time. Do you guys think these workouts are designed by some meathead genius who has calculated the exact abilities of every person in the gym and then plugged it into an a precise algorithm which correctly corresponds to said abilities. That ain’t how it works. It’s much less scientific than that. That isn’t a criticism of Crossfit either, that is a criticism of 3 x 5 plans 5 x 5 plans, these were all designed to fit broad populations with some consideration of the science. Sometimes not even that.

So modifying to more correctly account for your abilities is a great way to avoid DOMS. Does that mean you never push yourself? Of course not. I can say however that pushing yourself beyond your abilities will be more likely to end with you hurt and sore. I’ll talk more about this below.

The bar needs to move fast

Your trainers are human beings, human beings trying to work with a lot of people all at once. So you need to take the reigns and if there is any one thing I have learned over the last year as I have gotten a lot stronger is that slower is worse. A lot worse because it could end up with you being more sore as a result. For me that changes my workout routine and recovery and I like both.

Also your cardio or VO2max is a factor. Let’s say you are moving the bar fast but have to constantly stop because you are reaching muscle failure, is that making you better or worse? I’m cool with you having the opinion that it makes you better but you are going to have to tell that to the people that like your blog and your page. The story I am running with is that it makes you worse. Not only does it make you worse but the amount of oxygen you can efficiently get into your muscles and your time to recover from a raised heart rate seem to have an effect as well. So if you find yourself panting on the floor for 20 minutes while others are walking around easily, guess who is and who isn’t going to be sore tomorrow? It’s not 100% certainty but the odds favor the recovered athlete. Also guess who won’t have to take an impromptu rest day?

Also the sore athlete did not get the better workout, I’m not even going to entertain that idea. You don’t have to kill yourself to improve.

Can food make a difference?

Like we say up here in the tundra “You Betcha”. One angle that is often brought up in research is that of inflammation, not the kind that stores ends up as body fat but the kind that causes your muscles to re-configure. Let me just stop here, I am trying to write an article to help people, I researched this article through pubmed articles and I read what other folks have written and I am trying to explain that combined with my experience. Frankly, none of the science was particularly helpful and virtually every article said avoid NSAID’s (things like ibuprofen).

But the question is still out there why is it I rarely get sore? That answer is pretty simple.

Not only do I eat enough to support my activity but I eat in a way that actually does not inhibit my human growth hormone pulses. I delay breakfast and workout fasted, you could make an argument for BCAA’s before and possibly after and if you are constantly sore I would certainly do that. When most people think of human growth hormone they think of it like anabolic steroids, like it’s the thing that makes your muscles bigger. So then why did Lance Armstrong do it, he isn’t jacked? HGH essentially heals your body, so if you want to be less sore there are two things that could really help as it relates to how you eat. Delay breakfast and workout fasted in the early AM and go to sleep full with some carbs in your belly. Carbs make you sleepy and you sleep deeper. This is favorable as it relates to HGH pulses and higher levels overall. Using this as a strategy seems favorable as it relates to healing, are there other ways, probably, this is just the one I know best and have seen many people use it well.

This is pure conjecture but I am going to do it anyway. Getting adequate protein is obviously important as it relates to recovery. One of the symptoms of DOMS is inflamed muscles that need to be healed. Being chronically underfed and eating very low carbs is not favorable as it relates to this situation (this is my opinion based on my experiences). Even if you are eating adequate or slightly more protein that protein is basically going to get turned into sugar in the form of glucose through a process called glucongenesis. That was the protein you needed to heal your muscles. I’m not suggesting you need crazy carbs but at least enough to support your brain function (the brain uses up to 100g of carbs to function, it’s why when you have a lot of thinking to do and you eat some carbs your headache goes away).

The negative in your workouts

The negative part of your workouts in your deadlift as an example is the part where you are putting the bar down. On an overhead press this is where the weight is coming down. It is referred to as the eccentric phase of the lift. All of the scientific data is very clear that this is a big culprit. So the argument could be made to just drop your deadlift but that won’t be the argument I will be making. STOP LIFTING TOO HEAVY IN WODS! I should be more specific because there are WOD’s that are designed with rest intervals that are meant for you to go heavy. So I will clarify by saying that if the WOD has 5 or more reps scale accurately for your ability to allow for an easier eccentric phase of the lift. We all know this though, right? One of the hardest parts of the deadlift or overhead press (these are just the examples I have used but let’s be clear I am talking about the eccentric phase of ALL lifts) is putting the bar back down or catching it into your chest.

But won’t that make me weaker? It’s possible but unlikely, for most people it increases their work volume and allows them to build better more explosive muscle, or fast twitch muscle. This would seem favorable as it relates to DOMS but I am not going to spend three mores hours researching that part. That part seems logical to me. Folks when you are lifting heaving and close to your 1RM in WODs with multiple reps that is likely one of the bigger culprits. The way people get stronger is by lifting with good form explosively. Lifting at 80 or 90% in WODs slowly and with bad form will leave you with constant DOMS and you won’t be able to work out as much.

Lastly DOMS hurts your range of motion (ROM). So working out in pain keeps us broken.

It’s the Sugar Folks….

MARK BITTMAN February 27, 2013, 9:47 pm 827 Comments
It’s the Sugar, Folks

Mark Bittman on food and all things related.

Sugar is indeed toxic. It may not be the only problem with the Standard American Diet, but it’s fast becoming clear that it’s the major one.

A study published in the Feb. 27 issue of the journal PLoS One links increased consumption of sugar with increased rates of diabetes by examining the data on sugar availability and the rate of diabetes in 175 countries over the past decade. And after accounting for many other factors, the researchers found that increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher diabetes rates independent of rates of obesity.

In other words, according to this study, it’s not just obesity that can cause diabetes: sugar can cause it, too, irrespective of obesity. And obesity does not always lead to diabetes.

The study demonstrates this with the same level of confidence that linked cigarettes and lung cancer in the 1960s. As Rob Lustig, one of the study’s authors and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said to me, “You could not enact a real-world study that would be more conclusive than this one.”

The study controlled for poverty, urbanization, aging, obesity and physical activity. It controlled for other foods and total calories. In short, it controlled for everything controllable, and it satisfied the longstanding “Bradford Hill” criteria for what’s called medical inference of causation by linking dose (the more sugar that’s available, the more occurrences of diabetes); duration (if sugar is available longer, the prevalence of diabetes increases); directionality (not only does diabetes increase with more sugar, it decreases with less sugar); and precedence (diabetics don’t start consuming more sugar; people who consume more sugar are more likely to become diabetics).

The key point in the article is this: “Each 150 kilocalories/person/day increase in total calorie availability related to a 0.1 percent rise in diabetes prevalence (not significant), whereas a 150 kilocalories/person/day rise in sugar availability (one 12-ounce can of soft drink) was associated with a 1.1 percent rise in diabetes prevalence.” Thus: for every 12 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverage introduced per person per day into a country’s food system, the rate of diabetes goes up 1 percent. (The study found no significant difference in results between those countries that rely more heavily on high-fructose corn syrup and those that rely primarily on cane sugar.)

This is as good (or bad) as it gets, the closest thing to causation and a smoking gun that we will see. (To prove “scientific” causality you’d have to completely control the diets of thousands of people for decades. It’s as technically impossible as “proving” climate change or football-related head injuries or, for that matter, tobacco-caused cancers.) And just as tobacco companies fought, ignored, lied and obfuscated in the ’60s (and, indeed, through the ’90s), the pushers of sugar will do the same now.

But as Lustig says, “This study is proof enough that sugar is toxic. Now it’s time to do something about it.”

The next steps are obvious, logical, clear and up to the Food and Drug Administration. To fulfill its mission, the agency must respond to this information by re-evaluating the toxicity of sugar, arriving at a daily value — how much added sugar is safe? — and ideally removing fructose (the “sweet” molecule in sugar that causes the damage) from the “generally recognized as safe” list, because that’s what gives the industry license to contaminate our food supply.

On another front, two weeks ago a coalition of scientists and health advocates led by the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the F.D.A. to both set safe limits for sugar consumption and acknowledge that added sugars, rather than lingering on the “safe” list, should be declared unsafe at the levels at which they’re typically consumed. (The F.D.A. has not yet responded to the petition.)

Allow me to summarize a couple of things that the PLoS One study clarifies. Perhaps most important, as a number of scientists have been insisting in recent years, all calories are not created equal. By definition, all calories give off the same amount of energy when burned, but your body treats sugar calories differently, and that difference is damaging.

And as Lustig lucidly wrote in “Fat Chance,” his compelling 2012 book that looked at the causes of our diet-induced health crisis, it’s become clear that obesity itself is not the cause of our dramatic upswing in chronic disease. Rather, it’s metabolic syndrome, which can strike those of “normal” weight as well as those who are obese. Metabolic syndrome is a result of insulin resistance, which appears to be a direct result of consumption of added sugars. This explains why there’s little argument from scientific quarters about the “obesity won’t kill you” studies; technically, they’re correct, because obesity is a marker for metabolic syndrome, not a cause.

The take-away: it isn’t simply overeating that can make you sick; it’s overeating sugar. We finally have the proof we need for a verdict: sugar is toxic.

The Growth of CrossFit….

crossfit-games-growth-individualYou know that CrossFit as a sport is growing extremely fast and you know the CrossFit Games are growing fast. But did you realize how fast? In 2011, the CrossFit Games Open debuted. More than 26,000 athletes signed up to compete. In 2012, 69,240 people signed up to compete in the Open. In 2013? 138,000 people registered to compete. That is a year over year growth rate of 166% and 99%, respectively, with women’s growth in participation outpacing men’s (129% to 109%).

Demonstrating CrossFit’s increasing popularity with older athletes, more than 20% of all participants (28,000 competitors) in 2013 are Masters, which includes the new 40-44 age group added for 2013. While each age group nearly doubled in participation between 2012 and 2013, the largest jumps came in Masters women 45-49 and 50-54 with 106% and 105% growth, respectively.

The raw participation data is below. Numbers may not add exactly due to tie scores among competitors.
73,429 Individual Men (35,108 in 2012)
7,208 Masters Men 40-44 (n/a in 2012)
3,254 Masters Men 45-49 (1,638 in 2012)
1,597 Masters Men 50-54 (847 in 2012)
797 Masters Men 55-59 (414 in 2012)
400 Masters Men 60+ (218 in 2012)
46,639 Individual Women (20,324 in 2012)
4,763 Masters Women 40-44 (n/a in 2012)
2,368 Masters Women 45-49 (1,150 in 2012)
1,098 Masters Women 50-54 (535 in 2012)
494 Masters Women 55-59 (278 in 2012)
263 Masters Women 60+ (145 in 2012)

For all your friends who may believe that CrossFit is merely a fad, wait until 2014 when they find themselves part of another year of exponential growth.

-via How Fast Are the CrossFit Games Growing? The Numbers Tell the Story

Some Truths About CrossFit and Weightlifting…

Some Truths About CrossFit and Weightlifting
Posted on March 11, 2013 by Cloud

Did you see the CF Open 13.1 WOD? There were a lot of snatches, to say the least. Jacob Tsypkin wrote this article not to piss you off (though it might), but to start a discussion about how CrossFit is enabling American Weightlifting to experience a rejuvenation that might just help make us relevant on the international stage again.

There has always been some tension between strength sport communities and CrossFit. Though in recent years, many great strength athletes and coaches have affiliated themselves with CrossFit, it seems that there is also a large contingent of strength athletes who are at best lukewarm towards it, if not outright vitriolic. Much of the dislike seems to come with regard to the Olympic lifts, perhaps due to their technical nature, and their so called “misuse” by CrossFitters.

I am very fortunate. I have been lucky enough to train with some of the best coaches and athletes in both CrossFit and weightlifting. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of both of these sports. The elitists, the douchebags, and the great people who love their sport and want to make it better. I have competed and coached competitors in both endeavors. As such, I feel I have a unique perspective on the matter.

Of course, I have my own opinions on the arguments presented by weightlifters against CrossFit. However, I do not want to discuss opinions here. I want to present some facts. Some absolute truths, which I ask you to keep in mind when analyzing what CrossFit has done, is doing, or can do for the sport of weightlifting.

Fact 1: CrossFit is creating more interest in weightlifting than there has ever been in the U.S.

5000+ CrossFit gyms worldwide (I don’t know how many exactly are in the U.S., but it is the VAST majority) educating people about the lifts. Some of them may not do a great job of teaching the lifts themselves, but consider this: the odds of an average individual knowing that the snatch and clean & jerk exist, that they are a sport, and understanding how challenging that sport is, are MUCH higher now than they have ever been before.

Fact 2: CrossFit is bringing the idea of effective GPP programming to a larger audience than ever in the U.S.

Nations which are highly successful in weightlifting almost universally have effective GPP programs in place which start at a very young age. Most of us can probably agree that physical education in the U.S. is subpar. Kids’ programs in CrossFit gyms across the country are getting young Americans excited about exercise – this alone is a huge step. Couple that with creating interest in the olympic lifts, and a GPP program which is much more similar to what you would see in countries that win medals in weightlifting – that is to say, they are biased towards teaching movement rather than particular sports. This has the potential to lead to a massive improvement in the general athleticism of the average American, which in turn carries over to more potential in young weightlifters.

Fact 3: CrossFit is gradually generating a nationwide talent identification program.

Something else which weightlifting medal winning nations often hold in common with each other, is a method by which they identify young athletes with potential for particular sports. In the U.S. no such program exists, in large part because we tend to specify athletes at a very young age, rather than presenting them with a broad array of athletic endeavors to learn, enjoy, and potentially excel in. Here’s where CrossFit comes in. Along with “traditional” sports they participate in, kids in these programs are learning the basics of weightlifting, gymnastics, sprinting, jumping, and the like. Merely by virtue of spending time engaging in this wide variety of movements, coaches will be granted the opportunity to identify kids who have potential as weightlifters early in their athletic careers, something which very rarely occurs now.

Whether you are a CrossFitter or a weightlifter, whether you love or hate CrossFit, it’s hard to debate the truth of the above claims. Their value may be questioned, but I, personally, am willing to bet that CrossFit will end up doing far more good for the sport of weightlifting than it does bad.

Besides, CrossFit is leading to this:

Sarabeth Phillips is a CrossFit Competitor. CrossFit was her introduction to weightlifting. She now snatches 80 and clean & jerks 95 at a bodyweight of 58.

And that, I think we can all agree, is something we need more of.

70’s Big….

32 Simple Ways to be an Awesome Human Being

32 Simple Ways to be an Awesome Human Being
-by Norcal Strength & Conditioning

1. Don’t be a bully and don’t condone it. If you see something uncool, SAY SOMETHING!
2. Teach someone something new. Human interaction speaks louder than Google.
3. Break your routine. Never know who you’ll run into, what you will see or how you will change.
4. Stop talking about yourself.
5. Donate something to a person who truly needs it.
6. Stop yelling. It escalates the situation. Breathe. Talk.
7. Pick one topic per week and learn about it. Have something interesting and new to bring to a conversation.
8. Offer before someone has to ask.
9. Discover a new area. Get out of your own way. See stuff!
10. For one day-week-month, keep all negative comments to yourself. Feel the difference.
11. Be a leader not a preacher. Set a good example.
12. Look people in the eye as you pass them on the street. Smile.
13. Learn about your co-workers.
14. Surprise someone with a gift. Make their day.
15. Leave your “baggage” at home. Negativity breeds negativity.
16. Be inquisitive. Ask others questions about them without waiting for your turn to speak.
17. The big stuff is obvious, remember the little things. They often matter the most.
18. Cook, build or make something from scratch. Even if it tastes bad, looks bad or falls apart, you did it yourself and you’ll do better next time.
19. Turn off the technology. Pay attention to your surroundings and what’s happening NOW!
20. Make a list and accomplish one thing you’ve been putting off each week.
21. Set goals. Write them down. Achieve them.
22. Listen more. Talk less.
23. Remember that when you have a rough day, you’re not the only one.
24. Think about what you say AND how you say it. Body language and tone matters.
25. Make someone else’s problem your problem and do your best to help.
26. Be incredibly nice to everyone for one whole day. Watch the reaction and hope for a chain reaction.
27. Own up to your mistakes and deal with the consequences immediately. Move on.
28. Cut the drama out of your life.
29. Take initiative. Don’t wait to be told to do something.
30. Be a hard worker for yourself but have confidence that others take notice.
31. Ask nicely for things. Say please and thank you.
32. Make time to live life, stop going through the motions of just living.

Stay Tight, Double Breath and Squat….

In one of Tony Gentilcore’s latest videos, he goes over the benefits of “staying tight”. In this short video, Diesel Strength & Conditioning covers the “double breath” to create that tightness.

Before you unrack the weight, take a big, deep belly breath, and get tight. Press into the bar and stand up, but don’t step back yet! Instead stand up and let the plates settle for a second. The more weight you get on the bar, the greater the tendency will be for the plates to “whip” you around. This is a great routine to get into – if you step back immediately when the weights are light, it’s going to throw you off completely when the weights get heavy. After you unrack, setup isn’t complete until you’re actually squatting, so go through one final checklist: Take one more big breath, lift the chest as high as possible (which will “set” your upper and lower back with a slight arch), and “spin” your elbows underneath the bar.

Now you’re ready to squat!