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The Sumo Deadlift High Pull (SDHP) is one of the 9 essential CrossFit movements, but many question if it should be. There has been much debate about the compromised position of the shoulder at the top of the movement.
What exactly is the SDHP?
The SDHP is an explosive compound movement that develops tremendous power in the posterior chain. When performed correctly, it primarily strengthens the hamstrings, glutes, lower back and upper traps. The SDHP is also a known assistance exercise to improve your pull during the clean, along with full-body coordination and explosive power. This core to extremity lift starts much like the deadlift, but with a wider stance and narrow grip. The weight is accelerated using your legs and hips to drive it to a top position directly under your chin. This movement is fast and moves the weight a long distance, therefore making the power output very high.
Why do we do it?
In addition to the reasons above (strengthens the hamstrings, glutes, lower back and upper traps), SDHP is a useful movement for learning proper progressions for power generation. Especially, the athlete learns the need for a triple extension of ankle, knees and hips before the arms ever bend. The SDHP is also a useful exercise progression which prepares new athletes for the barbell clean by utilizing an explosive extension of the hip and a strong arm pull to elevate the load.
Why should we not do it?
At the top of the SDHP movement, the athlete’s arms are actually in a similar position used by professionals to test for shoulder impingement. But, instead of the professional adding pressure to the arm during the test, the athlete is to perform high reps with a weight hanging from it. As the athlete gets tired and her form deteriorates, the likelihood of injury due to bad form increases to a much greater extent.
The Hawkins-Kennedy impingement test (pictured above) is a test for supraspinatus tendinitis and the resulting subacromial pressure and inflammation that is common for rotator cuff injuries. This test mimics impingement by pushing the supraspinatus tendon against the anterior surface of the coracoacromial ligament and coracoid process. In simple terms, this position forces your most commonly injured rotator cuff muscle between two bones - a position similar to the top of a perfectly executed, loaded SDHP.
The overall concern is centered around the high pull up the top and the possible impingement of the shoulder. However, when done correctly, the SDHP is not a high pull at all. The explosive opening of the hips is what is supposed to impart momentum on the bar and carry it upward. The arms will just bend to accommodate that vertical travel, they should not be actively pulling the bar up at all. The problem is while this is great in theory it is very often not what happens in practice once fatigue and repetition set in.
So, should you do a SDHP? It does turn up in our programming, and we’ve often received questions about its safety. Most questions sound something like, ” I hear it’s bad but I don’t know why” or “Some authority I know said not to do it, so I won’t”. This is why I’ve written this blog, to help you understand the benefits and risks of SDHP, so you as athletes can decide, and we as coaches can help you.
To put this in perspective, one could argue that most of the movements we do carry some amount of risk to them. Something as basic as running or squatting could put you at great risk when performed incorrectly. Does that mean you should avoid them? Obviously not, and I’m being a little extreme here, but hopefully you get the point. Like any movement, including the SDHP, we as coaches are trained to ensure your safety by keeping our eyes on you. However, knowledge is power and I encourage you to decide for yourself how you feel about this movement. Either way, we are here to help you perform it safely or find a great substitute movement if necessary.
Some tips to help perfect your SDHP:
Begin with your feet in a wide “sumo” stance, with your toes pointed out at about a 30 degree angle
Your hands should take a narrow grip on the bar, inside your legs
The bar should start at rest on the ground, touching your shins
Keep a neutral spine and keep tight throughout the movement
Keep your chest up and facing forward
Keep your weight on your heels
Your shoulders should be slightly ahead of the bar
Generate peak tension throughout your body before you start to pull
There should be no slack in your arms and you should not jerk the bar off the ground
At the top of the deadlift, perform a powerful shrug with straight arms, which will generate momentum on the bar
Your arms should remain straight until after the shrug
Your arms finish the movement by pulling the bar up to your chin
The transition between the deadlift, shrug, and pull should be seamless
Your elbows should be high at the top of the pull
To return the bar to the ground, release your arms, bend your knees and keep your chest high and facing forward
The mental challenges you endure after an injury can often be more frustrating than the physical pain. Recently, I wrote a post challenging our community to avoid injuries. Injuries can still happen, however, so this post focuses on the mental challenges of having them and the process of channeling their effects productively.
You’re injured. Even with the best training, strategies, and perfect form, it happens. You can’t change it; you can only move forward. But how?
For me personally, moving forward begins with patience, determination, and valuing what I have. Focus on what you CAN do, not on what you can’t. Injuries can feel like nightmares, because most are not easy to cope with. They can be constant reminders of our new weaknesses, naturally leading to feelings of anger and frustration. However, once you refocus and take control of your overall outlook, you will already have taken a huge step in making the most of your recovery.
Have patience with your body, but also have patience with your mind. It’s okay to feel sad. Allow yourself to mourn and feel whatever loss you are experiencing. While feeling is an important part of the healing process, it’s also important to stay as positive as possible. Be patient with the process while maintaining your determination to become better and stronger. Use this opportunity to rebuild the foundation of your body and strength, and come back even better than before!
I strongly believe your mental attitude is everything when dealing with an injury. When positive, your attitude can speed up the healing process and lessen your emotional pain. I also firmly believe that negativity will slow down the rehabilitation process, making you miserable. (I don’t have any scientific research to quote here, just my own experience.) As a lifelong athlete with more than my share of sports injuries, believe me when I say that it’s all up to you. Negativity about your situation will only bring you down and possibly worsen your symptoms, while patience and determination will reward you every single time.
Practice your skills and/or routines mentally. On a daily basis (only 5 to 10 minutes at a time), use mental rehearsal to see, hear, and feel yourself performing in your sport, executing each movement flawlessly with perfect timing. Regular mental rehearsal of your skills will keep your neuromuscular connections activated, ensuring a quicker and easier transition back into your sport when you are able to actually begin physical practice again.
Similarly, try daily to spend 5 to 10 minutes imagining your body beginning and continuing to heal. “See” in your mind’s eye a healthy supply of red blood cells surrounding the injured area and facilitating the mending process. Again, I can’t scientifically prove that this will speed up your healing. I can promise, however, that you’ll feel less helpless, more in control, and much more positive. These attitude changes in themselves will speed up your recovery.
Lastly, please be conscientious about your physical therapy and follow your doctor’s advice closely. Your physical therapy will actually work in conjunction with your mental recovery. Remember that healing is a process, so don’t cut corners, looking for the quickest exit. Work just as hard during your rehabilitation as you do in your training. You’re still an athlete.
And don’t forget to talk to us, your coaches and your community. We are here to help.
We have some big changes in May! Our new 9 and 10 am classes start this Sunday. Please note that this also means we will no longer have the 3:30 and 4:30 class. May also brings a new Tuesday morning 5:15 class with Coach Ron. Your feedback is important to us so please, e-mail me with any comments, I love to hear it all.
As many of you know, we have been finishing each class with WOD Recovery Yoga programmed by our resident yogi, Stephanie Ring. The yoga programming is designed around each workout to optimize recovery, maintain and increase mobility and prevent injuries. Up until now, the only way to use this yoga programming was at the end of class. Available now to purchase and download is the WOD Recovery Yoga eBook for Functional Fitness Athletes. This eBook contains 70 yoga postures, from child’s pose to savasana, sequences for the top 20 CrossFit movements and lists of poses by muscle group to help you target the areas you need most. This is a great resource if you need an active recovery day with lots of mobility work, or you can’t make it into the gym but need to stretch.
Click http://www.endureyoga.com/shop/a-functional-fitness-athletes-guide/ for more details about the eBook. Type in this discount code CFMarin2015 to receive $10. off the $24.99 price.
Join us this Saturday at 9 am for a final WOD send off for Ian N. Ian is a long time member of CrossFit Marin, and due to his move, he will be training elsewhere. But we can’t let him go without a proper send off! Good luck Ian!
A huge congratulations to our Master’s qualifiers that competed this past weekend. These athletes placed in the top 200 in the WORLD in their age groups and continued an amazing showing this weekend. Martin, Mark, Rich and Michael are the perfect examples or athleticism, hard work and dedication. Congratulations on your finishes, and watch the blog for the final recap!
I’m continually humbled and inspired by our strong community which wouldn’t be what it is without every one of you. Thank you all for being a part of it, and let me know if you need anything!
- 1/2 cup Paleo mayo (see below)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dill
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 2 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1 cup light olive oil*
- In a tall glass (if using an immersion blender) or a blender, place the egg and lemon juice. Let come to room temperature, about one hour. Add the salt and mustard. Blend ingredients. While blending, very slowly pour in the olive oil. Blend until it reaches desired consistency. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- *It’s important to use a light olive oil, not full flavor, for mayonnaise. You could also use almond or walnut oil instead.
The second stage of The CrossFit open has begun w/ The Masters qualifier. The Masters Qualifier asks the top competitors in each age division to complete four events in just four days. The workouts were announced yesterday and scores are due no latter than Monday at 5 PM. The WOD can be fully read here: http://games.crossfit.com/workouts/masters-qualifier/2015
First of all, I would like to commend all the CrossFit Marin athletes who challenged themselves by competing in the 2015 CrossFit Open! What a great celebration of CrossFit. The pressure forced us to hone our skills, believe in our abilities, and overcome many obstacles. It was inspiring to watch our CrossFit community and its camaraderie be in full force over the past 5 weeks! That’s right — 5 weeks. You made it and we celebrated. You spent 5 weeks pushing yourself as hard as possible and we celebrated your commitment and tenacity!
But, now what? What are we going to do for the next year?
Simple — Constantly Varied Functional Movements Performed at High Intensity. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
1. Keep working those weaknesses. CrossFit’s speciality is in not specializing. As athletes, we aim to improve in everything, not just the parts we enjoy. Getting better at everything leads to a more well-rounded person and athlete.
2. Keep inspiring. For everyone that hit their first reps of a movement, hit PRs or even tried to finish all the workouts, RX or not, you are an inspiration. You never know who is watching. From a coach’s point of view, it is inspiring to watch students make progress.
3. Keep being consistent. One of the keys to getting better is just showing up and being consistent in working out. If you put in the work the results will take care of themselves.
4. Keep having fun. We all knew we were not going to win the CF Games. So, why did we compete? For one, it was fun to have everyone come together and push each other to get the best scores possible. I had fun watching and judging. I hope you did too.
5. Keep competing. Find a local competition, pick a division and go for it! Whether RX, scaled, team, beginner — it doesn’t matter what division as long as you are out there pushing yourself and of course, having fun. Here’s a good link to see upcoming competitions. https://www.wodrocket.com/index.php/competitions/find-events?option=com_ohanah&view=events&Itemid=118&ohanah_category_id=2&textToSearch=&Submit=Search&limit=10&limitstart=0
6. Keep progressing. Don’t think the only time to get a muscle up is in the Open. We haveprogressions from beginner to expert on all sorts of movements. So, in your spare time before or after a WOD, grab a coach to help you reach a milestone!
Our Youth Strength and Conditioning (YSC) program is thriving! We are excited to announce 2 brand new classes to the program — Strong Girls!
Coach Chelsea will be bringing her experience and expertise to coach these new classes starting in April.
Strong Girls - Wednesday at 3:00 pm, ages 8-11
Strong Girls - Wednesday at 4:00 pm, ages 12-15
Strong Girls is a Youth Strength and Conditioning program for girls only. We want to train both our girls’ bodies and minds to be strong. The class entails 35-45 minutes of age appropriate athletic development while allowing 15-25 minutes for some girl talk. The class provides girls with a safe and empowering place to have facilitated discussions about body image, self-esteem, healthy eating, bullying, boys, goals, friendship, sportsmanship, and integrity. The girls will mentor each other, challenge themselves, and grow stronger—together.
The program involves gymnastics elements, running, weightlifting, cardiovascular conditioning and more. This broad approach will develop a base fitness level that will enhance performance in any sport and allow for competent participation in new activities.
Due to the increasing interest in the YSC program, we are also adding another YSC class:
Youth Strength and Conditioning - Tuesdays at 4:30pm, ages 11-15
The goal of the YSC program is to combine fitness with fun and to help kids grow up healthy, strong and develop a lifelong love of working out. These classes are offered in the CrossFit area and are a great way to introduce your child to fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
All YSC workouts are functional and natural and correlate directly to your child’s physical needs in daily life, recreation and sport. Our experienced coaches are incredibly skilled at conveying the importance of lifelong health and fitness in a way that is meaningful and relevant to your child.
Your child doesn’t have to be an athlete to participate. Our training provides an atmosphere that is challenging, motivating and builds confidence. If your child is already athletic, we can help her become a well rounded athlete, excelling in her current sport while staying fit during the off season.
We now offer 7 classes:
Mondays 5pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Patrick
Tuesdays 3:30pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Dana
Tuesdays 4:30pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Chelsea
Wednesdays 3pm, ages 8-11 Strong Girls with Coach Chelsea
Wednesdays 4pm, ages 12-15 Strong Girls with Coach Chelsea
Wednesdays 5pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Patrick
Thursdays 3:30pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Dana
Kids will need to be enrolled in classes and registered for a corresponding monthly plan. See below for pricing:
One class per week $95. per month
Two classes per week $160. per month
Three classes per week $210. per month
Four classes per week $230. per month
A 25% discount for families applies. Class size is limited to 8 kids, but drop-ins will still be allowed if there are open spaces. Enrollment is easy — please either call the office (415) 927.1630 or e-mail me the details at Dana@inthecave.com.
We’re excited about the growth of this program and we look forward to working with you. Remember, class size is limited to 8, so sign up quickly! Please contact me with your questions or comments.
With a few slight modifications to make it Paleo, this recipe is almost completely lifted from allrecipes.com. It’s unbelievably delicious and totally okay with me if you lick the plate.
- 1/2 cup high smoke point Paleo oil (I recommend avocado oil; EVOO has too low a smoke point and coconut oil is okay but a bit heavy and strong-flavored for this)
- 1/3 cup gluten-free tamari
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
In a medium bowl, mix the oil, tamari, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, and ground black pepper. Place meat in a shallow baking dish or zip lock baggie. Pour marinade over the steak, turning meat to coat thoroughly. Cover/seal, and refrigerate for around 6 hours.
Oil and preheat grill at medium-high. Remove steak from marinade and grill 5 minutes per side, or until done as you like.
This is an easy, delicious, kid and party friendly main course that I’ve been making just about once a week for ages. I think I blogged it here three or four years ago here, but it’s worth reposting; it’s that good!
- 3 Tbsp gluten-free tamari
- 2 Tbsp chicken broth
- 1 1/4 tsp arrowroot
- 1 to 1.25 lbs. ground chicken or turkey
- 2 Tbsp walnut oil
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 small to medium red bell pepper, small dice
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Combine tamari, chicken broth, and arrowroot. Place meat in a bowl, separate into a half dozen or so chunks, and pour in mixture over to briefly marinate, about 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large, deep skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add oils, swirl to coat, then add ginger, garlic, and red bell pepper. Cook about 1 minute, stirring often.
Next add the meat, crumble, and spread evenly along cooking surface. Cook 1 minute or until meat begins to brown. Turn to cook similarly on other side, breaking meat up further as you go.When meat is cooked through and very crumbly, add green onion and cilantro. Mix well.
Serve over shredded lettuce which can be combined with spinach chiffonade. Great with pan-seared asparagus.