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This Week In The Cave

Monday, August 18th, 2014
Thank you to Martin Hoe for his time, energy, and talents in making our Box a better place not only by donating/making equipment but also by his overall presence including performance tips and encouragement.

Thank you to Martin Hoe for his time, energy, and talents in making our Box a better place not only by donating/making equipment but also by his overall presence including performance tips and encouragement.

Welcome back!  It’s been wonderful seeing the return of familiar faces and many that are a little taller.  Welcome to our new members too.  We hope everyone had a great summer and that the transition into the new school year goes well.

Fall Class Registration

If you haven’t registered yet for Fall classes…what are you waiting for??   Classes are filling up fast, and wait-lists are already forming. Now is the time to organize your children’s schedules and sign them up!  Our Fall Schedule can be seen here on-line and you can sign up by calling The CAVE at (415) 927.1630.

The CAVE is Hiring

Do you love working with kids?  The CAVE is hiring new gymnastics and parkour coaches and we’re looking for exceptional people that are great with children!

The full job description is posted here: http://www.inthecave.com/about/jobs


CrossFit Day at The Oakland A’s

September 7, 2014 - Come join The CAVE family at an Oakland A’s game.  Join the A’s for the first ever CrossFit Day in our special Field Level seating area on Sunday, September 7. All participants will receive an exclusive A’s CrossFit Day t-shirt and admission to the pre-game WOD where a group of northern California’s top CrossFit® athletes will compete. We also may see one of our own athletes compete in the pre-game WOD!  Register here: CrossFit Day at The Oakland A’s
The CAVE now has yoga!
Reminder:  3 new classes were added to our schedule!  Come check them out!
WOD Recovery Yoga (Post CrossFit Yoga): Monday and Thursday 10-11am

Athletic Vinyasa Flow Yoga: Wednesday 12:00-1:00pm

More information can be found on our website: http://www.inthecave.com/other_classes

Let’s keep in touch!
Have you liked us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram? These two tools are great ways to stay in touch with the latest in what’s happening in the CAVE and some great pictures of what we’re up too!  Check us out!


Yoga is coming to the Cave!

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

steph_ring-591.jpgThe Cave is excited to announce 2 new Yoga classes expertly instructed by Stephanie Ring.

Wednesday 12-1pm Athletic Vinyasa Flow:

Athletic Vinyasa Flow is a fast paced yoga class designed to challenge athletes and yogis physically and mentally. Each class will focus on strength, core stability, flexibility and postures to help improve overall athletic performance.

Monday and Thursday 10am-11amWOD Recovery Yoga (Post CrossFit Yoga):

WOD Recovery Yoga (Post CrossFit Yoga)introduces athletes to another form of movement designed to improve their WOD performance and overall fitness. Each class will include poses and transitions to improve performance in 5 of the 10 general physical skills crucial to overall fitness: Flexibility, Coordination, Agility, Balance and Accuracy. Classes will be sequenced to improve mobility in foundational movements like squats and designed to help unwind the body from previous workouts.

Private and Semi Privates

Available for private instruction Monday through Saturday. Email steph@inthecave.com to set up appointment for private or semi private yoga classes.

Stephanie Ring, creator of Endure Yoga, is an athlete who absolutely loves yoga.

She created Endure Yoga to help athletes improve their athletic performance. This is a specialized yoga system in which yoga classes are specifically designed around the athlete and their specific goals and the type of physical activity that they are pursuing. Classes help to maintain flexibility and fitness and mirror the builds, recovery and taper periods in a training season.

The Ride Home

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

As a coach, I see this all the time, and I too am guilty of this behavior with my own kids:   The need to immediately engage in a critique of our children’s athletic performances, however well-meaning.  After an event, we question and/or comment about our kids’ performances.   But, does this really help anything or anyone?

Below is a re-post of an article titled “The Ride Home”.  While it’s specifically about soccer games, the message is worth thinking about and can be applied to all the activities our children may participate in, whether it’s soccer, parkour, or gymnastics.

The Ride Home  by John O’Sullivan

One of the saddest things I had to do as a Director of Coaching for numerous soccer clubs was conduct exit interviews, meetings with players whom had decided to leave the club. Children quit sports for a litany of reasons, and my job was always to see what we could learn, so we could improve the experience for other children.

When I got these players alone, and asked them “what was your least favorite moment in sports?” I often got a very similar and sad answer: the ride home after the game.

It has always amazed me how a moment off the field can have such a detrimental effect on it, yet when we think about it, the toxicity of the ride home makes perfect sense.  Emotions are high, disappointment, frustration, and exhaustion are heightened for both player and parent, yet many parents choose this moment to confront their child about a play, criticize them for having a poor game, and chastise their child, their teammates, their coach, and their opponents.  There could not be a less teachable moment in your child’s sporting life than the ride home, yet it is often the moment that well intentioned parents decide to do all of their teaching.

One of the biggest problems on the ride home is that a simple question from you, often meant to encourage your own child, can be construed as an attack on a teammate or coach by your child.

As Bruce Brown states in his book Teaching Character Through Sport, “athletes do not need adults to question their actions, the actions of other players, or the coach’s decisions concerning strategy or playing time.”   A simple comment such as “Why does Jenny get all the shots?” may be meant to construe to your child that you think she is a good shooter who should also take shots, but is interpreted by your daughter that “Jenny is a ball hog!”  Questions such as “Why does Billy always play goalie” or “Why does your team always play zone?” can just as easily undermine the coach’s authority, and again cause confusion and uncertainty for your child.

Many children indicated to me that parental actions and conversations after games made them feel as though their value and worth in their parents’ eyes was tied to their athletic performance, and the wins and losses of their team.  Ask yourself whether you are quieter after a hard loss, or happier and more buoyant after a big win.  Do you tend to criticize and dissect your child’s performance after a loss, but overlook many of the same mistakes because he or she won?  If you see that you are doing this, even though your intentions may be well meaning, your child’s perceptions of your words and actions can be quite detrimental to their performance, and to your relationship.

One of the things that Coach Brown urges parents to be a source of confidence and comfort in situations such as when your child has played well in a loss, when your child has played poorly, and especially when your child has played very little or not at all.  Even then, it is critically important that you do not bring the game up for them, as uninvited conversations may cause resentment in children.  Give them the time and space to digest the game and recover physically and emotionally from a match. When your child is ready to bring the game up and talk about it, be a quiet and reflective listener, and make sure she can see the big picture and not just the outcome of a single event.  Help her work through the game, and facilitate her growth and education by guiding her toward her own answers. Kids learn a lot when they realize things such as “we had a bad week of practice and coach told us this was coming”  Most importantly says Brown, remember that your child always loves hearing you sincerely tell them “I love watching you play.”

The only exception to the above ‘Ride Home’ rule is when your child engages in behavior that you would not accept at home, such as spitting, cursing, assaulting an opponent, or disrespecting a coach or authority figure.  In these cases you should initiate the conversation, not as a parent to an athlete, but as a parent to a child.  Even then you must be careful and considerate of the emotions of the match, and choose your words wisely.  Deal with the issue, and then put it to bed; do not use it as a segue to a discussion of the entire game.

Not every child is the same, and some children may want to discuss the game on the way home. My advice is let them bring it up, and let them end the conversation. if you are unsure, ask your kids whether they want to talk about the game, and honor their feelings and their position on this issue. There is nothing, aside from the unacceptable behavior mentioned above, that cannot be discussed at a later time. The best part is, you will likely have a far better conversation about it hours after a game, instead of minutes. As many youth sports are entering the season of playoffs and state championships, emotions are higher than ever, stress and pressure are more prevalent, and it is crucial that you let the Ride Home belong to your son or daughter. They will thank you for it one day, that I promise. “

I hope everyone enjoyed this article as much as I did.  Not only as a parent, but also a coach, there is much to take away from this article.

How Does Exercise Make Us Happier?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

ropesFor many years, physical exercise has been touted to be a cure for nearly any ailment, from depression to Alzheimer’s disease to Parkinson’s and more.  What would you think if I told you it may even be possible to exercise to happiness?!  Physically active people recover from mild depression more quickly, and physical activity is strongly correlated with good mental health as people age ¹. You have probably heard this before, but in order to truly understand, I felt it was time to get specific and even a little scientific about how exercise affects our brains.

It’s fairly simple to recognize how exercise affects our bodies.  As we exercise, we build more muscle and/or stamina, two elements that are measurable and obvious.  Better fitting pants and heavier weights are clear indicators to understand how effective exercise is for a body.  But, recognizing the benefits of exercise to our brains is not as clear to identify.

What triggers happiness in our brains when we exercise? The short answer is based on the release of endorphins.  But what exactly does that mean?  First, a shallow dive into the science pool…

When we begin exercising, our brains recognize it as stress.  As the heart pressure increases, our brains think we are either fighting an enemy or fleeing from it, commonly identified as the fight-or-flight response.  To protect ourselves and our brains from stress, a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) is released.  BDNF is both protective and reparative to our memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. This is why after exercising, we often think more clearly and feel so at ease, even yes, happy.  This experience is by far my favorite part about working out.  That moment when the weight of the world has lifted off my shoulders and I know I can get through anything — even whatever crazy WOD Bo had programmed that day.  Endorphins, another chemical to fight stress, is also released in our brains at this time.  The endorphins’ job is to minimize the discomfort of exercise, blocking any sensations of pain that are even associated with a feeling of euphoria. Overall, during physical activity, our brains are considerably more active than when we are just sitting down or even concentrating mentally.

The important piece to understand is  how we can trigger these processes in an optimal and longer lasting way. Now this is where it all gets very interesting. A recent study from Penn State University found that the level of productivity and happiness on a given work day is based more on if you exercise regularly, and not just on that particular day.

“Those who had exercised during the preceding month but not on the day of testing generally did better on the memory test than those who had been sedentary, but did not perform nearly as well as those who had worked out that morning.”

To get the highest level of happiness and benefits for health, the key is not to become a professional athlete. On the contrary, a much smaller amount of daily exercise is needed to reach the level where happiness and productivity for every day life can peak. New York Times best-selling author Gretchen Reynolds has written a whole book about this subject matter, titled The First 20 Minutes. In the book she states, “The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk — all of those things come in in the first 20-40 minutes of being active.”  So really, you can relax and don’t have to be on the look-out for the next killer work-out.  (Although I do love them.)  All you have to do is get focused and get moving to gain the full happiness boost every day!

“On exercise days, people’s moods significantly improved after exercising.  Mood stayed about the same on days they didn’t, with the exception of people’s sense of calm which deteriorated.” (University of Bristol)

As a quick last fact, exercise and the subsequent increase of the BDNF proteins in our brains act as a mood enhancer.  So, at the beginning of exercise, the feeling of euphoria is the highest. This means that if you have never exercised before, or not for a long time, your happiness gains will be the highest if you start now.

Exercise and happiness are 2 immensely important things to me.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions too.

14.2… THAT was quick

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

My attempt at 14.2 only proved again what I already knew; The Cave has fantastic coaches and  my shoulder is weak.  I’m on re-entry from an injury, so I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to handle this one.  First I spoke with Bo.

“Bo, what do think I’m better off doing.  An empty bar for the overhead squats, or go for the Rx weight and just do front squats?”

“Well, it depends on your intent and how you are feeling.  An empty bar overhead might help stabilize your shoulder muscles and aid in recovery.  But if you want to experience the workout similar to everyone then stay with front squats.  How has it felt doing overhead?”

After a few more minutes of talking, Bo recommended that I stay with front squats, and I’m one who always listens to her coach.  I was thankful for the sound advice and I was ready to tackle my version of 14.2.

I filled Coach Anthony in on my plan. He advised me on how to warm up and a good strategy for my sets.  If you haven’t had a class with Anthony, you should! He has a great understanding of fitness and kept a close eye on my form.

Anthony set the timer and off I went.  The first set of ten squats weren’t a problem, the chest to bar felt good also.  I broke the kipping pull-ups into 2 sets and dropped off the bar once.  Shoulder recovery and kipping aren’t a great mix.  Out of the corner of my eye, I heard Coach Russ telling Anthony to watch out for my shoulder.  Another epic coach looking out for me.

I think that first set took me a minute, maybe 1:10.  Coach Anthony was giving me great encouragement, I was feeling good, I had lots of time and picked up my bar again.  I didn’t go as fast because I was thinking, “This is going to go longer than 3 minutes, I’ll make it to the next set and I should start pacing.” Squats were decent, I did them in sets of 5 and jumped right back to the bar, did 2 chest to bar pull-ups, and came right down.  My face said it all, and Anthony quickly advised me to stop kipping and do them one at a time.  It was sound advice and it went well, but slowly.  I was grateful for Anthony’s quick thinking so I didn’t have to fully abort, but I knew I was done after 3 minutes.  I went to run it off, and when I came back, Anthony was ready with numerous mobility suggestions and an alternative workout.  What a great coach!

Once again, the open didn’t disappoint.  Sometimes you learn about yourself, and other times you learn about who surrounds you.  This time it was about a deeper appreciation of the coaches and knowledge at my disposal and less about pushing myself.  That time will come… again.

2014-games

Winter Camps

Saturday, January 5th, 2013
Great group at gymnastics camp

Great group at gymnastics camp

We just finished off The Cave’s first winter gymnastics and parkour camps. We’ve been asked to do this the last couple of years, but simply were not in a place to do them at the quality level we want to provide here ate The Cave. This year we were ready. With three coaches on the gymnastics side and 1 on the parkour side we peaked at 25 kids at gymnastics camp and 5 at parkour camp.

We all had a great time and the kids worked hard and learned a lot. By the end of Friday we had a large group of really tired kids. Hands were sore, and spirits were high. Attendees included kids from all levels in our program. It was great to let them all train and play together.

If you missed it don’t worry, this will definitely become an annual tradition and you can also be ready to sign up for summer camps.

Acro Yoga At The Cave

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

If you haven’t heard yet we are going to start offering acro yoga classes at The Cave in January. We are offering two separate classes that take different approaches to this discipline. Come to a therapeutic session to help increase mobility and improve recovery, or come to an acrobatic session to learn some great partner acro skills.

The classes will be taught by Crystal Hatzimichael and Kathy Gade (Seen in the video). This is a great opportunity to try something new and improve yourself. The classes start on Tuesday January 8th at  7pm. The 7-8pm session is therapeutic and the 8-9pm session is acrobatic. Try them out.

How Important Is Mobility?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

So we are constantly reminding you all to keep working on your mobility. We tell you to stretch and move at the end of your workouts. We lead mobility sessions at the end of class when we have time in the programming. I can not stress how important it is to be disciplined about this. I am not naturally flexible. I’ve relayed this to many of you, but if you weren’t aware you might be surprised that at one time I couldn’t even come close to touching my toes. It took a lot of work for me to get flexible. If I don’t stretch regularly I loose quite a bit of mobility. It will never go back to the limited flexibility that I once experienced even if I don’t work at it because I have changed my base mobility. For me it took stretching 5 times/day for about 6 weeks to radically change my flexibility. It isn’t necessary to stretch that frequently to gain mobility, but it certainly goes faster that way. I had additional motivation to get flexible quickly due to collegiate competition.

There are a lot of resources on mobility. Read PNF Stretching from my DrillsAndSkills website as well as reviewing the catalog of stretches found there. Be sure to take the time to stretch. After workout is best. If you can find time at home, or elsewhere to stretch do so. Additional mobility will improve your performance and in some cases will enable you to perform movements you couldn’t do at all otherwise.

If you were not aware we are starting a mobility class. Our first sessions start Wed 8/1 at 10am. Be sure to check out these classes and drop on in. Your mobility is important. It will help in many aspects of life. Similar to how you discover great things about how you can feel when you make certain dietary adjustments, you will discover that certain things are just easier and more comfortable if you are more flexible. The new mobility classes will be a combination of yoga and other mobility techniques, designed with our programming in mind to optimize efficacy. See you in mobility class.

Tough Mudder Registration is OPEN!

Monday, January 9th, 2012
A Seriously Fun Event

A Seriously Fun Event

Registration for this year’s Northeren California Tough Mudder is open.   This year, the course will be at Diablo Grande, near Modesto.  So, it’s closer to us, AND it won’t be at elevation.

The course looks really good this year, with some exciting new obstacles that are sure to help you understand why this is branded as  ”probably the toughest event on the planet.”

Registration is open, and if you sign up before February 29, the cost is $95.00.  It goes up after that, so if you’re interested, you can register here.  I already have a team set up if you want to make sure that you’re running it with other people from The Cave.  The team name is “The Cave,” and the password is TM2012.  Or you can send me an e-mail and I’ll send you a team invite.

If you’re still not sure if you’re able to run the event, or you want to do some specific training for it, you can sign up for the upcoming Tough Mudder Prep Course and get your feet wet on some obstacles and challenges that are similar to what you’ll face on the Tough Mudder.  Registration forms for that will be in the gym soon, otherwise just fill out the interest survey so we get an idea of the best times to hold that course.

Finally, if you know you won’t be able to run, but you want to show your support, you can make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project in the name of an athlete running the event.

Let’s do this thing!

Monthly Challenge, Kids Judo, Tough Mudder

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012
My old judo class.

My old judo class.

Happy New Year, everybody!

A couple of things.  First, our monthly challenge for January is Goal Setting.  Make a fitness goal for this year and post it on the board.  Make it something specific, such as “hold a 30-second free handstand,” or “do a 100kg deadlift.”  What challenges you and what do you want to overcome?  Check the board often and don’t be shy about putting 2-3 goals up.  Maybe you can find somebody else with similar goals to work out with.  Feel free to call people out, too.  If you know somebody in class who has been chasing a pull-up or a muscle-up for months, now’s the time to push them into doing serious training for it.

Second, I’d like to get a feel for interest in two possible new programs.

1)  Kids martial arts & self defense.  Age groups will be 7-9 and 10-13.  Possible class times are Tuesdays / Thursdays  at 3:30, 4:30, and 6:00.  Or Mondays / Wednesdays at 4:00 - 5:00.  If there’s enough interest from the home school community, we could also do a session mid-day, starting at 1:00 or 2:00 any two days of the week.  If you or someone you know is interested, please leave a comment, fill out an interest survey in the gym, or send me an e-mail.

2)  Tough Mudder Preparation Course.  Want to do the Tough Mudder this September, but haven’t gotten over your fear of heights or freezing cold water?  Maybe you don’t even want to do the event, you just want to try a couple of challenging workouts in extreme conditions, or learn strategies and skills for overcoming obstacles that we don’t face regularly in the gym, such as high walls, swimming, steep trail runs.  This workshop would be a series of 4-5 classes held at the gym and in off-site locations.  We’d probably do a couple of sessions of this class, more as we approached the event in September.  If this sounds like something that interests you, please leave a comment as to what days / times you’d be available, or fill out an interest survey in the gym.

There are some other exciting programs coming in the near future,  so stay tuned!