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Archive for November, 2010

Supplemental Work

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
Martin's speed vault

Martin's speed vault

I have been asked many times by a variety of athletes what supplemental work they can/should be doing. Yes, there is call for more work. For those that are just starting our program, don’t freak out. Given time your recovery systems can handle our daily workouts and some additional work. However, it needs to be controlled and undertaken properly.

Almost all of your supplemental work should be skill work. Our workouts are training. Training can not be done for hours every day. Either you will overtrain and burn out, or your intensity will decrease to accommodate the excess volume. Additionally you will put yourself in a catabolic state and reduce, or reverse your strength gains. Your supplemental work needs to be practice.

Come early and stay late. Pick some skills you want to work on. This may be because you want to fix a goat, or it may because you are really good at something and want to get that much better. Most of this practice should be relatively low intensity drills and movement. Loading can certainly be involved. If you want to practice handstand push ups on a heavy deadlift day, go for it. Don’t kill yourself because we may have HSPU the next day, but certainly work in a few to start heading toward that free standing HSPU. You may want to work on your clean techinque. Does this mean do it all with PVC? Not at all. Pick a moderate load that you can handle with good form and work the movement. Just allow plenty of rest and don’t work yourself into significant fatigue. The workout we do that day will have a great impact on what your supplemental work should look like.

What about supplemental workouts? Except in rare cases. Don’t do it. There are two possible outcomes. 1. Overtraining. 2. Reduced intensity. Either one will slow your progress. Now, if you’re training for a specific event some supplemental workouts may be called for. Talk to our training staff and we can help program for these cases.

So get out there and practice. Repeating movements will only make you better.

Mental Toughness

Monday, November 29th, 2010

One of the things that makes CrossFit stand out as a fitness program is that it trains more than just the physical.  The nature of the workouts also make us mentally tough.

Why a picture of Perseus?  Because he's awesome.

Why a picture of Perseus? Because he's awesome.

Last week, the workout was “Eva.”  For those of you who have actually done that monster of a workout (5 rounds of 800m run, 30 heavy kettlebell swings, 30 pull-ups), you know that it is less of a physical workout and more of a test of mental endurance.  You get to the point where you are so beat up that you just want to slow way down or quit all together.   Long workouts like that aren’t the norm for our gym, but they do creep up occasionally.

Even if you don’t regularly do long workouts like “Eva” or “Murph,” most of shorter workouts are mentally taxing as well.  It takes a great deal of willpower to force yourself through a lot of these workouts, they just hurt.  And the willpower that you develop from forcing yourself to deal with some nightmarish workout translates into real life quite effectively.  What is a tough day at the office compared to the pain of the 4x 500m row or “Fight Gone Bad!”?

When you hit that point in your workout or life when you think, “I should just quit,”  remember, that’s just your mind getting fatigued.  Keep going, don’t quit.  Remember the words of Perseus, “He conquers who endures.”

Strength/Weight Training For Kids

Sunday, November 28th, 2010
Kids strength training

Kids strength training

It is commonly accepted that weight training for kids is a bad idea. There are concerns about doing damage to growth plates and inducing other joint stress. While kids can get hurt weight training this commonly held belief is pretty much off base. It’s commonly accepted but not well researched. There are considerations to be held when weight training with kids, but a properly designed program can be exceedingly beneficial.

With adults we have to more cautious with gymnastics progressions, with kids we have to be more cautious with weights. Generally though this is because kids are more apt to do something silly with the weights and drop a plate, kettlebell or dumbell on their foot rather than the actual weight lifting being inherently damaging.

In general weight training with kids should be  a portion of their training, but most of their load bearing can be bodyweight movements. A well structured program can develop exceptional strength with no downside. In fact the kids that start strength training while young tend to have fewer injuries later in life due to the connective tissue development that occurred when they were younger.

Read The Benefits of Weight Training For Kids

We are going to be starting a youth movement and conditioning class very soon. This class will involve a lot of kinesthetic development coupled with strength training. If you have anyone 11-15 interested in improving their performance contact us for details.

More Creative Use of Equipment

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

It’s been about 18 months since I posted about trials bikes. These trials riders do some pretty crazy stuff. They basically do parkour and rock scrambles on a bike. The control and balance is truly impressive. It’s one thing to do these kinds of thing on foot where you can catch yourself, roll out and have a pretty decent exit for most misses. On a bike you are sitting astride a very hard piece of metal with a lot of odd angles and sharp points. Take a look.

Holiday Shopping (By Marisa Lee)

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Ok guys, so Marisa wrote this up for the blog post but I blew it, I didn’t see it in my e-mail and I should have posted it last night, but it was too good to pass up altogether even though it’s late, so here it is.  You procrastinators can still use it for the upcoming busy shopping days!:

Santa needs to get in shape, drop the Coca-cola, and be a better example of health and fitness overall, according to "Hlife" (http://hlifemedia.com/tag/exercise/page/3/)

Santa needs to get in shape, drop the Coca-cola, and be a better example of health and fitness overall, according to "Hlife" (http://hlifemedia.com/tag/exercise/page/3/)

(Link to the HLife article about Santa needing to get more exercise here: http://hlifemedia.com/tag/exercise/page/3/)

Happy post-Thanksgiving, CFMers. If you are braving the lines of Black Friday, we encourage you to make the most of your time and plan your workout around your shopping. Your place in line doesn’t have to be endangered by your commitment to fitness if you utilize your isometrics and plyometrics. Scaled pistols, squats, and calf raises are great for when your legs start to fall asleep around the 2nd hour of standing in line. Treasure laden shopping bags make great kettlebells. And who needs a weight vest when you have heavy winter apparel with pockets full of coupons and credit cards?

 

Remember to stay warm! Black Friday shoppers often forget that sprinting cold is both dangerous and inefficient. Getting warmed up 5 minutes before the doors open will give you an edge when the race to the best deals begin. I recommend burpees when you start to get chilly. 

 

Moving obstacles are some of the most challenging to navigate. Keep on your toes and your fellow shoppers will provide an excellent agility course. (Please note that vaulting rolling shopping carts is considered an advanced level parkour movement and should only be executed by expert practitioners.)

 

Finally, substitute a shopping cart for a great weight workout. 50 inch plasma TVs are tricky to snatch, but an overhead carry is certainly preferable to waiting around for store help.

 

 

Or if you are like me and prefer a quiet day with friends and family, you can stop by the gym for the Saturday morning CrossFit class to work off some of that delicious turkey dinner from Thursday night

There’s a lot to be Thankful for:

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

It is now Thanksgiving and I almost started to write a post that had to do with training, but I figured this was more important.  It’s easy to get caught up in the vanity of the Holidays.  I want to buy a new TV for the gym so we can watch cool instructional videos, shows, and movies on it.  I found myself wasting way too much of my time looking at the Best Buy Weekly flier for Black Friday.  As technology and society “advance”, there are more and more gadgets and toys to own, yet much of what really strikes a note with people is going back to the way we used to live and behave when life was simpler in many ways.  One of the reasons that CrossFit and other boot-camp type gyms and training programs are so successful is because they draw people together into a community when the prevailing trend with technology is to isolate ourselves in our headphones  or cars.  During the Holidays we get together to enjoy the company and comfort of friends and family and share a meal, the most universal human experience.  In our gym, whether we’re splayed on the floor after a CrossFit workout, or congregating for the excitement of a parkour jam, or engaged in the thrill of achieving new gymnastics skills, what we are really doing is sharing in another universal human experience, the struggle for achievement and self-improvement.  I know that this little place for training isn’t lacking in its share of stories and little debacles, but here we get to have an extended family that cares about us and that we can share our lives with.  Thank-you for making our great little community so unique and so much fun.  Happy Thanksgiving!

If we didn't have each other, how would THIS be possible?

If we didn't have each other, how would THIS be possible?

 

I'm thankful for Coach Russ, but can you find him in this picture?

I'm thankful for Coach Russ, but can you find him in this picture?

I'm thankful for... KettleBells?

I'm thankful for... KettleBells?

I'm thankful for really tall guys hanging on a bar.

I'm thankful for really tall guys hanging on a bar.

 

I'm thankful for... This??

I'm thankful for... This??

I'm thankful for really good dads and hanging up-side-down.

I'm thankful for really good dads and hanging up-side-down.

I'm thankful for Ninja-Training!

I'm thankful for Ninja-Training!

I'm thankful for good company.

I'm thankful for good company.

Remidners for upcoming gym events:  Holiday party on Friday Dec. 10th (OSTN is cancelled for that night) and don’t forget that we have CF classes with concurrent kid’s classes at 9am on both Thursday  Nov. 25th (today) and Friday Nov. 26th.  as well as Extended Kid’s Night Out on Black Saturday Nov. 27th and a possible American Ninja Warrior viewing party on Dec. 8th or 11th with the Ninja Warrior obstacle course day on Sunday morning Dec. 12th for which Shane Daniels will be back up from L.A

Thanksgiving Sessions

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
Paleo goodness

Paleo goodness

Ok, here are the details on Holiday workout options. We will have a single 9 am session on both Thursday and Friday. Kids class will also be available at that time. Normal class fees apply. If you plan on bringing a kid please notify us so we can ensure enough coaches on site to handle the load. See you tomorrow for a pre-turkey day workout and Friday for post holiday fun.

Inspiration Comes In Many Packages

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
Dawn and Jeff at different stages of the same workout

Dawn and Jeff at different stages of the same workout

Many of you know Dawn and Jeff. They have been coming to CrossFit Marin for a while. At times inconsistently, but they’ve kept coming. Neither of them has an athletic background and yet I have often been told by others that they are inspired by these two. Why is that? Have they come out of nowhere and started to set gym records? Nope. So what sets them apart? Diligence.

Both Dawn and Jeff come in and get their workouts done. These workouts are tough for them. Jeff is well over 6′ tall, and struggles with just completing some of the workouts, and yet he keeps coming, and keeps completing the workouts. We’ve sometimes miss judged the scaling for Jeff on a workout and it rapidly becomes clear that the workout is going to take far longer than expected. When we try to adjust so he can finish in the expected time domain, we generally get a response to the effect of “Nope, I’m going to finish what I started”. Now, this may take the workout away from the intended stimulus, but it’s infrequent enough that we’ll let it go because sometimes just digging in and finishing is more important than hitting that specific stimulus for the day. There have been a few times when this has pushed Jeff to take 15-20 minutes longer than the rest of the group he’s with. (He has a tendency to come at the same time as a bunch of our firebreathers). He never really complains about what we’re asking him to do, he just digs in and gets it done.

So who inspires you in the gym. It could be someone who just blows the doors off the workouts. Or it may be someone who’s quiet, and just gets the work done. Who has stepped out beyond expectation and accomplishes something that didn’t seem possible? Who just shows up, day after day, regardless of possible discouragement? Let us know.

Another Study On Exercise & Health

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

It is cold and flu season, so be ware.  If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re coming to the gym on a regular basis, so you’re doing the right thing if you don’t want to get sick.  This article is on yet another study showing the links between exercise and rates of infection from the common cold.

Nasty little bugger....

Nasty little bugger....

The study, like many others, shows that moderate levels of exercise (or, what we consider to be moderate) seems to have an effect on when people get sick from the common cold and how long they take to recover.  This shouldn’t be strange to us.

The article also mentions that stress and sleep are two other factors that effect our immune system.  I’m sure that any regular to the gym would agree that our intense brand of exercise lowers stress and helps you sleep better.

And finally, I find the sidebar amusing.  We’ve been saying for a long time that the so-called ultra-athletes– marathoners and the like– don’t gain the same benefit from exercise because their brand of workout places extra stress on the body.  And studies show that these athletes are actually more likely to become ill.

As CrossFit-style fitness programs become more mainstream, I would be highly interested in seeing a study of fire-breathing, paleo/Zone-eating athletes and how their rates of infection compare to others on less intense programs.

People Are Awesome

Sunday, November 21st, 2010
Big air

Big air

People are awesome. We keep taking things a step up. This applies to pretty much everything we do. Dan S. sent me a video of a compilation of tricks, skills, stunts and whatnot that people have accomplished. There is at least one falsified stunt in the reel. See if you can figure out which one.

Check out People Are Awesome.

Most of these activities have no purpose aside from achievement. This is descriptive of many things we do. We do them because they are fun. Because they are a challenge. Because no one has done them before. Keep looking forward, and keep trying to achieve.