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Archive for November, 2012

The Nutrition Fair is Tomorrow… & New Shirts!

Friday, November 30th, 2012
Nutrition Fair Flier

Nutrition Fair Flier

Hey Cavers, in case you forgot, the nutrition fair is tomorrow, so stay after classes and join us for a nutrition seminar, body fat testing, blood tests, nutritional counsel, good eats, different points of views on diet, etc.    All the details are in the “Events” section of our website.

Cave T-shirts Dec. 2012

Cave T-shirts Dec. 2012

We are even launching our new line of shirts and tank tops for the event.  Hope to see you there!

Solving Health Problems vs. Covering Symptoms

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012
Starting To Lift

Starting To Lift

We have a tendency in our culture to cover up symptoms. Rather than dealing with the underlying problems we find easy ways to mask the consequences of those problems. Unfortunately often times this approach can make the underlying problem worse, or at best, leave it unimproved.

This is a prominent issue in the medical and health fields. Let me preface this with understanding that there are a lot of great doctors out there, and medical intervention is able to solve a huge host of problems, and our doctors save lives on a regular basis. There are, however, significant problems with our medical system that lead to less than ideal “solutions” to various health concerns. A lot of this has to do with the economic model that doctors are forced to work under. Additionally this post is a gross generalization and medical and health issues are exceedingly complex and often unique, but this gets at a trend that we can reverse.

Medication is often prescribed to intervene. In many cases the medication will only affect the symptoms of a health issue, so the true cause of the problem is unresolved. Additionally the medications have side effects that are unacceptable. A lot of health problems that are usually handled by medication prescription can be resolved better with lifestyle changes. The lifestyle changes will also have side effects, but in this case the side effects are almost always positive. Most cases of type 2 diabetes can be resolved with diet and behavioral changes. Heart conditions and blood lipid profiles are also an issue of diet and exercise. Now, understand that we are at fault for the current state of the medical industry. People are looking for the quick easy fix. Medication can make a dramatic change very quickly. All you have to do is take a few pills a day. Lifestyle changes are hard. It takes dedication. Doctors do make lifestyle recommendations, but most of the time they are ignored. With the meds they can expect compliance with a greater degree of confidence. Those doctors that have really tried to push better health habits tend to give up over time because the compliance is so poor. Doctors get berated for being harsh if they tell people their lifestyle is killing them.

Frankly, I want my doctor to be blunt and harsh. I don’t need my docs to sugar coat anything (yes, sugar coating was a deliberate reference here). Tell me what I need to do to improve my heath. Tell me I’m an idiot if I am doing things that are compromising my continued well being. We would all be better off if we would allow our health professionals to just tell us what we need to hear, and not what we want to hear.

Here’s a great article on ADHD and overprescription of ritalin.

ADHD, Not A Ritalin Deficiency

I know families on both sides of this debate. I know some families and kids that have been greatly helped by this drug. I also know others that had “problem kids” that were prescribed ritalin and it solved some of the control issues, but drastically altered the kids personality. Through experimentation with diet they were able to resolve the attention and control issues without the negative side effects. We should lean toward lifestyle changes first and medicate only when other paths have been exhausted.

The Soft Curve vs. the Sharp Curve in the Snatch

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

This blog post is about the hip contact on the snatch.  One day, maybe about a year and a half ago, Russ and a perhaps a few of our athletes and coaches went to do an Olympic Lifting session with John North at California Strength and conditioning.  One of the big things that was brought back was the “hip contact” on the snatch.  Personally I never particularly liked this technique myself, preferring to keep the bar closer to my body through the transition and chaulked up the contrast more to a difference of style than neccesity, (seeing as that there are other elite lifters that don’t use this “hip bump” and have more of what I’ll call a “soft curve”, as you’ll see in the Heavy Musing video).  Nevertheless I didn’t argue the new coaching cue going around the gym.  After all, I consider myself a descent Olympic Lifting coach, but not a master at it by any means.  While I may have a descent snatch for a CrossFitter, (85kg or about 185 lbs, a little over bodyweight) and a several years experience teaching the Olympic Lifts,  John North, has made a career out of specializing in Olympic Lifting and can toss up over 160kg.  But recently the topic has come up again in my teaching circles and I wanted to expose what I think of as this “difference in style” in greater detail using my favorite Olympic Lifting video, “Heavy Musings” by Iron Maven.   If you’ve followed my blog posts for long enough, you’ve probably seen it before (it’s a real gem, pay close attention to the details and subtle differences in bar bath trajectories and body positions ).

At one extreme of the not using contact we have the “soft curve”.  I think the best example used in the video is the grid and bar path trajectory shown in minute 1:31.  Notice that the curve that is traced by the bar at about the point of full extension is still a soft arc, as opposed to fat kid (please don’t tell him I said that!) at 4:48 who definitely uses a lot of contact to execute his successful lift.  Both are great lifts with what I would consider different styles, and obviously a lot more than I can do myself and with better technique, but I still have a strong personal preference for the “soft curve” in 1:31.  Evidently someone else shares a similar opinion.  If  you watch the video on YouTube you’ll notice that mikeyburger1 comments “@1:31 that curve is almost perfect..”  Presumably that’s Olympic Lifting coach Mike Burgner.  But obviously the contact technique has it’s merits as well. Watch the video again at 4:48.  It’s amazing how far back he leans on his jump right before his transition.  I was expecting the bar to be displaced forward somewhat after the , but he actually manages to keep it almost entirely over his base after the hip contact.

There are other amazing lifts throughout the video that fall in between these two extremes, and they are worth observing and scrutinizing as well.  To me the trajectory of the bar in a well executed snatch is almost majestic in how it traces such a beautiful and sublime path through space and I think this is captured amazingly throughout the video. Perhaps my preference for the “soft curve” is partly aesthetic?!?

So what do you think?  Do you prefer the subtle soft curve?  Or do you prefer having that sharp, distinct thigh or hip contact near the point of full extension?  Have you every switched from one technique to the other?  If you have, did you find what you tried helpful?  If so, was it helpful for long term gains or short term gains?  Please share your thoughts.

Programming for November 26 - December 2

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Reminder: Nutrition Fair this Saturday!  Sign up now for the body fat truck and the Paleo Seminar!

Self Defense Seminar next Saturday, December 8.

Monday, November 26th:
Level  1 & 2:
A) “Diane”
21-15-9
Deadlift / HSPU
B) Spend remainder of class on goat

Tuesday, November 27th:
Level 1 & 2
A) 5min foam roller session: hamstrings/glutes/calves
B) 5min ankle mobility
C) Jog for 10min
D) For Time: 800m Run; Rest 1min
-Then-
E) 8min Emom: 3 ground to overhead @ 80%
-Then-
F) 2RFT: 10 Toes to bar; 10 pull ups; 10 burpees; 10 box jumps

Wednesday, November 28th:
Note: If you worked out on at The Cave on Monday and Tuesday, please remove one set from all of the following exercises.
Level 1 & 2
A) 10min Shoulder mobility
B) Trunk rotations with barbell: 3 x 10
C) Bent Rows: 3 x 10
D)Barbell farmers carries @ 1.5 X BW: 3 x 40m
E)Dumbbell box step ups: 3 x 10 (Each Leg)

Thursday, November 29th:
Level 1
A) 5min foam roller session: hamstrings/glutes/calves
B) Work on clean and jerk for 15min
C) 3 round for total reps; 1min per station:
1) Ground to overhead
2) Rest
3) HSPU
4) Rest
5) Toes to bar
Note: If you feel that your hands are going to tear, STOP. STOP everything. Don’t even consider going to the next station. You probably had a good run. I don’t give one iota that you’ve just done 83 unbroken toes to bar and have at least a 100 left in the tank. Guinness World Records can wait. Please come down. You fought the good fight.
Level 2
A) 5min foam roller session: hamstrings/glutes/calves
B) Hang Squat clean: 5 x 3 @ 75% w/ 1.1.1 temp (Rest 10 seconds between reps)
C) 3 round for total reps; 1min per station:
1) 80/55KG Ground to overhead
2) Rest
3) HSPU
4) Rest
5) Toes to bar

Friday, November 30th:
Level 1 & 2:
A) 20min to work up to a Snatch w/ Dynamic loading
B) Snatch Pulls off of blocks: 5 x 2 @ 80%
C) 2000m Row @ 50%

Saturday December 1st:  Nutrition Fair, 12:00 - 4:00
Level 1
A)Front Squats (45 reps total w/ warmup):
Warm ups:
1) 5 reps w/ barbell
2) 5 reps w/ 30%
3) 5 reps w/ 40%
5) 5 reps w/ 50%
6) Working Weight: 80% across
B)3RNFT: Max effort strict body weight pull up
Rest 2min between efforts
C) Strict Press:
1) 5 reps w/ barbell (45 reps total w/ warmup):
2) 5 reps w/ 30%
3) 5 reps w/ 40%
5) 5 reps w/ 50%
6) Working Weight: 80% across
Level 2:
A) Take 20min to establish a new 1Rm strict press
B)Front Squats (45 reps total w/ warmup):
Warm ups:
1) 5 reps w/ barbell
2) 5 reps w/ 30%
3) 5 reps w/ 40%
5) 5 reps w/ 50%
6) Working Weight: 80% across
C) 3RNFT: Max effort strict body weight pull up
Rest 2min between efforts

Sunday, December 2nd:
Level 1
A) Overhead Squats w/ Bands: 3 x 10
B) Spend 20min on power snatch
C) 3RFT:
400m run; 10 unbroken wall balls w/ 10 5second hold in bottom position; 20 walking lunges w/ medicine ball overhead
Level 2:
A) Spend 30min on squat snatch
Note: All catches must be stabilized in the bottom position before standing up.
B) C) 3RFT:
400m run; 10 unbroken wall balls w/ 10 5second hold in bottom position; 20 walking lunges w/ medicine ball overhead

How Hard Is Sticking a Landing?

Saturday, November 24th, 2012
Russ with some future stars

Russ with some future stars

Anyone who has ever watched gymnastics understands that it is important to “stick the landing”. Very few realize how difficult this actually is to accomplish, or fully what it means. The definition of a stuck landing has changed some over the years, but the basic idea has remained the same. Land under control.

It used to be on women’s floor that a single step back into a lunge was considered a stuck landing. They tightened up the requirement such that all gymnasts must land feet together with no steps. Currently there are requirements on how deep one can squat on the landing. Too deep is a deduction. And showing any instability on the landing, such as arm waving, is also a deduction. So the current definition is quite stringent.

Deductions on a landing can range from 0.1 to more than 1.0. The deductions can be quite severe. Additionally it is the last thing that the judges see from  a gymnasts performance, which can have some influence over other judgments in the routine. No matter how clear the rules are for deductions in gymnastics it remains a subjective sport. There is quite a bit of judges discretion on what deductions to take, so showing a solid final landing can have an impact on score beyond the landing itself. The judging standards have gotten quite strict in recent years. If you watched any of the gymnastics at the 2012 Olympic Games in London you saw that more than a full point in deductions on routines was common. This was on routines that in the early 90s would have received few if any deductions.

So, it is important to stick a landing, but how hard is it? Well, let’s just look at speed and momentum. Depending on the apparatus a variety of velocities are involved. A gymnast will be falling from 5-13 feet in the air, with horizontal speeds ranging from zero to roughly 12 miles per hour. Try running as fast as you can, then jump has high as you can and try to stick the landing on a somewhat soft surface (It is easier to land with stability on firmer surface).  Now try to do the same off a platform that is 5-6 feet off the floor.

The other factor involved in sticking a landing is also dealing with the rotation of the dismount that is being performed. With the speed and height also comes multiple flips and twists. Gymnasts must land in a way that the rotation is all accounted for to remain motionless upon landing. Some dismounts require that the gymnast be blind of the ground upon landing. This is any dismount that finishes with forward rotation. If a gymnast looks at the ground in a forward facing landing it will virtually ensure you will take a step forward. Dismounts that finish rotating backward allow gymnast to see the ground long before landing and are far easier to stick.

Next time you watch gymnastics consider all that must happen in order to stick a landing. This is why it is a big deal when a solid routine is capped off by a stuck landing.

Another Thing to Be Thankful For

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

There is a lot to be Thankful for, including old friends whom you haven’t heard from in ages who text you “Happy ThanksGiving” around this time of year.  Talking about flashbacks from the past, here are a few from our blog, followed by the subject matter of today’s blog.

ThanksGiving feasting by Roger (2009): http://www.inthecave.com/blog/?p=1764

There’s a Lot to be Thankful for by Andres (2010): http://www.inthecave.com/blog/?p=3862

Holiday Shopping by Marisa Lee: http://www.inthecave.com/blog/?p=3886

What Doodad to get This Holiday Season by Andres: http://www.inthecave.com/blog/?p=6326

Family Eats Paleo This Holiday Season by Karen Minot: http://www.inthecave.com/blog/?p=6267

One thing I’m thankful for is my ability to move, that is my skills, the things I can do.  (Probably best showcased by my 2010 American Ninja Warrior submission video, here) Nothing makes me more acutely aware of these great gifts than when they’re missing or “on hold” due to sickness or injury.  Lately my back has been a bit tweaky so I’ve been borderline between having them and not.  Three years ago I seriously injured my back to the extent that I was bed ridden and it was a horrible struggle to simply roll over in bed let alone get up to go to the bathroom.  During the injury I realized how easy it was for me to take for granted everything I can do and how lucky I am to have my body and to be able to explore all of it’s capacities.  I love movement and the adventure for exploring and learning that it brings. Sometimes while coaching a birthday party or Ninja Warrior summer camp, I like to play a related name game with the kids.  We often do “your favorite flavor ice-cream” for name games but I prefer “something you can do and a skill you’d (realistically) like to be able to do someday”.  So this Thanks Giving I think we should play a similar skillz game.  Tell me your name and “something you’re greatful that you can do” and “something you’d like to be able to do in the future”.  I’ll go first.  I’m greatful that I can do big precision jumps (there was one at the end of that Ninja Warrior submission video, if you watched it) and I’d like to be able to stride from the mezzanine all the way accross the pull-up rig some day (hopefully soon).  And I’ld like to have my heavy snatches back, at least when my back feels better!  What skill are you greatful for?

Movement Gym Revolution Part II: Mixed Martial Arts & The UFC

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

It was Saturday July 5th, 2008 and the first day of the 2nd Annual CrossFit Games had just come to a close at The Ranch of the ever hospitable Castros in Aromas, California.   My legs were beat to death having completed 3 gruesome WODS earlier in the day (for those of you who care, it was the hill run of death, Snobby chest-to-bar Fran, and the heavy Deadlift-Burpee WOD), and there was one more to do on the next day, but that wasn’t on my mind anymore.  A couple of the CrossFitters that I had just made friends with, and the rest of us who were still there after the event were actually waiting for the title fight between Forrest Griffin .vs. Quinton Rampage Jackson featured in UFC 86.  Back in 2008 not only did the UFC have our attention, but it also had an estimated worth of $1,000,000,000.   The growth of Mixed Martial Arts and the UFC has been astounding since the inception of its modern form on Nov. 12th 1993.  It started with a little experiment that set out to determine which style of martial art would be more effective by pitting champion fighters from several different disciplines in an elimination tournament titled UFC 1 with minimal rules to impede the action.  Since those early days the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) has evolved through a unique history of challenges and breakthroughs and is rumored to be worth closer to $2,500,000,000 that 2 million that the current owners were said to have purchased it for back in 2001.   I’ve tried to look up sources estimating the number of “mixed martial arts” gym in the country, but the statistics don’t exist since they are too hard to track and the definition and standards for an “MMA” gym are somewhat unreliable.  Supposedly there are about 28  MMA gyms regularly producing professional level fighters regularly (as opposed to the perhaps tens of thousands of gyms, studios, and health clubs with “MMA classes”)  After all at that level the fighters tend to cluster and train together.  But here are a couple of links related to “The World’s Fastest Growing Sport”:

This Sports Illustrated article came out in 2008 during the trough of the stock market crash and economic collapse:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/nicki_jhabvala/11/10/mma-business-economy/index.html

Here’s a wikipedia history of the sprot of MMA and the Ultimate Fighting Championship:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Fighting_Championship

I think that the only thing that would stand a better chance of capturing the unguarded attention of the masses would be armed gladiatorial fighting ancient Roman style.  Is Mixed Martial Arts soon to be surpassed by CrossFit as the world’s fastest growing sport?  I for one am fascinated by MMA matches and merely intrigued by watching CF Games competitions, nevertheless one thing that CrossFit has going for it over MMA is that it has a broader range of possible participants who once they experience the “sport” of CrossFit themselves are more likely to become spectators of the CrossFit Games that they can empathize with from their own experiences.   It’s kind of like a baseball player being more likely to watch a baseball game than someone who has never played in their life and doesn’t necessarily understand the sport.  (If you care to have a little bit of MMA-type excitement in your CrossFit life?  Well, if you’re a Caver at least you can get some grappling in during the Judo classes on Mondays & Wednesdays at 6pm with instructor Nick Wise.)  Please post thoughts, comments, questions, or observations regarding the growth of Mixed Martial Arts to comments.

Programming for November 19 - 25

Monday, November 19th, 2012
Monday, November 19th:
Level 1:
A) Work on drop cleans w/ the barbell for 10 minutes
B) 6 min EMOM: 2 Power cleans @ 80%
C) Four minutes shoulder mobility
D) 5 x 5 Clean pull @ 85%
E) 2 x 10 (Each leg) Front rack lunge walk steps
Level 2:
A) Warm up cleans for 10 minutes
B) 6 min EMOM: 2 Front Squats @ 70% @ (22×2)
C) Four minutes shoulder mobility
D) 5 x 5 Clean pull @ 85%
E) 2 x 10 (Each leg) Front rack lunge walk steps

Tuesday, November 20th:
Level 1:
A) Spend 5 min rolling glutes
B) Snatch: Spend 15 min working on the snatch
C) Spend 5 min stretching ankles with bands. See: http://www.mobilitywod.com/2011/09/episode-313-improving-ankle-range-super-friend-addition.html
D) 3RFT: 400m; 20 box jumps; 10 overhead squats (light weight)
Level 2:
A) Spend 5 min rolling glutes
B) Snatch: Spend 15 min working up to a heavy single, a weight preferably beneath 90% of 1rm.
C) Spend 5 min stretching ankles with band.  See: http://www.mobilitywod.com/2011/09/episode-313-improving-ankle-range-super-friend-addition.html
D) 3RFT: 400m run; 20 box jumps; 10 UB snatches (select a weight this is feasible)

Wednesday November 21st:
Level 1:
A) 6 min emom:  2 Thrusters @ 75% @ (2XXX)
B) 5 x 3: Push Jerk from behind the neck
C) 3RFT: 10 squat cleans (60kg); 10 shoulder to overhead; 30 double unders
Level 2:
A) 6 min emom:  2 Thrusters @ 75% @ (2XXX)
B) 5 x 3: Push Jerk from behind the neck
C) 3RFT: 10 squat cleans (60kg); 10 shoulder to overhead; 30 double unders

Thursday, November 22
NO CLASS.  Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday, November 23
NO CLASS.
Saturday, November 24th:
All levels:
Three person teams
A) In 15 min: Each member of the group must run an 800m then establish their 3rm:
Level 1: Higher back bar squat
Level 2: Clean
Notes: each team has one bar.
- then-
B) FT: (To be performed as individuals)
40 kettlebell swings
30 pull ups
20 HSPU
10 bar muscle ups/chest to bar pull up/ pull up
Notes: Score is total weight from part A and the average of the three individuals time from part B.

Sunday the 25th:
Level 1
A) 5 min Shoulder mobility
B) 3RNFT:
10 UB chest to bar pull ups
1 heavy turkish get up
3 x 5 Single arm DB strict press (2X1X) (Each arm)
C) 5RFT:
2 deadlifts @ 80%
6 Dips (scale as needed)
10 UB wall balls
Level 2
A) 5 min Shoulder mobility
B) 3RNFT:
10 UB chest to bar pull ups
1 heavy turkish get up
3 x 5 Single arm DB strict press (2X1X) (Each arm)
C) 5RFT:
2 Power Cleans @ 80%
6 Dips (scale as needed)
10 UB wall balls

Vegan Cheese?

Sunday, November 18th, 2012
Great resource

Great resource

The idea of vegan cheese is a bit confusing. How does one make cheese with no dairy? When I first heard about Miyoko’s work with “cheese”, I thought it was a cheese like substance, but in fact these are actually cultured. It simply starts with an alternative for milk to produce the cheese.

This evening a small group gathered at The Cave in the kitchen with Miyoko to discuss the book and her preparations. She was extremely informative, and I was actually surprised at the process. Simple to do, but quite complicated in what is going on with the food. Miyoko is able to produce cheese with a large variety of different textures and flavors. The behavior is also as you would expect from cheese, and these factors can be controlled while making the cheese.

I strongly recommend looking into her book “Artisan Vegan Cheese”. You will be surprised at how readily you can replace dairy cheeses with alternatives.

Rafe Kelly Visits San Francisco Bay Area

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Hi Cavers,

Tonight instead of the elaborate blog post plans that I had I am simply going to let you all know that Rafe is visiting the San Francisco Bay area and that I’ve been fortunate enough to have been invited to meet with him to talk shop and train with him and Albert Kong.  ”Who is Rafe Kelly?”, you might ask.  Rafe is the founder of Parkour Visions in Seattle, one of the first and most respected parkour programs in the country.  Parkour Visions is a non-profit that focuses on making parkour as accessible as possible to their community.  I hold them in the highest regard.  Here are a couple of videos of Rafe showcasing a little bit of his training:

On Trees:

At Parkour Visions’s National Parkour Summit:

And of those of you who are curious, studious, and patient enough, here’s is Rafe on Parkour Programming:

More on Rafe’s view on Parkour programming & a (related) Kid’s Night Out Blog to come later.  For now I’m hoping for a few hours of sleep before training with Rafe!