I spent the past weekend as a fan at the CrossFit Games SoCal Regionals, and I am mindblown by the athletes' performances in this gruelling test of fitness. The entire field of competitors all looked so strong, skilled, and durable -- FIT! We have all come a long way since the beginning, and I am glad to be a part of this journey and evolution to help everyone become fitter and healthier!
This week we start a new series on the most requested progression - the Butterfly Pull Up! No bands, no tricks, no shortcuts, just find a low bar or get on a box and start by feeling out the transition:
We've had a lot of viewers with great questions for the Air Squat Progression videos these past couple of weeks, and thank you for watching! As with all our progressions, we try to show you positions and movement patterns that are safest, most efficient, and most progressive to lead into other movements and skills.
You may or may not be able to perform everything in these progressions right away, even for something as seemingly easy as the air squat. If you have difficulty hitting the proper positions, achieving full range of motion, or finding stability, then it's time to assess what's going on and work on closing that gap.
Choosing to air squat with poor mechanics because it's easier is like driving around with a leaky tire while riding your clutch - sure you're still moving, but if you don't fix these problems it's just a matter of time before your body breaks down!
I've been traveling now for the past two weeks through Europe, coaching at the European Athlete Training Camp, CrossFit ALC and a couple of Freestyle Connection Seminars at CrossFit Gothenburg and CrossFit Thames. I want to thank everyone for the warm welcomes and their incredible interest and enthusiasm for movement training. Every time I travel to I get to catch up on the rest of the world, and it amazes me how quickly this knowledge is spreading and how much progress is made. Keep up the great work!
We continue to go back to basics this week with the next piece in our most functional movement, the Air Squat:
BUTT BACK! KNEES OUT! STAY TIGHT!
We hear this all the time when squatting in the gym, but what does that mean? Those cues sure didn't make much sense to my parents when they needed some guidance for a proper squat, especially when I'm not hovering over them to see or correct the faults. So then how do we progress someone with little squatting experience with the proper mechanics, for every single rep that they'll be attempting? And how do we also progress someone with a lot of squatting experience but with a lot of faults? Well it's possible to do both with the same progression, and here is another example of where the concept of "Blocking Movement" comes into play in the training room.
This week's progression is a demonstration of how to block movement to reinforce the best mechanics while eliminating the biggest faults. Facts: you can't squat with duck feet if your feet are glued together; you have to force your butt back if you can't shift your body forward; and you can't cave your knees in if your arms are in the way. Check it out!
We just finished a great progression series on pistols to challenge your squatting mechanics, so what better time to jump over to a progression on one-arm push ups to challenge your pushing mechanics!
The one-arm push up progression is essentially a combination all of the push up variations: the normal, the wide, the narrow, the lateral, and the olympic push up. If your one-arm push up looks all corked like a kitten getting out of bed, it's probably not the most efficient way to go about it!
I want to thank everyone for their love and well wishes this weekend on my birthday! I am so fortunate to have such an amazing community of supporters to share my experiences with. Let movement be the new anti-aging program!
This week we wrap up our Pistol progressions with a couple more tools in the bag:
To the hundred of thousands of participants in this year's Reebok CrossFit Games Open, I want to congratulate you on an amazing job grinding through the workouts! They sure weren't easy and I've talked to many people where this is their first time ever attempting the heavier loads and movements prescribed in the workouts. It's amazing to see what consistent training and a positive attitude can do to blow away your limits to set new PRs! Regionals athletes - congrats and I'll see you on the field soon. Great job everyone and thanks for letting me and our team be a part of your training experience.
This week we keep practicing our Pistols with more squat talk:
A quick update on my upcoming Freestyle Connection movement seminars and my schedule for the next couple of months. If you are planning to attend, don't wait to sign up at the last minute because they are selling out FAST!
- April 20 in Seattle, WA at CrossFit Graham (9 spaces left)
- April 21 in Vancouver, BC at Rocky Point CrossFit (1 space left!)
- May 4 in Mölndal, Sweden at CrossFit Gothenburg
- May 5 in London, UK at CrossFit Thames
- June 1 in Houston, TX at CrossFit Armada
- June 2 in Atlanta, GA at CrossFit East Decatur
- June 15 in Chicago, IL at CrossFit Chicago
- June 16 in Columbus, OH at CrossFit Grandview
I am also fortunate enough to be part of the WODTours crew of superstar coaches and they have a number of amazing travel experiences lined up! You can check out these tours and come train with me, along with a number of other excellent coaches, at:
- The One Stop Shop Tour in Boston, MA on June 17-22
- The Game Time Tour in Los Angeles, CA on July 22-28
- The A-Team Tour in Alicante, Spain on August 19-25
- The Heavy Artillery Tour in Calgary, AB on September 26-30
I hope to see you at one of these upcoming events, sign up now!
This week we continue on with our Pistol progressions, with an emphasis again on position and mechanics:
Why are one-arm push ups so hard, when you can easily bench your bodyweight? Why are pistols so hard, when you can easily front or back squat your bodyweight? Why are one-armed pull ups so difficult, when you can pull a loads greater than your bodyweight?
Well, if your movement mechanics aren't solid, even small flaws become gaping holes when you remove a point of contact. If you don't initiate your push up properly with the shoulder, it's that much harder to press up with one arm. If you don't have great squat mechanics, it feels impossible to stand up with one leg.
Removing a point of contact then not only adds an element of rotation, balance and coordination, but it also challenges the quality of your mechanics for the underlying movement pattern. So anytime you struggle with one-armed or one-legged movements, see that as a test and really take a hard look at your movement mechanics. Spend more time than you think to work on getting it right!
This week, we use the pistol as an example with this progression:
This weekend we hit a huge milestone on the GWOD YouTube channel by marking our first million views! I want to thank everyone who's been so supportive over the past two years. It's been an amazing journey to be able to do what I love and help you learn, perform, and feel better about movement!
For a while now we've been slowly adding English closed captioning subtitles to our progressions on our website for the deaf and hearing impaired, and now we've also updated YouTube with these proper English subtitles since the automatic transcription feature is terrible. If there is a progression you want subtitles for that is not yet transcribed, please let us know and we'll prioritize to get that done first!
Last but not least, we are experimenting with internationalization with our YouTube progression videos by adding translated subtitles. With special thanks to Coach Alexey from CrossFit Berloga, we now have our first progressions translated in Russian with the Bar Muscle Up series.
Seminar announcements: We just announced a session on June 16 at CrossFit Grandview in Columbus, OH - home of the 2010 CrossFit Games champ Graham Holmberg. Please check the Seminars page for info and to register for this or other seminars.
This week we continue with our Rolling Pistol Progressions to get you back on your feet - with one leg: