Blog

  • Announcing free+style, the Book

    I'm excited to announce my latest project and biggest project to date - a book entitled free+style | maximizing sport and life with four basic movements.

    I have been on the most incredible journey over the last few years, from my experiences coaching Annie Thorisdottir to become a two-time Fittest Woman on Earth to interacting with thousands of coaches and athletes on GymnasticsWOD.com. I am pumped now to pour my knowledge and experiences into my latest endeavor — free+style: maximize sport and life performance with four basic movements. This book is designed to help you achieve physical success by applying the movement framework that I have crafted over the years. I will show you why you should care about movement so you can perform to your highest potential.

    In the coming months I will be sharing a lot of concepts, previews, and planning special events for free+style the book as we get ready closer to its release.  Please go to our official website for the book now to subscribe to our mailing list, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates.  Thanks for your support!

    This week we continue with more push ups, this time scaling up with speed and power:

    Coach Carl

  • Recover, Replenish, Rebuild, Retest

    I'm not a nutritionist or doctor, but in working with athletes of all levels I do know that maintaining great health and diet is key to success.  If you don't eat and refuel properly, it's garbage in garbage out.  If you don't check up on your health, you could look like a race car but might be a leaky bucket under the hood.  Take the time to prioritize your health and nutrition and you'll see quicker recoveries, faster gains, and be able to keep those gains for a bigger and more solid foundation.  The time is now, today and everyday.

    For fuel, almost everyone has their favorite brand and mix of protein and suppliments.  Read the label and understand how it works to make sure you're taking what you need.  If you don't have a preferred source yet, I highly recommend NutriForce Sports after working with Annie Thorisdottir and seeing her performance and recovery with the products.  Full disclosure: Annie is now a NutriForce Sports athlete and I now also endorse their products because I see its positive results.  If you want to try I've got us a 25% off promo code you can use.  Just enter "paoli25" at checkout to get 25% off your entire Nutriforce Sports order - that's a sweet deal.

    For health and wellness, there is no excuse but to make sure you're progressing in the right direction.  Human bodies are amazing and incredibly robust, but as we continuously undergo the changes and stress of training we must monitor our progress also from within.  My team and I have been working with WellnessFX for a couple of years now and they have an incredible service to provide blood panel and bio-marker testing to track all of the essential health indicators, and more.  And it's so easy and affordable: you sign up online for a package that suits your needs (starting at only $29!), print a lab-test form, walk into any of the 4000+ LabCorp testing centers across the U.S. to get your blood drawn, and your results appear online after a few days.  They also have a full staff of doctors and nutritions to consult and interpret your results if you need.  Doctors on demand, on your schedule.  Even if you already have a health plan, WellnessFX can be a great way for you to take control of your health and data to track your progress.  Hop over to WellnessFX to check out their options to test, retest.

    This week we work on scaling more Push Ups with skill once again:

    Thanks!
    Coach Carl

  • Back to More Basics

    It's been a couple of years since we last talked about the Push Up position and transition as the foundation for a number of other movements. While the Push Up is a really simple movement, it actually serves as a great diagnostic tool and is a tell for numerous issues you will encounter for other more complex exercises. Aside from the strength component: are you initiating movements properly with your shoulder? Do you have full range of motion? How is your core position maintained during transitions and under load? Do you have awareness of your body from head to toe to produce the same shapes with each rep, with each Push Up variation?  All this and lots more to think about.  If you don't have a good Push Up as the foundation, chances are you won't have a good ____________.

    In the last Push Up progression series we actually didn't go into details about scaling the Push Up itself.  So, over the next few weeks we're going to revisit the Push Up again, starting with some scaling options before breaking in to some more fun and advanced variations.  Stay tuned!

    Thanks!
    Coach Carl

  • WODTours = Training+Vacation+FUN

    Hey gang! I've been working with the WODTours crew of coaches for a while now planning a number of exciting destinations coming up. If you are interested in a fun, training vacation with some of the best athletes and coaches in CrossFit, definitely look into WODTours. These guys are extremely well organize and professional and will take care of your needs as you visit some landmark gyms with legendary athletes and coaches - including a session with Annie Thorisdottir at CrossFit ALC in Spain which I cofounded. I'm stoked to be part of this amazing team!

    Here is an upcoming schedule of WODTours that I'll be a guest coach for:

    I'm looking forward to training and hanging with you soon at one of these tours!

    Thanks!
    Coach Carl

  • Smart Body, Strong Mind

    "The comfort zone is a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk. A person's personality can be described by his or her comfort zones. Highly successful persons may routinely step outside their comfort zones, to accomplish what they wish. A comfort zone is a type of mental conditioning that causes a person to create and operate mental boundaries. Such boundaries create an unfounded sense of security. Like inertia, a person who has established a comfort zone in a particular axis of his or her life, will tend to stay within that zone without stepping outside of it. To step outside their comfort zone, a person must experiment with new and different behaviours, and then experience the new and different responses that occur within their environment." Wikipedia excerpt on Comfort zone.

    What's your physical comfort zone, and what boundaries have you created for yourself to operate within?  For most people, they are too comfortable working within their flexibility and mobility constraints while continuing to invest in strength, skill, and speed to create the same unfounded sense of security in their performance. Maybe it's time to step outside of your comfort zone: work on some splits, then experience the new and different responses with an improved range of motion.  Build a smart body, develop a strong mind.

    This week's progression we work on some dynamic stretching with some middle splits:

    Thanks!
    Coach Carl

  • Yes to More Stretching

    First off, this is not about the discussion on recent research about how static stretches during warm up could affect or inhibit an athletes performance.  What we are talking about here is why flexibility is an important part in your strength and conditioning training, and what are the basic shapes you should be able to achieve with stretches and mobility work. 

    We often get asked "How much stretching should I really be doing?  Holding a middle split for 3 minutes seems like a REALLY long time!"  Well, if one of your goals is to increase range of motion then you should train and practice the relevant stretches for as long and often as prescribed.  Be smart about it though - if you start to feel numb or tingly during the hold, it's time to stop and come out of it.  But do make flexibility work a habit and integrate that into your program and you will see overall improvements.

    If you look at the GWOD programming here on the site, we devote one out of every 4 days to flexbility.  That's roughly 25% of the time focused on some stretch or mobility work, and a pretty significant amount of time and effort on improving flexibility!

    For this week's progression, we head to the whiteboard on a quick primer on what the key stretches and exercises are to improve your flexiblity as a starting point:

    Thanks!
    Coach Carl

  • Training for Skill Transfer

    Why do you do Pull Ups?  Sure, everyone wants to be able to do more reps or race through some quick sets, but if you're not practicing Pull Ups for better Muscle Ups, Rope Climbs or more complex pulling movements, you're missing out.  All the training that you do should be helping you build a solid foundation and help you progress to the next level, and that means always chasing quality to look for the best positions and cleanest form.  Your Pull Ups may not feel 't feel like they're getting easier, but you'll definitely notice a difference down the line when you attack the next progression.

    This week is our last piece on the Butterfly Pull Up:

    I have 2 more seminars coming up this weekend at CrossFit Chicago and CrossFit Grandview.  If you haven't signed up there may be a space or two remaining.  I'll see you there!

    Thanks!
    Coach Carl

  • Simple to Complex

    The highest level skills are often the ones with the most complex body shapes, so as we work on developing our skills through progressions we always go from the simplest body shapes to the most complex.  This week's example of the Butterfly Pull Up progression shows just that - we change the shape by adding a kick to the kip for more explosiveness.  If your knee bend and kick is timed wrong, you will be adding an unwanted kink in the system and you'll lose tension and leak power.  But if your knee bend and kick is timed right, you will will load up the system to peak tension and you'll explode with more power.  Soccer players do this to with every kick to transfer all of their energy to the ball, and in our case we want to transfer all of the energy up back the chain for the pull up to the bar.

    Special thanks to CrossFit Armada and CrossFit East Decatur for hosting my Freestyle Connection Movement Seminar this weekend! I'll be in Chicago and Columbus in two weeks for another weekend of seminars - register now and come join me!

    Thanks!
    Coach Carl

  • Shapes and Skills

    When we work on learning or developing a new skill, one of the first things we need to do is to look at the shape of the body.  We're not talking about angles and what each joint is doing, but what does the overall shape of your body look like?  Are you flexing or extending globally?  Are you tucked into a ball or fully extended?  Often these shapes become your starting and finishing posititions, then the skill is finding the most efficient transition between these positions.  So if you don't get your shapes right, there's a slim chance your transitions are going to be excuted efficiently with consistency each time.

    To demonstrate the point, we're taking it to this week's progression with the Butterfly Pull Up:

    Quick update: I have 2 weekends of seminars coming up in June - I'll be in Houston and Atlanta this weekend, then Chicago and Columbus mid month.  Looking forward to sharing some Freestyle Connections!

    Thanks!
    Coach Carl

  • CrossFit Games Fever Phase 2 - Regionals!

    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:

    Thanks!
    Coach Carl

     

     

     

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