Blog

  • 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

     

     

     

  • Butt Check & Knees Out

    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!

    Thanks!
    Coach Carl

  • The Travel Life

    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:

    Thanks!
    Coach Carl

  • Blocking Movement for Quality Squats

    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!

    Thanks!
    Coach Carl

  • Push Ups, Constantly Varied

    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!

    Thanks!
    Coach Carl

  • Thanks for Your Well Wishes!

    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:

    Don't forget - seminars this weekend in Seattle and Vancouver, then a quick Euro-tour before more seminars in Atlanta and Houston! Sign up soon before they sell out.

    Thanks!
    Coach Carl

     

     

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