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The Murph Challenge

The Murph Challenge

 

 

The Murph Challenge

It’s that time of year again when the CrossFit community participates in “The Murph Challenge” to honor our fallen heroes.
Join us on Monday, May 29th at 10am to complete this challenge and have a post workout potluck lunch.
There will be scaled options available to make sure everyone is working within their individual abilities.

About: In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.
For more information about The Murph Challenge or to register and receive a Murph T-Shirt/ donate to a great cause see the link below.
We’ll see you on the 29th!
Register at:
https://themurphchallenge.com/pages/register
With affiliate name: crossfit revolution 

8 Exercises to build a Solid Core

8 Exercises to build a Solid Core

“A six-pack isn’t an end goal in itself. It should be the welcome side effect of building a phenomenally strong core and taking charge of your nutrition. Function always come first, but when you are training this hard and eating well, then why shouldn’t you have both?

A solid core is the basis for all functional movements, and a lack of this foundation will only result in major weaknesses in all your athletic performances. There are exercises that work your entire core (such as L Sits) and then there are exercises that target specific areas or muscle groups, which can be effective as accessory exercises.

THE MUSCLES THAT MAKE UP YOUR CORE AND ABS

Your core and abs comprise of the rectus abdominis, obliques (external abdominal, internal abdominal, and transverse) intercostals and serratus.

  • The Rectus Abdominis stretches from your sternum down to your pelvic bone. Its purpose is to pull your upper torso towards your hips. An exercise that targets this area is the standard crunch.
  • Your Obliques are located either side of your waist. They are essential for you to be able to tilt and twist your upper body. An Exercise that targets these are Russian Twists.
  • Intercostals are located to the side of your rib cage. They function to elevate and depress the ribs. An exercise that targets them is the air bike.
  • The Serratus is located between your abs and lats. Its function is to pull the scapula forward. An exercise that targets them specifically are barbell pullovers.

Core muscles are mainly comprised of fast twitch fibers. This means that they respond well to medium rep ranges and explosive movements. Intensity is the name of the game here.

8. DEADLIFT

There are certain exercises that target specific muscle groups within your core, and can be a fun way to do accessory work and improve certain weaknesses. There are also exercises that will turn you into a strength machine hewn from iron sinews and muscles like slabs of steel. The Deadlift fits into the latter category. It targets your whole core, and puts your body a great deal of healthy stress, forcing you to grow stronger and develop a powerful core.

7. L SITS

These will crush your core. The beauty of this hold is that it leaves you nowhere to hide. It demands perfect form and in many cases, identifies any of your weaknesses very easily.

8 Functional Exercises to build a Solid Core and Abs of Steel
Building a strong core

6. RUSSIAN TWISTS

You can do these standing or seated. Take a kettlebell or a bumper plate and hold it out in front of your body. Take a deep breath and tighten your core. Then from your core, twist the weight to either side of you, and keep that tension. You can move the weight closer or further away from your body to make the movement more testing. Make sure you maintain total control over the weight at all times, as well as keeping your body tight.

5. SEATED BARBELL TWIST

To perform a seated barbell twist, first, sit on a flat bench with an unweighted barbell on your thighs. Grip the bar with your hands more than shoulder width apart. Lift the barbell over your head and place it behind your neck, resting on your shoulders. In a slow and controlled motion, move only your waist from side to side. This is a great way to warm up your core before you hit it with more testing exercises.

4. BUILD A SOLID CORE WITH BACK EXTENSIONS

This is a perfect way to target your posterior chain. The narrative that runs through the majority of contemporary fitness information tells people that abs are the simulacrum for a healthy and fit core. As you already know, this isn’t true.  Your core is interconnected and involves many muscle groups working together to stabilise your body, control and generate force, and move objects (such as weights) through the full range of motion for a specific exercise.

A problem with this erroneous fitness narrative is that it completely ignores the vital role that the core plays in stabilizing your lower spine. If an individual neglects their lower back and core, in favour of the rectus adominis at the front, then this can have pretty bad consequences. Back extensions are a great way to fortify your lower back and core. They can be done on a GHD, on the floor (if you are just starting out) and even weighted to increase the level of difficulty.

 

3. AIR BIKES (NOT THE ASSAULT BIKES)

This variation on the popular crunch will more intensely involve your abs and carve a solid core. To perform this exercise, lie flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head and raise your neck towards your chest. Bend your knees and bring them up till they are perpendicular to the floor. Now perform a cycling motion, push your right leg out as you bring your left knee close to your chest. While you do this crunch your waist and twist to the left allowing your right elbow to touch your left knee. Repeat this for the other leg.

8 Functional Exercises to build a Solid Core and Abs of Steel
post core workout destruction

2. LEG RAISES / TOES TO BAR

Leg Raises are another great abs and core exercise. To perform this movement, lie flat on your back. Place your hands close to your body with your palms facing down. Raise your legs in a slow controlled manner until they are at a 90-degree angle. Slowly lower your legs back down until they are a few inches from the floor. You can make these much more difficult by doing Hanging Knee Raises from a bar or Strict Toes to Bar instead.

8 Functional Exercises to build a Solid Core and Abs of Steel

 

1. OVERHEAD SQUATS

These are a perfect exercise to test your core stability. Requiring a zen like concentration to do well, this exercise is also a great way to point out weaknesses in your shoulder stability, balance and general mobility.”

An Interview by Robbie Hudson (courtesy of boxrox.com)

Read the rest here: https://www.boxrox.com/build-solid-core-steel-abs/

 

8 Functional Exercises to build a Solid Core and Abs of Steel

“A six-pack isn’t an end goal in itself. It should be the welcome side effect of building a phenomenally strong core and taking charge of your nutrition. Function always come first, but when you are training this hard and eating well, then why shouldn’t you have both?

A solid core is the basis for all functional movements, and a lack of this foundation will only result in major weaknesses in all your athletic performances. There are exercises that work your entire core (such as L Sits) and then there are exercises that target specific areas or muscle groups, which can be effective as accessory exercises.

TOP 5 MOBILITY NEEDS FOR THE OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTER

TOP 5 MOBILITY NEEDS FOR THE OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTER

TOP 5 MOBILITY NEEDS FOR THE OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTER

Weightlifting Mobility

As much as any other sport, olympic weightlifting requires incredible mobility if an athlete is to perform the lifts with proper technique and lift maximum weights. Without enough mobility, athletes will lack full depth and positioning, as well as expose themselves to potential injuries. Olympic weightlifting mobility

Thoracic Spine

A mobile thoracic spine is crucial to any overhead position, especially the catch of the snatch and jerk. A lack of thoracic extension can result in excessive shoulder flexion, abduction and internal rotation, leaving it in a less-than-optimal and unstable position. Compensation in the lumbar spine is also visible with hyperextension in an attempt to keep the torso upright.

While passive extension in the thoracic spine is a prerequisite to achieving a solid overhead position, more often than not athletes lack thoracic extension strength, or ‘active mobility’ in these positions, more so than a passive mobility restriction. Building in more active thoracic spine extension drills into your training will lead to a much improved thoracic spine position that can withstand and support PR-loads overhead without compromising position.

To assess your thoracic spine mobility, try this lumbar locked thoracic spine rotation test. While sitting back on your heels and keeping one arm behind your low back, a bisecting line from both shoulders should rotate to greater than 50 degrees from horizontal. An inability to achieve full rotation could be due to a mobility limitation or lack of stability/strength.

thoracic-mobility

 

Lat Restriction

Every veteran weightlifter knows the importance of full overhead shoulder mobility. Of the many components that play into achieving full shoulder flexion overhead, one of the most common limiters is lat extensibility. Many who make the transition from CrossFit or hypertrophy-style training to olympic lifting have spent a tremendous pulling heavy loads, either vertically or horizontally, and have left their lats in a state of high tone — blocking their shoulder flexion by greater than 20 degrees in some instances. This can be masked on the table or standing, but is near impossible to hide from in the bottom position of an overhead squat.

To assess your lat extensibility, start by laying flat on your back. Take your arms overhead close to your ears & touch the floor with your thumbs. Next, bring both knees up to your chest so your thighs are greater than 90 degrees from horizontal. Attempt to touch your thumbs to the floor again. If you notice reduced range of motion and you’re unable to touch the floor with your knees to your chest, a lat extensibility restriction may be present.

lat-flexibility

Dorsiflexion

To screen your ankles for full mobility, try this knee-to-wall self assessment. With shoes off, start with your foot 4-inches away from the wall. (For a less precise but quicker test-retest, use the width of your hand as an quick measurement distance.) While keeping your heel down the entire time, push your knee forward to be able to touch the wall. Ensure your knee tracks over the second or third toe to prevent the urge to collapse the midfoot and direct the knee inside the first toe. If you’re unable to touch the wall without your heel rising, move forward 1-inch and retest until you identify your current mobility limits.

ankle-mobility

 

Hip Flexion

Being able to fully flex the hip is a necessity if an athlete wants to hit full squat depth during the Olympic lifts. Not squatting to full depth will drastically reduce the weight lifted. I use the following test to determine optimal stance width for deep squats. Every athlete has a unique hip structure, meaning no two athletes will have the exact same stance. Performing the hip scour test will go a long ways towards getting yourself in a better position to fully flex the hip deep in a squat. The majority of athletes automatically choose this stance but for a surprising number of athletes, this test will show them they’ve been utilizing the wrong stance.

 

Hip Extension

If an athlete lacks proper hip extension during the split jerk, major compensations will occur most often in the lumbar spine.  Because the back leg can’t fully open up, these athletes will go into excessive lumbar extension during the jerk.

To assess hip extension, we use the Thomas Test as shown below. The athlete lies at the end of a box and holds on thigh while the other is lowered by a partner.

The partner assess first if the thigh reaches an angle parallel to the ground. If not, psoas tightness is the most likely restriction.

Next, the partner assess the rectus femoris by bending the athlete’s knee to 90 degrees. If tightness is present, the hip will rise or the knee won’t reach 90 degrees.

Finally the lateral angle of the thigh is examined. It should stay directly forward, but if it deviates laterally then TFL tightness is to blame.

 

ARTICLE CO-WRITTEN WITH DR. MITCH BABCOCK OF UNCHAINEDPHYSIO.COM”

 

 

An Interview by Dr. Zachary Long, DPT (Courtesy of thebarbellphysio.com)
Read the rest here: http://www.thebarbellphysio.com/olympic-weightlifting-mobility/

A Simple Protocol For Testing Your Work Capacity

A Simple Protocol For Testing Your Work Capacity

A few years ago, I had an opportunity to develop a training program for a large joint-military unit (Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force). Fortunately, the only requirement of the commanding officer was that I use functional fitness training concepts to prepare his troops for deployment.

Unfortunately, it was difficult to establish initial fitness baselines because each branch had it’s own individual physical training test. So, in order to simplify the process, I developed a test using minimal equipment that provides a set of objective data points.

Although this test was created for the military, anyone can use it to measure his or her fitness level. In fact, I integrated the test into our initial screening of civilian clients at my gym and it’s proven to be safe and effective for any population.

The Work Capacity Test (WCT)

The WCT is designed to measure several means of motor abilities – such as strength, speed, flexibility, and endurance – over a fixed period of five minutes. It provides the administrator with pre- and/or post-training metrics, which can be used to validate the efficacy of any training program.

It’s also a safe tool that offers ease of administration and minimal equipment requirements. Additionally, the test is quantitative in nature and is accompanied by a detailed scoring matrix that maps a trainee’s actual fitness level.

For safe and accurate testing, the test administrator must follow these instructions:

 

  1. Encourage participants to stretch and warm up adequately before the test.
  2. Do not test anyone who is sick or injured.
  3. Do not conduct tests during conditions that could compromise health or safety. (Extreme heat, lightning, etc.)
  4. Monitor participants to identify those having severe difficulties. Terminate the test, if necessary.
  5. Encourage fluid intake prior to test and replacement post. Provide fluids when conditions contribute to heat stress.
  6. Encourage cooling down with an easy walk after the test. Monitor the recovery of participants, especially those who appear distressed.
  7. Recommend several weeks of training before participants retake the test.

 

Movement Standards

 

 

Still photos are provided below as a visual tool for test administrators. This test includes rapid movement turnover and these photos simply provide performance standards and cues for test administrators to observe and judge.

Advanced athletes with experience training functional movements or the Olympic lifts may opt to use a squat clean to thruster technique for steps seven through ten. This technique is acceptable. However, these athletes must still meet all performance standards established in the still photos in order for all reps to be counted.

work capacity test, intake test, physical test, pt, military pt, military pt tes

Step 1

The WCT subject should start in a strict forward-leaning rest position. The subject’s feet should be at approximately shoulder width or slightly wider. The test begins when the administrator starts the stopwatch and gives the command “begin.” At this point the subject has five minutes to complete as many repetitions of the entire movement as possible. To begin the repetitions the subject should begin to lower him- or herself to the floor in a controlled manner.

work capacity test, intake test, physical test, pt, military pt, military test

Step 2

A portion of the subject’s upper body (shoulder, chest, bicep, etc.) must touch the floor or both dumbbells. At this stage the subject should ascend back to the forward leaning rest position.

work capacity test, intake test, physical test, pt, military pt, military test

Step 3

The subject must fully extend both the elbows and not exhibit any sagging or excessively high hip position. (i.e., subject’s body line should be in a plank position).

Step 4

The subject will row the right-side dumbbell until it touches a portion of the upper body (shoulder, chest, bicep, etc.). Then the subject will lower the weight until they achieve the forward leaning rest position.

work capacity test, intake test, physical test, pt, military pt, military test

Step 5

The subject will row the left-side dumbbell until it touches a portion of the upper body (shoulder, chest, bicep, etc.). Then the subject will lower the weight until they achieve the forward leaning rest position.

work capacity test, intake test, physical test, pt, military pt, military test

Step 6

The subject prepares for the next movement, which is a dynamic hop. At this step the subject may adjusting foot, dumbbell, or hip positions, etc. in preparation for the hop.

Step 7

The feet should end up shoulder width or wider and slightly flared out. This movement is optimal from an efficiency standpoint and helps the administrator assess flexibility and athleticism.

work capacity test, intake test, physical test, pt, military pt, military test 

This amended movement should be notated in the comments section of the scorecard.

Step 8

The subject completes the hop in an upright standing position. The dumbbells should be raised (power cleaned or curled) into a front rack position with a neutral grip. The head of the dumbbell should be in contact with the front of the deltoid. At this time the subject should prepare for the descent into a front squat by making any necessary adjustments to foot position, dumbbells or hips, etc.

work capacity test, intake test, physical test, pt, military pt, military test

Step 9

The subject’s feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width and slightly flared out.  At this time the subject will lower himself or herself into a front squat. The crease of the subject’s hip should be below the subject’s patella for scoring purposes.

work capacity test, intake test, physical test, pt, military pt, military test

Step 10

The subject places the dumbbells directly overhead (via press, push press, jerk or thruster) with elbows completely locked out. Individuals who exhibit tight shoulders may have difficulty with this step.  If the subject has difficulty with this step please notate in the comment section of the scorecard.

work capacity test, intake test, physical test, pt, military pt, military test

Step 11

Return to the front leaning rest position in a controlled manner. Be sure to place dumbbells down in a controlled manner in order to avoid injuring the wrist.

work capacity test, intake test, physical test, pt, military pt, military test

How to Score the Work Capacity Test

At the completion of five minutes immediately ask the subject what his or her rate of perceived exertion (RPE) is in relationship to the test. The RPE is scored on a on a scale of one to ten. The number of total repetitions and RPE should be recorded on the individual’s scorecard.

 

work capacity test, intake test, physical test, pt, military pt, military test

 

Using the WCT as a Screening Test for New Clients

As you can see, the WCT is a simple way of establishing a baseline of work capacity through scoring. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the subjective elements of the test are important, as well. For example, the test helps detect mobility and stabilty issues present with certain clients, while also giving you the ability to see how well people follow directions.

These observational examples can give a coach valuable insight into what makes a trainee tick. When we couple the subjective elements with the objective data it often leads to a meaningful dialogue between the coach and client. So, although this test was initially designed as a baseline fitness test, it can easily transition to a screening tool.

It’s important to keep in mind that when using the WCT as a screening tool there is a pass/fail standard of five reps. Many of you may think five reps in five minutes is absurdly easy, but I’ve seen people fail to achieve this standard countless times. Individuals who are unable to meet this objective are often severly deconditioned and/or obese and should not be placed in a group training enviorment.

Ultimately, there is no perfect test to measure a person’s overall fitness. However, the WCT offers a solid compromise on many fronts and it’s holistic nature gives the astute trainer an effective testing tool. At the end of the day, every trainee needs to know where they are in terms of overall fitness and the WCT helps us validate the efficacy of our training regimin with pre- and post- testing. 

 

An Interview by our very own Eric Auciello (Courtesy of breakingmuscle.com )

Read the rest here: https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/a-simple-protocol-for-testing-your-work-capacity

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