Functional

Anatomy-Trains_image“The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone. The ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone…”

You are a miraculous, magnificent creation. Your body is an intricate web of functioning parts. Each member relies on the others to work together in harmony. Shouldn’t your training reflect that?

As Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit says- the training needs of myself and my grandmother differ in degree not kind. We should basically be doing the same movements, hers just won’t be as heavy.

What I love about CrossFit is that along with being infinitely scalable, it’s also functional. That term has been thrown around a bunch lately so let’s just dive in and take a look at what functional is and isn’t, shall we?

Functional movements are:

1) Natural- movements you do in every day life.

2) Compound- this means they are multi-joint movements.

3) Irreducible- they shouldn’t be broken down into individual parts. Take the letter A for instance:

Texas Letter-ATexas Letter-A - Copy

Functional movements are not:

1) Contrived- movements that I have to force to happen or that don’t occur in my normal daily activities. I don’t live on a trampoline or in a state of constant imbalance. Therefore, swiss ball or balance training is not functional movement.

2) Isolated- tasks performed in daily life require compound joint movement. Try to sit to the potty without bending your knees.

The takeaway is this:

Tricep kickbacks, calf raises, and the like are a great way to “feel the burn” but they’re not likely to help you when you have to lift a heavy box down from the top of the closet. A push press with dumbbells or a barbell on the otherhand…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do believe there is a time and place for isolated movements, instability training and/or contrived positions. These would be included in rehab, pre-hab or as accessory work to combat imbalances you may have. The Crossover Symmetry system is designed to strengthen the rotator cuff, which is a much maligned body part. The extra attention here is not a workout per se but an adjunctive therapy.

Work your body as the whole, functioning organism it is and I have no doubt you’ll see results that will make you smile!

The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 1 Corinthians 12:21

chrisAbout the Author

Dr. Chris Biles, DC is the head trainer and owner of CrossFit Waxahachie. He is a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer and is passionate about all things fitness. He has competed for many years in adventure racing, mountain and road bike racing, and marathons. His main sport now is the Sport of Fitness- CrossFit.

Take Care Of Your Hands

I was going to write a little article about the issue of hand tears from high rep pull up or barbell workouts. But with a little (very little) digging I came up with a nicely written piece to help us out. Don’t re-invent the wheel, right? So check this out from FITBOMB:

CrossFit Hand Care

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Want the highlights?

Don’t be too soft. If your hands have the suppleness of a newborn, you’re gonna get shredded.

Don’t be too hard. You will need to do some maintenance on your calluses if you want to keep your skin. Read the article already.

Grip the bar correctly. Pinching and bunching of skin with the added torque of movement is going to bite you. Learn the correct grip here.

It’ll heal faster if you do this… oh for crying out loud, click on the article already. I’m not going to spoon feed this to you.

Gloves, tape and grips can help. But are you always going to have them? I find that I rarely need them unless I’ve got a ton of pulling volume or a spot that’s close to ripping. Your best bet is to get them on before you have a problem. In many cases, taping over a tear that has started just makes it worse during the remainder of the workout.

Cut your losses. This little nugget is just from me. If you’re shredded at 50 pull ups in Angie, maybe you should move on. What do you think the next 50 will do to you? How will your training be affected by the devastation you’re rendering to your manos? This is after all just that- training. Live to fight another day. If you’re in a competition, that may be a different story…

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Here’s to keeping all your skin! Happy WODding!

The Problem With Now

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The problem with now is to some degree a problem for all of us. We can have almost anything we want…now. Information, food, companionship, you name it. And if you can’t get it now, you’re either underfunded or in Antarctica. But I digress…

This problem is much more noticeable when people hit the gym. There are basically two types of people who come to CFW-

-those who want to lose weight and get in shape.

-those who want to get bigger, stronger, and faster so they can compete at CrossFit.

That’s a bit of a broad stroke on my part, because sure there are guys and gals just looking to “get fit” and not actually compete but overall the above two are what I typically see.

So what’s the Problem With Now?

Well, you see, neither weight training for gaining strength and efficiency nor losing a significant amount of weight is an easy process. How many of you who have been on a weight loss journey step on the scale every day? Who has been just crushed to find out that a day after “the hardest and longest workout of your life” you gained a pound? WHAT?!! Who among you trying to get stronger expects a new PR every lift attempt? Do you question why you’re even there on a day when the weights feel glued to the floor?

The truth is this is a process. A journey.

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Dave didn’t start on the blue bands for pull ups. Not even close. The process worked because he stayed with it and got stronger.

Can we help with weight loss? Sure, check out this and this and this.

Can we make you a stronger athlete? You bet, see here and here.

What are some things that can help?

Well, number one is prior experience. If you where a high school or college athlete, chances are pretty good that you have some motor skills that are lying dormant and we just need to get those puppies firing. Your progress will happen a bit faster than the average Joe. If you didn’t play sports or dance or do gymnastics as a kid, then it’s likely that your learning progression will take longer.

On the weight loss side of things, it’s all about being clear and vigilant about your goal. If you say, “I want to weigh 180# but I currently weigh 223#. Should I eat this cheeseburger and fries?” The answer is, no. It’s simple, get rid of the cheeseburger- Every. Single. Day. <<This is a big key to remember because the tendency to reward ourselves is another problem with now. “I did soooo good yesterday so NOW I’m going to treat myself to this blizzard.” This happens so often it’s scary. Even though logic dictates that the blizzard does not line up with your goal, it’s a treat so it’s OK. It’s not. Don’t do it. Real food. Smart exercise.

Take home? Don’t get sucked into the “iphone-like everything is at my fingertips” mentality at the gym. You can’t get it all today. You might not get it all tomorrow. Heck, it might be a while. But one thing is for certain, it will never come if you give up and quit.

The fact that the strength or body composition you want is not easy to come by should be all the more reason to be proud of goals you accomplish. Set goals or milestones along the way and celebrate (just don’t eat a blizzard).

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45# is always 45#.

I leave you with an excerpt from The Iron by Henry Rollins:

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn’t ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone’s shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character…

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Note To Self- Keep Being Awesome

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You guys crushed the month of May!! PRs all over the place!!

As we get into the heat of summer it’ll be time to keep on cruisin’!

Set some goals and go after them! We’ll have a chance to hit some great benchmark workouts in the next 6 week cycle. When they come up, check your previous time and strategize/visualize how you’re going to best it.

ALL IN! STRONGER. FASTER. BETTER.

The board’s empty. Let’s fill it up again!

Just Keep Driving

Driving from Waxahachie to Lubbock takes a little while. Five hours usually. Riding a bicycle there takes a little longer, but that’s another story. When my family travels there, I don’t look at the odometer every mile and check it off. I hit the gas pedal and go. I talk with my wife (or she talks at me), we sing songs, and play silly car games. Before you know it, we’re at our destination.

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Long stretch up the caprock.

Some of you keep “checking the mileage” on your fitness journey a little too much. You step on the scale each day to see what it has to say about you. You measure yourself every class against- the clock, the weight, yourself, and that guy/girl you compete with. You get wrapped up in the numbers and forget that you’re on a ride. A ride where it’s the destination that’s most important.

CrossFit is fun. At least if you let it be. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Eat. WOD. Recover.

Those are the big steps. While you’re at it, make a new friend and remember that above all- CFW is a community. We’re all on this trip together. Let’s hit the gas pedal and go!

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Bodacious Biles Brothers

 

Pick Your Battle

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There’s one thing I know about CrossFit- it’s hard.

Oddly enough, that’s exactly why I’ve been at it for the last 6 years. If it were easy, if I didn’t have a ton of things to work on and get better at, I might have stopped long ago. It seems like every time I turn around, I’ve got another skill to learn, another level of strength to attain, and another gear that I hadn’t known was there.

You guys know what I’m talking about. Just when you get comfy- BAM- let’s go heavier, let’s go full range of motion, let’s practice skills. When you think you’ve arrived and it’s all over, think again. The workouts don’t get easier as you get stronger and more conditioned, they hurt just as bad (if not more). The only good thing about getting better at Fran is you can make it stop faster.

That said, you’ve got to pick your battles. If you’re needing more strength (and who doesn’t) then maybe you should scale up and shorten the metcons. If you’re already a beast, then maybe it’s time for another skill (butterfly pull ups). Or maybe it’s just time to get an UNBROKEN mentality. As in, “I’m not going to set this bar down or come off the bar till I’m done.”

I don’t know where you fall in this but I can tell you this- if you PICK YOUR BATTLE and then commit to FIGHT LIKE MAD- good things will happen, my friend. Our commitment to you, the CFW athlete, is to bring out your best. I, for one, can’t wait to see it!

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