Categorized as: Mobility

Clean up your back act. For free!

It’s been a hard back week at CrossFit London. Most of you use your backs well, moderate your loads and maintain a tight core when lifting, meaning deadlifting isn’t an issue.

If deadlifting is an issue, it’s normally traced down to a lack of what Stuart McGill calls ” back hygiene”.  Poor back hygiene means you use your back when lifting, all the time! You also abuse your back every day, by slumping and slouching ( or overextending). I t could also mean you are ok, but you cannot control yourself in a WOD. You’ll pile through in a workout no matter what your body is telling you ( it’s ok, I did this too, but,  it’s tough being an asshole isn’t it!)

I’m an expert in this area because, for years, this is what I did.  Zero back hygiene. My back took everything I  threw at it. Until it broke.

If you have back pain, there are 5 key mistakes you probably make. I made them all

1) Having a slumping place. That’s the place where you mold furniture to the worst position for your back, and you slump there for hours.

for the record, here is my slumping place

2) I went searching for physio’s,  therapists and experts to fix my back. The reality is that they all fixed it.  I just went right on home and screwed it up again

3) I failed to take responsibility: I blamed CrossFit for setting the deadlift, furniture manufacturers for making soft sofa’s, girlfriends for buying soft sofa’s, the door of our flat being wide enough to allow a soft sofa into my life. I also loaded stress, poor diet and worry into the mix, to get top quality pain, I certainly didn’t moderate my exercise: anger drove my deadlift up to levels that would guarantee to destroy it.

4) A refusal to do the “guaranteed to work” boring therapy exercises

5) A refusal to realise that I was a “backaholic”. That I loved slumping and  I liked that sickly sweet pain that comes with 8 hours of hanging in your back. I think I also liked the sympathy I got, but that’s awful to confess (in fact, I’m going to edit that confession out).

The good news is this: unless you have back plague, or a demon has possessed your spine,  you can fix your back. Back plague, demonic possession otherwise known as  Red Flags are here: if you have these symptoms, you do have a medical condition (or a demon)  and you need help fast.

But, unless you are in the tiny minority who has something really wrong with their back , your pain is down to you, and you can fix it if you want or can be bothered to.

If any of our members are remotely interested, we will  go through the skills and drills  you need to fix your back on Sunday 16th July at 10.30am in the back room at 9 Malcolm Place E2, for free. The class “back hygeine” is on the booking schedule. You should be able to book in and the system won’t charge you!

Don’t worry about me!  If no one shows, I’ll drink coffee! After all, I’ve decided to manage my back. I’m so over needing it to hurt

 

 

Is Stretching Supposed to be That Painful?

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Pain. It’s the big thing that draws people to getting flexible but one of the main things that keeps us away from stretching. 

So is pain in stretching a good thing, and if so how do I get around it?

Number one is to understand there are two kinds of pain. ‘Burning’ pain you feel while stretching is good. Think of it like going to the gym or doing a Crossfit WoD – you hurt the day after, right? It’s a sign of your muscles rebuilding stronger – or longer in the case of stretching – after they’ve worked hard.

Stabbing pain you want to avoid. If you’ve broken a bone, twisted something or dropped a plate on your foot you know what I mean.

How do you keep it to the good pain then, and make even that as comfortable as possible?

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1. Breathing. The deeper you breathe, the more you relax, and relaxed muscles get more flexible with less burning pain – think of it as giving your muscles what they want. Less fight = good news.

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2. Distraction. Have a conversation with your stretching partner, watch TV, it helps focus away from the pain, and reducing focus on pain tends to reduce the pain itself. Plus any excuse to catch up on Netflix I could go for.

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3. Listen. To your body. Go slow, if your body wants to open up today, it will. Pushing to far too fast turns stretching pain into stabbing pain = ton muscles = major setback to your flexibility. 

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4. Position. Stretch in a way that doesn’t damage joints, experiment or ask an expert for advice.  

Stay smart & stay safe. Felix

So, how was Fran?

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If you are reading this after the 19th of June, well done. You completed Fran. Either it’s your 1st time, or you had a previous benchmark which hopefully you beat.

Either way, you have something far more valuable than a PB. You have information. Crucially you have information that will inform your future training. Let’s look at what you just did: 21/15/9 thrusters and pull ups.

Question 1) It was a test, did you take it seriously, or did you coast?

Question 2) What felt hard, what felt easy? There are 2, arguably  3 moves in this workout, the squat, the push press, Some would say the thruster is simply unique sick move, all of its own, others

There are 2, arguably  3 moves in this workout. Some would say the thruster is a unique sick move all of its own, others that it’s just a front squat and push press stuck together. Then there’s the pull-up? Which felt hard, which felt easy.

Which felt hard, which felt easy?

The reality is that your Fran time will get better by a bigger front squat and a stronger performance overhead or simply a better thruster.

You’ll notice that our program constantly targets the front squat, the back squat, the deadlift. We combine this regular stimulus with one-legged variation’s designed to make sure your legs and glutes are totally engaged. This will also transform your sad little ass into a booty! Basically having strong legs is one aspect of nailing Fran. Look at those regular days and get yourself booked in.

Overhead strength is a must, so make sure you hit ” no squat day” where we work your strict and dynamic arm strength.

As for your pull-ups, you’ll notice a constant drip of weighted pull ups and dips in the program. The stronger your arms, the better. Obviously, it’s unlikely (but not impossible) that you’ll get a world beating Fran time with strict pull ups, so the question is, do you need to learn how to kip? If so, watch out for the tap swing /kipping opportunities in the “all element day” warm up, check out the skill classes and see if there is a “1.9” scheduled soon. 

Take home message, learn how to kip. If there isn’t a skill class or a 1.9 you can get to, grab a trainer and book a PT session!

However, these elements are not in themselves guaranteed to work. They must be pulled together by an unstoppable metabolic engine, so work hard in the metabolic conditioning part of the Crossfit level 2 classes, and hit those Metcon classes.

Once again, a good metabolic engine isn’t quite enough! Eventually, you need to be able to cope with thrusters and pull ups in a metabolic context. Remember the Tabata thrusters and pull ups!!

Balance this by dealing with your mobility, food, and mental health issues!

Crossfit? What the fuss? Get super strong, super skilled and build an unstoppable metabolic engine and apply it to tasks.  Fix mobility problems, eat well, and be super, super happy!