Saturday, March 26, 2011

Drop It like A Squat

Many people want to improve their over head or front squat but the root of the problem is usual in their air squat. Ask yourself the following questions.
While in the air squat...
do my heels lift at all?
does my back arch?
does my back round?
do my knees track inside of my feet?
do my knees push forward beyond my toes?

A few easy tricks you can do at home

proper posture and start
Hands on your belly
wall squats
rack squats
staying in the bottom

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Getting Your Kip and Keeping It

The first thing you need to understand about kipping is that it is all about technique. I'm going to break it into 7 pieces and then bring it back together for you.

1. Open chest, tight back and PVC Supermen.
2. C position or hollow rock. With your arms overhead contract your abs as if somebody punched you in the stomach. Now pick up a med ball and hold it overhead. You are going to contract your abs as you slam the ball onto the ground. This is very similar to the movement you use to get over the bar. Check out this video of the med ball toss
3. Pull in. As you get over the bar (hopefully eye level or higher) you pull yourself in as if doing a ring row
4. Push out. As soon as you get to the top of your kip push away from the bar as if you were doing a push up.
5. Putting it together with PVC. See this video on kipping with PVC
6. Jumping kipping pullups. This video on jumping kipping pullups will help you practice these
7. Hanging swing.hanging swing video
7. Kipping Pulllups. Put it all together and get on that bar! video of kipping pullups

Hopefully these will help you get you string together some kipping pullups!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pulling Up Got You Down?

There seem to be a good number of people trying to improve their pullups so hopefully this will help you out. The first thing that you will need is the strength to do a pullup here is a pullup practice video and description to help you out

Pull up Strength
1. Band Selection is key. Did you use the same band for Angie (100 pullups) as you did for Fran (45 pullups)? If so that is the first issue. Use that band that gives you just enough help. Select a band similarly to the way you select weight. If you were scaling fran you wouldn't drop it down to a point where you could do your thrusters unbroken, you would scale it to the point where you had to break them up but were still able to maintain form. Also remember that you can adjust bands during a WOD if you need to and always go chest to bar while using a band.
2. Be a little negative. Do a jumping pullup and try to hold it at the top as long as you can and lower yourself as slowly as possible. Do a few sets of 10 either before or after a WOD depending on what the WOD was.
3. Grip it. So you want to be able to do 20 pullups in a row? You will probably need to hang on the the bar for at least a minute. Practice hanging on the bar for as long as you can to increase grip strength. Also try switching your grip from time to time making it wider/narrower or using a chinup grip.
4. Do Pullups. If you only have 1 than do 10 singles before class, that number will quickly go up. If you don't have any thats ok too. Use the smallest band you can and make sure you get chest to bar on your pullups.  Do jumping chest to bar pullups from time to time giving yourself the minimum amount of jump. The last fun way to practice pullups is with a partner who will give you only the help you need throughout the movement.

Reassess regularly. Don't get into a habit of always grabbing the same band. Every time you do any of these drills it should be challenging. Write down your progress in the logs and look back over them from time to time to see if you are progressing.

Keep an eye out for a post on kipping coming soon!

Monday, February 28, 2011

How to Sign Up

1. Determine what you want to want to work on this month. Next month we will start a new challenge and you will start a new goal.
2. Sign Up on Mindbody under the Events section. The cost to participate is $5.
3. When you get to the gym fill out a log sheet in the red notebook. In this notebook each participant will have a section where they will fill in the following information and logs. Here is an example
-Name: Meris Sullivan
-Weakness to work on: doubleunders
-Plan of Attack: Do 10 sets of 5 reps a minimum of 5 times per week increasing the rep scheme each week. All sets must be unbroken
Visit Log:
3/1- Did 10 sets of 5. Took me 25 attempted sets 
3/2- Did 10 sets of 5. Took me 13 attempted sets
4. Use the blog as a resource. By posting questions your peers and other coaches will be able to help you out.  I will also be happy to answer questions directly and will be posting on the blog regularly

If you have any questions just let me know and talk it up to your friends at the gym, it always helps to have a partner!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pushup Power

Pushups. Some people seem to pump them out effortlessly but for many they are a major road block or speed bump. So what is the answer? Just keep doing them until they get better? That may work for some but for the rest here is a different plan.

1. Get off your knees! So you can't so full range of motion on the floor, that is ok. Use a box so that you are on an angle. The higher the angle the easier the pushups will be so as you improve move to a lower box. This will help reenforce the stable midline and your ability to hold a plank.
2. Put a ring on it. Use the rings to do your pushups. The instability will increase your shoulder and core strength.
3. Don't be so shallow. With every pushup variation make sure that you are getting low. If you are using the rings make sure that your chest is getting even with the bottom of the rings or lower.

So maybe it isn't a question of having pushups or not, maybe you just want more. Its ok to be greedy, who doesn't want more?!

1. Drop it low. Drop the rings as low as you can and get to work. Still not enough of a challenge? Put your feet up on a box so they are higher than your shoulders.
2. Switch your grip. Try wide grip, narrow grip, diamond grip and if those are too easy go for some spiderman pushups.
3. Use some rubber. Put a band around your back and loop each end through a hand. This will give you resistance during your pushup with the most at the top. You can also try putting a plate on your back but make sure you maintain proper posture... no saggy hips!
4. Slow your role. Play around with the tempo of your pushups, take 3 seconds to reach the bottom, hold the bottom for a second and explode up. You can play around with the timing.
5. Plank. Lets say you want to be able to do 50 pushups, that means you must be able to hold yourself up  for at least a minute but more realistically 2 or more. If you can't hold a plank for that time period those pushups aren't going to happen. After repping out as many pushups as you can hold up a plank to failure.

Have any other pushups progressions that have worked for you? Post to comments.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Double Under Help

I found this great video to help you improve your double unders. I notice that a lot of people feel they need to improve them and hopefully this will help. double under help from Patrick Cummings  He does a great job of breaking it down and telling you how to progress into double unders.

One thing I have noticed is that a lot of people struggle with good form on their single unders. Watch the video that is linked above and make sure that you can do solid singles for at least a minute before attempting double unders.

My game plan is to work in sets. Currently I can do 5 at a time sometimes. So each day this week I will do 10 sets of 5, the set only counts if it is unbroken and I can rest as much as I want between attempts. Each week I will increase the number of reps per set.

Remember the challenge doesn't start until March 1, but there is nothing wrong with getting a jump start.
If you have any tips or questions please post them to comments

Good Luck Everybody!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to Get Started

With any weakness there is a reason. The reason can generally fall into 3 categories
1) Mobility issues
2) Proprioception (body control or technique issues)
3) Strength issues

You may need to work on just one of these areas or a combination of the 3. To illustrate this point I will use the muscle up as an example. Ask yourself the following questions...

Are you comfortable in the false grip? if not than you need to learn unless you plan to do them without the false grip
Are you able to complete deep dips? if not work on these
Are you able to do high explosive pullups on the rings? If no this will be an area to attack
Do you understand how to do the transition from the pull to the dip? You can learn this by doing jumping muscle ups. If you understand what to do but you haven't gotten comfortable with the movement yet this is a proprioceptive issue and can be fixed with practice.
Do you know how to kip on the rings? This isn't mandatory but it really helps.

Muscle ups are also tough on the shoulders and can challenge range of motion so for many people they need to work on shoulder mobility. Depending on your answers to the above questions you will know which areas to attack. Create a plan using help from others on this blog, asking a coach or you can come up with something on your own.  Feel free to post questions to comments.