Why do anything?
Our life is dictated by the quality of questions we ask. The answers are only relevant to illuminate what we should ask next. Where am I? Where do I need to go? Who can teach me?
AM @ CrossFit Perpetua London
Warm: 20min run
Glute activation and dynamic lunge work
Build to heavy set of 8 sumo deadlift
5 sets @ “heavy”
50x sumo deadlift high pull
PM @ Local Motion Studios w/ Farid Herrera
1-hour of bridge, arch, and wrist progression.
PM.2 @ Barbers Gym in Hackney Downs
3 rounds NFT
10x Spider-Man lunge
10x knee to feet
10x ring pull
5x inch worm
4 rounds NFT
10x Nordic hamstring curl
10x goblet squat
10x over head lunge
10x hanging leg lift
5x front rack KB squat
5x back squat
5x overhead plate squat
50m suitcase carry
breath work and ice
How do injuries occur?
It’s a general question that’s rarely asked. Instead, the question is most often: “how can I recover from an injury”. Questions are good in any form but the fitness industry assumes (often incorrectly) certain aspects of injuries: bad form most commonly being the scapegoat.
Obviously, we are in favor of moving as well as one can, but there should be some recognition that this statement is like saying the “ocean is blue”, it most certainly appears to be but is simply a perception not a truth.
Bad form really does look injurious but as cringeworthy as it is it doesn’t actually cause the pain itself. Here is where this subject gets depressing, we don’t really know the cause of most injuries, even if we can deduce when and where the pain started ie; “I was tying my shoes yesterday and something twinged in my low back”. However common this statement is, it is next to impossible to say what caused it. Was the tying of laces really so traumatic that the muscles in the back spasmed and put you on the floor for a few days? Was it a lack of contraction or was it an over contraction? Was it a lack of recovery or too much “recovering”? Trying to figure out this puzzle is like trying to answer what causes a storm, we have an acceptable answer that we noddingly agree to but there is an infinite amount of detail that will always allude to finer detail until at some point a butterfly has a mug shot.
For some reason we feel the need to have a culprit, the more specific the better because we can specifically avoid the cause next time (which in reality seems to never be avoidable).
But we do have the ability to heal injuries (if you have never thought about how miraculous this biological feature is then you should do so now). This usually happens because of the amount of attention and intention we afford recovery. We protect the site affected and the pain and sensation has us searching for time in a “neutral space”. Enough time paying attention and the body can relax, heal, and return to homeostasis.
This thought is important because what allows us to heal should allow us to avoid. “Pay attention” seems like a sophists argument for recovery but it really is our best chance and also probably the most expensive. We may not be able to accurately attribute how injuries occur but with enough intention it’s possible to avoid.
Training (pay attention)
warm: 20min easy spin
dynamic track work and progressive single leg
5x5 off box squat (each leg)
+8 hopping Bulgarian split squats (each leg)
*10 burpee between each transition.
How often should we train in a team environment?
This is a tricky question without placating on “it depends” but I will try. One should train in a team environment as often as they can in order to increase the intensity to a level that they can be affected by it, but also recover from it.
The dangers in training with a highly competitive team too frequently are the exact dangers that offer so much benefit, namely: accountability. But push the intensity button too often, and “hard” becomes “feels hard”—but isn’t. My other worries are based on the high possibility of too much comfort around a team environment; too many sessions together allow relationships to also reveal the realities of personality quirks. There is a quite powerful “honeymoon” effect, where everyone is on his or her best behavior when social fitness hierarchy is being determined. I try to keep this idea in my head: “Will I quit around this person/s?” If the answer is yes then you are most likely too comfortable. It doesn’t mean you have to ditch that training partner but you should likely consider altering the current situation and feel what “hard” is again.
10min easy bike
10min lightening 5x burpee penalty into last man standing (Ross won)
2min third world sit
10x of each:
pistol kick out
cosack kick out
candlestick to pistol
burpee to 3rdworld
burpee to kick through
prone to cosack
In teams of 2 (only one working at a time)
100cal ski erg
50 DB snatch (100 total) 35/50
50x toes to bar
100cal C2 bike erg
50x box jump overs 24”
what is training priority?
The first thing to do, before any physiology is involved is to decide whether you want the session to have a positive or negative effect. Sometimes you wont have control over this outcome—especially if there is more than one person training. No big surprise to most reading this that we consider psychological outcome first and foremost. Beyond this, designing a session is fairly straight forward—although this is exactly where most attempt to solidify programming as an exact science—it is more likely that a “program” is designed on the whim of the author’s emotional state—riddled with more style and fad than it is with any concrete algorithm.
Next, when orchestrating a session we consider the energy system that we want to provoke. This is mostly controlled by time (there isn’t much endurance or ultra endurance being trained inside of a gym and strength or power systems are largely decided by exercise selection and load so we are basically only talking about workout design for Power-Endurance) We derive “how hard?” based on the variations within the general 1-hour sessions. We could talk zones, heart rates or other sciencey sounding stuff but that doesn’t really matter, there is no magic zone, and one type of intensity is not more important than another (when training GPP). I tend to look more at total time duration of combined efforts, the rest involved/required, and to take it back to the intro, whether I want the outcome to be positive or not. There are times to burn the house down but they are rare—if you are doing it right.
Controlling a positive or negative outcome is by far the most complex aspect. You have to consider the state of the player, their past, their ability, and intimate knowledge of how your exercise selection will affect them. Testing, racing or all out efforts (fear mongering) will almost always have negative outcomes if this isn’t tightly controlled.
The next variable is exercise selection, which is pretty straightforward. Ask this question and see for yourself: what exercises can the player do without altering the plan for the energy system being worked? For an example if I want a single hard 20-min effort to enforce adaption to high acidity or the ability to buffer lactate, then I have to ensure my player doesn’t get stuck on a strength problem or a skill issue that will make high acidity less probable, therefore making my session unpredictable. The easiest example is putting strict work in the middle of aerobic work, like strict pull ups or strict handstand push ups, most people get hung up on these in large sets. Or some are only able to perform technical movements when fresh, so the player’s ability to resist fatigue induced, skill-failure needs to be considered. One pet peeve of mine—that highlights this mistake—is when people require a strict push up in a burpee that they term: “proper form”, it isn’t. The purpose of a burpee is to stimulate aerobic capacity, the purpose is to move your body as efficiently as possible so that you may do as much work as possible. The purpose of a strict push up is strength endurance (in most cases) enforcing strict reps usually means moving less or taking breaks to recover localized muscular fatigue, which will defeat the objective.
It’s worth noting that designing training to be hard is easy, as strange as it sounds. What is difficult is to make training challenging, fun, and effective. Below is an example of putting a session together that takes into account different abilities but gets everyone to the same training stimulus.
10min easy bike
3x10m of each NFT:
3x5 3-position manta progression (straight armed leg lift)
3x5 wrist pushups
3x5 Russian push ups
3x5 archer push ups
Skill: double under practice (if player cannot link more than 20x double unders together, then exercise selection changes)
20x cal machine (pick machine appropriate for time domain ie: Assault bike is hardest to accumulate calories, bike erg easiest) Only alter amount if player is taking longer than 1:20 for first section)
15x burpee (many more than this and you will divide the group based on ability)
max reps on double unders or lateral bar hops for those that haven’t developed the skill. (the plan was to get an excessive amount of time jumping—the imposed risk of tripping helps the player manage technical execution under fatigue—but is simple enough to keep the intensity rather high)
Rest 1:1 (4min)
5 rounds (your score is the average number of jumps across all sets)
Erin-C2 bike erg/double under: 135rep avg.
Michael-Assault bike/ double under:167rep avg.
Brandon-Row/lateral bar hop: 79rep avg.
Josh-Assault bike/lateral bar hop: 103rep avg.
Kenton-C2 bike erg/lateral bar hop: 87rep avg.
We have varying levels of skill and fitness. The goal was to put everyone into the 90-95% area, where it is hard to pay attention but is required to do so (or you’ll trip). I wanted more than anything for all outcomes to be positive, so allowing people to ramp their effort appropriately let them accelerate and finish somewhere around their best. Picking the right machine so that the group moved cohesively was important for the perception of each player. It is not a pleasant workout, your feet will ache and side cramps are normal, but this positive outcome even under duress shapes our view of what we are capable and all but dismisses the notion that we are concerned with physiology
It starts with a question…
…and the answer is fairly irrelevant. Asking allows us to explore. How far can I go? Where will this road take me? What am I capable of? In asking, I create. I move from 0 to 1. At first I had nothing, but with prospect and curiosity I enable an electrical signal to roam my brain and become a combustible chemical reaction that allows my body to move in the direction of an idea. The purest form of ambition starts with a question—an idea—one that allows us to wonder and wander.
Some people save this exact date as the time to generate a new idea about themselves, to finally question and want better; their only mistake is in waiting. The date is arbitrary, as long as our resolution is to be more resolved. Let it be the 1st or the 31st, even the 6th month of the two thousandth and twentieth year, all that matters is that you let your questions about the world become answers in the form of actions.
We have lofty questions: What can I create? What can I build? What kind of people do we attract? To get to these we had to ask less pleasant questions: What can I burn down, what can I destroy? How can I not be a liability? How can I start over—how can I not be me?
These questions became ideas; out of them we generated actions. We cut, burned, and razed. Sometimes the fire got out of hand, other times we cut too deep and we had to stop, rest, and heal, because the secret to all of this talk of demolition is that we can only do it to ourselves. What you want so badly to change about the world around you is the exact thing you should change about your self.
We will continue to ask questions, to have better ideas, we will change. Will you?