Are you Ready for The Fittest Games?

The Fittest Games is an event Crossfit Central has hosted for the past 10 years. Year after year it continues to grow and get bigger and bigger. It is THE biggest functional fitness competition in our region. If you are wondering if you should dip your toes in a local competition, this should be it!

In order to compete in The Fittest Games, all athletes will need do an Online Qualifier which consists of 2 weeks where you will complete 2-3 workouts a week. We already plan to program these workouts in Crossfit Central’s classes so you will not have to worry about doing them on your own.  The Qualifier workouts will take place Oct. 17th- 30th and it’s only $25 to register.

There are 4 individual divisions this year: Pro, Amateur, Intermediate, and Scaled. I believe many of my clients at Crossfit Central have an opportunity to compete in the Intermediate or Scaled divisions. The Intermediate/Scaled division was created to give athletes that are new to competing a chance to earn their spot. These athletes are not proficient, or may not have gymnastic skills such as muscle ups or toes to bar, or advanced barbell skills such as high repetition snatches and clean and jerks. These workouts will be modified appropriately for this division. So if you have a pull up and a handstand push up, I think you should try your hand at competing!

The breakdown of how many athletes move past the Online Qualifier:

  • Intermediate Men – 75
  • Intermediate Women – 45
  • Scaled Men – 50
  • Scaled Women – 30

The Fittest Games will take place January 28th & 29th at the Travis County Expo Center.

To register for the Online Qualifier click HERE

Let’s get to training and show the Region what Crossfit Central Athletes are made of!

Tempos Will Increase Your Strength

What is Tempo?

Tempo means you are executing an exercise at a given speed during the contraction phase of the movement as well as the eccentric phase of the movement. The contraction phase is where the muscle is shortening when you are doing a movement. I.E during a bicep curl, the biceps are shortening during the motion of bringing the weight up so that is the concentric phase of the movement. The eccentric phase is where the muscles are lengthening. I.E. during a bicep curl on the downward motion, the biceps are lengthening the return the weight back to the waist in a controlled manner.

What does a Tempo look like?

A Tempo consists of 4 numbers that dictate the tempo of the movement.

Your Back Squat says 3 x 10 @ “40×1” The 40×1 is the tempo that is attached to the Back Squat.

The First number (4) is the eccentric phase of the movement. In the back squat, it will be the descent of the squat. So the tempo is placed to take 4 Seconds to get to the bottom of your squat.

The Second number (0) is the number of seconds you will pause at the end of the eccentric phase of the movement. In this case, the “0” means there is no pause at the bottom of your squat.

The Third number (x) is the concentric phase of the movement. In this case, an “x” means explode. If there was a number, that would tell you to go through that portion of the movement for that many seconds. So with the back squat, an “x” means to explode out of the bottom and stand up as fast as possible.

The Fourth number (1) is the number of seconds you will pause after the concentric phase before you return back to the eccentric phase. In this case, you will pause for 1 second at the top of you squat before you return back down with a 4 second descent.

Reading Tempo gets tricky when the movement starts with a Concentric phase. For instance a Strict Press @ 2111, does not start at the 2 seconds because that is the eccentric phase, or when you are controlling the movement down. So you must start at the 3rd number, the “1.” It reads you press for 1 second, you pause for 1 second at the top, you control the movement down for 2 seconds, and then pause at the bottom for 1 second.

Strict Press, Push Press, Deadlifts, and Pull Ups are examples where it gets trickier to read because you have to start the movement at the 3rd number.

Why use Tempos?

They make you stronger! Time under Tension, or TuT as written in exercise science literature is referring to how long the muscle are under strain during a set. So think about doing a set of 10 Back Squats at no tempo. You went at your own speed and usually it takes about 4 seconds a lift. So your total time for 10 Back Squats would be 40 seconds.

Now think about doing a set of 10 Back Squats @ 4221. Now each Back Squat will take you 9 seconds to complete. With 10 Back Squats taking you a total of 90 seconds. Which is 50 seconds longer then just doing a set of 10 with no tempo. So in essence your muscles are under strain longer and will adapt to that and get stronger.

Also controlling the eccentric phase of the movement, the lower phase, recruits more motor units thus effectively developing strength and performance. That is why if you don’t have a strict pull up I tell you to work the negative portion of the pull up because it will develop strength in those muscles and recruit more motor units to more prepare you to get your 1st strict pull up then just working strict pull ups with a band.

As a beginner, using tempos are also great for pinpointing out where you have weaknesses or imbalances. Rushing through portions of a movement can be a crutch because you may not have the mobility or stability needed to perform that movement properly.

Think about the Back Squat again, if you are missing range of motion in your ankle you will tend to rush through the eccentric phase of the movement because it would hurt to lower slowly and control it to the bottom and hold for 2-3 seconds.

So if you have been hitting a plateu in your strength gains and haven’t broken past your barriers, try adding some tempos to your lifts and see if you notice a difference. If you know your technique is not the greatest, you definitely need to control the movement and feel where your technique is breaking down and learn from it.

Heres a video of me Back Squatting at 40×1 for a set of 4. Notice how slow and controlled the movement is and much more difficult it is only squatting 70% of my max.

 

Please reach out if you have any questions with this: jesspowers@crossfitcentral.com

Specific Approach to Reach Your Goals

For the past 3 weeks, I have been working specifically with Laura twice a week to increase her upper strength and increase her speed. More specifically her main goal is to get 1 strict pull up. Laura is quite honestly one of those ideal clients. She shows up every time, is ready to work, and listens and implements what you tell her right away. It is every coaches dream!!

After assessing Laura, I knew right away that we had to hammer in a lot of scapular strength and stability work and isometric holds to get her to her ultimate goal. After only a couple weeks working on this, she is already so close to completing her first strict pull up!!

Here’s a look into what I have been incorporating in here training regimen:

I have broken up Laura’s pull up training cycle up into two days. On Tuesdays we work on scapular strength by incorporating DB external rotators and DB powell raises. We also work on supinated chin over bar holds and really focus on drawing those shoulder blades down and incorporating all the shoulder muscles in the exercise. We went from 5-10 seconds to 15-20 seconds this past Tuesday! On Thursdays we work on Negative pull ups and other upper body pressing and pulling movements. She has increased her negative pull ups from week 1 of going at a 6 count to last week being able to do a weighted negative pull up with a 10# DB strapped on for 8 count.

 

 

At the rate she is going I see her not only getting 1 strict pull up but multiples in just a few more short weeks.

 

Do you have a specific goal in mind? Whether its a gymnastic movement such as a strict pull up or a muscle up or looking to improve your barbell technique?

I currently have 2 openings for personal training to help you work to reach your specific goals. Stop wishing and start doing something about your goals if your current path isn’t working. All training can be done at Crossfit Central Burnet so we can play with all the toys =)

 

 

Are You Doing Your Homework?

Remember this workout from awhile back:

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 7.05.47 PM

What I remember most about this workout from a coaches’ point of view  is a lot of people not knowing what their Max Clean or Push Press was.  I know we have all gotten comfortable with having Wodify there and being able to see our maxes and percentages, but when the percentage is in the middle of a Metcon you will not be able to see this.  This is an instance where you will need to do your HOMEWORK!

If you are wanting to get stronger, which I know most everyone is, then you must come prepared to class and have a mindset that you are going to crush the strength piece.  It is what every great athlete does if they expect to get any better.

Here are 3 things you can do every night before you come in for your workout:

1- Look at the workout on Wodify

The workouts get released the night before at 7PM so you can visualize and see what you are about to do the next day. I would be sure to look at it and notice if there are any percentages listed, any max lifts, etc. So that way you can look back in your history and see how much you have lifted in the past.

2- Write out your numbers for the workout

Let’s say the workout is 5 x 5 of Front Squats performed at 70-80% of your max. First thing I would do is look back at my Front Squat max and find out what 70% of that is and write it down. Then I would write down 80% of your max next to it. So for me personally, I would have a piece of paper that says 130#-150#. So I knew my first set would be at probably 135# and I would see how I felt and try to work up to 150# by my last set.

3-  Have a game plan for the workout

Think about what your goals are. Let’s say the workout was:

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 8.41.34 PM

and you don’t have pull ups at all without assistance. Are you just going to throw a band up there and fling your way through 50? Or should you talk to your coach and find a better way to scale 50 pull ups. Maybe that means bringing down the reps so that you can get stronger. Maybe that is changing the movement to ring rows, barbell rows, single arm DB rows, barbell pull ups, etc. There are so many different ways to get to your goals, it is important for you to know your goals and communicate them to your coach so they can provide you with the best possible scenario for you.

If you have any questions about your homework or how to get to your goals, please don’t hesitate to email me at jesspowers@crossfitcentral.com.