Olympic-Lifting, Power-Lifting, Strength and Conditioning
The 4 Horsemen will usher in a new age of fitness. The traditional versions of Conquest, War, Famine and Death are represented in our focus on Goals, Competition, Nutrition and Metabolic-conditioning. We firmly believe that strength, power and fitness are best achieved by utilizing CrossFit methods and the 4 Horsemen of Lifts: Squats, Presses, Deadlifts and O-lifts.
In the words of the former Crazy Canuck, Jungle Jim Hunter, “too many athletes want to win by default,” as opposed to earning their results.
Martins Dukurs having had an incredible race markedly increases the value of Jon’s medal – maybe not to the public at large, but to Jon. If he won gold because Martins had an equipment failure, it wouldn’t have meant what it does.
There are far to many people (especially my generation and younger) that think things should just be given to them. Whether it be a better grade, a promotion or even a favor, this sense of entitlement is really starting to piss me off. You can not expect to get anywhere or see any results if you do not put in the time and effort required. Sometimes you might even have to do more than the bare minimum to get ahead!
Get your butt off the couch and start training because if you want it, you'll have to earn it!
I hear it all the time, "Oh man, my program rocks! I'm getting so big and strong! My bench is up like 20lbs in two weeks". Two months later I'll check back and it is always the same "Yeah, things are going well I'm getting bigger for sure." but when I ask how much they're numbers are increasing it is usually 20-30# above what it used to be, but it hasn't gone up any in the last 2-3 weeks. Usually in about 2-3 months they have plateaued doing there 3 sets of 10 or 15 and the 21's for the guns routines. At best they get a little bit bigger and a tiny bit stronger (on their 1rm). They can bench 135 for 15 but only 185 for 1.
They start doing high intensity workouts that only use light weights - P90x, Jazzercise, bootcamps. Now depending on the degree of couch potatoeness the atheletes will usually dramatic results for the first 2-3 month, good results of the next 3 months , ok results for the next 3 months and then minimal increases after that. eg. 1 Mile time goes from 11min to 8:30min to 7:15 to 6:45 to 6:40 to 6:38.
Now getting off you butt is good and doing something/anything is better than nothing. Now that being sad there is a reason that your current/old programs suck. It all starts off well because you are putting a stress on your body that it is not accustomed to and as a result your body needs to adapt to that change resulting in your increased speed/strength. But if this stress is the same - 3x10's or just body/light weight metcons, your body will adapt to it and you will stop experiencing gains. Now during this early period you will also benefit from increasing your muscle memory - the more you do a movement, the more efficient you learn to do it. Most of the time gains in metcons at 6-9 months in are due to this effect. Your stamina increases dramatically the first few months but during this time you are very exhausted during the workout and your form is crappy, making you inefficient. 6 months later your stamina is better and you are able to keep your form tighter and you start to become efficient in the movements. Doing a burpee 0.2 sec faster each rep over 50 reps is a 10 secs decrease in your overall time. Is your "cardio" better - no! Are you more efficient - yes! Are you therefore fitter - sure! Now efficiency is a topic for a different day but an important concept nonetheless.
Back to Adaptation - A good program is one that requires the body to adapt to new stressers and allows the body enough time and the ability to recover from the stress resulting in the ability to do more. Basically you need to do enough so that the body has to change/adapt but not so much that adaptation is impossible or too little that no adaptation is neccessary. The tricky part is thatthe amount of stress required for the change to occur and the amount of rest required before you have improved will change constantly during your training career.
For weight lifters - Use "starting strength", then move on to the "Texas method" then to a more advanced protocol. As you plateau you need to change the program accordingly nothing lasts for ever and what works for an advanced athlete will not work for a beginner and vice versa.
For P90Xers - Keep the exercises in your workouts varied and start introducing heavier weights. Switch to scaled Crossfit.com style workouts then try the real thing. For those long time body weight/light weight Crossfiters start getting heavier or increasing the difficulty of the body weight exercises try handstand pushups instead of regular. Do Fran at 115#, you can lower the reps at first to keep the volume similar to what you are used to. Your body will adapt and you will be stronger and faster. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable or risk being content with being scaled.
*Side Note: Doing 1000+ air squats in row is probably the dumbest thing you can do in your training as the stress is so high that there is no way you will see any gains after recovery in fact you will most likely see a lose in your abilities. Excessive/insane feats of strength will result in instant overtraining!
On Saturday I competed at Winterlift in Sarnia. Here is a summary of what worked out to be a third placed finish in the 77kg weight class. BWT 76.1kg; Snatch: 1-84kg, 2-89kg(miss), 3-90kg; Clean&Jerk: 1-109, 2-115, 3-119; Total: 209kg. Big thanks to Bryan Marshall and Hani Kanama from Toronto Weightlifting for all their help, tips and great advice. I would also like to thank Larry, Miel, Stella, Jeff, Glenn, Rick, Justin, Robyn, and everyone else for the cheers and support.
First off, the snatch and the clean are not like the deadlift, technique for one is not the same for the other. The basic principle applies to both the snatch and clean but for simplicity I will only discuss the snatch, for which the setup is obviously different from the clean. To setup for the snatch first walk up to bar so it touches your shins, with feet hip width apart. Grip the bar so that it will pop right out of your hip crease during the second pull (about 2" below the belly button when standing). you can point the toes out and flair your knees out slightly to allow you to get closer to the bar with a more upright back position. Make sure you breathe in deeply and hold it in your belly when you get into this position so your core is tight. The first pull must be initiated with leg drive. From the setup you use only your legs to lift the bar, maintaining your original back angle until the bar reaches the top of your knees (legs will straighten continuously). It is a common mistake to initiate the lift by elevating the butt causing the legs to straighten and the back to become horizontal as the bar reaches the knees. The problem with this alignment is that the butt must drop and tension released in the hamstring (huge power loss) so that "rebend" of the knees may occur to get the bar in the correct position for the second pull.
Over the Christmas Holidays I spent 3 weeks training at the new box in my hometown. I had a great time at Crossfit Chilliwack with a bunch of great people! I can't wait to get back and see how they've grown.