Coaches Roundtable: Just the Tip on the Overhead Squat

Lidia Valentin (left) and Lu Xiaojun (right). Notice the position of their wrists, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.

Lidia Valentin (left) and Lu Xiaojun (right). Notice the position of their wrists, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.

The question posed this week to the CFDV Coaches was this:

What do you think is the biggest problem area that you’ve seen with the overhead squat and how do you go about correcting it?

Rob: I believe that the best way to mobilize for the OHS is to do the OHS. If an athlete is having problems, lower the weight until the movement can be done correctly and slowly/carefully build from there.

Larry: Rob, so what you’re saying is that if I do the thing, start slow, be patient, and keep at it that I’ll get better at said thing? I’m sorry but that answer makes too much sense. I’m going to need a more ambiguous response full of $5 words and anatomy terms that make people’s eyes glaze over. Please try again.

Rob: HAHA! Yes, that’s correct. Seriously, though: CrossFit is a mirror for life. Shortcuts generally don’t work. If I’m dealing with a client I usually tell it like this: Start with consistency. Train the movement every time you walk in the door. Then, gently add intensity. What do you do if you added too much? Reduce intensity and climb again. Finally, get your nutrition straight, ya filthy animal!

Nick: I have like a million thoughts on this lift (because it’s my favorite). But I will limit myself.

The number 1 biggest problem I see, without a doubt, is athletes not taking the time to establish a stable set up before they initiate the squat. If you aren’t 100% locked in, tight with your midline aligned with the barbell when you set up, it’s extremely unlikely the situation will improve as you squat.

If someone can’t demonstrate a perfect set up for me they aren’t allowed to bend their knees and hips yet.

2. Second biggest problem is rushing. We do so many explosive lifts, powerful movements and high intensity met cons in CrossFit we aren’t always accustomed to SLOWING WAY DOWN. Out insincts are working against us here telling us to rush out of challenging positions, powering or dropping through unsustainable positions. It’s very important to keep in mind that the OH squat isn’t first and foremost a test of strength: It’s a test of coordination, balance, flexibility and control.

I prefer to train this lift with exaggeratedly slow eccentrics and long deliberate pauses in the extreme bottom position. I find this makes a tremendous difference.

Also the bottoms up KB squat is an invaluable precursor to OH squatting. 100x safer, requires same level of total focus, penalizes you immediately if you try to go fast or rush and it is similar in that it teaches you how to create global stability and make your body “one piece.”

Kevin: I agree with Nick’s second point. A lot of lifts are failed or look shaky, especially when heavy, because the athlete rushes on the way down.

Another problem is attaining a solid overhead position and maintaining it throughout the movement. I feel like elbow and armpit position is debatable, but most are a fan of external shoulder rotation to get armpits straight ahead and elbow pits to the ceiling. The one thing I think everyone agrees on is you must be applying upward pressure on the bar the entire time. An exercise that could help is the sotts press.

Larry: Nick, for the bottoms up KB Squat is the KB overhead or racked at the shoulder? Also, I think Mark Rippetoe said it best in describing the Olympic lifts as an “expression of strength.”

Nick: Neither. Check it out. I think Coach Ripp also said that Olympic weightlifting is gymnastics with a barbell!

Larry: Shit gets weird in Texas.

Nick: One more thought. Can you tell I love this topic?

I think one of the most challenging aspects of this movement, both for athletes and coaches, is that when flexibility problems crop up we aren’t always able to immediately address in a matter of minutes. So do you have them practice OH squats with sub-standard movement? Reduce range of motion? What if its a metcon?

A great scale I’ve used before that makes me breathe a little easier as a coach and gives the athlete a great sense of success in the moment is the OH static lunge.

This allows the athlete to work on active shoulders, lowering and raising the midline and creating global stability and doesn’t require NEARLY as much flexibility. Much safer if an athlete clearly has some compensations that aren’t going to be resolved immediately.

It’s really easy for beginners especially to feel disheartened and demoralized when a movement seems to be light years away from where they are. So having a similar movement that’s more accessible but achieves a similar training stimulus is great!

Kara: This is a seriously non-pro tip, but when it comes to OHS in metcons, I’ve found that the first 1 or 2 will always suck, but if you just commit and keep your shoulders locked into your ears, they’ll get better. So I always tell myself this before an OHS metcon starts: It’s going to feel terrible at first, but just suck it up and it will gradually feel better, and then I will be done and I can eat nachos because I finished.

Larry: At the end of the day the overhead squat is difficult because it’s not something you would ever do outside of the gym. It doesn’t appear in nature so it’s a brand new movement pattern for the brain and body to learn. As the saying goes, “Perfect practice makes perfect. Shitty practice makes perfect shit.” Use the lessons mentioned above, create stability from the top down, go slow, and only squat as deep as you can maintain perfect form. Once your chest drops, shoulders round/arm pits face the floor, heels come off the floor…STOP and start again from the top. Patience and consistency will get you there, but you need both.

All right, CFDV, now it’s your turn. If you’ve had any lightbulb moments with the overhead squat, or have a mobility exercise that you really like, share them in the comments below.

WOD 10.23.2014

Throwback Thursday: Ladies and Rob at last year's Homecoming Dance!

Throwback Thursday: CFDV ladies and Rob at last year’s Homecoming Dance!

Skill

5 Minutes of Handstand Progressions

Strength

10 Minutes of Turkish Get Up Practice. Work up to a heavy set of 2 on each arm.

Metcon

Newport Crippler

For time:
30 Back Squats
Run 1 Broomile

RX: Bodyweight/.75 BW
Scaled: 1/2 BW, .33 BW

A Legit Excuse to Keep Up Your Coffee Addiction

Week of October 26: CFDV Spirit Week and Homecoming Dance! 

  • Sunday: Field trip to SkyZone at 2PM – sign up here!
  • Monday: Rolf (row golf) Outing – wear your golf attire.
  • Tuesday: Twinning Tuesday – find a partner and dress alike.
  • Wednesday: Jersey Day – rep your favorite team’s jersey or dress like someone from Jersey.
  • Thursday: Crazy Socks Day – CrossFitters love socks! Show us your best ones.
  • Friday: Halloween Costume Day – dress to survive the Zombie Apocalypse WOD!
  • Saturday: The Big Dance! Join us at the gym at 7PM for drinks, tunes, and our always-popular photo booth!

WOD 10.22.2014

Jason Bucci

Jason Bucci

Strength

Push Press: 5,5,5+ (add weight based on last week’s max set)

Front Squat: 5,5,5+ (add weight based on last week’s max set)

Metcon

For time:

12-9-6-3
Overhead Squats
Box Jumps

RX: 85/50, 24/20
RX+: 120/85, 30/24
Scaled: 55/35, 24/20

The Best (and Worst) Sleep Positions

Week of October 26: CFDV Spirit Week and Homecoming Dance! 

  • Sunday: Field trip to SkyZone at 2PM – sign up here!
  • Monday: Rolf (row golf) Outing – wear your golf attire.
  • Tuesday: Twinning Tuesday – find a partner and dress alike.
  • Wednesday: Jersey Day – rep your favorite team’s jersey or dress like someone from Jersey.
  • Thursday: Crazy Socks Day – CrossFitters love socks! Show us your best ones.
  • Friday: Halloween Costume Day – dress to survive the Zombie Apocalypse WOD!
  • Saturday: The Big Dance! Join us at the gym at 7PM for drinks, tunes, and our always-popular photo booth!

CFDV Run DMC-Inspired Shirts Pre-Order

Del Val ShirtGold Chains Shirt

Del Val TankGold Chains Tank

It’s tricky to rock a rhyme but not to get the latest Run DMC-inspired CFDV gear!

Shirts and tanks are $22 each or get both designs for $40. The t-shirts are men’s sizes and the tank tops are women’s sizes.

We’d like the Del Val shirt/tank to be what everyone wears at this year’s Step Up Challenge on November 16th.

These shirts make great gifts for Christmas (in Hollis) and you be illin’ to pass this up. So fill out the Pre-order Sheet and we’ll charge you through Wodify once we place the order.

WOD 10.21.2014

Kristyn Sparacino and Dawn Hayner

Kristyn Sparacino and Dawn Hayner

Monster Mash #11

Starting at 0:00

Diane
21-15-9
Deadlift
HSPU

RX: 225/155
Scaled: 65% 1RM Deadlift, Pushups or Floor HSPU, and/or 12-9-6 reps
10-minute time cap.

Starting at 20:00

Elizabeth
21-15-9
Cleans
Ring Dips

RX: 135/95
Scaled: 65% 1RM Squat Clean, Pushups, and/or 12-9-6 reps
15-minute time cap.

Starting at 40:00

CrossFit Baseline
Row 500m
40 Squats
30 Situps
20 Pushups
10 Pullups

Each workout is scored separately for time.

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Week of October 26: CFDV Spirit Week and Homecoming Dance! 

  • Sunday: Field trip to SkyZone at 2PM – sign up here!
  • Monday: Rolf (row golf) Outing – wear your golf attire.
  • Tuesday: Twinning Tuesday – find a partner and dress alike.
  • Wednesday: Jersey Day – rep your favorite team’s jersey or dress like someone from Jersey.
  • Thursday: Crazy Socks Day – CrossFitters love socks! Show us your best ones.
  • Friday: Halloween Costume Day – dress to survive the Zombie Apocalypse WOD!
  • Saturday: The Big Dance! Join us at the gym at 7PM for drinks, tunes, and our always-popular photo booth!

WOD 10.20.2014

skeletor


Skill

5 minutes of handstand progressions.

Strength

Take 10 minutes to work up to a heavy set of 2 in each arm in the Turkish Get Up.

Metcon

Main Site Monday: CrossFit Football – October 10th, 2014

Complete 3 rounds for time:
10 Russian KB Swings
30m KB Front Rack Carry – Right Arm
10 Russian KB Swings
30m KB Front Rack Carry – Left Arm

*Rest 1 minute after each round.

RX: 53/35
RX+: 72/53
Scaled: 35/26

Post results to Wodify.

Week of October 26: CFDV Spirit Week and Homecoming Dance! 

  • Sunday: Field trip to SkyZone at 2PM – sign up here!
  • Monday: Rolf (row golf) Outing – wear your golf attire.
  • Tuesday: Twinning Tuesday – find a partner and dress alike.
  • Wednesday: Jersey Day – rep your favorite team’s jersey or dress like someone from Jersey.
  • Thursday: Crazy Socks Day – CrossFitters love socks! Show us your best ones.
  • Friday: Halloween Costume Day – dress to survive the Zombie Apocalypse WOD!
  • Saturday: The Big Dance! Join us at the gym at 7PM for drinks, tunes, and our always-popular photo booth!

CFDV Field Trip to Sky Zone on 10/26

Jump

Join us as we kick of CFDV Spirit Week with a kick-ass trip to Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park in Glen Mills!

Sunday, October 26
2PM – 3:30PM
http://www.skyzone.com/glenmills

$20 will get you 90 minutes of jump-tastic times with your favorite fitness pals. Friends and family are welcome to attend – this includes kids!

Sign up in the GoogleDoc below to RSVP (please access from a real computer – docs don’t always work from phones) and we’ll charge your Wodify account.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NH3dpQlA80Ao7G1tHDVdauBCW5dIr0z819bu81H8US4/edit?usp=sharing

WOD 10.18.2014

StepUp

Step Up Philly CrossClimb Challenge Workout

This year’s Step Up For Special Olympics CrossClimb Challenge will see the addition of a Team component. Last year, it was only an Individual competition.

In teams of 4, each person on your team will complete the following in a chute-style progression.

21-15-9 reps of:

Calorie Row
USA KB Swings (53/35)
Box Jumps (24/20)
Burpees

Then…

2x 800m Run.

RX: No step ups on the box
Scaled: 35/26, Step ups allowed

How this will work is Person A will begin the workout at the first station: Calorie Row. Once they have completed 21 calories on the rower they will move onto the second station: USA KB Swings. Person B then enters the chute at the rower. The team continues on in this fashion until everyone has completed the workout.

Only one person can work at any given station at a time. You must wait until the person in front of you moves on to the next station before progressing in the workout. Once Person D has completed their last burpee, the team goes out for the run. The team must run together and everyone on the team must complete the entire run. Everyone on your team must also touch up at the garage door after the first 800m.

Post your team results to Wodify.

Join us for Step Up Philly on Sunday, Nov. 16th!

Stick around after the 9:30 class on Saturday. We will be filming a very short video for the Step Up Challenge and want all of you in it to jump around and yell at the end.

WOD 10.17.2014

Kris Carrea at Will WOD for Beer. Photo by Becky Bucci.

Kris Carrea at Will WOD for Beer. Photo by Becky Bucci.

Skill

5 minutes of Handstand Progressions.

Strength

10 minutes of Turkish Get Up Practice. Work up to a heavy set of 3 on each arm.

Metcon

With a 15-minute clock, get as far through the ladder as possible…

1 Muscle Up
10 Double Unders
2 Muscle Ups
20 Double Unders
3 Muscle Ups
30 Double Unders
4 Muscle Ups
40 Double Unders
5 Muscle Ups
50 Double Unders…

If you get through the 50 Double Unders, keep continuing up the ladder.

RX: 1 MU per rep round
RX+: As written
Scaled: CTB Pullup + Ring Dip (1:1 sub), or MU transition to ring dip/support hold.

Score is total reps.

Save the date for this year’s CFDV Homecoming Dance on Saturday, November 1st at 7PM!

How Fast Do Burgers Age? Hint: Real food rots.

CFDV Coaches Roundtable: Songs in the Key of PR

steelpantheralbumcover
This will be the first in a series of posts in which I’ll pose a question or scenario to the CFDV coaches and the conversation that follows.

For the first one, I thought we’d keep it fun and light and so I posed the following question:

“What is your favorite song and/or album to have on when you’re going for a 1RM PR?”

This is the actual conversation thread we had. Names were not changed to protect the innocent. Song titles are hyperlinked, but not all are safe for work.

 

Nick: Chiodos – Caves

Dana: Shinedown – Sound of Madness … OR… Lil John – Turn Down for What … OR … Chevelle – Hats Off to the Bull.

Rob: Ministry – In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up.

Chris: Mr Johnny Cash’s take of Trent Reznor’s “Hurt.”

Larry: Chris , the question was not songs to fall asleep to. Take this seriously.

Nick: Haha! ^^^ I was thinking the same thing. But I wasn’t sure he was kidding.

Kara: Sleigh Bells – Comeback Kid

Dana: Fort Minor – Remember the Name

Larry: For me, it’s Ice Cube’s “The Predator” album with the interludes taken out.

Larry: Lauren? Jacki? Anything? Belza, any Paramore songs you want to share with the group?

Nick: ^ Larry is killing me.

Kevin: Paramore – Ignorance or… Misery Business

Jacki: I don’t have anything specific. I’m lame. I’m shocked Rob hasn’t made a Creed joke for my lack of response.

Lauren: Sorry Larry, I don’t know the names to any songs! I’m bad at this game. Plus I hear nothing when I workout.

Larry: Good answer, Lauren.

Larry: Jacki, I’m disappointed. I’m sure you can name at least one of those ridiculous Nickelback or Matchbox 20 songs that you like.

Dana: Godsmack – 1,000hp … It’s their newest single. Get it.

Jacki: A. I hate Nickelback! B. Matchbox 20 is not for the gym, just private time. Ha! “Sail” by Awolnation helps me zone out and focus.

Rob: I’ve been lifting to a lot of 70’s FM Gold recently. In particular, Boz Scaggs and Todd Rundgren. Oh, and Ambrosia. Can’t forget those guys.

Larry: Hey, if you can’t PR to Genesis. I can’t do anything for you.

All right CFDV, let’s hear from you! What is your favorite song and/or album to PR to? Sound off in the comments below.