This one is a pretty common question that we hear, so you aren't alone! "My shoulder bothers me most days...what can I do??"
Shoulders are the bananas of our bodies and are easily beaten up! As I stated before in a previous email with handstands and pull-ups, our shoulders must be strong and stable enough to handle everything we throw at them.
Before I tell you what can be done to remedy the pain, We have to find the root of what could be causing the issue in the first place! Meaning…is there a problem with how you move the shoulder through a range of motion when we do a snatch, press, Kbs, deadlift, etc. We are so focused on moving that barbell that it is very easy not to notice that we slump our shoulders forward and cause a loose position in our shoulder joint!
Whenever we tell you to rotate the shoulders out in an overhead squat or pull the shoulder blades together when we say “big chest" in deadlifts, olympic movements, even ring rows... we are reducing the risk of injury. The shoulder is surrounded by muscles and nerves that can be trapped while we move it. Ever feel the pinky go numb as you overhead squat? Feel yourself losing strength as you press a bar up or do a pull-up ? Feel a twang of pain from a push or split jerk? You bet your booty something isn’t quite right in your position! So if you continue to move in ways that increase the risk of tweaking those shoulders... No Sh*t you are gonna be feeling it.
Now…I did say “reduce” the risk of injury. Just because you have perfect form at the beginning of a movement doesn’t mean it can’t go to crap once you begin the lift, finish the lift, or return for another rep. Also, if we are trying to lift something thats a little too heavy as we try for a PR, our form may be compromised! So be careful. us coaches usually catch the mistakes and ty to correct them as fast as we can see them, but sometimes its tough when we have 15 people moving in class. So grab our attention and ask if something looks off. We can tell and give you some advice.
Prime example - I am going for a heavy triple on a strict press- first one feels good! Good belly breath, shoulders were stable, head was neutral, bar stayed close to the nose, arms flew up fast, great finish position like a gymnast. I can lift the world like Atlas! Rep two goes up kiiiinda slow, slightly becoming afraid of the bar and pushing the head back and turning it to side like avoiding my moms kisses when I was in front of my friends in college….. Hips are a little in front of my body as I begin to arch my back, arms and shoulders shake like a hummingbird fluttering their wings… "Can I get that last one?? Did I just run a mile? Why am I so out of breath? I hope the coach isn’t looking. Anyways... Lets freakin do it!!” Giant breath in the chest and PUUUSSSSHH…arch my back like a contortionist…looks like I am doing a standing bench press! "I think I am almost there!" I am squeezing my eyes so tight praying for the bar to shake its way up! My strong arm is well ahead of the race! It taunts my weak arm and calls it names to give it the drive it needs to finish! A little war cry at the end for the final showdown with my bar!! BOOM…GOT IT!! Mann…my shoulder feels weird… why??
PAY ATTENTION TO HOW YOU MOVE!
Remedy for the pain!
Number 1. FIX HOW YOU MOVE!
Number 2. Warm up properly and mobilize. Take your time using bands, small plates, PVC’s and body weight movements before moving on to a bar. This goes for all major lifts. Even the squat!
Number 3: Move how you are suppose to move. I know I repeated it. It needs repeating : )
Number 4. Post workout mobility. Shoulders take a beating. Give them some love by spending a few minutes stretching after your workouts. Banded shoulder stretches are phenomenal! We have done them in class. Missed those days? Ask Anthony or myself!
Questions?? Ask Away! Want more scenarios? I’ll gladly give those out as well!
I was asked about breathing and how they always forget to breathe when they are solely focused on moving weights, swinging kettle bells, and flopping around boxes or pull-ups.
Don’t worry…you are not the only one. I hope I say “Breathe” enough on the daily workouts that you can start to hear me in your brain when I’m not even around. Thats your brain telling you you need to chill your roll and focus on your pacing.
Majority of CrossFit athletes only work up to 85% of full capacity when going through workouts. If they went 100% all the time, the body would be wrecked!! The CrossFit Open is a little different of course. You train all year long then push yourself to that awful feeling in your gut, get queasy, can’t feel your face cuz its tingling and numb and it feels like your world is going dark!! I don’t want to feel that with every workout…Gross!
When you go through these high intensity workouts long enough, you start to strategize with your strengths and weaknesses and then strategize with someone you are trying to beat as well. Lets take myself and Steven Andrews for example.
I know he is strong and is fast in workouts that involve a barbell and moving heavy things as quickly as possible. There is no way in hell I will be able to beat him. BUT... add a gymnastics movement and I may have a chance to catch up! So I choose my battle plan. Cycle through the weights with GOOD FORM….., take my time to breathe between reps or small sets of reps because I know its going to wind me fast, then I’ll be fresh for those HSPU, Pull Ups or T2B. I knock out my gymnasty movements quick! Then regain myself by breathing and controlling my heart rate. Then again I continue to control my breathing during my weakness phase of the workout to hopefully gain some ground and come out with a fast time!
NOW…Tell me if this is you. 3…2…1…GOOO. Balls to the wall, banging and clanging those heavy-ish deadlifts for a set of 15-21 reps…then Bam. You have to step back. HUUUUFFF and Suuuuck in wind because your belt is limiting your breathing. Maybe see some spots or static in the air. Guess what you just did. You held your breath or took tiny little “ssssiiii” of air between each rep. You essentially poisoned your body from lack of oxygen to those hard working muscles that need it!
Scenario two! Workout has 4 pretty terrible rounds. Two rounds going kind of smooth but slowly losing your cool! Your heart is pounding, breathing heavy, but lets try to hammer out another rep anyways. You get another clean, snatch, 10 more kettle bell swings or 5 more wall balls and let it go. Then you stare at it like its the root cause of your future death. Walk away or in circles and giving Anthony or myself the evil eye for coming up with such a suckfest of movements as we yell at you to pick it up. You say, "I’ll just get some water…that will refresh my beaten soul back to life!" Mind you, this is only a few seconds to 20 seconds. OKAY, New wind and the stars have aligned to open the gates of heaven! 3 more reps….Crap…..Crying ensues…
This happens over and over again. seconds add up, turning into minutes over the course of the workout. How can you remedy this.
DONT GO FULL OUT FROM THE GET GO!! Nerds!
Unless you are to the point where you can essentially guesstimate your time based on your strengths and weaknesses, know your overall limitations, and know when and where to focus on your breathing…Use the first round or first few minutes as a test. Take it easy and slowly build up. You will know where you can push it and where you need some extra time.
Morale of the story here, kids… is you guessed it. BREATHE! Focus on your breath and not so much on the movement (unless its to focus on FORM of course) to fuel your muscles and control your heart rate to make the Wod work in your favor!
QUESTIONS!?? ASSSSSK MEEEHHHHHH!!!
Hope you have all had a wonderful weekend! I want to take a moment and say how proud I am of all of you for working so hard during the CrossFit Open! You guys really pushed yourselves and I hope it left you wanting to prepare for next year! Its always awesome to see how your rank gets better and better each year! My first Open I was ranked in the 100,000 people who signed up that year! Each year I kept getting better and now I'll probably sit in the top 40,000 after 18.5 kicks my butt tomorrow. I am not games athlete material by any means and its not a goal for me. My main goal has always been to coach all of you and see all the awesome things you can do and know what you can potentially do by working hard every week!!
We are coming to the end of the school year, the weather is getting warmer, and time may be getting away from you to make it to the gym! We know you have other obligations in your busy lives. Just be sure to take some time to work on yourself and your personal goals! It can absolutely become so easy to say, 'hmmmm, I should take care of these other tasks first.... But now I'm tired and don't want to go to the 5:30 or 6:30 class. I'll just try for tomorrow." But then other tasks pile up the next day! Come treat yourself to a great stress relieving workout, THEN go get your things done! You will feel 10 times better knowing you got a good sweat session in. IT'S SCIENCE!!! I know this isn't the same scenario for all of you! All I am trying to say is, make time for you! : )
Now Some News!
1. Baseball Game March 30th @7:35! If you have not seen the Facebook post. A group is going and is waiting to see how the weather is going to turn out! If its nice weather, grab a ticket and join the fun!
2. Next Nutrition Challenge! This one will be a 2 1/2 week PALEO CHALLENGE. short enough that its doable and long enough to start feeling the benefits after you experience these dreaded withdrawal symptoms that I have been going through as I have been giving it a go. It will be after spring break. I will announce a date next week sometime.
3. Loganville Lockdown! CrossFit Competition in Loganville April 21. We already have a few teams signed up. The early bird may be over with, but its a great way to take your fitness to the next level! Scared and think its not for you?!?! HOGWASH!! You are all awesome and take a beating with Anthony's programming daily! Practice the workouts before you say it's not for you! Check them out https://facebook.com/loganvillelockdown/?hc_location=group Still don't want to do it?? Come out and support your athletes! its always fun to have a cheering crowd behind you and pushing you to finish strong! I went to one alone.... it wasn't very fun not having someone there during the first events! I wanted to quit until my brother, Ramon, showed up and told me I might as well finish if I signed up! Haha. So by golly, I finished the damn thing and felt good for completing the whole thing.
Thats all for now! I have something coming out about pacing and breathing this week! Keep an eye out for that!
If you have any questions, just let me know!
Here is our next question!!…."Which exercises do I need to do to help me do a handstand and a pull up?”
Gymnastics movements are tough! Especially these two. The pull up requires a lot of strength while the Handstand requires coordination, stability and courage!
For the pull up: GET AWAY FROM THE BANDS!! Avoid banded pull-ups as much as possible. They become a crutch and will not help you in getting that first pull-up. Just speak with Larry! He did every variation of the row for almost a year before finally getting his first pull-up.
Your body needs to get stronger to support your body weight! We need to focus on strengthening our core, grip, back, lats, and arms. So what movements are best??
The Handstand Hold!
These involve some courage when it comes to kicking ourselves on the wall. But here are some basics!
OKAY…Now Handstand specific movements
Keep the questions coming guys! Your question could help someone who is also struggling.
Got my first question! Well two questions...so I'll do one now and the other on Thursday or so!
"What’s the best way to lose weight on my midsection including my back....any exercise better than another? Should I stop lifting and just do cardio??"
Simple Answer... Breathe!!! But also feed it healthy foods of course!
Okay, lets keep it simple! Our body uses Carbs and fats as fuel...You know this...Kids maybe know this...animals know this....Everyone knows!
But how exactly does Excess Fat get removed from the body?? Poop it out? Pee? sweat??? No no no...You breathe it out! 'Ummmm WHAT?!' I would need fancy models and pictures to show chemical reactions of carbon molecules turning into ATP and CO2 and science, science, science...I wish I could make a video of whats happening in the body like The Magic School Bus... But I'll do my best not to lose you!
When we are active, our muscles burn Carbs and Fats that we consume on a daily basis. But what happens to the extra carbs and fats that we don't burn?? Our body stores it as either glucose in the muscles and blood stream so we can have it readily available for a short burst of needed energy or its made into body fat to have as a back up system. Now just in case you didn't know, kids...excess carbs turn into fats. I know you knew. I know.
So! How can I burn away at my midsection, coach?! The truth is, you CAN'T PINPOINT areas to lose fat from. You have to work the body to the point that it is forced to use your BODY'S BACK UP SYSTEM as energy. In this case BODY FAT.
You feel the burn on the Ass Bike or Rower?? Feel your shoulders crying going into that 12th push press or legs about to give out on that 24th air squat? That is Your body using up all the stored GLUCOSE in the muscles and they are CRYING FOR HELP!! "OH Pahleaase send some more glucose so we can keep churning those calories and weights, boss!! So your body does just that!! It begins to convert body fat from other areas of the body to usable energy so your legs and arms can bust out that extra, what seems like years, of pedaling or final rep. Your body gets to decide where that Fat comes from, not you!
"So I SHOULLLLD just do cardio then.....right? I'm confused."
Hush! Im not finished. Why weight train then?? Well! We need muscles to stay strong and healthy so we can lift cars off of animals who have been trapped and need your help! Lets stick with the fuel analogy. If your muscles are the engine... the bigger the engine, the more fuel it burns! If you stick with just cardio, you will of course lose Fat, but add more muscle and your body will require more fuel(Body Fat) to burn over time ! DOUBLE WIN!!!
Which is why Crossfit style training is great! Its the best of both worlds. You need that fast energy for explosive power and you need to use Body fat as energy when the wods start taking longer and longer and we are huffing and puffing! If you are looking to get more out of it, then I would recommend some extra cardio on the Bike or Rower, or higher reps of full body moments like the deadlift, squat and Olympic movements to keep the muscles working and to help burn that excess body fat! Just remember that it needs clean and quality foods. Not junk! You cannot just think," its ok to eat out 5 times a week and drink every other weekend! I CrossFit!"