Boulder Shoulders

Anyone's shoulders sore the last few weeks? Here's why. Here are some movements we've added this cycle to emphasize push strength and shoulder stability:

  • Behind the neck work: Pushing from behind the neck, whether it's a push press, strict press, or even a press in a hyper hold (who loved those?) will emphasize shoulder mobility, and enforce the muscles in your back that SHOULD be working when you're doing any kind of pushing movement. Pushing from behind the neck also reinforces correct bar path.
  • Ring Stability: While we're also doing a ton of ring pushups and ring dips, one of the most important additions to this cycle is simply HOLDING yourself on the rings, whether it's in a plank, or in a support hold. We're also working on turning our hands forward in the hold (turnout). The rings add an element of stability that fires up all the little muscles in your shoulders that stabilize the shoulder girdle, from your lats to your lower traps. 
  • Single arm kettlebell work: From overhead carries, single arm pushpress, windmills and turkish get-ups, single arm kettlebell work can isolate imbalances. Have you noticed you have one side that's not as strong? Don't worry, most of us have one. Taking away the barbell and making each arm work on its own removes our ability to compensate with our strong side. 

Remember, if you have any questions about why we're doing a skill, ask us! Your coaches love to talk about the finer points of movements- and adding understanding to your training truly adds another layer of enjoyment and purpose. 

HSPUs Gone Wrong

The biggest error in HSPUs is a CLOSED SHOULDER ANGLE at the top of the handstand. This means that either the butt, the thoracic, the head, or a combination of the three is leaning into the wall and the hips and shoulders are NOT stacked over the hands. 

If you're practicing handstand pushups where you continually LAND in a closed shoulder position, most likely you're also unable to find stability at the top (do you find yourself only pushing up for a split second before crashing back down to the floor?) and you're dealing with or have dealt with some shoulder pain. 

Instead, you need to retrain your handstand position. In your handstand, your arms should hide your ears or be behind them. This creates an OPEN SHOULDER ANGLE. Your hips need to be over your shoulders by tucking your tail. This activates those tiny little stomach muscles that connect your torso to your legs, making your body act as ONE UNIT, rather than segmented parts. 

Retraining a correct handstand position will not only keep your shoulders, wrists, and lower back safe, but it's also WAY more efficient in the long run. 

In the left photo, all the pressure is on the shoulders, wrists, and the low back, because the hips and shoulders are closed. In the right hand photo, after SHRUGGING, TUCKING THE TAIL, and hiding the ears, the handstand is stacked correctly.

In the left photo, all the pressure is on the shoulders, wrists, and the low back, because the hips and shoulders are closed. In the right hand photo, after SHRUGGING, TUCKING THE TAIL, and hiding the ears, the handstand is stacked correctly.



Programming Week of 4/3

Programming Week of 4/3

Lifts you'll find in this week's programming and WHY!

Backsquats with a 4 second descent: Strengthening the eccentric portion of the squat (that's when you're descending) has been proven to produce more muscle growth, strengthen connective tissue, and even increase flexibility. 

RDLs: Training romanian deadlifts strengthens the entire posterior chain and is a nice balance to tough squats, especially for our quad-dominant friends.

Seated BN Strict Press: This makes sure we're strengthening the correct muscles in the back to press the bar overhead AND that the bar is moving in the correct path and ending in the correct spot.

Squat Clean + 2 Front Squats: Front squats help strengthen the torso and thoracic. 

Deficit Deadlifts: Adding the deficit forces the individual to use the legs to drive up from the start and requires the individual to recruit the hamstrings and glutes to keep the hips still throughout the lift. It also has a mobility requirement, which we love.

All of these movements should contribute to our goals for this cycle (deadlift, squat, Diane). Let us know if you have any questions!

Choose your own adventure!

Some of you may have heard that we did an unusual workout this past Sunday. Students were given books- the first page gave them a choice of 2 workouts to complete, and whichever they chose took them to more choices, and these continuous choices determined the path of their workout. Not only was this fun, but it was an exercise to create more engagement in the workout.

Something we love to talk about at Synapse is FLOW. Flow is a mental state in which peak performance is possible. In order to do your absolute best, you must be in a state of flow. Flow is described by many athletes as being "in the zone," and have reported feelings of loss of self-consciousness, losing track of time, and complete immersion in the task at hand. Being able to enter flow is even a contributing factor to overall satisfaction and happiness in life. There are many ways to encourage a flow state, and one of those is providing CHOICE.

In a 2000 study led by Aaron Black of the University of Rochester, students who sensed more teacher support for autonomy felt more competent and less anxious, reported more interest and enjoyment in their work, and produced higher-quality work in their class than students who didn’t believe they had as much autonomy.

So, by giving choices in workouts, and therefore autonomy, hopefully students felt a sense of ownership over the workout, were able to become more engaged, and maybe even enter a state of flow. 

Comment below if you enjoyed the workout and felt any different energy by being able to choose your path.

Photo by Max G Davison (@maxgdavison)

Butt Stuff is the Best Stuff!

Anyone sore after heavy deadlifts yesterday? Anyone need some TLC before going heavy on squats tomorrow? During this cycle recovery is going to be extra important, and when recovering from squats, remember this motto: BUTT STUFF IS THE BEST STUFF!

Rolling out your butt/hips can have a huge impact on tightness felt in the low back. Do this before or after your workout:

  1. Lie on your back. Without lifting your hips up, stick a ball in the side of your hip, as shown. The ball should be where your underwear line is, right above the hip bone. 

2. Start to roll over the ball so that it digs into your hip. You'll start to feel some uncomfortable pressure. Stay where it hurts! Make sure you relax your butt so your body drapes over the ball. If you're too tense, your muscles obviously won't relax. 

3. Once the pain starts to disappear (which will happen pretty quickly), keep rotating on the ball until you find a new spot. You can rotate all the way into fetal position, or move the ball on the butt closer to your spine.

After you spend some time on the ball, your hips should start to relax and relieve some of that back tension. And once that happens, we think you'll agree: BUTT STUFF IS THE BEST STUFF!

Deadlift Expectations

The most important part of testing is understanding the expectations. Our first lift this week is the DEADLIFT! Here's what we're looking for:

  • We teach the deadlift in the same way we teach the clean. You should be able to use the legs to stretch up into your starting position, torso tall. Push with your legs until your arms are as long as possible, with the weight in the middle of the foot, and the shoulders over the bar. The belly should be nice and tight.
  • Grip should be neutral. You are welcome to use straps, and we prefer this to a switch grip. 
  • As you push with the legs to lift the bar, the hips and shoulders should rise together, and the weight should remain balanced in the middle of the foot.
  • The lift finishes straight up with the legs straight, torso tall, belly tight, NOT with the hips driving forward, knees bent.

We're also trying to find a heavy single. This can be interpreted differently than a 1RM. Once the coach notices form breaks or idiosyncrasies in the lift, you're done. The idea is that in 6 weeks, these problem areas will be stronger, and you'll be able to increase your load healthily.

While we LOVE PRs, keep in mind that test week is a starting place, and identifying weaknesses is the first and most necessary step to getting stronger. This should help you set some goals for the next 6 weeks and keep you focused through this cycle!

Congrats to everyone who's already come in and tested!

Backsquats, Deadlifts, and DIANE starting 3/27

Backsquats, Deadlifts, and DIANE starting 3/27

This week we begin our NEW 6 week program designed to improve backsquat and deadlift strength, as well as strength and speed in the classic CrossFit workout, "Diane." Here's what you need to know:

Tests this week are scheduled for Monday (Deadlift), Wednesday (Backsquat), and Friday (Diane). Be ready to test these, or find a time when you're here to test them on your own. It's important that you write down or record your tests so that when we RE-test in 6 weeks you'll have something to compare. 

Over the next 6 weeks we'll be posting here to give you more insight to the programming- why you're doing certain movements, mobility tips, technical explanations, etc, so get ready to follow along and bring some awareness to your training.

If you have any questions, let us know! We'll be happy to answer them, and they might help someone else. 

We're so excited to watch you all improve and get stronger! 

See you at Synapse!