Wednesday – Wrist Mobility

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Bobby MD back at it again!

Wrist Mobility: Why It’s Important + 8 Exercises to Improve It

Box Life Magazine

How’s your front rack position? Do you wince with pain in your wrists when the barbell forces them back, swing a kettlebell overhead, or even try to complete several push-ups in a row? I’m sure you are not alone. In fact, I’d wager that almost every CrossFitter has experienced some sort of wrist pain in their training career. There’s a reason why CrossFitters and Olympic Weightlifters alike invest in wrist wraps and straps. The amount of stress and tension being placed on the wrists from heavy weight can create a lot of pain, and when combined with a lack of attention to the flexibility of the joint (not to mention working at an office where you are required to use the computer all day) this can quickly lead to poor wrist mobility, an inability to get into the front rack position—thereby limiting one’s capability to execute a lift—and the risk of creating further damage and injury.

The wrist sounds pretty important now doesn’t it? Let’s negate this crucial joint no longer and focus on how we can keep our wrists healthy so as not to affect our performance at the box—not to mention our quality of life outside it.

The Wrist Joint
The wrists are a complex joint full of bone, ligaments, connective tissue, muscles and nerves. It also has multiple ranges of movement—flexion and extension (moving the palm backward or forward relative to the forearm), adduction and abduction (moving the hand from side to side). Compare this to the movement of, for example, the knee joint, which only has flexion and extension. It also marks the area of transition between the forearm and the hand—so the health of the wrist can directly impact your grip strength (more on that later). 

Another thing to consider is that if we lack motion at the wrist, we’ll try to make the motion up at the shoulder and elbow. Conversely, if we lack shoulder mobility, we’ll try to make it up at the elbow and wrists. It is therefore just as important to focus on scapular and shoulder mobility as it is on the wrist, as the two are interconnected and focusing on one may not alleviate the problem for the other. As an example, in the catch phase of a clean, we need to have adequate wrist extension, forearm pronation and external rotation of the shoulder to allow us to receive the bar on the front of the shoulders and fingertips. Ideally, one would have enough mobility to keep a closed grip on the bar with the elbows high and the bar resting on the shoulders. However, when attempting a heavy clean (and jerk) this is pretty hard to do, which is why you usually see Olympic lifters bounce the bar of their shoulders and re-grip the bar when they come out of the hole before attempting the jerk. If the wrists are stiff or weak, this will place additional stress on the structures of the joint and down the front of your forearm. As such, we need to address these two elements (wrist mobility and strength) through proper exercises and stretching.

Wrist mobility/strength exercises
It should be noted that a major factor in keeping the wrists healthy and executing a lift properly is utilizing proper technique. This includes employing the right grip, aligning the body correctly and having a good bar path. Staying on top of your lifting form can go a long way in alleviating some of the work placed on the poor ol’ wrists. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend a good amount of time working on the mobility of your wrists every day. We use these suckers more than we realize, and it’s really no wonder that people can develop arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome (a condition in which there is excessive pressure on the median nerve, which allows feeling and movement to parts of the hand) if they don’t take care of them. As I hope I have emphasized, they are crucially important in CrossFit, so start incorporating them into your mobility warm-up. Here are a few exercises/stretches to get you started:

1. Wrist Rotations. This is very basic. Wrap your fingers together and move your wrists around in every possible direction. Hold any position that feels a little tender/limited for a few seconds. Repeat often throughout the day.

2. Prayers. Stand up and place your hands together in front of you, as if in prayer. Maintaining contact between your hands, lower them. Go as far as you can. The longer you can keep your hands together, the better you’ll stretch the wrists. At the bottom, reverse things so that your fingers point downward and your hands remain together. Come back up.

3. Static Holds. Pull your wrist back into extension and/or flexion and hold for at least 20-30 seconds.

4. Planche pushup position. Get into a plank position (elbows fully extended at the top of the push up). Turn your hands inward so your fingertips are pointing toward your toes. Keeping a rigid torso, shift your body forward so you have an angle from your shoulders to wrists. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds (or as long as you can bear) and repeat. If this is too intense, drop down to your knees and complete.

5. Wrist walks. Place your palms on a wall, with your arms straight and fingers pointing to the ceiling. Keeping contact with the wall, walk your hands down the wall. Go as far down as possible without letting your palms come off the wall. Once you reach the point where you can’t walk your hands down any farther, turn your hands around so your fingers are now pointing to the floor. Walk your wrists back up the wall as far upward as possible. Repeat.

6.Front squat rack position. If you have pain when trying to hold a front rack position, or can’t even get into it in the first place, you need to get your wrists working through the range of motion required for the front squat. Even though it’s your shoulders holding the bar in place rather than your wrists, you still need good wrist mobility to get the bar sitting correctly on top of your shoulders in the first place. Load a bar on a desired rack setting. Set up in a rack position, with your elbows pointing as far forward as possible and weight sitting on your shoulders. Pick up the bar and rotate your elbows forward, then re rack the bar. Repeat this process until you see a change in your rack position.

7. Ring push-ups. A great exercise to work on wrist stability, as well as stability through the elbow, shoulder and core. Adjust the height of the rings appropriate for your fitness level (the lower the rings the more difficult the exercise). Grip the rings, keep your body straight and your legs fully extended behind you. Slowly lower yourself down towards the floor. Pause at the bottom then push yourself back up to the starting position. Do not lock out your elbows to maintain tension throughout the muscles during the exercise. Repeat.

8. Double kettlebell rack walk. Take a kettlebell in each hand. Lift the kettlebells up under your chin so that your palms and your wrists are facing each other. The kettlebells should be resting on your shoulders and upper arms. Begin walking forward and hold the kettlebells at the same position the whole time. Continue for the desired amount of time or distance.

These are just a few exercises to get you started, but I hope you now understand how vital the wrists are in CrossFit and how underappreciated they are. It doesn’t take much effort to work on them—you could do them at work if needs be. Which reminds me, make sure that if you do work on the computer a lot that your wrists are in a neutral position when typing. Just another helpful adjustment that can do wonders for the health of the joint. So, no more ignoring the wrists! They should now be the first thing you target for every mobility session.

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Wednesday – Barbells For Boobs

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In recognition and support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this Friday, October 20th, Crossfit Factory Square will be hosting our annual Barbells For Boobs fundraiser!

For those who don’t know, Barbells for Boobs® is a 501(c)3 nonprofit breast cancer organization dedicated to the early detection of breast cancer, with an emphasis on women under the age of 40 and men. They believe that everyone has a RIGHT to know if they are living with breast cancer.  All funds collected from Barbells for Boobs events will contribute to support their nationwide grant program. Although not all of their work can be measured, the Impact from their Grant Program can. To date, they have provided 38,517 procedures, served 20,530 individuals and detected 271 cases of breast cancer.

Together as a community we have already raised over $2,000 towards this years fundraising event! Donations can be made directly online here or in person on Friday. Space is still available if you are interested in registering – you may do so online here. All ages and abilities are welcome to participate. The event starts with the Kids Heat at 6:15 PM with adult heats directly following. Don’t forget to wear pink! Spectators are welcome to come as well!

After the event our very own Box Bistro will be serving up two types of chili to keep everyone warn and fueled! Paleo beef chili over butternut squash and green tortilla chicken chili over basmati rice. Kid portions will be available as well! Box Bistro will be serving at 8:00 once everyone is finished working out. You can preorder online here or purchase the night of. As an added bonus this year Athleta will be at our event from 6-9 PM with items available for order/purchase and giving out prizes to the best dressed teams! Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

REMINDER – This Saturday morning from 10-11 Paul Poutouves will be hosting an additional mobility class at Factory Square.

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Wednesday – Common Mistakes with Snatches

By Daniel Camargo

 As complicated as Olympic weightlifting movements may seem, they really are simple. Some athletes might disagree when I say that the snatch is easier to learn than the clean and jerk. Why? Because they don’t feel a sense of control with their center of gravity.

Remember, an object’s center of gravity isn’t the ‘center’ of the object, but rather the point where the object can be balanced. As it relates to your body and the barbell during a lift, your center of gravity (or weight distribution) will always shift towards whichever is heavier. So when the bar is light, the center of gravity shifts towards your body. However, when the bar has heavy load, it will move towards the barbell. This is why it takes strength, coupled with speed, to keep us from leaning forward during these lifts. The overhead movement in the snatch challenges our sense of balance.

Let’s break down some common mistakes, to help you find the joy in the snatch.

Mistake #1: Jumping forward
The most common mistake athletes make.
When performing the snatch your feet can do one of two things: stay in one spot or hop back a little—and I mean a little; given that we receive the bar just behind our heads, moving back may be natural. What you should never do is jump forward, breaking the frontal plane. Doing so makes the bar feel heavier—and much harder to chase.

3 times you might make the mistake of jumping forward:

1. During liftoff, because you are: a) distributing your weight onto your toes in your initial pull as a result of bending your elbows early, your knees being too far forward, or no core activation; or b) not completely active— allowing your hips to rise prior to the bar leaving the ground, which may cause you to lean forward. Whether it’s weight distribution to the toes or fast hips shooting up, any forward movement at this stage of the lift throws you off course– making you jump forward even if the rest of your technique is spot on.

Corrections & Cues

  • Drive your heels into the floor when picking up the bar. Though you can set up on mid-foot, once you start lifting do not lean back—keep your weight on your heels.
  • Remember to move your hips at the same time as you move the bar. Your hips shooting up faster will cause you to lean forward.
  • Keep your chest up as you lift and focus on a spot right in front or slightly above your line of sight, to ensure you stay on your heels.

2. During the transition, because you are: shifting your hips too far into the bar; or simply shifting your weight to your toes too early during the transition, therefore having to jump forward to catch the bar. Remember, the bar must come back into your body, not your body into the bar.

Corrections & Cues

  • Practice hang snatches—specifically mid-hang (above knee) and high-hang (mid quadriceps). Starting from the hang will force you to use proper mechanics.
  • Practice romanian deadlifts to work the posterior chain and focus on proper heel distribution at a slower pace than that of the snatch.
  • Have a coach cue you to delay your jump (triple extension aka 2nd pull) and to be patient during your transition. Don’t rush. Trust the movement.

3. During the 2nd pull, because you are: not keeping the bar close to your body. You keep control of the bar the closer to you it is. If the bar hits your hips the contact should be up not out.

Corrections & Cues

  • Practice the power position snatch—it’s fastest way to fix this mistake. You’ll find it nearly impossible to do this lift right if you are letting the bar out too far.
  • You can also try dip snatches and high pulls.
  • Have a coach cue to you to remain vertical, to aim for your chin and to use more leg drive rather than hips. Less hips, more legs.

Mistake #2: Bending your arms
During the snatch, bending your arms too soon can result in a loss of power. Some tension and slight bending of the arm is okay if you keep that bend all the way into the receiving position. The wrong type of ‘arm bending’ is when you straighten your arms during the jump, and bend them a second time. This bend, straighten, then re-bend is what causes a loss of velocity. Either the bar will slow down or you will develop a hitch at the hips and stop.

Corrections & Cues

  • Don’t worry about your arms. Focus on the power position and using your legs. Athletes sometimes bend their arms to generate velocity and explosion but that’s exactly what the power position will do for you.
  • Practice power position snatches to get the feel of proper leg explosion without using your arm. Focus on your legs.
  • Use blocks. Starting high without any preloading of the legs, as in a hang, will help you focus on the lower body doing more work.

Mistake #3: Not getting under the bar
For those learning the snatch, getting under the bar is crucial. For many it’s a matter of fear, but for others it’s a matter of mobility. Once you overcome your hurdle, the goal is to get comfortable down there. You don’t have to hit the bottom, but the further you get the better. Newer athletes tend to focus on getting the bar overhead whereas the experienced athletes focus on dropping under. It does you no good to have a massive pull of the bar if it’s not coupled with the ability to get under it. It’s a two part equation. Having one without the other will limit you. Lastly, when you get into that overhead squat position you must stay tight. As USA Weightlifting says: “all body levers must be tight.” It’s a wasted effort to have perfect technique yet lose an attempt because you loosen up at the bottom.

Corrections & Cues

  • Practice the simplest drill there is: overhead squats.
  • Try snatch balances to help you drop under further and drop snatches to teach you how to receive the bar in the most advanced way.
  • Have a coach cue you to turnover hard; to remind you there is nothing to fear. You have to commit, not hesitate and believe. You will get it.
  • Remember to stay tight and fight while under the bar. Don’t get lazy at the bottom. The lift isn’t over until you stand back up.

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Wednesday – Rest Day Recommendations

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Don’t forget to register for Barbells For Boobs!! Register by October 11th to get a shirt! Register HERE.

 

 “Rest-Day Recommendations” by Abi Reiland – The Box Magazine

For those addicted to the rigorous activity a CrossFit workout offers, a sense of boredom can become a rest-day damper. That feeling in the back of your head that you just can’t shake, like you’re missing out on something that will make you a better athlete and potentially improve your speed or strength or stamina. It’s enough to send some people into a panic. But truth be told, rest days are an imperative part of fitness. An athlete can only go so long before his body rebels in a dire attempt to recover. Varying the way in which you rest gives your body some time to recuperate while keeping your mind at ease. Here are my rest-day recommendations.

– Consequences of not taking rest days. –
Unless you’re an alien life form (or Rich Froning), your body needs a break. CrossFit’s structured beatings actually break down muscle in an attempt to build it back up, but if that rest period isn’t put into place, the breakdown begins to hinder development. Fatigue, strength losses and injury are all major concerns when an athlete is too active at an intense and demanding level. And overtraining will not only hinder your physical abilities but also have a detrimental effect on your mental state. Digressing is never an experience athletes embrace. When your body won’t operate up to your standards, the mind takes a toll as well. Frustration, irritability and lack of concentration rear their ugly heads in cases of physical and mental exhaustion. So do everybody a favor and take a day off.

– When to take rest days. –
Many trainers will suggest rest days be scheduled every 4th day. 3 days on, 1 day off, repeat. For folks with a little flexibility in their schedule, this is a fantastic option and ensures your body is allowed some relaxation. However, for those who have a set schedule that binds them to particular days and availability, 2 days rest per week is a respectable regimen. For personalities that prefer predictable structure, those days can be set. Perhaps every Thursday and Sunday you take a day off. Personally, I listen to my body. If I feel great, I’m going to workout. And if I’m feeling run down or extra sore, I might lay low for that day. Develop a rest strategy that works for you and your fitness goals, and as your athleticism progresses, adjust accordingly. Just be sure you recognize the messages your body sends you to avoid overdoing it.

– How to spend rest days. –
There is no right way to spend a rest day. If the couch is calling your name, pop in a couple movies, eat a bag of M&Ms and enjoy the lethargy. But to ease your tight muscles and maximize your recovery results, take a lightly active approach. I like to treat my rest days as a form of therapy for any aches, so I try to incorporate stretching, light cardio, or maybe yoga. And to spice things up, it’s always fun to throw in some adventurous activities like hiking, swimming or a day of retail therapy with some speed-walking and light lifting at the mall. Get your heart rate up, work on some mobility and break a small sweat. Seems only fitting given the fact that CrossFit embraces constant variation. And after some rehab, back to business.

The addiction to your newfound fitness is inevitable. But exhibit some common sense and caution to maintain the health you so desire. Going overboard will do you more harm than good and will sabotage your mission for a stronger, faster, fitter you. Your body gives you everything it’s got in a workout, so return the favor and learn to embrace your rest days, regardless of when and how you spend them.

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Tuesday – Dr. Meg

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Wednesday – Fire Within Us

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Registration for Barbells For Boobs is now open! Register Here. Save the Date: Friday, October 20th

There comes a point in our training where one day you could be post workout rolling out on the floor, still somehow out of breath, wondering what in the heck you are doing and how you got there. It’s very easy to get in to a routine. Before we know it days, weeks, months start to pass us by. We get wrapped up in the lifts, the wods, going through lifting and conditioning cycles. . . so many little things to make up the big picture.Then suddenly you’re back on the floor rolling out again wondering what’s next? Sometimes all we need is a little fire in us.

This is something as easy as the first time you even had the thought to start crossfit. . . it’s to do something out of your comfort zone. Something to challenge you to the point where you are astonished in yourself once you succeed. It’s the fire in your eyes to continue your search to better yourself. If you find yourself getting frustrated or angry in your performance lately, believe it or not, that can be a good thing! Means you still care and that Crossfit/lifting is just as important to you as it was when you first started.

Now let us take that fire within us and use it. For the month of October, I challenge each and every one of you to do something out of your comfort zone. Take the plunge and sign up for that competition. Go hike that mountain that has been calling your name for a few years now, that you just haven’t had the time to go hike. Pick a movement that you need to work on and dedicate 5 minutes before or after class, 3 times a week, to do some accessory work for said movement. Do something to challenge yourself and watch everything around you grow. Over time, even the smallest amount of effort will prove to be beneficial. We can never expect ourselves to grow if we don’t do anything to help promote it in the first place.

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Wednesday – Flexibility

Aggghhhh yes, flexibility . . . .something I swear I have nothing of. Even with putting in a lot of extra time and effort into my mobility, somehow I still constantly feel like the tin man. Don’t get me wrong, when I put in the extra time to focus on my mobility and flexibility I absolutely 100% feel better, but even on my best days it’s still difficult for me to do something as simple as touch my toes.

That in mind, here’s a good article (I know it’s a bit long, but a very interesting & worth while read) to remind ourselves how important our flexibility really is . . .

How Flexibility Affects Strength (& Vice Versa)

By William Imbo

The term ‘muscle-bound’ has long been associated with athletes and individuals that have developed large muscle mass through strength training, but in so doing have significantly reduced their ability to move freely through a full range of motion. This is certainly the case for many people in sports and fitness, and yet, we need only look at gymnasts, Olympic Weightlifters and elite CrossFitters to know that the opposite is true as well. These athletes compete in sports where an imbalance between these two fitness skills would limit their progress and impair their success—and the same applies to you.

How flexibility affects strength
A limited range of motion is going to hold you back from maximizing your strength gains. Think about the mobility you need in your hips and ankles for a typical barbell squat. Then consider the added shoulder and wrist mobility you need for the front and overhead squat. Yet the squat, in all its variations, is renowned as the best compound movement (involving more than one joint) you can possibly perform, especially when it comes to improving overall strength. Because it does involve so many muscle groups, your body will be triggered to release more testosterone and HGH—two powerful hormones for building muscle mass and strength. And studies have shown that in order to maximize your strength gains, you need to execute full range of motion when squatting in order to have your muscles have greater time under tension. But what if you aren’t mobile enough to break parallel in the back squat, to maintain a front rack position in the front squat, or even hold an empty barbell overhead during an overhead squat? Well, you will inevitably hit strength plateaus that will take some time to break. Needless to say, being flexible enough to put your body in the right positions when moving heavy weight is vital. If you want to clean, jerk and snatch like an Olympian, first make sure that your body is mobile enough to receive heavy weight—then you will be able to reap the strength benefits of standing up monster weights from the hole. The same concept applies to developing bodyweight strength. One need only look at the body of a gymnast to realize how strong these men and women are—yet they are highly mobile too. Consider this—how many of you struggle with pistols? And, for those who do, do you think it’s because you lack the individual leg strength to perform the movement, or you’re missing the requisite mobility in your hip and ankle to get into the position? I’d wager that for the vast majority of people, the latter is the limiting factor.

lifting gBut before you start going to yoga 10 times a week and spending countless hours flossing, rolling, banding and performing every stretch known to man, it’s important to remember that there is evidence that too much flexibility can have a negative impact on strength. An increase in flexibility without a corresponding increase in strength can result in joint instability. When someone is hypermobile, their ligaments become loose. This is a problem because ligaments act as the “strapping tape” of our joints by connecting bone to bone. If they become too loose, they have no recoil property. Corrective exercise specialist Brooke Thomas provides the perfect analogy: “Imagine the difference between a rubber band and Silly Putty. Stretch out the elastic and “boing!” back it goes. Stretch out the Silly Putty and you have stringy globbery-goop.”

If the ligaments are too loose, this is where your muscles step up, as part of their job is to determine the appropriate range for a joint (where the bones get to go). “This means if they are functioning in a balanced way, the ligaments do not need to take on a load. And our muscles weave into the bones via tendons, and all of this is living in a sea, inside and out, of fascia [connective tissue that runs throughout the body],” Thomas adds.

Of course, if there isn’t the right balance between muscle strength and flexibility (in this case a lack of strength), the ligaments have to shoulder the load, making them highly susceptible to wear and tear and increasing the risk of serious injuries to the joint. So, we cannot overlook the importance of strength as it relates to flexibility.

How strength affects flexibility
Just as being hypermobile can cause damage to a joint, an increase in strength without a balanced rise in flexibility can result in soft tissue tears, sprains and postural changes. Now, strength is obviously an important skill that we’re always looking to improve. Being strong allows us to move heavy weight and perform functional tasks outside of the gym. In addition, many joints in the body require stability so they are able to resist movement from an outside force. For example, ideally we want the knee joint to be stable so that it doesn’t buckle or twist when we run, squat or jump. One of the best ways of doing that is by increasing the strength of the supporting musculature of that joint—in this case, the quadriceps, the hamstrings and the muscles of the calf. When our joints are stable, we are better able to transfer power throughout the body too. This manifests itself well in the thruster, where we need to generate a lot of force through the joints as we move upwards in order to help get the barbell of the front rack before pressing it overhead.

But wait a second, isn’t squatting one of the best ways to strengthen the supporting musculature of the knee? And didn’t you just write that an athlete needs to have good flexibility in the hips and ankles to be able to perform a squat? Yes I did—that’s because while some joints of the body require stability (like the knee), others need to be more mobile (such as the hips and ankles). You can emphasize strength training all you want, and the joints that need stability will thank you for it, but if you can’t execute a full range of motion because of how immobile you are where it matters, your strength won’t count for anything. In fact, overly focusing on strength without mobilizing muscle groups can lead to conditions such as anterior pelvic tilt and upper crossed syndrome. Take someone who spends most of their day sitting at a desk. In this position, their hamstrings are going to become stretched and tight. They then go to the gym, and expect to bang out heavy sets of deadlifts. Deadlifts require the hamstrings to be strong, but they also need to be mobile. What happens when you place excessive strain on an already strained muscle group? They tear.

So, it’s obvious that the body in general needs to be supple and strong. A balanced ratio between the two allows an athlete to perform functional movements at full range of motion with heavy weight, while an imbalance in either direction paves the way for injury and postural problems.

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Wednesday – Overcoming Obstacles

By BoxLife Team

Life happens. As such, there is always some obstacle standing between you and your goals. Being aware of common obstacles puts you in a place of power. You can anticipate the obstacles and do something about them, or, in the best case scenario, set yourself up to prevent them altogether.

1. Forgetting to set a game plan
Setting goals and getting psyched about them is half the fun, but if you don’t create a game plan to achieve a goal, it may not happen. Let’s say you want to get a muscle-up. You’ve seen other athletes do it and you want to be able to do one too. That’s great—but what’s your first step? Are you going to jump up on the rings and simply try to pull yourself up? What about the coordination—can you time your swing, pull and hip extension properly?

If you answered no or aren’t sure about any of these questions, you might not have set a game plan. To reach any goal, you need to set a game plan to ensure success. In the case of a muscle-up you can ask your coach and other athletes for their help. Identifying what knowledge gaps you have and making an effort to fill those gaps will help you build a plan that will give you a far greater chance of success than simply winging it.

In addition, do you have a plan as to when you will put these drills and tips into practice? After every class? During open gym? Three times a week? Or just when you feel like it? Build a goal-training schedule and stick to it. Set up specific targets to reach by certain dates to act as stepping stones towards your overall goal. Not only will this help your athletic ability, but it’ll also help boost your confidence and motivation by reassuring you that you are indeed progressing and moving forward. Lastly, lean on your friends and fellow training partners for support and accountability so that you don’t fall off the wagon.

2. Not knowing your ‘why’
Looking a certain way or progressing in the sport are general reasons to set goals, but being specific about why you want to accomplish something is a far more powerful incentive.

Wanting to walk on your hands just for the sake of being able to do it may be enough for some people, but for most athletes there’s no true purpose there, and it may turn the goal into a mundane task. And tasks are more like chores, and no one has the motivation to do those. You need to attach some meaning behind your goal, otherwise you won’t feel inspired to spend the countless hours of necessary practice in order to achieve it. A great way to do this is by setting a specific date or event by which you hope to have earned the movement/weight, etc. Much like you should use mini objectives to build towards a larger goal, setting yourself a deadline provides a sense of urgency and impetus to the task at hand. You’re far more likely to put in the work if you know there’s a countdown as to when you need to achieve it. Use the start of the Open as the target date for stringing together multiple double-unders, an upcoming competition for your first ‘as prescribed’ workouts, or perhaps a personal event in your life (wedding, vacation, etc.) to have shed a few inches from your waistline and feel happy in your bathing suit/happy with your reflection in the mirror. When you make a goal personal, it becomes important to you—and that makes it far easier to sacrifice your time and efforts to work towards achieving it.

3. Not having enough confidence
Confidence—not arrogance—is paramount to success in life, not just in CrossFit. Good things happen to you because you make them happen, and believe that you can in the first place. Sure, certain goals might intimidate you because they may seem difficult or take too long to obtain. But if you look at them from a different perspective, you can tell it’s something worth pursuing. If you never take a chance or do something that scares you, you’ll forever remain in your comfort zone, stagnating your level of fitness. Having a good plan and the right incentive are great tools, but without possessing the inherit confidence that you can and will earn that goal, the smallest setback will easily floor you. At one point legendary CrossFitter Chris Spealler had six CrossFit Games appearances under his belt, but he wanted one more. In 2013, he fell just three points shy of making that a reality by finishing 4th at Regionals. Yet Spealler had confidence in himself and his abilities, and returned to Regionals once more in 2014, snagging 2nd place and earning his 7th trip to the CrossFit Games.

The point is, you can’t let the unplanned setbacks in your training or life (illness, injury, etc.) dent your confidence in such a fashion that a goal you once made for a good reason vanishes—along with your self-belief. Understand that you’re not alone in experiencing obstacles. Nothing worth having ever comes easy, and don’t assume that some athletes magically achieve their goals with the greatest of ease—I assure you that that’s not the case. Some goals will require months or even years (think of Spealler) to achieve, and you need to be prepared for that possibility. It’s important to use smaller objectives to help build your confidence en route to your primary objective (as mentioned above), but there are other tactics you can employ as well. These include visualization (picturing yourself accomplishing the goal), positive body language in training and celebrating smaller milestones.

4. Lack of resources
Some goals require a lot of training or prep time—making it more difficult for those athletes who are parents, work multiple jobs, or have other obligations that limit their time in the gym. Yet while a lack of resources can be a hindrance, it shouldn’t derail you completely from your goal. Look at your schedule to see if there are opportunities to get your training done in the morning or at lunch before you have to return to work. If you can’t make it to the box, is there a globo gym nearby where you can get a workout in? Are you able to meal prep for the week so you’re not forced to eat out every day? You’ll quickly come to realize that if the goal you set for yourself is truly important to you, you’ll find ways to work within resources and still progress towards achieving them.

5. Unwillingness to change
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. You have to be comfortable with change to evolve as an athlete (and as a person). For some, this might mean completely revamping their diet, expanding their training regimen to two-a-day workouts, switching to a new affiliate, and or altering their training plan when they’re not seeing results. Any one of these changes can come with complications, but if it’s what you need to become the athlete you want to be and reach your target, you have to at least consider making them. Just as you have to throw varied programming at your body in order for your muscles to constantly grow, adapt and become stronger, so too must you make changes in your schedule and diet if that’s what it takes.

6. Letting others negatively influence you
It’s important that you surround yourself with the right kind of people who will support your goals, and not question your ability to achieve them. If you’re constantly surrounded by negativity, then you’ll likely start to doubt yourself. So just as it’s important to have supportive people in your corner, it’s equally important (if not more so) to remove the negative people from your circle—or at least limit your interaction with them.

7. Fearing failure
“I haven’t failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas Edison

Think about all the great success stories in life and sport. Do you think they hung up their gloves as soon as they ‘failed’? I’d doubt they’d even consider their setbacks failures—more like learning opportunities that helped them become the athletes and professionals we admire. It’s far easier to quit rather than face your fear of not succeeding. But even if you don’t reach your goal by the date you set, does that mean you’re done? Of course not! There’s nothing stopping you from regrouping, readjusting your plan and setting yourself the same goal with a new date—just like Chris Spealler did.

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Tuesday – Sever’s Disease

Sever’s Disease

Sever’s disease is mainly a cause of heel pain in kids affecting active children aged 8 to 15 years old. Pain at the back of the heel from overuse that if managed correctly, is something the young athlete should grow out of. Rest is an essential part of treatment along with ice or cold therapy and managing training loads.

Symptoms

The main symptom of Sever’s disease is pain and tenderness at the back of the heel which is made worse with physical activity. Tenderness will be felt especially if you press in or give the back of the heel a squeeze from the sides. There may be a lump over the painful area. Another sign is tight calf muscles resulting with reduced range of motion at the ankle. Pain may go away after a period of rest from sporting activities only to return when the young person goes back to training.

Causes

Severs disease is often associated with a rapid growth spurt. As the bones get longer, the muscles and tendons become tighter as they cannot keep up with the bone growth.

The point at which the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel becomes inflamed and the bone starts to crumble (a lot like osgood schlatters disease of the knee).

Tight calf muscles may contribute as the range of motion at the ankle is reduced resulting in more strain on the Achilles tendon. Sever’s disease is the second most common injury of this type which is known as an apophysitis.

Treatment

The aim of treatment is to reduce the pain and inflammation when gently stretch the muscles. There is likely to be no magic instant cure and the young athlete may have to be patient while they grow

Apply the PRICE principles of protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation. Rest from any activity which makes the injury worse. Initally, certainly the first 48 to 72 hours this will mean complete rest. Later on when normal daily activities can be done pain free then modifying training to avoid certain activities which increase pain should be done. This is likely to include running, jumping and any sports which involve this kind of weight bearing, high impact activity. It may be necessary to stick to swimming or cycling until the injury has completely cleared up.

Apply ice or cold therapy for 10 mins every hour initially, reducing frequency as symptoms improve. Do not apply ice directly to the skin but wrap in a wet tea towel or better still use a cold therapy and compression wrap. Insert a heel pad or heel raise into the shoes. This has the effect of raising the heel and shortening the calf muscles and so taking the strain off the back of the heel. However long term use of a heal raise may shorten the calf muscles when they need stretching.

A doctor or physiotherapist can apply a plaster cast or boot if the child is in severe pain. This may be worn for a few days or even weeks and should give relief of pain for a while. The will carry out a full biomechanical assessment to help to determine if any foot biomechanics issues are contributing to the condition. Orthotics or insoles can be prescribed to help correct over pronation or other biomechanics issues.

They may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation. This will not be prescribed the child has asthma. In persistent cases X-rays may be taken but this is not usual. A sports injury professional will NOT give a steroid injection or operate as these are not suitable treatment options. The condition will usually settle within 6 months, although it can persist for longer.

Exercises

Stretch the calf muscles regularly. Stretching should be done pain free and very gently with this injury. Sports massage can help improve the condition of the soft tissue and joint flexibility. Strengthening exercises are not usually recommended for treating Servers disease as it is an over use injury and requires rest. When returning to sport the load through the tendon should be gradually increased. Do not go straight back to full training or the injury may recur.

Most of us will not present with this condition. But if you have kids who have not quite hit their growth spurt….keep an eye out.

Dr. Meghan

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