Some people will tell you to look straight ahead as you squat. Some will tell you to look at a point five or ten feet in front of you on the ground. I’ll tell you where you should be looking when you squat: into your soul. Into the depths of the fire inside, where pain and promise are one. Look into the place where hardcoreness resides.
It’s a quick and humorous read, with minor NSFW language. I haven’t had a chance to read too many of the posts, but it looks like it might be worth a look.
-I hadn’t seen this blog until tipped off by CFSW Alum Soren “I row really fast” Peterson. Thanks Soren!
"I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature." ~John D. Rockefeller
Just a quick post to catch up on a few things that have been rattling around in my brain:
As the 5x5 programming has progressed, you will have noticed that the last set(s) is getting hard. We’re pushing into PR territory every day, and people are digging deep and moving some big weights (which is awesome to see). You’ll also notice that our off days are becoming more and more ‘off’—we’re focusing on mobility and recovery, lots of skill work, and a little bit of conditioning. To steal from Dan John, “remember that the goal is to keep the goal the goal”. We’re trying to maximize strength, and that is where the bulk of your efforts should be directed.
The intent with this programming is to essentially create a wider base upon which to build more specific performance. Becoming stronger enables you to practice more complex skills longer and harder, leading to improved performance. You would be hard pressed to find a measure of physical performance that will not be improved by becoming stronger, up to a given point. It’s true that eventually you will reach a point of ‘strong enough’, where additional strength will not increase performance for a particular activity—but I don’t think many of us are at that point.
A few people are already starting to realize the benefits of all this hard work. Just off the top of my head, we’ve had a few people in the last week or two that mastered new skills: John M. is hitting muscle ups now, and Chip held a 10 second static handstand. It will be fun to see how things look when we transition back to more conventional CFSW programming in a few weeks.
One girl who’s putting her strength to good use is Firewoman Extraordinaire Sara. Along with her brother, she took 2nd place in the Toughest Competitor Alive competiton last weekend at the US Police and Fire Games Championships. PRs across the board including 11 strict pullups and a sub-26 min 5 k! Nice job Sara!
And finally, huge congratulations are in order for CFSW’s long-time dentist in residence, Dr. CJ Metz. Some of you might know CJ more for his hair (or the time he snatched a barbell into his forehead), but he’s also been busy growing a successful practice in Mesa, and making some big changes in his personal and professional life. If you haven’t seen CJ for a while, you’ll be in for a shock the next time you see him. He looks great (and well-groomed), and has created changes in his life that almost defy belief.
I’ve known CJ now for more than 5 years, and I couldn’t be more impressed with the perseverance and dedication that he’s put into his personal transformation. But, you can judge for yourself:
CFSW house videographers Rob and Nate put together this video, which was submitted for a national contest. The Grand Prize was a Lamborghini—currently on it’s way to Mesa, AZ. Hopefully CJ will swing it by the gym sometime.
As many of you are beginning to notice, this 5x5 programming starts to get significantly more challenging along about week 4 or 5. Because of this, our alternate day programming is beginning to emphasize mobility and recovery to a larger degree. Many people are choosing to completely skip the gym on their off days.
I applaud the idea of listening to your body, and taking recovery as needed. Allow me, however, to put forth an idea. Anyone can do this, but especially for those of you who would normally be in the gym—take that workout time, and use it for food preparation. Plan some meals, go shopping, pre-chop, pre-cook, whatever. But take that time you’ve already allocated for CrossFit, and put it to use doing something that will benefit your workouts (and overall health).
Resistance training improves cardiovascular fitness
via Conditioning Research
Even more proof of the importance of being strong: researchers in the UK have published a review of the available literature concerning the effects of resistance training on markers of cardiovascular fitness. Please feel free to read the entire paper here, but allow me to hit the highlights.
Research demonstrates resistance training produces significant improvement in cardiovascular fitness (VO2 max, economy of movement). This paper attempts to outline the underlying physiological mechanisms for this improvement. Of particular interest is the effects of intensity on these physiological mechanisms.
Acute (short term) metabolic and molecular responses to resistance training to momentary muscular failure “do not differ from traditional endurance training.” Myocardial and vascular function are maintained.
Chronic responses to resistance training include several things which are associated with improved cardiovascular fitness: an increase in mitochondrial enzymes and mitochondrial proliferation (you grow more of your cells’ “powerhouses”, and they function better); a conversion of muscle fibers to a more “fast-twitch” IIb fiber type, and increases in capillary density.
So basically, performing resistance training at high intensity produces many of the same physiological changes that are traditionally associated with cardiovascular training. Pretty cool stuff.
Possible schedule change for Ramp Up class beginning tomorrow (Tuesday, 6/5)
This is just a reminder that our next Ramp Up group introductory class is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, June 5, at 6 pm. Please see here for more details.
Also, there have been a few people that were having trouble with the Tuesday/Thursday format. Would Monday/Wednesday be better? Please reply to comments or contact us with feedback.
We will still meet Tuesday at 6 pm! Any changes to the scheduled time/days will take place after the first meeting.