Friday, January 19, 2018

Get ready for the TSC in April


Twice a year we do the TSC on the same day as everyone else in the world. The next one is April 14, so you have lots of time to prepare.

Wojciech is visiting again for a couple of weeks and he recognized the StrongFirst banner in the gym. His gym in Poland, Box74, will be doing the TSC too. We'll live stream with him and see if we can beat the Poles at kettlebells!

The TSC is really the only competition I really like anymore. According to the SF website, the first TSC was in 2002 which is probably pretty close to when I competed in my first one. It's one of those events where no one has an advantage because something is going to be terrible for everyone. It's one of the best tests of all-around fitness.

The events are

  • 3 attempts for max deadlift - powerlifting rules, weight on the bar only goes up.
  • 1 attempt for max reps pull-ups.
  • 5 minute kettlebell snatch test.
You know what is the perfect way to prepare for the TSC? Come to Jeremy's Hardstyle Kettlebell class at 6:30AM or 12:00. He has the programming set to peak for the TSC. Even if you can't make it to that class, our normal S&C programming will help to get you ready since we do all of those movements often.

I want everyone in the gym to participate and meet all of the other local StrongFirst people who will be visiting for the TSC. There are scaling options to make it accessible to everyone. If you want to get ranked world-wide and get a t-shirt, you can register with StrongFirst here




Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

squat 8-5-3x5

Accessory/Skill

5 pull-ups between sets

Group Workout

4 rounds:
20 hand-to-hand kettlebell swing 
0:15 secs rest
*make the swings powerful and the transitions crisp

then 

5 minute kettlebell complex:
L - clean, swing, snatch
R - clean, swing, snatch 
*goal is for continuous reps with no rest

then

2 minute plank hold



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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Check out Randy over at Strength Running


A while ago Jason from strengthrunning.com reached out to Randy to work on a custom program for runners. It was hard for me to keep this under wraps until it was released, but now I can talk about it. It great to see that the need for strength training is being recognized in the running community and that the folks at Strength Running recognized that Randy is an expert in this field. Randy's programming is going to be featured this year in their year of strength.

Check out their teaser here. I think the two photos of Maggie (who just finished 3rd this weekend in the Arizona Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon) are the only two photos in existence where she's not smiling. I know they're hoping to get Randy on a podcast soon. That will be fun, we can listen to him rant about training even while we're not at the gym.



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

clean 5-3-4x3

Accessory/Skill

5 heavy swings between sets

Group Workout

6 rounds:
4L, 4R kettlebell swing clean 
heavy with rest is better than light and fast

then

Kettlebell swing ladder, increase weight each set:
50-40-30-20-10
*minimal rest - control your breathing 

then

2 x 1 minute 1-arm overhead kettlebell hold



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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Why do antiglycolytic training? - Part 2

A very complicated view of the Krebs cycle
This is a continuation of my potentially many-part series on antiglycolytic training. See Part 1 here.

Randy asked me to speak to the "science" of why AGT works. As AGT moves out of the obscure Soviet literature, the sport science folks are going to want a more science-y explanation of it. Unfortunately I can't really do that - and to be honest, no one can.  Above is the Krebs cycle and a bunch of other energy-producing reactions that happen in your mitochondria. This is the cycle of life, how energy is made in the cell and what the inputs and outputs are. This is really well studied, and I could be snide and say, "that's the reason AGT works. It's all right in that picture."

It's all there. Almost. One thing that folks often forget is the difference between statics and dynamics. Anyone who has taken a high school chemistry class has written chemical reactions. Those are relatively easy to understand. What's much harder to study are the dynamics, or kinetics, of a reaction. Doing any theory on a static system is not much more than bookkeeping. That is, keeping track of what's where. Computers make that easy. Understanding a dynamical system is hard - you need differential equations.

Once you have more than a few pathways, the problem quickly becomes intractable. When I did my Ph.D. work, the state of the art for full quantum dynamics was a 4-atom system. That was a while ago, but computers haven't gotten that much faster in that time, and the problem size grows exponentially with the number of atoms.

Why do we still crash test cars? Surely, we have extremely detailed CAD drawings of how a car is put together. The engineers know the material properties of everything put in the car. Extensive testing is done on even the smallest component to understand how it will hold up under the heat, cold, vibration, etc. in a car. Why don't we just simulate a crash on a computer? That way we can try every possible collision angle and test all kinds of impacts.  The speeds involved and the number of ways energy can be dissipated are so vast, that even knowing, exactly, the contents of a car, we cannot come close to simulating a collision. It's cheaper and more accurate to actually crash test cars.

I can go through every arrow of the Krebs cycle and tell you about NAD+ and NADH and Pyruvate and acetyl-CoA and FADH2 and ATP and glucose and electron transport chains and blah blah blah. I could try to sound smart and try to impress you and sit in an ivory tower and explain with detailed theory why AGT is good for you. Or you can just look at actual results: the experiments that have been done for years.

Rather than go ultra-reductionist and try to over science-ify things, we should just look at the results. This is the academic vs. tinkerer argument that Taleb hammers home in Antifragile.

Humans aren't just a collection of parts that can be studied in isolation. My biggest problem with the sports and exercise sciences is that they are always trying to impress you with their fancy names for everything. I stop listening to any trainer who starts giving the exact name for every muscle. Knowing the name of the thing is not the same as knowing the thing. (Feynman said something like that.) That doesn't mean we can be in the dark about the biochemical processes that happen when we're training. We just can't base our understanding on theory alone. Use the theory to inform the real world. If the theory doesn't agree with what happens, the theory is wrong.

My best argument for "why AGT?" is this. Looking at the big picture, you can see that there are lots of places that H+ leaves the cycle. A proton (H+) dissolved in water (your cells) is what chemists traditionally call an acid. Where does that acid go? There are lots of buffering mechanisms in the body, but I don't really care where they go, I care about the rate at which they go there (the dynamics).

A simplified view of the Krebs cycle. Notice all the place where H+ leaves the cycle - that's making the acid bath we talk about.
There will always be some point where you need energy (ATP) so fast that you are producing protons faster than they go away. That point is different for everyone. When you "feel the burn", that's too late, because you have already accumulated a bunch of acid. Our goal with AGT is to train at a rate where we need energy at a slow enough rate that we don't get a build-up of protons.

Why do we care about generating too much acid? Where do you want to put your limited resources? Where do you want to spend your energy? When you train you're telling your body to adapt to the stresses of its environment. That means you could get stronger and faster or you could train to buffer excess acid. You can't do it all because you have limited resources.

Training is not the same as testing. But what if you have to run away from the hungry lion? Don't you want to train for that when you need to make that energy all at once? Actually, no (or technically, not much). If you spend your training time getting stronger, then you'll do more with less energy (less acid) and if you do need even more energy, it's okay to have that acid build up to save your life! You'll recover. What you don't want to do is run from the lion every day. That won't make you stronger, and eventually you'll get eaten.



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

squat 8-5-3x5

Accessory/Skill

5 pull-ups between sets

Group Workout

6 rounds at a challenging weight:
4L, 4R kettlebell back squat 
6 goblet squat

then

One max rep set goblet squats using a heavier weight than used above - challenge yourself
then do one set at 75% of the reps from the max rep set 
and one more at 50% of the reps from the max rep set 

then

2 minute bar hang



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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

We're hosting a Kinstretch class Jan 27


A couple of weeks ago I heard about Kinstretch from Jeremy and then a few days later I heard about it again from a new member. When I start seeing patterns like that I start to investigate. We have two Kinstretch instructors in Boulder (see their bio below) and they've agreed to host a class for us instead of the normal S&C class on Saturday, January 27 at 10:00AM. Rather than listen to my ramblings about this, here's what Bridget and Traci (our instructors) and say about Kinstretch - it sounds pretty cool (and you know what my general attitude is on stretching...)

Reserve your spot in class by emailing Bridget directly: bridgetmcelvain@yahoo.com. $25 for a guest and $20 for our members.

Why Kinstretch?

You may be asking yourself, what is Kinstretch? Kinstretch is a movement enhancement system that develops flexibility and usable ranges of motion. It is unlike yoga in that we train for passive ranges. What Kinstretch does is find your passive range and trains it to be active. It closes the gap between your passive and active ranges, mitigating the potential for future injury.
Mobility training is strength training. The strength component is trained using isometric contractions at all angles. It is a practice of training the body to be strong at its weakest angles. By giving constant feedback to our tissues of how we expect them to heal and move, we build a better foundation to attack the things we love with more efficient use of power and control. Learning to control your body advertently develops greater motor control and stronger signals from the brain to your deepest stuff: your joint capsules.  Consistent practice yields greater results.
“The more control you have over your joints, the more control you have over your body. The more control you have over your body, the more control you have over your movements. The more control you have over your movements, the better you perform, and the less likely your movements will falter. If your movements falter less, then the less likely your chances of injury. Says the vast majority of science.” – Dr. Andreo Spina

Bridget McElvain 
I’ve always been an active person, a lover of volleyball and once upon a time CrossFit. I fell in love with CrossFit in 2010 and hit it hard for 6 years. I loved the communal aspect of it the most and saw huge gains in my fitness and lifts over the next 6 years. Back then, recovery wasn’t stressed nearly as much as it is today. I trained 6 days a week with little to no recovery. I was grateful for my handicap-equipped shower. Over time, my body became so stiff that I began to compensate simple things like picking something up off the floor or needing to hold on to something to sit down. No bueno. I experienced seemingly minor “injuries” over that time that I largely ignored and unconsciously pushed through. Finally, my knee had enough one day while hiking in 2016. I could feel that I had virtually no control over my body. The following year was one of intense frustration in understanding what went wrong and how to fix it. I dished out thousands of dollars for an MRI, physical therapists, sports doctors, etc to no avail. I was treated as an anomaly and that I was “fine” even though I was experiencing pain and limiting circumstances.  
Functional Range Systems (the principle system behind Kinstretch) changed my life. It offered me a solution to my janky movement patterns, joint pain, and degradation of joint range of motion. After a few months of training mobility in my weak hip, I was able to climb Mt. Sanitas twice in a week without any pain, and even shaved almost 10 minutes off my time on the second hike. Before, I worried that I would get a mile in to my hike and need to be rescued. My knee would hurt so bad that I wouldn’t be able to walk. Not only has FRS helped me recover from my injuries, it has also offered me the opportunity to learn how to assess my joints, joint articulation, and strengthen areas that are weak, mitigating potential future injury. I feel that Functional Range Conditioning and Kinstretch have been the missing piece for me to reach optimum health in the triad of diet, exercise, and recovery. I want to help others come to the same conclusion I have.

B.A. Retail, Merchandising, and Product Development
500 CYT (Certified Yoga Teacher)
FRCms (Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist)
Kinstretch Level 1 Instructor

Traci Bennett
I have been a competitive life-long athlete. I dabbled in soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, and most recently (over the last decade) Crossfit. I’ve experienced both sides of the coin: being an athlete and being a coach. After several back injuries, I transitioned from a competitive athlete to a Coach, and focused more on the quality of movement rather than the intensity. Slowing down and coaching helped me realize my passion. I have a deep drive for helping others find their groove. My chronic injuries eventually led me to find Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) and Kinstretch. It helped me realize I didn’t have the necessary prerequisites to perform the movements and motions safely. FRC and Kinstretch are movement enhancement systems that empower you with the tools to mend current and mitigate future injuries. It has given me a whole new perspective on my own training and how I approach training others.  I want to help people move and FEEL better, while imploring them with the knowledge and means to fix themselves. 

FRCms (Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist)
Kinstretch Level 1 Instructor
Crossfit Level 1
Air Force Veteran
Student Massage Therapist 



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

snatch 5-3-4x3

Accessory/Skill

5 heavy swings between sets

Group Workout

4 rounds:
2L, 2R Turkish Get Ups @ a challenging weight
*two second count at each transition to stabilize position 

then 

4 rounds:
20 weighted lunge w/ kettlebell in the back rack position, switch sides each round
1 minute double kettlebell rack hold
1:00 rest

then

2 minute double kettlebell rack hold



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Monday, January 15, 2018

Refer your friends, get a special shirt

Gold on purple is pretty classy...
Remember, at the end of January we will tally up all of the referrals and and get the shirt order in for those of you who convinced your family and friends to train with us. We really appreciate those of you who took our challenge seriously and brought a friend in. It's always more fun to work out with folks you know.

Don't worry, it won't be gold on purple. For some reason EJ thinks it's going to be brown. We haven't decided, but it will be unique so that everyone knows you're so committed to the gym you're willing to risk a friendship to earn a special shirt.




Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

bench press 8-5-3x5

Accessory/Skill

6 renegade rows between sets

Group Workout

3 rounds:
5L, 5R heavy kettlebell row 
rest as needed

then 

5 rounds:
moving fast
10 Box jump burpee
15 Underhand bodyweight row

then

2 x 20 PVC pull over



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Friday, January 12, 2018

Dave Albo: our artist in residence


We're collecting listings from our members who have their one businesses. Dave wins by giving us his submission first! If you forgot, here's your reminder: send us info, a link, and a picture and we'll get the up on a "stuff we like" page. So many of you do such interesting things, I'd like to make sure that everyone knows what everyone else does so you can support each other! We'll get that page up soon, once we have some more entries to put on it.

In the mean time, if you're looking for a great photographer, Dave's your guy. He did some family photos for us, and when you have insane ADHD children, it's good to have a sports photographer who knows how to deal with and capture motion.



Boulder based photographer Dave Albo specializes in action sports photography. He is an aging track athlete himself.  He loves lining up on the track to compete, and equally loves capturing others competing in all track and field events.

His other photographic subject interests include strength events, running, cyclocross, and scenic shots of our natural world.  He also does a variety of commercial work upon request.

Dave trains with Ric Rojas Running and with Barbell Strategy and enjoys showcasing the group training sessions and competitive moments.

www.lane1photos.com

davidalbo442@gmail.com



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

front squat 8-5-3x5

Accessory/Skill

5 push-ups between sets

Group Workout

5 rounds:
10 kettlebell halo
5L, 5R kettlebell snatch

then

8 rounds, switching arms each round:
1 minute 1-arm kettlebell overhead hold
0:15 seconds rest

then

2 x 0:30 plank hold
2 x 0:30 bar hang




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Thursday, January 11, 2018

The gym is closed Saturday


A quick reminder: we'll be closed this weekend. Randy will be in Colorado Springs for a weightlifting meet. Nick and Carter will be competing on Saturday and Sunday.

Here in Boulder Jeremy will be hosting a StrongFirst Barbell course. This is a full day instruction on the deadlift, squat, and press. I've seen how everyone's kettlebell form has improved since Jeremy arrived at the gym, I'm sure the same will happen with the barbell lifts too. This will be worth your time if you can make it!




Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

deadlift 8-5-3x5

Accessory/Skill

5 heavy swings between sets

Group Workout

EMOM 10
10 heavy kettlebell swings 

then 

6 rounds:
5L, 5R 1-arm kettlebell swing
5L, 5R kettlebell backsquat 

then

2 x 20 banded good morning



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