Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

The next week of Smashby’s Tip of the Week is live, and it’s the final of my four week handstand push-up progression!

Although the video is a bit long, I cover a lot of information.

The first three weeks focused on my process for teaching athletes how to safely get upside down and support their own body weight. This final week moves through progressions I use to continue to build confidence in athletes, along with timelines for when I think the next step should be t

Here’s a snapshot summarizing my 4-week series:

  • Learn and progress through the steps to safely learn Wall Climbs/Wall Walks
  • Learn and progress through the steps to safely learn a Headstand
  • Learn and progress through the steps to safely learn a Handstand
  • Build strength and control through the use of Negatives
  • Learn and progress through steps to safely apply Kipping to Handstand Push-Ups

What did you think of this series? Did you find it helpful? If not for yourself, do you think it’s a good way to teach other athletes?

Let me know in the comments, and let’s talk about this. If it’s good, I would love to share it with others. If it sucks, help me improve my content so it can help others.

Thanks in advance!

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I’m not sure why, but for some reason I’ve always had a really strong opinion as to whether or not people should have programming written specifically for them. For the purposes of this post, let me be clear and explain my definition of Personalized Programming. I am not defining it as “How-To” progressions for certain advanced movements. If someone wants to learn how do their first pull-up, muscle up, handstand push-up, double-under, etc, there are a plethora of guides out there to help. Those are helpful and appropriate for anyone who wants to get better! Personalized Programming means exactly that. It could include warm-ups, strength cycles, extra workouts, multiple sets of accessory work, etc. A full suite of activities to do in order to help you attain and surpass whatever goals you’ve set for yourself.

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A lot of people who pay for this service still belong at a CrossFit gym. These athletes follow their gym’s programming when they take class, and then add in their Personalized work before or after class, or on their rest days. The reason I feel so strongly about not mixing and matching, is because a very common way of getting hurt is by overdoing it. If you train at a good gym, there should be a progression found in your training. Micro and Macro cycles, a gymnastics-focused wave versus a strength block. If an athlete comes in and throws in 3 extra days of heavy back squats when their gym is on a rest week before re-testing a 1 rep max, can you see how mixing and matching could lead to injury?

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In order to define fitness, CrossFit categorized human performance into 10 Physical Skills. They are:

  1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance – The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
  2. Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
  3. Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
  4. Flexibility – the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
  5. Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
  6. Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
  7. Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
  8. Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
  9. Balance – The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base.
  10. Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.

The entire CrossFit methodology is founded upon a concept that an athlete is only as strong as their weakest link out of those 10 movements. Therefore, if you’re really strong but not great with balance, you’ve got a glaring error in your fitness. The example I always remember hearing included two male athletes; one who could deadlift 500lbs but couldn’t jog a mile without stopping, and the other could run a sub-5 minute mile, but couldn’t deadlift twice his body weight. The purpose of the comparison was to say that just because someone may have been incredible at one thing, their deficiency in another thing could severely impact their overall effectiveness as an athlete. In CrossFit, the goal is to be more of a jack of all trades and a master of none. That way, no matter what is thrown at you (the unknown and the unknowable), you’d be more adequately prepared to handle it successfully. (Click here to read the incredible “What is Fitness” article that essentially serves as the Manifesto of the entire program)

Why bring in all of this CrossFit history if I’m writing a post about personalized programming? It’s simple, really. If people are trying to get better at CrossFit, and CrossFit says, “Do everything, all the time, and keep trying new things,” but people spend hours and hours focusing on one specific thing instead, doesn’t that seem kind of counter-intuitive? As I’ve said many times before, most people who are at the gym are there simply to get in better shape. That demographic will benefit just fine from belonging to a gym that has a decent idea of how to make people more fit. In my opinion, they do not require personalized programming.

So which groups of people should devote the extra time and money towards having something written specifically for them? I’ve created a partial list below:

  1. Competitors– CrossFit claims to be the physical fitness program that “specializes in not specializing.” That means you don’t really need to focus your efforts on any one thing in particular because at a good gym, over time you’ll do almost everything on a rotating basis. If you’re training specifically to compete in something, however, you’ll need to hone in on certain areas that you’ll likely see in competition. If you can’t perform the Olympic Lifts without some degree of efficiency, you’re not going to do well. Be clear of the distinction here: Competitive CrossFit athletes ARE specializing in a certain type of fitness, so they will benefit from personalized programming. Training for an Olympic Weightlifting or Strongman event? I completely support getting programming made just for you! In those cases, you’ll need it!
  2. Looking for Subject Matter Expert– You might love your gym’s regular class programming, but you’ve always wanted to improve your running technique or learn how to swim. If there isn’t someone around who can teach you those skills, of course it makes sense to find a professional somewhere else who can.
  3. Trust in a coach– Maybe someone who used to coach at your gym left but they know you really well. Perhaps a famous athlete you’ve always loved and followed posted online about offering customized plans just for you. There is nothing wrong with turning to people you know and trust to help make you better. That’s why we live in such a great time. We can be connected with people all over the world! 
  4. People training on their own– If you are paying for a program made just for you, and that’s the only thing you follow on a regular basis, that now becomes your only training. In this scenario, you’re less likely to overdo it. This option is great.
  5. Just for fun– I’ve written an 8 week rowing plan for someone who just liked rowing and wanted to get better. I’ve worked 1:1 with an athlete for 4 weeks who just wanted to learn how to do a muscle-up. You don’t need a reason to explain why you want to get better at something. I just don’t ever want it to lead to injury. If you’ve got time and money to follow a plan, more power to you!

Who do I think should NOT invest in Personalized Programming?

  1. Beginner athletes– A lot of gyms have a specific “On Ramp” program where they run new members through a basic overview of things they could experience in a given class. Once that’s done, give yourself a few months (years?) of following the daily workouts provided by your gym. Your average “Weekend Warrior” won’t need to work out for more than 4-5 hours per week at a good gym to get in better shape. Most people don’t need much more than  that! When the time comes that you decide your goals are more specific, and your gym isn’t providing resources to help you grow, then you can look for custom programs.
  2. Athletes who are going to overdo it– I understand you want to get better. That’s what’s crazy about this sport of ours. There are SO MANY THINGS we want to improve on, all the time. The good news in all of this, is that with good coaching, you can create a list of goals, and then set aside a reasonable action plan to attack them one at a time. Just don’t go to your home gym four times per week, try to do every workout you see Ben Smith do with your friends, follow Jason Khalipa’s EMOM of the day, attend every skills seminar your gym hosts, and compete every other weekend. It’s too much!

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When it comes to Personalized Programming, there’s also a big difference between in-person versus remote coaching. Thousands of “online coaches” offer training plans that are a one-size fits all offering. The reason I don’t like those as much is that it implies a few things. First, that the coach writing the programming understands the needs of the athlete following it. If I send the same plan to 10 people looking to get better at 10 different skills, there are going to be some things help you, and others that might not. Make sure that if you don’t have a set of eyes on you during your training, that you’ve got another way to ensure you’re moving properly and not establishing bad habits.

Most of my personal training clients who I don’t see every day either send me videos of their more technical movements so I can review them and provide feedback, or schedule in-person training once per week, or a few times per month to cover some more advanced movements with a coach present. That’s the way I prefer to do it, at least! If they are 100% remote clients, where I never see them, I just make sure the programming is safer for them to do on their own. If careful attention is paid to results, and the lines of communication are open between coach and athlete, everyone is likely to be ok.

To conclude the longest post in the world, let’s recap:

Personalized Programming is great and can help athletes everywhere. It can certainly help take performance to a new level if done properly. I am also NOT bashing companies and coaches who offer Personalized Programming to others. I am specifically referring to athletes who belong at one gym, and feel the need to do more and more and more to try and improve. More is not always better. Especially if there’s not specific reason for doing more, such as an upcoming competition.

Too many people think they need something special, when all they need is time to get better at things. It takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become a “master” at something, remember that. If there was a magic pill or a proven short cut, I promise you more women would snatch 250lbs and more men would have sub-1:30 Fran times!

In the event that someone thinks they need more volume, the first thing I’ll typically suggest to them is to do slower volume. Moving slower and with more of a focus on technique and full range of motion can help speed up progress a lot more than rushing through more. (Read more about my philosophy on that here, if you’re interested.)

Be patient. This CrossFit thing is a marathon, not a sprint. Find coaches and training partners who can help you, but also keep your ambition in check. If you’re injured you can’t train, and nobody has time for that!

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When I moved to Colorado in 2006, I had only been “skiing” two or three times. The word “skiing” is in quotations because you can hardly call what I did skiing. Yet I’ll never forget the first day I took a snowboard on the slopes of Winter Park, had friends give me about 15 minutes of pointers, and then I said, “Go have fun, I’ll meet you for lunch.” I was committed to try and learn this new sport that so many of my friends had been doing their whole lives. So for three consecutive days, I tried to teach myself how to snowboard. And I fell. A lot. My butt was bruised, right along with my ego, but I remember walking off the mountain at the end of each day a bit more confident. I was making progress, and it felt great!

For the next 7 years, I would buy a pass to the incredible resorts around Denver, and each year I kept getting better and better! I wasn’t ready to drop out of a Heli-skiing down a couloir, and I wasn’t crushing the Super Pipe with all of the park rats, but I could hold my own. It took me several seasons to feel as though I had become “good” at this winter sport.  Why tell you this story? Am I about to announce that I’m joining the Semi-Pro Snowboard Cross circuit? No, it is not. It’s to say that while it takes people like me years to learn how to ski on snow, there are people out there who simply need more. People like Candide Thovex, professional skiier and Freeride World Champion, for example. In partnership with Audi, he starred in one of the best freeriding segments of the year. Oh, and he wasn’t on snow for any of it. I hope you like the video below as much as I did.

Arthur Boorman’s story is incredible. I first saw the video below years ago, and just had to write about it on my blog. Arthur was a disabled veteran of the Gulf War for 15 years. Through years of being a paratrooper, his knees and back slowly started to deteriorate. After gaining a lot of weight, he was no longer able to walk without assistance. Doctors told him he would never walk without support again.

One day, he came across an article that talked about famous professional wrestler, Diamond Dallas Page, and how he had been practicing Yoga. The article inspired Arthur to give it a shot. As you can imagine, the road was a rough one. Progress started slow and he fell often. But he never gave up. DDP took interest in his story, and began communicating with, encouraging, and supporting Arthur through his journey. He ended up losing 140lbs in 10 months, and just a little bit more physical independence!

Watch the awesome video below, share it with someone you know who might need a little pick-me-up, and remember… through consistency, discipline, a strong support network, and a well-thought-out training program, so much is possible!

I swear every time I watch this. Every time! I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying!

If you know me, you know that I love beer. I also kind of like fitness. Many years ago, some genius came up with the idea to combine these two areas of interest for so many: Running and Beer!

This lead to the invention of one of the most important sporting events of all-time: THE BEER MILE!!! The Beer Mile website features the OFFICIAL RULES for the race, but let me explain it to you in the simplest of terms:

Drink a beer. Run 400m. Repeat 3 more times. Celebrate. (For a total of 4 beers, and a mile of running)

Corey Bellemore is a freak, and broke the World Record for this event yet again last year with a time of 4:33.6!! He drank FOUR beers and ran an entire mile in the time that is faster than most humans can fathom ever running a mile by itself. Bravo, sir, and thank you for inspiring others to step up their game!!

I’ve run this event a few times, and in the interest of striving to be “Better Than Yesterday,” I will aim to improve my Personal Best in 2018 yet again. (My current PR is 7:16, for those keeping track at home)

For those of you who read that the World Record is 4:33.6 and said, “That’s impossible,” check out the video below. Insane! Corey, if you want to come out to Colorado and train with me for a few days, we’ve got a spare bedroom in the house. Let me know!

A good friend of mine, Broderick, has been reminding me for years that there’s one way to get better at something:

Do it. Often. 

This is something I’ve always known. Through high school and college I was a competitive swimmer, and never really had an off-season. Since 2008, I’ve been involved in CrossFit in some capacity. As an athlete, I used train 15+ hours per week, and as a coach I constantly strive to learn more to help my athletes succeed. If I didn’t train regularly, study often, or if my athletes didn’t stick to their program, it showed. Progress would be delayed. Breakthroughs and Personal Bests would happen less frequently. That’s just how things work.

When my other friend Adam Griffin, posted how he struggles with trusting that his writing making an impact, it reminded me that I feel the same way. There will always be an audience out there who can benefit from our personal experiences. If we don’t take the time to share our thoughts, however, they’ll never have the chance to make an impact! Just write. Create. Share. And Repeat.

I don’t aim to be perfect in 2018, but I am striving to suffer less from “Paralysis by Analysis” and to quiet the voice inside my head that tells me it just “might not be good enough.” That same voice that makes me think my words may not resonate with everyone. Good news, I’m not writing for everyone. I write as a form of therapy for myself. I write to try and add value to others. And I write with the hopes that I can help even one individual benefit from the words I put on these pages.

I am not a “New Year, New Me” type of person, because I think we’re all pretty great. I AM, however, someone who CONSTANTLY strives to get better! So this year, instead of New Year, New Me…. let’s say:

New Year, Same You!

If you want to fine-tune some things along the way, more power to you! Let me know if I can help. 🙂

To quote Shia LaBeouf, if there’s something you’ve been wanting to do for a while, but just never had the courage…

I have not experienced more change in one singe year of my life than I did in 2017.
As I reflect on my “TopNine”, it’s incredible to see the places I’ve traveled, opportunities I’ve been given, and the growth I have experienced both personally and professionally.

 Married an amazing woman in an intimate ceremony at my mother’s house in front of family and a few close friends!
 An incredible send off from my amazing gym family ❤️
 Day one of our month long Wedding/Honeymoon/Road Trip Extravaganza Tour, which took us across the country and back, and then to Brazil
 My first time being invited to present as a Guest Lecturer at an Annual Conference for doctors at the Ritz Carlton in Naples, Florida
 A handstand at Mount Rushmore during our Labor Day Weekend Road Trip to the Badlands/Black Hills
 Thanksgiving at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., visiting our families
 One of the amazing sunrises I got to see while coaching the “Rooster Crew” at CrossFit Omnia
 Bacon playing in the amazing back yard at our new home!
 Caipirinhas on Copacabana Beach in Brazil during Emily’s first time there

And that doesn’t even show the dozens of live shows we saw together all over the country!

I’m so thankful for the things 2017 taught me, and am excited to see how I can continue to grow in 2018!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’ve tried to start writing on my blog again at least once per week for the last…. eight or nine months. Every time I start a post, however, I get paralyzed. I wonder whether or not what I’m writing is good enough. Whether or not I use commas in the right places. (I don’t, by the way.) Whether or not people will like what I have to say.

You know what? When my writing was at it’s peak, and when the highest number of people were checking in every day, I didn’t care about any of that. I just wrote to write. I just started blogging because I had something to say. Something I wanted to share. Sometimes I learned. Or my favorite posts, somethings I wanted to learn from all of you!

The sense of community we started here many years ago has been lost, and I really miss it. So, for the seventeenth time….
THE BLOG IS BACK!!!

My good friend Broderick always told me that to get better at writing, you write. Every. Single. Day. No matter how little, just do it.

Here’s to trying!

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MOMENT OF AWESOMENESS is a segment on my page where I share things I’ve come across online. Typically, it’d be a video I saw on Facebook, and now Instagram, too. Since we woke up to snow here in Colorado this morning, and then my friend Erin shared this video with me, it seemed like a perfect time for me to post this one!

One of my favorite Snowboard segments I’ve watched was this one from JP Auclair (RIP) from the movie All.I.Can.

I’ve watched it at least once every winter since I saw it 6 years ago, and the video I saw today was inspired by this same epic run through the streets of Nelson, B.C. It was so great because I could tell in the first few seconds of the video that it was the same neighborhood!

Tom Wallisch crushes this video, entitled “Imagination”, as he follows in JP’s footsteps and makes the world his playground. I think my favorite scene is when he does a gate-stall on the fence, closes the gate, rides down a huge rail, then grabs the handle of the car for a lift, only to wall ride on the mural that was used in JP’s scene, which has had many more colorful birds added to it! When he does, the parents in the car comment on how it’s nice that something is finally being done with the mural. So great!

(Side note: does this remind anyone of Danny MacAskill’s Imaginate video?! Kids daydreaming of awesomeness, in mountain towns, while adults go on with their boring lives, none the wiser. Just sayin…)

Regardless, this video brought a smile to my face, and I hope it brings one to yours, too!

I hope you all have a great week. Here we go again!

-Tom

Oh my…… he’s done it. He’s finally done it. SOMEONE has finally created an effective ratio calculator for the Olympic Lifts, and some of their accessory counterparts.

If you known anything about Olympic Weightlifting in the United States, then you know the name Sean Waxman. A coach for nearly 25 years, he has owned and run Waxman’s Gym for the last 6+ years. The lifters that he has produced through his experience, his coaches on staff, and his personal style have gone on to produce great results at the national and international level, and has also helped train some of the top athletes in the CrossFit game.

When I saw some of my “high-profile” friends on Facebook share a link this morning, I didn’t think it could actually be what the Title of the post claimed, but it is!

You, the lifter, plug in your max Snatch and Clean and Jerk numbers. Then, based on what information you have you can also put in certain supplemental lifts or variations, for your Snatch (Overhead Squat, Power Snatch, Snatch Blocks Abv Knee, and Hang Snatch Below Knee) and your Clean and Jerk (Clean, Back Squat, Front Squat, Jerk, Clean Blocks Abv Knee, Hang Clean Below Knee). From that info, an INCREDIBLE summary of your lifts, along with feedback on ways to improve them.

Example, here are my numbers:

First it asked for my current lifetime PR’s for the two Olympic Lifts

Next, the variations of the Snatch and Clean and Jerk. You don’t NEED to have any of these, so I put in the ones I was fairly confident were correct

After that…. you click the “Evaluate Me” button. Complicated, huh?

The next part is where you get all of your feedback and suggestions. First, it shows the variance from your 1RM lifts, to the other variations and movements for each

I am a very visual person, so this was fun to see. However, by themselves, the graphs don’t mean too much. Here’s what followed

The site begins by specifically referencing the ratio between your snatch and clean and jerk. Then it goes on to give you a diagnosis and some suggestions on how to strengthen the supplemental movements to make yourself either stronger, more balanced, or perhaps more well-rounded in general.

This site is SO cool, and I think that every lifter and coach should reference it as a key resource to help identify key areas for improvement!

Want to try it for yourself? CLICK HERE!

Do you want help with your lifting? Reach out to me, I’ve been taking on new remote clients and would love to help!

Lift well, friends.

I heard some really sad news today. While doing my normal morning scan of Facebook, my buddy Jason who is the one of the most active “mountaineers/back country explorers” I know, shared a link to an article talking about the death of Ueli Steck.

Now for most people, that name probably doesn’t ring a bell (even though it should). But for me, it hit a bit closer to home because I had been following Ueli’s, or the “Swiss Machine” as he was called, unbelievable mountain adventures ever since seeing the video below years ago!

I am pretty far from a daredevil and am mildly afraid of heights, so when I watched what he did I was completely shocked. First of all, why would someone WANT to climb the Eiger? Then, why would they want to do it as fast as they possibly could? Finally….. and this is the one that floored me most, why would someone choose to do this as a Free Solo climb?! That means he didn’t have any support ropes, harnesses, or protective gear. Yeah, Ueli climbed the 13,000+ ft. peak in the middle of “Winter Season” alone and with absolutely no supplemental safety equipment!

 

Every time an “extreme athlete” passes away doing something they love, I’m usually left with a myriad of emotions. While it’s always sad when a life is lost, there are a lot of people who say, “At least they went doing what they love.” That doesn’t mean I want to die eating a pizza just because I like doing that, but I see their point. While activities like sky diving or climbing mountains can be seen as “unsafe” by some, most of the athletes who choose to partake in these sports do their research, prepare for as many contingencies as they can, and accept that if things go wrong they would rather accept the consequences versus not taking the risk in the first place. That’s the exact reason why those activities aren’t for everyone.

Ueli inspired hundreds if not thousands of people with his accomplishments alongside mother nature. While his death is unbelievably sad, I hope his legacy will continue to live on forever. Rest in peace, sir.