Posts Tagged ‘Smashby Speaks’

“Hey, maybe knock that down 10 lbs and focus on staying tight at the bottom of your clean.”

“You could go Rx, or you could go a little lighter and finish in the suggested time domain.”

“Sorry, I know you thought it was a PR, but you didn’t stand all the way up before dropping the bar.”

Just a few of the examples of things I say on a regular basis to athletes in class. Over time, I’m able to create pretty meaningful relationships with most of the people that I coach (thankfully), but there’s always a certain few who refuse to take advice or listen to the suggestion of the person directing the group.

I’m sure there have been times where a coach is jealous that an athlete can out-perform them. Or times where athletes feel like the coach is insulting them by suggesting a lighter weight, or requesting and increased range of motion. I, however, am not one of those coaches who participates in either one of those games. The eye rolls, the weight or movement selection out of spite, the sighing and being bitter for a few days… it doesn’t help anyone!

My job is to help you get better. My goal is to keep you healthy. My responsibility is to not let you do something that could get you hurt. So when I’m leading a class and make a comment to you about slowing something down, or being more in control, please don’t be offended. Talk to me if you have any questions, ask me to video a rep or two and show you what I’m talking about (I’m a very visual learner), or respectfully tell me you’re going to do it anyways. But please don’t think I’m ever trying to hold you back. I’ve been doing this for a long time (in comparison to a lot of people in the CrossFit Game), and have one thing in the forefront of my mind each day… to be able to walk out of the gym and say, “Nobody died!”

As a rule, I’d always rather you go a little lighter and practice perfect form in workouts than “going for it” and risk getting hurt. Besides… almost none of us are going to the Games. We’re doing this fitness thing for fun, to stay healthy, and to look better naked. Get a time that’s 20 seconds slower to put up on the white board, but walk out of here on your own, knowing you did everything right!

Help me, help you!

Safety first. I’ve got your back. I’m here for YOU!

-Smashby

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DISCLAIMER:
The thoughts featured in the post are mine and mine alone! 

I have never claimed to be a great writer. In fact, I usually say my writing is like my talking… I usually do too much and use too many words! But every once and a while I see some piece from a blog or a FB post that makes me want to literally jump up and down and high five a stranger. Today, I read one of those posts! *High Five*

The topic covered was is something most of us typically refer to as “rep-shaving” in our little CrossFit world. My blog has featured at LEAST 2 posts on the topic, so I’ll include the link right below here if you care to go back and read my thoughts.

https://smashbytraining.com/2016/02/25/smashby-speaks-the-crossfit-games-open-2016/

Now this NEW post, written by Mike Warkentin (who is the managing editor of the CrossFit Journal and the founder of CrossFit 204) is probably the most brutally honest, and all-encompassing blocks of words that I’ve read on the topic. It’s called “An Open Letter to Cheaters” and basically says what almost all of us think on the issue:

Why? Why would someone intentionally skip reps/rounds during a workout, shorten range of motion, or write the wrong weight used for that Shoulder Press?

We all have had brain meltdowns during or after a workout and lose count when we can’t even see straight, but some athletes out there do it on purpose. Often. My typical approach as a coach (which falls into one of his categories in the piece) is to just let it go. I’ve said the sentence, “They’re only cheating themselves…” countless times, but Mike makes a point: while they’re only cheating their own physical progress and development, it can STILL have a negative impact on the community around them.

Even when I started competing back in 2010, I remember no-repping myself during workouts!

Even when I started competing back in 2010, I remember no-repping myself during workouts!

As competitive creatures, person “A” could become discouraged if they keep doing full range of motion push-ups, and time after time person “B” beats them in a workout by not locking out a single one. CrossFit is founded upon the concept that we all suffer together, so we that we all get better together!

In my nearly 8 years of CrossFit, I’ve probably posted a few hundred videos of myself working out. While some of them are to share my accomplishments with friends, most of the time it’s for the silly reason that I want my friends to know that when I talk about my “exercise racing” times or numbers, that I’m being honest. (And to hope I can get some remote coaching on technique, since 95% of my training is done alone!)

Enough of my rant, please check out this article, and let me know your thoughts! I really enjoyed this one. I’m going to start trying to write more often, too. It makes me feel good to hope that my years in this “sport” of ours can potentially help (or entertain?) at least one person out there.

Enjoy your weekend, friends!

Week 2 of the 2016 CrossFit Games Open is here! After watching the video for the 16.2 Workout Reveal, I was pretty floored by watching those guys get after it. Obviously most of us know how much of a beast Dan Bailey is after watching him at the Games for the last few years, but even then I never would have expected him to get through the entire thing in 20 minutes! (I know there was the “missed rep” debacle after the live show, but I’m just saying I didn’t think that 275 and 315 pounds would look that light to those guys!)

Strategy on this one, for me, is going to boil down to knowing your own ability level on Toes to Bar and Double-Unders. In my mind, those are two movements where being proficient can be an absolute game changer. Just because an athlete CAN do 25 reps of TTB in row, does NOT mean that they SHOULD do 25 reps in a row. Once your TTB fatigue your grip and/or your core, sets of 10-15+ will very quickly become sets of 2-3 reps. It is not worth crashing and burning that hard for that movement.

For athletes who have controlled kips, and can get through reps smoothly, I think sets of 5-10 will be best to try and maintain throughout the entire workout. Remember, hopping down off of the bar, turning around, chalking up, hopping back up, can all take a MINIMUM of 5-10 seconds every time. The smoother those transitions can be, the easier it will be to make it through to the next round.

I feel the same way about DUs. Just because an athlete CAN do 50 in a row, if it’s going to take so much out of them that on the next round, they mess up every 5-6 jumps because they’re so tired, 50 in a row wasn’t worth it. While in my video I emphasize the importance of getting to that tie-breaker as quickly as possible, unless time in the round is about to expire, I don’t think it should be at the expense of absolutely crushing your pace.

Remember, after all of that jumping rope, you need to pick up a heavy bar, quite a few times. So, if fatigue starts to set in by the 20th or 30th rep of DU, take a short rest, regroup, then finish the set. That will minimize the time needed to feel prepared to attack that next set of cleans.

In my opinion, the longest rest of the round should be taken after completing the final clean, and before the first TTB. If an athlete rushes back to the TTB too soon, they’ll likely get far fewer reps before needing to jump down. Remember, every time you hop off of the bar, it’s probably going to take 5 seconds to get back on. So, sets of 5-7 reps will be far more efficient than having to hop down every 2-3. Take your time, and make sure you’re getting slightly larger sets before having to hop down as long as your kip is solid.

Truthfully, unlike 15.1 last year, I don’t really see this as being a workout where TOO many people will PR and hit a weight for the first time and keep repeating. However, given how the tiebreaker is set up, I do think that the folks who move through the other movements (TTB and DU) as smoothly as possible, will have a big advantage over their counterparts who come out swinging and just can’t hold on.

I feel the breaking point for “regular” people 🙂 on this one will be the round of 225lb squat cleans for men and 145lb for ladies. The athletes who can cycle through consistent singles and keep their breathing under control will pass the folks who get too excited and try to hit 3-5 reps of touch-and-go through the first few sets. Athletes who make it through the round of 225 will have a HUGE advantage. If time is getting close to capping during that 4th round, athletes will be able to go harder with their final sets. Remember, if toes to bar get completed, the reps added to the score due to double-unders at the end are significant! Get to that final tie-break as quickly as possible on the last round!

Have fun, and as always, please let me know if you guys found this helpful!

It’s finally here! They announced the first workout of the 2016 CrossFit Games Open, and it’s a long, slow, grinder.

The 20-minute adventure includes Overhead Walking Lunges, Bar-Facing Burpees over the Bar, and Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups for the Rx’d Division. Scaled athletes will complete the Lunges in the “Front Rack” position, and Jumping Pull-Ups as their two modifications.

Please CLICK HERE to go to the official workout page to read up on all of the details.

In my first video of the 2016 Open Season, for those of you who actually use my videos for strategy and advice on how to attack this thing, please let me know what you think of it! As of the time I’m writing this, I haven’t done it yet, and didn’t get a chance to watch the ladies do it tonight… so I may be way off.

The word for 16.1 in my opinion, however: PACE!

Let this workout be one where when the halfway point hits, athletes still feel pretty good. Very few people will be able to go at a blazing pace for the full 20 minutes, so slow and steady throughout will be the way to go for most of us.

Let me know what you think, and let me know how you do. Good luck, friends!

-Tom

It finally happened, everyone! CrossFit HQ has made a change to the rules that states if and when an individual qualifies for Regionals and goes as an individual, their point totals will be REMOVED from their gym’s team total, and the team will be reranked accordingly.

Here is the official post from the CF Games site:

“Athletes who accept the invitation to compete as Individuals at their Regional will have their contributing Open scores removed from their respective Teams. The Team Leaderboard will then be re-sorted and the top 30 teams will be invited to compete at their respective Regional competition.”

This addresses an issue that many CrossFit athletes felt was unfair in the past. Example, sorry to use Froning as the example, but it’s the easiest way for most of us to understand!

If he qualifies #1 in the world, that would obviously give his gym a HUGE boost in the TEAM rankings as well. If he chooses to go individual, his point totals would NOT have been removed from his gym’s Team ranking…. until now! Now, once the athlete declares that they would like to go individual, their points would then be reevaluated MINUS the totals earned from Froning.

My opinion: That is much more fair, and will open the door to several more of those “bubble” teams who missed qualifying their gym by only a few spots.

Important additional details to note (also from the CF Games article):
“Those athletes who choose to compete individually at Regionals will not be barred from returning to their team for the Games (if the do not qualify as individuals). Additionally, team competitors who sit out of the Regional to recover from injury, etc., may compete on their team at the Games.”

All in all, I say GREAT JOB, HQ! Moving in the right direction to try and make this selection and qualifying process even more fair.

 

What a fun week it’s been in the “CrossFit” Community! I feel like the conversation about “Rhabdomyolysis” is at an all-time high in my history of being a CrossFit athlete. And to think this all started from one little article is amazing.

The article in question is entitled: CrossFit’s Dirty Little Secret“, written by a guy named Eric Robertson, and has CFers furious all over the world. You know those articles that FB tells you seventy-five of your friends have shared? Yeah, this is one of those pieces.

To summarize it poorly, I assume he is trying to bash CrossFit and say that they hide Rhabdo from its athletes, in essence, stating how unsafe and irresponsible the program is to follow. For those of you who have read the piece, do you think that’s a fair summary (without getting into the inconsistencies or simply false statements made)?

So, a few days later, one of the first “rebuttal” articles came out. This one from a woman named Ericka Andersen, and her piece was called: CrossFit Doesn’t Have a Dirty Little Secret — You’re Just Irresponsible. Ericka goes ahead and takes the exact opposite side of the coin. Her stance is that no trainer or gym owner should be held responsible for Rhabdo, rather the athlete should know themselves well enough to know when to stop pushing.

Here are two quotes from her post:

“Rhabdomyolysis — an extreme condition thwarted upon oneself — is not the fault of CrossFit. It’s not the sport, the organization or even the coaches. It’s your own fault.”

“But use your common sense! Don’t do something that will hurt yourself. Listen to your body. Go slowly when you start. Learn correct form. Don’t lift too heavy. Scale down if you need to. Take it seriously — weightlifting isn’t a joke.

Any good CrossFit coach will tell you these things. Of course, there are bad coaches! There are bad gyms. There are people who will tell you to do things that may be harmful. Be smart.”

My take on her article, is that Ericka puts a little bit TOO MUCH responsibility on the athlete. While I do believe that people need to be aware of their body, and know when to stop pushing, I also have experienced first-hand… HUNDREDS of times, that some people simply don’t know how to do that. Some folks that walk into the gyms where I coach have never worked out a day in their lives. Others were potentially elite-level athletes…. twenty, thirty, forty years ago, and truly believe their bodies can go back to that level of performance overnight. That’s not quite how it works.

While I absolutely side with Ericka if I had to pick one of the two articles discussed so far, I 100% put a large amount of responsibility on the gym owners and coaches to know enough about the human body, and their athletes, to try their best not to let people hurt themselves. One of my favorite parts of coaching is looking around a full class of athletes and knowing them well enough to be able to safely and correctly pick weights that they should use for strength training or workouts.

So there you have it, the two opposite ends of the spectrum on whose fault it is that Rhabdo occurs. Now, the gel to bring them both together. Mike Ray, one of the owners of CrossFit Flagstaff (who has been in the CrossFit game with his wife Lisa for a lonnnng time), posted his thoughts on the situation. I read his post and thought… perfect. He addresses the potential risks of CrossFit, of lifting, of working out in general, as one should. He also mentions the potential benefits of that type of training, when done right. He brings up the different workout styles associated with an individuals’ fitness goals. I mean, he touches on basically everything that I thought about when I tried to record the video below a few days ago.

The bottom line, if you want to read someone who is articulate and sounds intelligent covering “all of the bases” on this topic, and someone who I agree with basically 100%, please read this article: “Secret” Rhabdo. It’s beautiful.

Now, here’s my rambling attempt at addressing my thoughts on this situation. Before I started recording I had 5 or 6 talking points, but when the camera started rolling. It rambling at parts, misses some of the key points, but as it is, it’s taken me 3 days to post my thoughts because I wanted this post to be all-inclusive. HA! Anyways, there you have it, folks. Rhabdo discussed. I am incredibly interested in hearing what you guys think on this situation. Let’s discuss….