Posts Tagged ‘Smashby’s Weekly Throwdown’

Having a strong core can help one become a better athlete, healthier human, and a more independent human being. Today, I introduce a couple of drills that can help strengthen the “hollow body” position in an athlete, and also work on improving shoulder stability and grip strength.

There are countless modifications to make this more or less challenging, so feel free to ask if you’d like to discuss any of them.

Give these a shot, and let me know what you think!

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This week I decided to combine my Weekly Throwdown and Tip of the Week posts. Here’s why:

Most of the time, I think when people start a working out, they put their brain on cruise control and don’t really think. The difference between muddling through a workout and moving with purpose can be powerful, however.

As I demonstrate in the video, crashing down into every air squat versus being deliberate about core tension, breath control, and foot placement, can lead to vastly different results over time.

As they say:

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes progress.

I think we should do our best to get the most out of all of the time we spend in the gym.

Check out the video below, and let me know what you think, please!

Happy Monday! Want to hang out?

Working on hanging in different positions help a lot of aspects of your fitness. Not only can it help identify mobility imbalances between shoulders, it can also help improve overall shoulder and grip strength, while allowing you to work on breath control through both passive and active shoulder positions.

Give these drills a try, and let me know what you think about them!

After a quick weekend trip to Vegas, the next Weekly Throwdown is here!

Last week stability work was designed to improve comfort level and stability on the rings. This week, we’ll focus on shoulder, hip, and mobility work with some dumbbells.

Complex:

Double-Arm Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Double-Arm Standing Dumbbell Push Press

Double-Arm Dumbbell Sotts Press

Double-Arm Dumbbell Thruster (out of the bottom position)

Alternating-Arm Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Alternating-Arm Standing Dumbbell Push Press

Alternating-Arm Dumbbell Sotts Press

Alternating-Arm Dumbbell Thruster (out of the bottom position)

 

All of that is ONE round!

I’m challenging you to complete 7-10 rounds of that entire complex. The focus is NOT on increasing weight each round, necessarily. In fact, many people will be limited by their mobility in the bottom position of the squat for the Sotts Press. So if you struggle to get that arm/those arms locked out overhead safely in that bottom position, keep the weight light and focus on controlling reps.

Things to think about:

  • Pause at the top of each rep
  • Be deliberate with your breathing, exhaling as you punch/drive up
  • Rest between the double-arm and alternating arm round if you need to
  • Only increase weight if form allows
  • This is for technique, not for speed
  • Try to complete 7-10 rounds of the complex

Have fun with this one!

Unlike the first few weeks of this series, this week’s throwdown isn’t a workout at all. Instead, it’s a grouping of stability exercises that can be practiced to help improve a variety of movements we see in CrossFit.

First, the “Active Deadhang” from the high rings. With these, athletes can practice keeping their entire body engaged while hanging from the rings. Improving control in this position can lead to more powerful movements while hanging from the bar (such as pull-ups, toes to bar, or muscle-ups), as well as ring exercises as well (like a ring muscle-up, ring pull-ups, or toes through rings.)

Then, we move to the rings at “Medium Height” for a static hold. Spending time in that “Support Position” will help strengthen the core and shoulders. More control there will improve power and endurance in ring dips, and the second half of a muscle-up!

Finally, the “Ring Plank” position. Here, even more than with the other holds, the hollow position can practiced under the most control. Holding a plank with the hands directly underneath the shoulders, and that belly button sucked in tight to the spine, athletes can spend time under tension to emphasize proper engagement of the entire midsection!

This week’s challenge is to complete three rounds of a single maximum effort hold in each position. The expectation is that as soon as form starts to suffer, the attempt is over. Take a look at the video below, give it a shot, and let me know how it goes!

The fifth week of “Smashby’s Weekly Throwdown” is ready to go! The goal today is to work on increasing the length of run as we decrease the amount of reps each round. Instead of crashing and burning on the final run, be prepared to bring it home fast!

Throwdown #5

Run 100m

10 Pull-Ups

20 Push-Ups

30 Air Squats

Run 200m

8 Pull-Ups

16 Push-Ups

24 Air Squats

Run 300m

6 Pull-Ups

12 Push-Ups

18 Air Squats

Run 400m

Focus/Modifications/Progressions:

Overall Strategy- Today’s strategy for “Murph” will be geared towards helping athletes keep some speed in the tank for their final run. The first 100m run is followed by the largest block of reps for Pull-Ups, Push-Ups, and Air Squats. As the runs get a bit longer, the reps go down each round.

Runs– The goal today is to hold the same pace for all four runs. Think about what time would make you happy to run that final mile of the workout, and work backwards to find the pace you should hold. Knowing that, if you plan to run an eight minute mile to finish the workout, that puts your final 400m at 2:00. Using that equation, your 100m should take 30 seconds, 200m should take one minute, and your 300m should take ninety seconds. After your final air squat, get right out the door and hold that pace for your final run!

Pull-UpsPush-Ups, and Air Squats– For each of these movements, break down reps each set similar to how you’d plan to break them down on Murph day. The primary focus of the workout today is run pacing, so the reps should be completed in smaller, manageable sets. Just keep moving, and hitting full range of motion for everything.

Just like last week, if you plan on wearing a weight vest while completing Murph, this is a another great workout to start getting more comfortable wearing it before Memorial Day!

Five weeks of Murph prep in the books. Have you done any of these workouts? All of them? Let me know what you think!

The fourth week of “Smashby’s Weekly Throwdown” is ready to go! Hoping that these continue to help prepare athletes for the big day. Keep letting me know how you do, and if you get the courage, post your times and notes in the comments. There’s a few of you out there, I promise!

Throwdown #4

6 Rounds

Run 100m

3 Pull-Ups

6 Push-Ups

9 Air Squats

3 Pull-Ups

6 Push-Ups

9 Air Squats

Rest 60-90 seconds between rounds

Goal is to keep all 6 round times nearly identical!

Focus/Modifications/Progressions:

Overall Strategy- Today’s strategy for “Murph” will be geared towards helping athletes pace the workout more effectively. After running a short 100m distance, complete two rounds of 3 Pull-Ups, 6 Push-Ups, and 9 Air Squats. After one round is complete, rest between 60-90 seconds, and repeat. Complete for a total of six rounds of work. The goal is to complete all round with steady effort and nearly identical times.

Runs– You’ll only be running 100m each round, that’s pretty short! Keep the runs steady, and as soon as you get back in the gym start on your pull-ups right away.

Pull-Ups– Only three reps at a time. That means many of us will be going unbroken the entire time here. As long is it’s not going to destroy your grip or tear your hands, hang on and keep moving.

Push-Ups– It might be tempting to try and complete the six reps unbroken, but as I’ve said every week of the throwdown, few people will be able to maintain that throughout the full Murph. Break it down four and two, or three and three with really short rest, and keep that pacing going throughout all six rounds.

Air Squats– Remember, there are 300 air squats in Murph. Just because there’s “only” 18 reps per round, doesn’t mean you should sprint them. Find a comfortable pace and stick with it through short rests and steady breathing.

Also, if you plan on wearing a weight vest while completing Murph, this is a great workout to break it out and start getting more comfortable wearing it before Memorial Day!

Four weeks of Murph prep in the books. Are you feeling more confident? I sure hope so! Give this one a shot, and let me know how it goes!!

The third week of “Smashby’s Weekly Throwdown” is ready to go! It’s been so fun receiving messages from people who are participating in these weekly challenges. Keep letting me know how you do, and if you get the courage, post your times and notes in the comments. There’s a few of you out there, I promise!

Throwdown #3

Run 800m

20 Pull-Ups

30 Push-Ups

40 Air Squats

Run 800m

Focus/Modifications/Progressions:

Overall Strategy- Today’s pacing strategy for “Murph” will be geared towards helping those who are considering completing the workout straight through. That means they’ll run a mile, complete 100 pull-ups, then 200 push-ups, then 300 air squats, then another mile run. In that order. It’s a completely different beast to do it this way, so I encourage anyone completing my challenge this week to imagine needing to complete all reps, not just to blast through it unbroken. 

Runs– The workout has athletes running one mile total, half of the distance to be run during the full workout. I’m challenging each of you to try and run your 800’s in the exact same time! That means pacing the first run more than you need to, then pushing to match your time on the second one to complete the workout.

Pull-Ups– While there are a lot of people who can do 20 pull-ups in a row, fewer people would hit sets of 20 out of the gate on their way to 100. Pace it as if you had that much volume to complete. Smaller sets, short rest, continue.

Push-Ups– Most athletes complete sets of 3-5 reps at a time for push-ups during Murph. If you had to do 200 in a row before moving on, most people would most certainly stick with a similar rep range. Chest, hips, and quads, hit the ground at the same time. Be sure to lock out every rep before dropping to rest!

Air Squats– Imagine having to do 300 of these! I think quick sets of 10 reps or so, with a short rest before repeating, should keep you moving enough and ready to take off on that second run.

This will be the third week of getting ready for one of the most commonly performed workouts in all of CrossFit. I hope some of you are already feeling a bit more confident with different strategies for pacing and your chosen rep scheme.

Let me know how it goes!!

The first few weeks of my Weekly Throwdown is in the books, so it’s time for challenge number two! We’re still working to practice different pacing strategies for “Murph” at the end of next month, so keep that in mind.

Last week we worked on the 3/6/9 pacing breakdown. This week, we’re going to do what I view as the most common way of breaking down reps; 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats.

Throwdown #2

4 Rounds

200m Run

5 Pull-Ups

10 Push-Ups

15 Air Squats

Focus/Modifications/Progressions:

Overall Strategy- In Murph, there is only a mile run at the beginning of the workout, and another one at the end. For today’s workout, your goal is to try and get a little bit faster for each one of your four rounds. Too often during Murph, athletes run a blazing fast first mile and then a significantly slower second one. By pacing today’s short workout, the goal is to focus on being able to control your speed and effort in hopes to still have some gas left in the tank for the end!

Runs– The distance is short, so there will be some effective pacing required to not go too hard on round one! Try to get faster each round!It doesn’t end with run, so feel free to really push that final 200m run!

Pull-Ups– Kipping and butterfly pull-ups may be performed today, but remember, we want to get faster each round.

Push-Ups– No hand-release push-ups required this week, but make sure your chest, hips, and quads STILL touch the ground, AND that you lock out all the way. Since most people can’t do sets of 10 throughout the entire Murph workout, my advice is to break up these reps how you’d plan to do it on game day. Most people try 4/3/3 or 3/3/2/2, with really short rests between each small set.

Air Squats– Chest up, crease of your hip below the top of your knee! We all know how to squat, just because we’re not holding a weight in our hand today doesn’t mean we don’t need to start practicing actual full range of motion.

I will be very impressed if athletes can actually get faster each round. My main advice for getting after it is to intentionally hold back on both the run AND reps for the first round. On the last round, get after it and push both. Last round should feel like a sprint from start to finish.

Let me know how it goes!!

NEW SEGMENT ALERT!

To strengthen our community of readers, I’m going to try and post a challenge or workout that we can do together most weeks. They’ll be fairly fast and shouldn’t negatively impact any specific program you’re following!

Each week will have a different focus and “WHY are we doing this” aspect, and can be done any time from Monday through Sunday of that week. All I ask, is that you share your results here and comment on how it went!

The first few weeks of my Weekly Throwdown will be in preparation for a workout thousands of CrossFit athletes do around the world each year on Memorial Day: “Murph

Too often at the end of May people realize they haven’t devoted enough time to improving their running or their strength for the pull-ups, push-ups, and air squats that make up the workout.

Since you’re allowed to partition your reps any way you’d like in that workout, today’s variation is going to include the 3/6/9 break down, and will focus on strict and slower movements.

Throwdown #1

400m Run

5 Rounds of 3 Strict Pull-Ups, 6 Hand-Release Push-Ups, 9 Goblet Squats

400m Run

Focus/Modifications/Progressions:

Runs– Push the runs. Today’s workout includes slower movements by design. Since you’ll be standing around a little more than on a typical Murph, you’ll have plenty of time to recover before the next run. Run your first 400m at about 85/90% effort (faster than Murph pace), then try to match or beat it the second time!

Strict Pull-Ups– Make these the most challenging version of “chin-over” pull-ups you can do. Unassisted reps? Great! Pause and the bottom and don’t swing. Need a little kip to get that chin over? Use it! Can’t quite get your chin over yet? Although it’s not my favorite substitution, you can also use a band. But only if it only gives you that “little extra” push to get your chin over. If you’re needing to attach multiple or really strong bands, I always prefer a good strict ring row to build strength. These reps do not need to be unbroken, so feel free to break them up!

Hand-Release Push-Ups– My favorite version of push-up to ensure that an athlete’s chest actually touches the ground! If you’re doing push-ups from your toes, tell yourself not to let your knees touch the ground at all during the rep. At the end of each rep, come to a complete pause before beginning the next rep.

Goblet Squats– Holding a kettlebell, perform a set of 9 unbroken goblet squats. The goal with these is to ensure the chest is kept high at the bottom of each rep, and that the athlete stands all the way up at the top of every rep. It’s really easy to “shorten” range of motion in a workout like Murph, try to avoid that today!

This workout isn’t designed to be incredibly challenging. View it as a cardio component, focused skill and strength work, then a cardio piece to finish up. If you decide to tackle it, leave your time and some notes in the comments section.