The 2 Most Potent Exercises You’re Not Doing

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Strength in Conditioning for Saturday, August 8, 2015

The two most impactful and underutilized exercises that I teach athletes on a regular basis are for the diaphragm and feet.

Many athletes are told to ‘just breathe’ and/or wear orthotics for their flat feet – this advice leaves athletes helpless when it comes to strengthening the feet and improving core stability (via the diaphragm).

In fact, exercises that train diaphragmatic breathing and intrinsic foot strength are foundational exercises for learning to lift heavy weights and execute bodyweight exercises like single-leg squats and running.

As coaches, it is important to empower athletes with direction, confidence, and capability. Orthotics have their place and can spare the knees and low back from repetitive stress during running.  But are orthotics the best long-term strategy for a weak or collapsed arch?

Athletes with weak feet and dysfunctional breathing (this is a large percentage of the general and athletic population) can benefit by replacing their pre-workout hamstring stretching with the following drills…

Banded Breathing

The diaphragm functions like a weight belt stabilizing the lower lumbar spine.  If the diaphragm does not fully descend then L4/5 are not fully stabilized.  Banded breathing retrains the diaphragm by encouraging a lateral expansion of the breath into the sides of the abdomen.

Diaphragmatic-Breathing-Core-Stability

Intrinsic Foot Strengthening

We are not born with arches – they are pulled into existence through walking and weight-bearing tasks.  The muscles of the lower leg (as well as the intrinsic muscles of the foot) can be trained to restore the arch over time.  While this often also requires extensive soft-tissue work, athletes can benefit from simple foot exercises.

- Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx™ – www.FlexibilityRx.com

 Related Resources

FlexibilityRx: Intrinsic Foot Strength and The Short Foot Position
Seth Oberst: The Short Foot Position and Neuromuscular Readines
Dr. Andreo Spina: Developing Instrinsic Foot Strength

WARMUP
Dynamic Movement
Movement Prep
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CONDITIONING A
8 Minutes
100 Meter Row Partner Sprints
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CONDITIONING B 
WOW 13 | 12 Minute AMRAP
3 Deadlifts + 5 Burpees + 7 Toes to Bar
LIFE: Lying Knees to Elbows
FITNESS: 135/95 + Leg Raises Hanging from Bar
SPORT: Bodyweight for Men / 80% Bodyweight for Women

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Foundational Work on the Power Clean

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Strength in Conditioning for Friday, August 7, 2015

The Power Clean. More than just a weightlifting exercise — this movement requires strength, coordination, speed, focus, and a relentless attitude that is determined to put in the time and energy to get it right.

If you find the power clean to be one of the more difficult exercises we do here at SICFIT Scottsdale, you are not alone. As one of the most complex lifts we perform, there is a steep learning curve that demands consistent practice. In other words, the best way to get better at power cleaning, is to spend time with that barbell, drilling all of the points of performance, over and over and over again.

In today’s class, we provide you with an opportunity to do just that. We will be spending 20 minutes working the power clean progression. This doesn’t mean we will spend 20 minutes simply repeating the power clean. It means we will spend 20 minutes drilling each and every section of the power clean individually — honing in on that sections that we experience the most difficulty with. Then and only then, will we link all that we worked on together in the full lift.

The real gains we make in the Power Clean (or in any variation of the Olympic Lifts) are not made during a workout. They aren’t even made when working towards a one rep max. The real gains are made in the training sessions, where we drill the basics so deeply into our kinesthetic memory that it becomes difficult to do them wrong.

The real gains are always made first by laying the foundation. For only with a solid base do we have the stability, strength, and structure to expand our potential to ever great heights.

SICFITsandiegoCleans

WARMUP
4 Minute Row
3 Minute Jump Rope
2 Minute Burpee
1 Minute Reverse Lunge
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OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING
20 Minute Power Clean Progression
Then…
8 Minute EMOM
2 Deadlift + 2 Power Clean + 2 Front Squat
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FINISHER
1 Minute Plank
1 Minute Left Side Plank
1 Minute Right Side Plank
1 Minute Forearm Plank
1 Minute Push Up Plank
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Last Free Fitness Class at Asics Next Thursday

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Strength in Conditioning for Thursday, August 6, 2015

Break out your calendars folks because Thursday of next week marks SICFIT Scottsdale’s final free class at Asics in the Scottsdale Quarter. We have had a blast putting the FUN in FUNctional fitness over the last few months! And for our last class on 8/13 at 6:30pm, you know we’ll be going out with a bang!

If you or someone you know if looking to make a change to their lifestyle, attending this free class is the perfect way to experience first hand what the most elite gym in Scottsdale is all about!

Join us next Thursday to meet our coaches, get a taste of our fitness philosophy, and feel impact of our brand of functional fitness. In fact, you’ll probably feel it for a few days! But embrace the burn! It means its working!

Extend this invite to your friends and family! The more the merrier!

What: Free Fitness Class at Asics from SICFIT Scottsdale

Where: The Asics Store in the Scottsdale Quarter

When: Thursday 8/13, at 6:30pm

asicsfrontfinal

 

WARMUP
1k Row or 3 Big Laps
10 Curtis P’s w/ Barbell
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STRENGTH
5 Working Rounds
10 Laying Knees to Elbows
10 PVC Overhead Squats
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CONDITIONING A
50 Pull Ups for Time
5 Push Up Penalty Per Break 
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CONDITIONING
11 Minute AMRAP
5 Burpees + 7 Push Press + 9 Push Ups
LIFE:1 Round Fast + 1 Minute Rest | Barbell
FITNESS/SPORT: 95/65

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Training Stability in the Split Squat

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Strength in Conditioning for Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Single leg and single arm exercise boast a ton of benefits like gaining strength, building muscular endurance, and improving balance. Perhaps the most powerful benefit however, is that they strengthen our ability to stabilize our bodies in space during dynamic movements. The capacity to remain stable and engaged benefits all aspects of our fitness by laying the foundation for safe, powerful, effective workouts.

Today we will train several single leg/arm exercise, one of which being the Bulgarian Split Squat. This exercise is performed much like a lunge, except the back foot rests (sole facing up) on a box or a bench, with the back knee bent down towards the floor. The front foot is positioned so that at the bottom of the movement, the front knee is stacked over the front ankle.

To get the hang of the Bulgarian Split Squat, warm up with no weight. Lower the back knee down to the floor with control by bending into the front leg. Keep the front knee tracking in the same direction as the second toe, to prevent the knee from caving inwards or pressing excessively outwards. You may find that performing this exercise with no weight is plenty of challenge — and it is. But if you’re feeling balanced, controlled and strong, grab a couple of dumbbells or kettlebells and hold them farmer’s carry style while performing this exercise.

The positioning of the feet in Bulgarian Split Squat make it a great exercise for training the stabilizer muscles of the legs, glutes, hips and core. The benefits of this, along with today’s other single leg and arm exercises, will enhance every aspect of your training. Practice them earnestly and with mindful intent when they are programmed (and even to supplement on your own) and watch as you performance in other areas in the gym sky rockets!

Bulgarian-Split-Squat

 

WARMUP
Single Leg & Single Arm Movements
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STRENGTH
4 Rounds | Add Weight Each Round
8-10 Seated Dumbbell Single Arm Press | 30 Second Rest Between Sides
1 Minute Rest
8-10 Seated Kettle Bell Single Arm Row | 30 Second Rest Between Sides
1 Minute Rest
8 Single Leg Step Up | 30 Second Rest Between Sides
1 Minute Rest
8 Bulgarian Split Squat | 30 Second Rest Between Sides
2 Minute Rest Between Rounds
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CONDITIONING
Tabata Mash Up
5 Rounds | 1 Minute of Work + 20 Seconds Rest
Push Ups
Sit Ups
Air Squats
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Cooking With the Kayeems Back to School Nutrition Seminar

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Strength in Conditioning for Tuesday, August 4, 2015

With the beginning of the new school year just around the corner – along with those rushed mornings of lunch packing, homework checking, and carpooling — now is a great time to develop a nutrition strategy that will keep you and your family eating clean all year long!

Najla and Luke Kayeem have tuned healthy eating and weekly food prep into an art and are extremely passionate about sharing their tips, tricks, and ideas with the community. Join them at SICFIT Chandler on 8/13 at 7pm or at SICFIT Scottsdale on 8/14 at 6pm for their hands-on and tasty nutrition seminar, Cooking With the Kayeems!

In this class, Luke and Najla will discuss the basics of a practically paleo diet, share recipes for easy meals and snacks, offer suggestions on how to keep you and your family on track even during the busiest weeks, and much, much more! Best of all, the Kayeems will be whipping up some of their favorite dishes and snacks so you can try them for yourself! Be sure to come hungry!

We encourage you to bring the whole family, to get everyone on board with this year’s game plan for clean eating! The cost of this seminar along with the food provided is $25 for one person, $45 for two, and $75 for four. E-mail us at info@sicfitscottsdale.com or info@sicfitchandler.com to reserve your spot!

CookingSeminar

 

 

WARMUP
Partner Stretch
Band Mobility
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OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING
Hang Power Clean
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STRENGTH
10-12 Push Press | 8-10 | 5-8 | 3-5 | 1-2
30 Box Ups Each Leg
30 Second Side Planks
2 Minute Walking Rest
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CONDITIONING
1k Row + 10 Push Ups
750 Meter Row + 20 Push Ups
500 Meter Row + 30 Push Ups
LIFE: 3-5 Rounds | 250 Meter Row + 10 Push Ups

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Instructor Training Program 9.0 – Continuing Education for Coaches and Gym Owners

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Strength in Conditioning for Monday, August 3, 2015

Part of what it takes to be a great coach is being continually committed to refining your craft. Earning your coaching certificate is only the beginning. To be a truly impactful coach, the education process is forever.

At SICFIT Scottsdale we like to think of ourselves as a school of fitness. We are passionate about spreading the powerfully positive impacts of high quality, elite fitness training. And this weekend, we are extending this passion to our fellow coaches and gym owners as an opportunity to continue their education in our Instructor Training Program 9.0 (ITP).

In this two day intensive seminar, the pros who do it best at SICFIT will cover all aspects of grab coaching and gym ownership. Here are some of the topics that will be covered:

  • The unseen realities of coaching
  • Creating a memorable experience
  • Running a premium FUNctional FITness gym business
  • Movement coaching
  • Scaling
  • Injury prevention/management
  • Programming for various types of athletes
  • Understanding team dynamics
  • Media relations
  • Retail transactions
  • Networking
  • Marketing
  • Much more.

If you’re ready to take your coaching or gym ownership to the next level, join us this weekend for the SICFIT Instructor Training Program 9.0. To register call us at 480-922-3253!

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WARM
Barbell Work
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STRENGTH 
4 Rounds
10-12 Front Squat | 8-10 | 5-8 | 3-5| 1-2
20 Second Rest
5 Pull Ups
15 Sit Ups
20 Second Rest
20 Second Row
2 Minute Walking Rest
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STRENGTH B
3 Rounds
Single Arm Waiters Walk 40’
4×10 Leggels | Up and Down | Side to Side | Half Circles | Flexion and Extension
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CONDITIONING
12 Burpees
Small Lap Sprint
9 Burpees
Small Lap Sprint
6 Burpees
Small Lap Sprint
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Fixing the Overextended Athlete

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Strength in Conditioning for Saturday, August 1st, 2015

This blog is a follow-up on; “The Extension Intolerant Low Back” which looks at extension based low back pain.

 Treatment

 #1: Remove Extension

For individuals that are on their feet for most of the day it is important to wear shoes with more cushioning. Resting one foot on an elevated surface while standing creates a little bit of hip flexion.  Running, in particular, can aggravate the low back of individuals stuck in extension – causing repetitive strain to the low back.

Lower and upper body movements that involve end-range extension should be avoided.  Bench pressing with an arched back, weighted overhead pressing, and reaching forward for objects with an arched back all need to be initially avoided.

The superman exercise in particular should be avoided – which involves compressive end range extension to the lumbar spine.  This is analogous to removing sit-ups and crunches for the flexion-intolerant low back.

#2: Assess Posture and Movement

Lower Crossed Syndrome

Lower crossed syndrome is characterized by anterior pelvic tilt and an overextended lumbar spine.  Tight hip flexors pull the hips into an anterior pelvic tilt which weakens the glutes and forces the low back and hamstrings to take on the workload during squats and deadlifts

The single leg glute bridge is a good way to assess whether the glute max is functioning as the primary hip extensor – or if the low back and hamstrings are overactive.  Glute bridges and hip thrusts both strengthen the glutes and stretch the hip flexors.

Spondylosis & Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a forward slippage of the lumbar vertebrae and aggravated by lumbar extension.  These individuals need to incorporate flexion-based exercises to reset the positioning of the lumbar vertebrae and develop low back endurance during low-level tasks.

It is important to avoid hamstring stretches with both lower crossed syndrome and spondylolisthesis. The hamstrings feel tight because they are constantly eccentrically preventing the hips from going into an anterior pelvic tilt.  This protective tension is preventing forward slippage of the lumbar vertebrae.

The Thoraco-Lumbar Junction

The thoraco-lumbar junction is where the thoracic spine and lumbar spine meet.  Stiffness in the upper thoracic spine (T2-T9) and hips often leads to overextension in this area during overhead movements especially.  It is important to mobilize the upper thoracic spine and also improve thoracic rotation.

Chiropractor, Marc Heller, points out that, “The psoas and diaphragm meet at the thoracolumbar junction. The superior cluneal nerves traverse through the psoas. If the psoas or diaphragm is dysfunctional, it can create problems or reinforce dysfunction at these spinal levels.”

The lats stabilize the back at the thoraco-lumbar junction.  Tight lats can take the pelvis into an anterior pelvic tilt.  It is important to both release tight lats especially for athletes that are pressing weight overhead.

 #3: Exercises

Exercises for the extension-intolerant low back should train core stability at the low back during arm and leg movement.  Extension-intolerant individuals will substitute lumbar extension for hip extension and shoulder flexion.  The focus should be on maintaining a neutral low back curve, training a ribcage down position, while integrating breathing into movement.

Someone in an extended posture may be better off starting with a dying bug variation than a bird dog – where the back is flat against the ground so that they can feel what is like to be in neutral.  They then can progress to a more challenging anti-extension exercise like the ab rollout.

Fixing-Overextended-Athlete

The Kolar Wall Bug is a great beginning exercise for training a neutral back during hip extension.  The Kolar Wall bug gives an athlete feedback – allowing them to feel their low back flatten into the ground as the leg lowers (extending the hip).

- Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx™ – www.FlexibilityRx.com

Related Resources

Tony Gentilcore: Extension Based Back Pain
T-Nation: Lower Back Savers
Breaking Muscle: Why Slouching isn’t the only Bad Posture

WARMUP
20 Minutes: Row + Run + Airdyne
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STRENGTH
10 – 8 – 6 – 4 – 2
Kettle Bell Swings
Goblet Squats
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10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1
Push ups
20 Meter Bear Crawl Between Sets
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5 – 10 – 15 – 20 – 25
Air Squats  + 30 Single or Double Under Between Sets
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10 – 8 – 6 – 4 – 2 – 4 – 6 – 8 – 10
Kettle Bell Alternating Single Arm Snatch
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CONDITIONING
300 Meter Row 300 + 10 Burpees
200 Meter Row + 20 Burpees
100 Meter Row + 30 Burpees

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The Extension Intolerant Low Back

 

Strength in Conditioning for Friday, July 31, 2015

My previous blog examined the flexion intolerant low back.  Low back pain has a number of different causes but individuals with back pain often fall into one of two categories.

Extension-based back pain is aggravated by standing for prolonged periods and characterized by an overextended lumbar spine.  Flexion-based back pain is aggravated by prolonged sitting and characterized by excessive flexion in the lumbar spine.

This article will examine the extension-intolerant low back.  Typically athletes are prone to being more overextended while office workers are prone to be flexion-intolerant and rounded through the lumbar spine. In both patterns it is important to mobilize the hips and thoracic spine so that the back is stable during movement.

 What is Extension-Intolerance?

Extension intolerant low back pain is characterized by pain in standing, pain during movement from flexion to extension, and during end range extension.

Athletes that have extension based back pain tend to suffer from lower crossed syndrome (anterior pelvic tilt) caused by tight hip flexors and weak glutes/abdominals.

Extension intolerant athletes will tend to hyperextend the lumbar spine during movements that require hip extension (squats, deadlifts, bridges, cobra pose).

They will also extend through the thoraco-lumbar junction instead of extending the thoracic spine while maintaining a neutral low back (overhead pressing, pushups, pullups).
Extension-Intolerant-Back-Pain

Clues for Extension Intolerance

  • Pain worse with standing than sitting
  • History of spondyloysis (fractures)
  • History of spondylolisthesis (vertebral slippage)
  • Discomfort during overheard pressing (lumbar extension)
  • Prolonged standing during the day
  • Posture consisting of an arched back/anterior pelvic tilt
  • Relief with flexion based exercises/pain with end-range extension

- Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx™ – www.FlexibilityRx.com

Related Resources

Tony Gentilcore: Extension Based Back Pain
T-Nation: Lower Back Savers
Breaking Muscle: Why Slouching isn’t the only Bad Posture

WARMUP
PVC Mobility
Press Progression
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STRENGTH
15 Minute EMOM
Barbell Complex
1 Power Clean
2 Front Squat
3 Shoulder to Overhead
LIFE: Hang Power Clean + Push Press
FITNESS/SPORT: Push Jerk or Split Jerk
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CONDITIONING
30 Push Press + 10 Burpees Over Bar
20 Push Press + 10 Burpees Over Bar
10 Push Press + 10 Burpees Over Bar
LIFE: 3 Rounds of 5 Push Press + 5 Burpees Over Bar
FITNESS: 75/55
SPORT: 115/75
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Stay on Track for Your 2015 Goals

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Strength in Conditioning for Thursday, July 30, 2015

Can you believe that July is just a day away from being over? We say it every year, but time sure does seem to be going by faster and faster!

With less than half of 2015 to go, now is the perfect time to check back in with the goals and intentions we set at the beginning of the year. Many of us set resolutions to accomplish big things this year — like lose that extra weight, hit a target back squat weight, or participate in an athletic competition.

We know that you have been working hard towards those goals and we want nothing more than to continue supporting and encouraging you to crush them by the year’s end! With August just around the corner, it’s time refocus and reenergize.

If there is anything SICFIT Scottsdale can do to help you accomplish everything you’ve set out to do this year, please let us know! For extra support, guidance, and accountability, set up a few personal training sessions with one of our coaches. While the work will still depend on you, having a coach’s undecided attention on you and only you will make those goals as good as gotten!

Fitness Goal Setting at CrossFit Scottsdale

 

WARMUP
Band Work
Wrist Mobilizaiton
.
CONDITIONING A
4×10 Ring Row | 1 Minute Rest | 1 Muscle Up/ False Grip Progression
4×5 Ring Push Up | 1 Minute Rest (LIFE: Negative Push Up)
4 Max Hold Ring Tucks | 1 Minute Rest
4×5-8 Ring Dips
4×10 Dumbell Super Sets (4 Each: Lateral Rise + Bicep Curl + Front Raise + Hammer Curl)
90 Second Rest
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CONDITIONING B
12 Minutes
20 Second All Out Row
40 Seconds Easy Row
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