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
>
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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5 Tips to Avoid Torture on the Rower and Get a Better Workout

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Strength in Conditioning for Wednesday, July 29, 2015

When it comes to metabolic conditioning, there is one monster machine that is guaranteed to wreck any athlete — even the ones with the biggest engines! Of Course, we’re talking about the rower! We finish the day’s programming on this bad boy — challenging you and a partner to an all out sprint!

While your pushing through on this torture device…. er…. conditioning tool…. you’re best bet is to keep your mind focused on the task at hand, one single pull at a time. Once you start letting your mind get stuck on focusing on your fatiguing muscles, your racing heart, and your rapid breath — consider yourself done! (Especially after five rounds of weight lifting, burpees, sit ups, and flutter kicks!)

Here are a few rowing tips to help you get through this final, gnarly push of the day:

  1. Resist the urge to round your back. By sitting up tall you’ll channel more power through your body and get a better core workout.
  2. Be sure to complete each pull fully. With each stroke on the rower, the handle should come all the way to your chest and your legs extend straight before coming back in.
  3. The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line, right? This applies to the rower as well. Hold the handle in one level plane as your glide in and out. To accomplish this on the descent back towards the flywheel, be sure to extend your arms out long before bending your knees.
  4. Find a steady rhythm of breath. Your muscles need fuel during this taxing workout. Find a breath pace that matches your pulls and you’ll fall into a sustainable, efficient pattern.
  5. Find the balance between pacing yourself and pushing yourself. 1600 meters is a tall task on the rower. Don’t blow out all your steam on your first turn. Pick a pace you know you can sustain for the duration of this challenge. And then, for the final 1-2 minutes of your last turn, unleash everything you’ve got!
Rowing Helen Challenge Finals at CrossFit Scottsdale
WARMUP
Air Squat + Push Ups + Burpees
Dynamic Movement
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CONDITIONING A
5 Rounds
5-8 Bench Press
5-8 Single Arm Dumbbell or Kettlebell Row
5-8 Dumbbell Hang Power Clean
5 Burpees | LIFE: Walk Out Burpees
10 Sit Ups | LIFE: Crunches
20 Flutter Kicks Each Leg | LIFE: Plank 10-30 Seconds
2-3 Minute Walking Rest
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FINISHER
1600 Meter Partner Row
All Out, Split Any Way
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Finale Free Class at Asics

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Strength in Conditioning for Tuesday, July 27, 2015

At SICFIT Scottsdale we believe that when we strengthen ourselves, we strengthen our entire community. This is why we are so committed to bringing the most elite fitness training to the greater Scottsdale and Phoenix area.

But to do this, we know that we can’t simply stay behind closed doors, locked away in our comfort zone inside our gym walls. So we decided to take this philosophy into the street to reach out to the folks who also call this dessert home!

Since May, SICFIT Scottsdale has spent the second Thursday of every month offering free workout classes at the Scottsdale Quarter, along with our partner and host, Asics. Our upcoming class held on August 13th at 6:30pm will mark our final class of this series and it’s one you definitely will not want to miss.

These classes are great way to meet like-minded people in the community, get to experience first hand how the most elite gym in scottsdale gets it done, and have a little fun all at the same time!

Please join us for this grande finale free community class. Send this link to your friends and family and invite them to attend this class with you. More people = more energy = more fun!

asicsfrontfinal

WARMUP
Dynamic Movement
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SIC WORKOUT I
1 Minute Row + Run + Jump Rope
1 Minute Air Squat + Push Up + Sit Up
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SKILL 
Front Squat
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CONDITIONING
5 Front Squats
8 Strict Chin Ups | 30 Second Rest
12 Strict Push Ups | 30 Second Rest
45 Second Hard Row
2-3 Minute Rest
LIFE: 3-5 Rounds| 8 Tempo Ring Row + 5 Goblet Squat + 8 Tempo Push Up + 30 Second Airdyne
SPORT: Weighted Chin Up + 7 Strict HSPU
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We Crush Mondays

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Strength in Conditioning for Monday, July 27, 2015

Many people stare down their Monday and look at it like the first dreaded step to a long boring week. This couldn’t be any further from the truth at SICFIT Scottsdale.

When Monday rolls around, we look upon it from a fresh perspective. We look at it as an opportunity to get back to our goals and objectives after recharging our batteries over the weekend. A Monday to us doesn’t mark the first step to a long week, it marks the start of another stride in our journey towards bettering ourselves.

When’s the last time you looked forward to a Monday? Become a part of the SICFIT tribe and let us help you transform not just your Monday, but your entire life! Want to start this Monday? Call us for a free intro before the day is done! 480-922-3253

IMG_8593

 

WARMUP
Med Ball Fun
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SKILL
Level I Test Prep
70 Second Handstand Hold
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STRENGTH
3×5 Press | 2 Minute Rest
3×3 Push Press | 90 Second Rest
1.1.1. Split Jerk | 60 Second Rest
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CONDITIONING
12 min AMRAP
3 Air Squats + 3 Ball Slam + 3 Burpees  6/6/6/ 9/9/9 12/12/12 and so on by 3s
6 Air Squats + 6 Ball Slam + 6 Burpees
9 Air Squats + 9 Ball Slam + 9 Burpees
….and so on by 3s
LIFE: 5 Each + 1 Indoor Lap Walk
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The Flexion-Intolerant Low Back – Treatments

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Strength in Conditioning for Saturday, July 25, 2015

In Yesterday’s posts, we explored Flexion Intolerance and its corresponding low back pain. We discussed who is vulnerable to this condition and the likely causes. In today’s addition, we describe a three step treatment for relief from Flexion Intolerance.

#1: Remove Flexion

“The first step in any exercise progression is to remove the cause of the pain, namely the perturbed motion and motor patterns. For example, flexion-intolerant backs are very common. Stretches such as pulling the knees to the chest may give the perception of relief (via stimulation of the erector spinae muscle stretch receptors), but this approach only guarantees more pain and stiffness as the underlying tissues sustain more cumulative damage.” – Stuart McGill

A standing workstation and frequent breaks from sitting at work can help (ideally every 20 minutes).   Gym exercises that involve lumbar flexion should be avoided (sit-ups/crunches).  It is also important to avoid stretching into end-range flexion (yoga and pilates).

It is important for a person with a flexion-intolerant back to stop stretching the hamstrings.  Most hamstring stretches involve lumbar flexion (toe touch, seated hamstring stretch) and will intensity symptoms despite proving temporary relief.  The tightness in the back of the leg is also likely to be nerve related and not muscle tightness.

Unwanted lumbar flexion often occurs when transitioning to standing from a seated position – these individuals will often round their lumbar spine at the bottom of the squat (butt-wink).  It is essential to learn how to move through the hips, keeping an extended lumbar spine during activities of daily living and during gym exercises like squats and deadlifts.

#2: Train Hip Movement

It is essential to learn how to flex the hips while keeping a stable back.  Flexion-intolerant individuals will substitute lumbar flexion for hip flexion during a movement like the good morning (hip hinge).  The hip hinge movement pattern is essential for learning how to disassociate hip movement from low back movement.  Box squats, good mornings, and the exercises found in Foundation Training are all good options for restoring hip movement.

Releasing the deep hip flexor (psoas) and adductors can help restore hip motion.  Hip internal rotation is especially important for a stable low back during movement.

#3: Exercises

Exercises for flexion-intolerance should aim to migrate the disc away from the spinal cord – this is accomplished by using extension-based exercises.  The MacKenzie press up exercise (B) or the thoracic sphinx pose (A) can be performed lying on the ground (5 reps of 30 second holds – 5x/day).  A set of 10 standing extensions (C) can be performed at work (every 20-30 minutes).

Flexion-Intolerant-Low-Back

In addition to stretching into extension it is important to build low back endurance using exercises like the bird-dog, front plank, ab wheel rollout, and stir the pot.

After competency is achieved through hip hinging, low back extensions, and core exercises – it is important to progress into strength training exercises.  The box squat and sumo deadlift are good beginning choices.

To deepen your understanding check out this great flexion-intolerant assessment video by Craig Liebenson.

A great resource for flexion-intolerance is Fix Your Own Back (link).

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

Related Resources

Dynamic Chiropractic: Flexion Intolerant Low Back 
FlexibilityRx: Improving Hip Flexion
Fix Your Own Back 

WARMUP
PVC Work
Movement Prep
.
CONDITIONING 
8 Minute EMOM
LIFE: 10 Barbell Push Press
FITNESS: 6 Push Press
SPORT: 4 Push Press
.
8 Minute EMOM
LIFE: 10 Barbell Bent OVer Row
FITNESS: 6 Bent Over Row
SPORT: 4 Bent Over Row
.
8 Minute EMOM
LIFE: 10 Barbell Back Squat
FITNESS: 6 Back Squat
SPORT: 4 Back Squat
.
8 Minute EMOM
LIFE: 10 Box Step Ups
FITNESS: 8 Jump Up Step Down 24/20″
SPORT: 6 Burpee Box Overs 30/24″
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FINISHER
Coaches Choice
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The Flexion-Intolerant Low Back

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Strength in Conditioning For Friday, July 24, 2015

Low back pain can be caused by a variety of different factors.  This can make it hard to pinpoint the root of the problem, as there are different approaches for assessment and treatment of low back pain.  Disc herniation, degeneration, and inflammation may or may not cause pain – making it hard to accurately diagnosis the problem.  A simple approach for investigating low back pain is to look at movement of the lumbar spine.

A useful framework for identifying and treating the source of low back pain is characterizing low back pain as flexion or extension related.

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.

LumbarSpineSkeleton

This article will examine the flexion-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 Flexion-Intolerance?

Flexion Intolerant low back pain is characterized by symptomatic pain with movement, and possible referral pain into the buttock and/or down one side of the leg (sciatica).  Pain is worsened with sustained or repeated flexion.

Clues for Flexion Intolerance

  • Pain upon waking in the early morning
  • History of sudden onset of pain during lifting or bending
  • History of sciatica, buttock, or leg pain
  • Discomfort/pain getting out of a car/chair from sitting
  • Discomfort during tasks that require bending (tying shoes)
  • More pain in sitting than standing
  • Prolonged sitting during the day
  • Posture consisting of a flat back/posterior pelvic tilt
  • Relief with extension based exercises/pain with end-range flexion

Check back here tomorrow to discover four exercises you can do as treatment to find relief from Flexion Intolerance!

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

Related Resources

Dynamic Chiropractic: Flexion Intolerant Low Back
FlexibilityRx: Improving Hip Flexion
Fix Your Own Back 

WARMUP
5 Rounds
Barbell Progression
3 Each: Deadlift + Hang Clean + Front Squat + Press + Push Press
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OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING
Build to Heavy Single Hang Squat Cleans
LIFE: 5 Hang Power Cleans + 5 Front Squats
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CONDITIONING
5 Hang Squat Cleans + 5 Push Ups + 5 Bar Over Burpees
4 Hang Squat Cleans + 4 Push Ups + 4 Bar Over Burpees
3 Hang Squat Cleans + 3 Push Ups + 3 Bar Over Burpees
2 Hang Squat Cleans + 2 Push Ups + 2 Bar Over Burpees
1 Hang Squat Cleans + 1 Push Ups + 1 Bar Over Burpees
LIFE: Barbell Only
FITNESS:95/65
SPORT: 135/95
>
EXTRA CREDIT
“Baywatch 1994″
4 Rounds
Run Small Lap + 25 Bicep Curls
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Two Day Intensive for Fitness Coaches and Gym Owners

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Strength in Conditioning for Thursday, July 23, 2015

So you wanna be a coach? Or maybe you have dreams of running your own gym? Maybe you already are a coach or a gym owner and want to continue to learn and grow so you can offer your very best to your students?

If any of this sounds like you, we have a training program that will meet all of these needs and more! On August 8th and 9th, SICFIT Scottsdale will be offering our Instructor Training Program. During this jam packed two day intensive, we will learn, discuss, practice, and experience the ins and outs of coaching and running a gym.

And we’re not just talking about surface stuff either — the things you would expect like training clients, class management, instructing movements, injury prevention, and scaling. These topics will certainly be covered in great detail, but we want to introduce other aspects of being a coach or owner — the things that don’t get talked about in your certification courses. These topics include things like how to talk to the media, how to market yourself and your gym, how to put systems in place so your gym and classes run smoothly, how to get new clients and then keep them, and how not lose your mind in the process!

You will emerge from this two day intensive training with the tools in your tool box and the confidence you need to live your dream, passion, and purpose as a coach and/or gym owner — we guarantee it! Lock in your spot by calling 480-922-3253.

1367_Ads_250x250_1_042815
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WARMUP
10 Rounds
30 Second Row at 50% Effort
30 Second Row at 75% Effort
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SKILL
Rope Climbs and Rope Squats
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CONDITIONING A
12 Minute EMOM
Even Minute: 10 Ball Slams
Odd Minute: 10 Ball Squats
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STRENGTH
4 Max Effort Pull Up Holds
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CONDITIONING B
300 Meter Run or Row
100 Sit ups
EMOM 3 Burpees!

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SICFIT Takes Back Saturday

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Strength in Conditioning for Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Hipsters can keep their First Friday. But SICFIT Scottsdale is claiming First Saturday for the Fitsters! Or should we say SICFITers!

Beginning in August, SICFIT Scottsdale is officially turning the first Saturday morning of every month into an open house. This is your chance to try our fitness style on for size and experience for yourself the SIFCIT Difference.

In each month’s open house you will get to workout under the instruction of one of our coaches, receive a tour of our facilities and learn about the services we offer, and get to meet our awesome crew of coaches, staff, and gym members!

Our very first free Saturday morning workout is less than two weeks away, on 8/1. Join us at 9am and experience first hand why SICFIT Scottsdale is the most elite gym in the Valley! Class starts at 9am but please come early and introduce yourself to us before class! We look forward to meeting you!

Please feel free to invite your family members, your kids, your friends, and your co-workers. We pride ourselves on being able to give every-body just the right workout for them! Send this link to the folks you would like to invite via Facebook or Twitter. See you next Saturday!

 

photo 1
WARMUP
10 Minutes of Jump Rope Variations
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STRENGTH A
3 Rounds
20 Overhead Walking Lunges
7 Walk Out Push Ups
LIFE: Barbell or PVC
FITNESS/SPORT: Increasing Load
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STRENGTH B
5×5 Back Squat
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CONDITIONING
Death by 10 Meters

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COOL DOWN
Stretch
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