Note: This is a transcription of the intro to the video: ‘22 Outdoor Exercise Ideas’.
I am in the United States at the moment at a place called Prescott (Arizona). Just had a fantastic workout at a playground nearby Watson Lake. I thought I would show you what it is that I have been carrying in my suitcase since we have been travelling, so you can see what I use for a work-out.
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1/ First thing I have is an exercise tube with handles (resistance tubing) on the end. There are so many different brands of this that you can get. I really like this one as it’s got an encasing over the top in case it snaps.
2/ Second thing I use is a suspension training strap system. Once again there are so many of them that you can get. This one is an Australian-made one called ‘The Ultimate Instrument’. It’s very simple and it all fits inside a little bum bag or ‘fanny pack’ as the Americans call it 🙂 . It’s actually got door anchors in it as well to use in your hotel room if you don’t have access to somewhere like this. (not available for sale anymore)
3/ I also use a skipping rope, especially if I want to do a strength endurance type workout to basically just keep the movement running. Great for doing a skipping set in-between a set of exercises.
So it is really quite simple! You’ll see the videos that we have just made with the exercises that we have done. Find a beautiful area like this and go for gold.
Note: This is a loose transcription of the video: ‘The 9 Point Flexibility Test’ .
Hey guys, Brad from Primal Health here.
Today I am going to teach you a little bit more about flexibility, systemic flexibility, which basically means flexibility throughout your whole body. We’ve all got varying degrees of flexibility. I want to show you a quick test that I do with all of my clients to be able to ascertain how hard I should push them with exercise and how much I should allow them to stretch. So, basically this is called the ‘9 Point Flexibility Index. It has been put together by a person named Dr. Mariano Rocabado.
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1/ With your wrists and fingers facing straight up, pull your little finger back as far as possible. If it makes a 90 degree angle to the top of your hand when pulled back, score one point for each little finger.
(2 points possible)
2/ Hold your hand with your wrist at 90 degrees. Push your thumb towards your wrist. If you can touch your wrist with the thumb of the same side, you score a point for each thumb.
(2 points possible)
3/ Straighten your arms so your hands are level with your shoulders. If your wrist drops below the level of your elbow, then you score a point for each arm.
(2 points possible)
4/ Whilst standing, straighten your legs as far as possible. When looking from the side, if the middle of your knee joint sits behind the bony part of the side of your ankle, give yourself a point for each leg.
(2 points possible)
5/ Finally while standing, if you can put your palms on the floor with your legs held straight, you score an additional point.
(1 point possible)
So tally up all your points. As you can see with me, I have two points out of nine, which is actually the average!
So what does that mean?
0-2 = You need to stretch a lot more. Make stretching an important part of your exercise routine, and also between workout sessions.
3-5 = You need to do combination of strengthening and stretching.
6-9 = Don’t overstretch yourself all the time. If you constantly do yoga and don’t do any stability and strength work, you’re as likely to injure yourself as much as the tighter person with a 0-2 score.
Your score will give you more of an idea about how you should program the type of movement you do throughout your week.
Needs some ideas on how to move your body outdoors in nature, with minimal equipment? Check out these YouTube videos I’ve made to keep you on your toes!
Primal WOD – 11/7/14
Turkey, Antalya, Park & Sea Workout
– Bodyweight Dips
– Picnic Bench Jumps
– Bar Muscle Ups or Chin Ups
– Human Weight Back Squats
– Sea Swim
Repeat x 3 rounds!
Primal WOD – 7/6/14
Turkey, Pammukale, Hotel Workout
– Kid Back Squat to side lunge combination
– Kid Weighted Pushups
– Kid Weighted Run
Repeat x 3-5 rounds!
Primal WOD – 21/6/14
Greece, Kythera, Karavas
– 5-8 Rope pulls (floor to standing)
– 12 rock squat push press (aka thrusters)
– Reptile crawl pushups (see video)
– rock climb razor sharp rocks then rock jump
– 5 laps of 10 metre swimming pool (freestyle or breastroke)
– run 50 metres up an incline
Repeat x 3-5 rounds!
Primal WOD – 19/6/14
Greece, Kythera, Forni Beach
– 15 rock squat push press (aka thrusters)
– 30 metre swim
– rock climb razor sharp rocks then rock jump
– 50 metre swim
– run 50 metres
To get a real insiders view on CrossFit, I interviewed elite CrossFitter Jarrod Smith, who lives and breathes CrossFit and is training for the upcoming CrossFit Games in the USA – a competition looking for the ‘fittest on earth’. Jarrod is a work colleague of mine at CrossFit Athletic, Brookvale (Sydney, Australia).
1/ How long have you been exercising with purpose and when and why did you start CrossFit exclusively?
I started training and playing sport at age 5 in the local soccer comp. Since then I have always played sport and trained with purpose. Dabbling in Rugby Union and League, BMX Vert riding, Surfing, Surf Life Saving, Boxing, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Cage Fighting, Marathon Running, Triathlon, Cycling, Natural Bodybuilding, Ultra-Distance Running, Surfing and now CrossFit.
I was struck down with ‘Rhabdo’ (rhabdomyolosis) two times. The 1st was after completing an Ironman Triathlon and the 2nd after running the 100km North Face Race through the Blue Mountains (Sydney, Australia). I suffered from stage 3 adrenal fatigue and glandular fever too. It was fair to say my body had had enough! I completely lost my motivation for long course aerobic sports. I would go for a run, get 5km into it then call a cab and go home. All motivation had gone and I was not in a good place. Having always measured myself by my athletic ability I felt a little useless.
After searching YouTube in November 2010 for different ways to train I came across some CrossFit videos. I searched for a CrossFit gym close by and went in for the first session soon after. The W.O.D. (Workout Of the Day) was fairly brutal (definitely not for a beginner), but I immediately fell in love with the sport! It ticked all the boxes for me: competitive, different, hard, fun. I stayed at this gym for some time before moving to my new home, CrossFit Athletic Brookvale.
An example of typical exercises / movements to expect within a CrossFit box
2/ Do you make time for sports other than CrossFit?
Initially I still had such a strong love for cycling that I kept it up. As time went on and I started to compete in CrossFit I found my cycling was just tiring my legs out so I slowly gave it up. I still cycle to and from work daily but it’s a very short ride.
Surfing has been a big part of my life since I was quite young and it always will be. Surfing is very relaxing and meditative for me and a really good way to balance out my CrossFit and heavy lifting. I have found that CrossFit has made me very strong and fast in the water and given me more power in my turns.
3/ Are you training for anything in particular outside general health and fitness by using CrossFit?
The level that I train at is quite competitive. I often perform double training days 2-3 days a week with only 1 rest day which often turns out to be an “active recovery day” with some rowing or low impact aerobic movement for 20-30 minutes. This does not leave a lot of time for much else. My current goal is to compete in a team at the World CrossFit Games. Once this goal is achieved I aim to balance out my training a little, with more focus on longevity and health rather than performance.
4/ What’s a typical day and week involve for you? How much do you rest too?
The typical week for me looks like this
Monday: Squat, Gymnastics skills and conditioning
(AM) Strength in the morning. Basic movements like lower body push and pull, upper body Press and some accessory work.
(PM)- Olympic Lifting and conditioning
Wednesday: Olympic Lifting followed by 2 conditioning components. 1 involving gymnastics and another longer aerobic work.
Thursday: rest / active recovery. Depending on how I am feeling I will take the entire day off or do some rowing
(AM) Strength work. Squat & press
(PM)- heavy conditioning with a mixture of gymnastics and ply lifting
Saturday: comp day. This is usually a pretty big volume day. All the top athletes at the gym get together and we have a big session.
Sunday: I usually come to the gym with my wife and son and do some gymnastic skills work and a short MetCon (Metabolic Conditioning workout)
As you can see there is not a lot of “rest” programmed in there. I personally find that if I take too much time off my body tightens up and I feel worse.
5/ What’s a typical day’s worth of eating for you? Do you use supplements?
I am very in-tune with my body and I eat an anti-inflammatory diet, get 8 hours sleep a night + 2 “naps” a week. I do not drink alcohol and would easily get through 3-5 litres of water a day. I follow a Primal based lifestyle with a bit of extra starch and carbohydrates. I am a big guy and my output is pretty high so I consume a lot. It has taken me some time to fine-tune my nutrition but I feel like I have nailed it.
Breakfast: Chicken breast, sweet potato & white rice.
Morning tea: same as breakfast.
Lunch: Pork cutlet & veggies.
Afternoon snack: I usually time this around my training and it may just be a banana.
Dinner: Pork, Chicken or red meat and a veggie smoothie ( raw broccoli, zucchini, capsicum, spinach and blueberries blended with water).
I have a fair amount of variety in my diet and mix things up often. Supplement-wise I take fish oil, HCL when I consume red meat, magnesium, Tribulus and Protandim (to help me sleep, recover and reduce oxidative stress).
6/ Have you injured yourself doing CrossFit?
Yes. After the 2012 CrossFit Regionals, I was doing some bar muscle ups and tore my pectoralis major off my humorous. It was a full grade 3 tear which required surgery to re-attach it. Luckily they managed to stitch the tendon straight back into the bone so no metal was required. Other than that I am in pretty good shape. Most of my injuries were sustained playing rugby, cycling or running.
7/ As a new father, have you found this to affect your performance and recovery times?
My son is 8 weeks old so sleep has been an issue. I am an 8 hours guy! Like most people I am very busy so sleep has always been my main source of recovery. In the first few weeks I really noticed a difference in my recovery time. The good thing is it made me focus even more on my supplementation and nutrition to make sure I was doing everything possible to recover with broken sleep. Luckily my boy is a great sleeper so I am back getting some solid rest.
8/ Is there a particular CrossFit workout that comes to mind that you can remember as being the toughest you’ve ever done?
In my early days of CrossFit I found a workout called ‘The Seven’ really tough. I remember doing it twice and it broke me both times. I have since hit this one and performed really well. The 1st Workout for the 2012 CrossFit Open was 7 minutes of burpees. That was definitely a tough one. Simple but brutal. Having come from an endurance background I find I can switch off during most WOD’s and just “get it done”. CrossFit is tough mentally but doesn’t come close to running 100km through the blue mountains solo. I definitely learnt a lot about my body from my early days as an endurance athlete.
9/ What are your favourite Crossfit movements / exercises?
I am a big fan of the Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Squatting and I love gymnastics (Handstand Push Ups, Muscle Ups, Pull Ups). Its a lot of fun swinging around like a kid. As a bigger guy gymnastics is definitely not my specialty but I really enjoy it.
Jarrod in action lifting heavy things and going fast 🙂
10/ Are we going to see you on the dias at the CrossFit Games?
We have a really great team leading into this season. We have all been training hard through the off-season with one goal in mind. Between the 8 of us there are not really any holes in our game. The talent in Australia is growing every year. Individuals and teams are getting stronger and faster so it will definitely be an exciting time. The goal is to qualify for the CrossFit Games in California later this year. A big goal but confidence is high!
If you are interested in fitness and human performance of any sort, you must have now heard of CrossFit. If you haven’t heard of CrossFit or barely know what it’s about, then read on and I’ll explain. It’s had a huge influence over the last several years on the fitness industry at large and is now an industry within itself worldwide, especially within the United States from where it originated around 10 years ago. It’s an extremely intense, demanding form of fitness, which is now a sport in it’s own right. Here’s an in depth analysis of my experience of it, so buckle up and get ready for the ride :-). It’s definitely the longest blog I’ve written!
My industry experience and what I know about CrossFit
– I’ve been working in Fitness Industry since 1996 as a Personal Trainer and a CHEK Practitioner since 2006.
– My first knowledge of CrossFit was due to an ‘affiliate’ or ‘box’ (what a CrossFit gym is called) that was directly below my former CHEK Studio I owned. I had several ‘fit’ walk-in clients that came from this CrossFit looking for rehab, as they’d hurt their shoulders, back and other body parts, due to what they were being prescribed/forced to do during each days W.O.D. (workout of the day). So my first association with it was not good. Nothing seemed to be scaled down to meet the levels of beginner participants.
– I’ve been working as a CHEK Practitioner within a Crossfit facility called CrossFit Athletic Brookvale, since September 2013. I heard a lot better reports about this place from a former client that joined them, so decided to contact the owner when my former Personal Training facility closed down, and luckily enough he was looking for people like me to come and subcontract out of the place, so after checking it out and making a deal, I moved my clientele over and have now been working here ever since.
– I’ve been CrossFitting myself at least twice a week since then.
The CrossFit equation: CVFM @ HI + Communal Environment = Health
(A regimen of constantly varied (CV), functional movements (FM) performed at high intensity (@HI) in a communal environment leads to health and fitness) (2).
To the untrained eye, CrossFit is an enigma. Most people, including myself initially, can’t understand why and how the exercises are being done the way they are! It looks like ‘cardio gymnastics’ or ‘cardio Olympic lifting’. Large volume, explosive movements with substandard technique, less adherant to typical strict technique taught for conventional strength movements in conventional gyms. From my experience now, I define CrossFit as:
“A method of exercise programming using a large variety of different exercise methods to achieve ultimate fitness that can be used functionally within many areas of life and sport”
Some quotes from the level 1 manual (1):
– “The Crossfit prescription is: constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement”.
– “It’s specialty is to not specialise”.
– “In CrossFit there is no ideal routine. The CrossFit ideal is to train for any contingency”.
– “CrossFit doesn’t subscribe to high reps, low reps, long rests, or short rests, but strives for variance”.
– “CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program designed to develop fitness that is foundational to all other athletic needs. It is a deliberate attempt to optimise physical competence in 10 recognised fitness domains. The 10 recognised fitness domains of CrossFit: cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy”.
A unique part of CrossFit is the open source charter on the Internet, where WOD’s are posted for the world to tackle and participants can posts their PB’s (Personal Best) / PR (Personal Record) for the prescribed workout and therefore create a unique community in which to challenge people worldwide. As observed by marine Jeff Cooper: “The fear of sporting failure is worse than the fear of death” (1). CrossFit has definitely created a very competitive way to work out.
Crossfit is now a sport within itself. Since 2007 it has become a mini-olympics of sorts with an open, regional and world games taking place each year. Anyone can participate.
What is a fit person?
At this point, I think it makes sense to actually discuss what makes someone fit in the first place.
“a person who is trained or skilled in strength, power, balance and agility, flexibility and endurance”. Fringe athletes: examples include sumo wrestling, triathlon, marathon running, powerlifting”.
I like it.This certainly lends itself to the Primal philosophies about movement we encourage people to uphold. In other words, I feel any person that has the ability to be able to manage whatever form of movement is thrown at them, is truly ‘fit’. Typically, the common person defines ‘fit’ as someone that has high cardiovascular fitness like a marathon runner or a triathlete. How about a decathlete? Wouldn’t you think someone that has the ability to excel at 10 events would be considered fitter than a triathlete? A decathlete would rarely even get a mention in a conversation from my experience. The bottom line is that fitness is relative to everyone. Your own personal needs will influence your own definition of fitness. I think CrossFit is certainly recreating the stereotype of what a ‘fit’ person entails. Especially now from I can see in the ‘CrossFit World Games’, they are now adding in things like swimming, which takes it to another level once again. Check out this video showing what world CrossFit champ Rich Froning is capable of.
A day/week in the life of Rich Froning, 3 x World Champ
A typical CrossFit workout
There is no real typical CrossFit workout. That’s the entire idea. There are however, typical movement patterns and methods of conditioning that are used a lot of the time (at least at my ‘box’).
Program A: 3 to 10 sets of 3 to 5 reps of a fundamental lift at a moderately comfortable place Program B: 10 minutes circuit of gymnastics elements at the blistering pace Program C: 2 to 10 minutes of high-intensity metabolic conditioning
As a clearer example, here’s what I did today in around 50-60min. Breaks do exist between each program!
Program A: 2 x TNG (Touch and Go) Power Snatch every 45 sec x 10 rounds (Note: moderate weight with good technique) Program B: 6 rounds with no break. Done for time.
– 5 Bar Muscle Up
– 10 Pistol Squats (5 each leg) Program C: 15 Min AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible)
– 50 Wall Ball
– 3 Rope Climbs
– 500m Run
Typical CrossFit movements: Olympic lifts (snatch, clean and jerk), squat, deadlift, barbell and dumbell presses of all sorts. Gymnastics movements like: pullups, rope climb, push-ups, situps, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Typical cardio choices are: Airdyne (type of bike), run, swim, rowing and skipping (in particular ‘double-unders’). Interval training is the preferred CrossFit method used to develop aerobic conditioning using anaerobic efforts.
Pros and Cons of CrossFit
Lets start with the cons I feel CrossFit has. This is definitely not an exhaustive or exclusive list either. Just my initial thoughts:
– Huge volumes of work leading to injury and exhaustion
If you are a beginner, you are prone to injure yourself doing CrossFit, unless you find a place that does a good job of scaling back the exercise complexity and intensity for you. If you are just starting a new journey into health, the importance of learning how to create balance in your Primal 6 should take precedence over slaughtering yourself with CrossFit. CrossFit has the propensity to create Adrenal Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, constant pain and strain, and long term chronic injuries faster than other sports (my opinion). Listen to your body, don’t be a hero, and take your time to progress. This is not the latest ‘bootcamp’ method to get in shape! It’s intense serious stuff that can cause more harm than good if you don’t listen to it. The good thing that can come from this though, is that it forces you to put your nutritional habits higher up your total pole of importance!
– 2 day CrossFit course graduates / Inferior CrossFit affiliates People are definitely getting injured because of this and in the process, giving the sport of CrossFit a terrible reputation to boot. This video below is simply the worst example I’ve ever seen. Admittedly the female lifters are actually trying to do a proper lifting movement, i.e. an axle grip barbell clean. This movement though is just simply is way beyond their skill level! This problem can certainly exist with coaching in any sport though.
This is not what CrossFit is all about!
– CrossFit being touted as the best solution to improve performance for every sport
CrossFit movement patterns tend to be very dominant in the sagittal plane (forward-backward movements e.g. chinups, pushups, Olympic lifts, squats, deadlifts, box jumps, rows etc). Crossfit’s reasoning: “powerful hip extension alone is necessary and nearly sufficient for elite athletic performance. No one without powerful extension enjoys great athletic prowess” (1). As a bodyboarder and stand-up surfer, the main movement planes I tend to use are the transverse and frontal planes when doing 360’s and rolls on my bodyboard and transverse plane when doing turns on a surfboard. In other words, CrossFit does not have a very high functional carry over for me with the main movement patterns of my chosen sports, based on the typical movement patterns prescribed in a WOD.
– One WOD fits all approach
The idea here being that guys are prescribed one things, and girls another without acknowledgement of their skill level. This is what I knew CrossFit to be a year or so ago, and what i see on a lot of sites on the web. This is NOT the case where I work at CrossFit Athletic (CFA), and from what I can now see in research for writing this article, a trend taking off with lots of different affiliates. This a great thing to make CrossFit more accessible to people by allowing more comfortable weights and descended movement patterns for people as they progress. CFA in particular have an ‘on-ramp’ beginners program, ladies program, then 3 scaled version of each days WOD called base, climb and peak which I think is excellent.
– One diet fits all approach Unless things have changed since the CrossFit level one manual was published, CrossFit recommends a one size fits all approach to nutrition. 40% carbohydrate 30% protein and 30% fat. More akin to Dr Barry Sears Zone diet. Across online CrossFit groups, Paleo is now more the more the focus. By now you would know our Primal stance. We are more about understanding how your DNA and genetics have been influenced through thousands of years of your own individual ancestry. We’re big fan’s of Dr. Weston A Price’s work. We just can’t argue with his research. A Fijian and an Eskimo doing CrossFit should be eating completely different diets that work best for their own unique selves. Whether you choose to eat foods that are fau paux to the masses these days like soy, gluten containing grains, dairy etc, eat them prepared as Primal / raw / traditionally prepared / organic as possible then work out your own best ratios throughout the seasons.
– Overall effectiveness to improve function in life and sport
“Compound or functional movements and high-intensity or anaerobic cardio is radically more effective and eliciting nearly any desired fitness result” (1). Even after mentioning how CrossFit is not effectively functional for me as a surfer, the heart and lung conditioning I’ve gained from it has definitely improved my surfing paddle ability and lung capacity. From training people for so many years myself, compound / functional movements I feel are better fun, more challenging and more relevant to life. You won’t see bicep curls and tricep push downs at CrossFit.
– Cardiovascular conditioning like no other
CrossFit has a heavy reliance on interval training whether you’re using your legs, a dumbbell, a ball, bar or box. They have based on their methods on the work of Dr Stephen Seiler. In particular an article called ‘The time course of training adaptations’. Their interpretation of his material prompted them to advocate “regular high intensity training in as many training modalities as possible through largely anaerobic efforts and intervals while deliberately and specifically avoiding the efficiency that accompanies mastery of a single modality” (1). Based on Dr Seilers work they also push home the power of interval training to improve total cardiovascular benefit without the loss of strength speed and power. In other words more interval training will improve your pure aerobic work. I can definitely vouch for this. As I’ve mentioned, my surfing endurance has improved immensely since starting CrossFit. I agree with the way that they use the term cardio. I’ve been a big advocate over the years of getting people to look at anything and everything they do as being a cardio workout. After all, when you lift weights, your heart doesn’t stop working! Essentially when something is over three minutes consistently in duration it can be technically called an aerobic program or cardio exercise. Instead of just going for a long run, use different movements using your own body weight, weights to lift, water to swim in etc to create a more funny enjoyable cardio work out that’s less repetitive on your joints and body.
– Competitive, community, addictive There is no denying that CrossFit has brought people at gyms back into Tribes. Primal tribes that grunt, sweat, swear and scream together. It brings people back to our roots, with a super competitive element to boot! I can totally see why so many people are addicted to it. I’m slowly getting there. It certainly puts you in your place and makes you want to come back as soon as possible to improve on what you did the last time. Butterfly kipping chin-ups, kipping handstand pushups, handstand walks, Olympic lifts and muscle ups for example, are all movements that were fairly new to me from being in the conventional gym environment for so long. These exercises have challenged me to no end and got me hooked to master them with ease, so I can then combine them in a WOD and power through faster than before.
– The importance of nutrition
See CrossFit’s ‘theoretical hierarchy of development’ pyramid above. If you have a deficiency at any level of the pyramid the components above suffer. Even though I mentioned in the cons, that CrossFit has a one size fits all approach to diet, I like that they have NUTRITION as the foundation in this pyramid and therefore acknowledge that it’s the most important part of a CrossFitters success before any type of MOVEMENT.
– CrossFit causes rhabdomyolosis OR ‘muscle meltdown’
This is a medical condition that may arise when muscle tissue breaks down and the contents of the muscle cells are released into the bloodstream. One molecule in particular, myoglobin, is toxic to the kidneys and cause kidney failure, and most severe cases, death. Based on the intensity of CrossFit, this is proported to be a common problem with CrossFit. The truth is from my experience and what I’ve researched, it’s a potential risk with any sport. My fellow workmate at CFA and elite Crossfitter Jarrod Smith (see Part 2 of this article), has had ‘rhabdo’ twice! NOT from CrossFit though. From triathlon!! He used to be an ironman triathlete before adrenal fatigue and digestive issues set in, and before he became addicted to CrossFit.
– CrossFit is encouraging weird and terrible technique This is certainly the case if you talk to traditional strength training advocates. What you have to understand about CrossFit though, is that it’s a SPORT that is time driven. Programs are created then the challenge is to perform it against the clock and against your competitors in your group. This is NOT bodybuilding where exercises are done with strict technique in only one plane of motion for the goal of creating an increase in muscle size and/or strength improvement in a particular plane of motion. The CrossFit goal is usually to perform movements as fast as possible (in methods deemed OK by CrossFit according to competitive games rules). Hence momentum is used exclusively. Of course it already is used in things like Olympic lifting and gymnastics, but for example, ‘normal’ chin-ups are rarely done in CrossFit. In order to increase speed, gymnastic ‘kipping chin-ups’ are the norm. They have now morphed into a faster way of getting the chin above the bar again called a ‘butterfly kipping chin-up’. The goal with Crossfit is NOT perfect technique. It’s performing to a clock! Check out the CrossFit workout named ‘Fran’ below and you’ll see what I mean.
Fran in 2:38. Fast!
I applaud CrossFit creator, Coach Greg Glassman, for bringing such awesome sports and movements all into one method/arena. The days of movements in a gym like Romanian Deadlifts being considered contraindicated or dangerous are long gone. They were first challenged by Paul Chek with the introduction of ‘functional movement’ paradigm, encouraging people to get off machines they were sitting on and use their body as the machine. CrossFit has now taken this to the next level.
I have to be completely honest and say that CrossFit has re-inspired my excitement for training again, just as ‘functional training’ did for me after years training and teaching machine based bodybuilding methods. I’m definitely feeling the pinch though, with extended days of soreness, tiredness and sometimes injury, hence why I thought I’d better write something like this to educate people more about it.
I believe CrossFit is awesome for people like me. People that have years of varied gym training under their belt, good movement patterns, and know how to look after their body with proper recovery. I think it has the ability to cause lots of problems with people that have little experience and that don’t have the sensibility to know when to stop or schedule their training each week properly.
Since I’ve been Cross Fitting, my body has been happy with a max of three times per week. There are some people I work with and members at my affiliate that train six days a week. My body would feel shattered if I did that currently. It certainly doesn’t mean that I can’t do it, or that anyone else is capable of successfully doing it. For example, the world champ, Rich Froning trains several times a day, every day! Many other people are taking levels to extremes in other sports too. Not just CrossFit. Check out this video and article about two 60yr + Australians that just ran around Australia! 365 marathons in 365 days! In Vibram five fingers too! Watch video here.
I look forward to seeing where CrossFit evolves to and will be looking forward to watch the World Games coming up in 2014!
This is a loose transcription of the video ‘Working In: Qi Gong and Tai Chi’
Brad:Qi gong and Tai Chi are ancient Chinese health practices that combine visualisation, movement, breathing and meditation to cultivate what the Chinese call Qi (pronounced, and also spelled ‘Chi’) — the life energy that flows through the body’s energy pathways called Meridians, to maintain essential health. Qi is the basis for Traditional Chinese Medicine. The body is unwell when the flow of Qi becomes stagnant or blocked, whereas a free flowing and balanced Qi energizes the organs, systems and cells. Qi Gong has been around since the 3rd Century B.C., and Tai Chi more recently since the 14th century AD.
Working In: Qi Gong and Tai Chi
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Qi gong and Tai Chi have in common the same basic property (Qi), the same fundamental principle (relaxation), and the same fundamental method (slowness). Tai Chi has a more overt emphasis on the martial art aspects of the training. Each Tai Chi motion has a specific combative application, and thus can theoretically be used for self-defence. Not all Qi Gong motions are like this, as most of them exist solely for the purpose of meditation, health and healing.
As I am a firm believer in studying the healthy rather than the sick, Eastern medicine has always been a fascination of mine. I’ve been practicing Qi Gong in particular for several years now and found it to be a fantastic form of active meditation. It’s a lot less complex to the Kung-Fu type moves of Tai Chi that you must learn. Tai Chi can certainly distract your focus from the energy manipulation aspects of the art due to how much you must learn. Qi Gong practice is often less prescribed, instead following a series of movements based on the needs of the practitioner or even the whims of the instructor. The latter certainly pertains to me! I’ve only done a basic 12-week course from which I then combined movements with my own that I have found make me and my clients feel good.
Now I will lead you through a Qi Gong session…
If this is your first time trying this, let go of your inhibitions and preconceptions about what Qi Gong and Tai Chi are, and allow yourself to relax and feel the buzz that you can get from doing this. Close your eyes to enhance the experience and the visualisations, especially if you’re in your lounge room or not in a picturesque place like I am here at Watson Lake in Arizona. How long you continue each movement is up to you. For the sake of keeping this video shorter, I’ll teach you each movement for around 30 seconds to a minute. Try the same yourself for longer after watching this video.
Copy what I do…
Don’t worry if you don’t do the exact thing as what I’m doing. Just allow your body to let go. Swing your arms gently side to side as I am. Continually breathe in and out of your nose for the whole session.
As we now change the movement, imagine yourself painting a fence– painting a fence with Qi. Breathe in on the way up, breathe out on the way down. Breathe in the way up, drag your knuckles. Breathe out on the way down. and let them float to the ground like a feather. Nice and slow, with a gentle movement from the front to the back of your feet as you raise up and pull back down to the ground. As we paint the fence again on the way up, we’re going to change the movement to an energy push from the chest. Breathe out as you push out with both hands, breathe in as you return to your chest. Add a visualisation to this process this time, imagine breathing out hot stressful red-coloured energy, and as you breathe in you inhale blue-healing cool energy.
As you return your hands to the chest, we’ll change the movement to a single arm energy push across the body with your right hand. As you push your right hand across your body, shuffle your left foot to the left and take a wider stance, and as before, breathe out as you push the energy across your body, breathe in as you return your hand to the waist. With this movement, imagine you are again holding a ball of energy which you are holding lightly within your hand. Push this red ball of energy across the body. Upon reaching the end of your single arm energy push, scoop up the energy ball change the colour of the ball from red to blue then return it back to the body. Should you wish to copy the way I do it so it flows more, pay more attention to my hands. When you have the movement copied, close your eyes again and return to the moment.
As you return your hand to below your chest holding two balls of energy, slowly breathe out and press these two red balls back down towards the earth as you squat down as far as you can comfortably squat. Only go as far as your flexibility allows. If you can squat right down into a primal squat position, then do so. Scoop up the healing energy of the earth as you stand back up and raise your hands back up to your chest where you can allow your body to absorb the energy. Repeat the movement.
Now, let’s combine all the singular movements into one. From the bottom of the squat, scoop up the energy, stand up and now push forward into a two-arm energy push. Return to the chest, and then single-arm energy push across the body. Swap to the other arm, return both arms towards the chest. Two-arm energy push in front of the body again, return to the chest and then press back down to a squat position; and repeat the same thing.
When it’s time to complete your session, you could just cease movement in your body and stand at ease. Taking in the sounds of the area of where you’re standing; relaxing and focusing on your breath. Or, you could do what I’m doing here and sit down and get into a deeper meditation. If meditation is also a fairly new thing for you, then check out my Meditation Made Simple. I hope you enjoy this video.
How did you feel doing the Qi Gong? Did it relax you, energise you, or a bit of both?
Note: This is a loose transcription of the video ‘How to get Primal on a Swiss Ball! – Part 5/5 – Kneeling Dumbbell Overhead Press ‘.
Brad: Hey guys, this is part 5 of How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball. The next exercise or movement I want to show you is doing a kneeling dumbbell alternating shoulder press.
Swiss Ball Kneeling Dumbbell Overhead Press
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A: Seated Dumbbell Alternating Overhead Press
The first progression that I use to get a client to be able get to do the full exercise is to first be able to do a dumbbell shoulder press sitting on a ball. It doesn’t sound that tough, but it can be, depending on how to do it. So, you can do it with two arms, but we’re doing a one-arm alternating one; that’s the goal as I want to get people to activate their core.
Draw your belly button towards your spine. Lift your chest up nice and high and then do the same movement as what you would be doing when you are on your knees on the ball. You can make that harder by lifting the opposite leg, or lift the same side-leg to activate more muscles that should help prevent you from falling off the ball.
B: Supported Kneeling on Swiss Ball
The next thing you would need to be able to do is kneel on the ball. So I recommend you do it somewhere where you can hold onto something firm and get up on the ball on both legs. Get used to not having to rely on sitting back down on your heels, which is a lot easier position to sit, in comparison to actually being up off your butt. Hold onto something like that and just get used to being able to purposely push forwards and backwards, side to side so that you can start to get your muscles used to, and get your nervous system used to, the movements that are going to take place when you’re actually on the ball. Hands on, Hands off, Hands on, Hands off. Get used to that and then also put your feet, dig them into the ball, so that they act like a rudder. Then purposely kick your feet back so that you’re not having to use your feet to help you with your balance. Once you can do that, then you can go onto the next stage.
C: Unsupported Kneeling on Swiss Ball
So after you have gotten proficient at holding onto something when you’re balancing on the ball, next you want to be able to get up on the ball without anything to hold onto. Perhaps, someone needs to hold onto the ball for the first time to ease your mind a little bit, but you can also do it from this way. Get your knees onto the ball and hands onto the ball like that, then roll forward. Balance in that position there, roll it forward far enough to where your feet dig into the ball and then slowly rise up there like that. Chest up, shoulders back, stomachs sucked in.
D: Kneeling Dumbbell Alternating Overhead Press
Once you can do this proficiently, and you know that rolling forward and backwards, you’ve got the ability to able to switch on the muscles that you need to get you back to the proper centre of balance, this is when you should then be able to grab onto a dumbbell – nice and light first up, and then be able to actually do the exercise. So for me, I’ve got about 12 kg here, so about 25-26-27 pounds and then from there, one arm up, switch your stomach all nice and tight. Press straight up there like that, and then alternate.
And that’s it! That’s part 5 of 5 on How to Get Primal on a Swiss ball. Hope you’ve enjoyed it!
Note: This is a loose transcription of the video ‘How to get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 4/5’.
Brad: G’day guys! Welcome to Part 4 of 5 on How to get Primal on a Swiss Ball.
Today, I am going to show you how to do squats standing on the ball, and the progressions that I use to get people to be able to do this. First up, I want to make sure that people can actually squat normally on the ground.
Swiss Ball Squats
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Now, you think that will be a fairly easy thing for most people. It’s a primal movement, we all have to do it in some sort form every day. But, essentially I want to make sure that when people go down into a squat, their hips don’t necessarily have to get lower than their knees. It depends on any structural abnormalities they might have within their knees, hips, or their ankles. But in a lot of instances people just need a lot more flexibility, in particular around the actual ankle joint. Especially a lot of girls that are used to wearing high heels and things like that.
A: Normal Squats
But I want people to be able to go down without twisting or leaning, all those sort of things have to be ruled out first through different corrective exercise and making sure that people are just aware of what their body is doing when they’re doing the squat. From the side, I want people to be able to go down keeping their upper spine nice and upright, sort of like a helium balloon lifting your chest up nice and high, maintaining a curve in your lumbar spine, as opposed to being like this.
All these sorts of movements from that position, basically tell me quite a lot of about where a person is being restricted the most. It’s harder to work with you one-on-one through this video, but if you have the ability to be able to squat like that, then you can do it with weights. This would be a fantastic step — a pretty good challenge to be able to do this sort of stuff.
B: Bosu Squats
So, the second progression, after being able to squat normally on the ground, is being able to squat on a Bosu. Now, we don’t have a Bosu here today but a Bosu is basically an acronym that stands for Both Sides Up. They’re also known as half swiss balls; half a swiss ball with a platform on top of it. Being able to actually balance on a Bosu, going up and down in a squat, is a much safer first way of being able to do it, before standing up on a ball.
C: Supported 1/4 Swiss Ball Squats
After you can do that, the next progression is to support yourself by holding onto a bar or a tree or anything when you’re standing on the ball.
Let me show you. So you would get up onto the ball like this. It’s good to also have someone helping to support you when you first do this, either holding onto the ball underneath or from the side. Imagine this branch is like a Smith Machine at a gym, a squat rack that is basically fixed and the bar is fixed to two poles, you can hold onto that and you can just basically do quarter squats. Get used to being able bend down and feel the wobble of the ball beneath you.
D: Unsupported Standing on a Swiss Ball
The next progression I like to get people to be able to do is to stand on the ball without holding anything and just get used to the ball going forward and backwards, side to side.
E: Supported Full Swiss Ball Squats
After that then it’s being able to hold the stick, the branch in this case, and squat all the way down the way you would normally squat alternately the same way you would do it on the ground.
F: Hands on, Hands off, in Bottom Squat Position
The next progression is being able to go all the way down to the bottom, holding onto the bar, then take your hands off and back on the bar a couple times, then come back up.
The next progression after that is being able to squat down holding on, take your hands off the bar get your hands out of the way, hold that position and then slowly go back up, not holding on. Hold, back down, hold the position, take your hands off, slowly go back up.
H: Swiss Ball Squats Nearby a Support
The last progression is being able to actually do the whole exercise, staying near your support bar. So you don’t hold on, slowly go down to where you feel the most comfortable and then you come back up. If you feel that you can come down a bit lower, hold the position, go back up to the top. If you get nervous you are going to fall, you can grab onto the support.
I: Full Unsupported Swiss Ball Squats
The last progression is to move away from anything that is going to support you and do it the way that I showed you at the very beginning of the video. Try that out definitely on grass or somewhere soft because you will fall off at first; I’ve done it plenty of times. I’ve had a laugh, it hurts sometimes, but it’s really challenging. And if you’re getting bored in the gym, especially with squats and things like that, this is an awesome thing to be able to get good at.
So, that’s part 4 of 5 on how to get primal on a Swiss ball.
Note: This is a loose transcription of the video ‘How to get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 3/5’.
Brad: G’day guys! Welcome to Part 3 of 5 on How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball. Today, I want to show you how to do Primal Push-Ups. There’s about 7 different progressions I use to get someone to be able do this, as it’s a pretty challenging exercise.
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A: Plank So, the first thing I like to get people to do is just to be able to do what’s called, a plank. Once you’ve been able to do a plank from the ground fairly easy, the next stage is just being able to do a plank in this position. The further the ball is in towards your hips and your knees, the easier it is. Ultimately,you want to be able to have it out around your shins and your feet for about 60 seconds.
B: One-Legged Plank The next progression is being able to do a one-legged plank, alternating your legs.
The next progression after that is being able to do a ball jack, which is this move. Keep your hips around the same level as your shoulders. Don’t let your butt lift up and just pull your knees in towards your chest.
D: One-legged Jackknife
The next progression is being able to do a one-legged jackknife, on both legs alternating.
The next progression that I get people to do after that is being able to actually do push-ups.
F: Push-ups with a Jackknife
The next progression after that is being able to do pushups with a jackknife. So you jackknife first, then you do your push-up.
G: One-Legged Plank and Jackknife The next progression that I get people to do after that is, just basically doing the one-legged plank and then twisting and reaching your foot, out of the other side, and then finally you can actually do the exercise. So you’re doing a one-legged jackknife, reaching through the other foot and going down into a push-up at the same time.
And that’s it guys, that’s part 3 of 5 on How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Primal Push-Ups.