CrossFit Gainesville- School Of Elite Fitness
Posture and Performance
Low back pain tends to be a common issue arising around the gym. Although low back issues have an array of origins, postural integrity is among the most common, especially in the working class population. Postural maintenance or dysfunction are overemphasized but critical issues in the health and fitness professions. Every trainer, strength coach, and physician has his/her own protocols of addressing these issues, but it is the relevance and accuracy of an effective training program that ultimately determines the ideal outcome to each unique postural condition.
The kinetic chain, as I have discussed in previous blogs, functions at full capability when everything along that chain is aligned and uninterrupted by osteokinematic dysfunction starting at the foot. The appendicular and axial skeletons are connected links to that chain and as we all know, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link! With that said, maintaining ideal posture in everyday life is correlated to overall health, Central Nervous System function, and performance.
However, there are many factors that influence postural imbalances which include gravity, structural asymmetries, strength, and poor body positioning while sitting or standing. Although all of those factors play a role in an individual's posture, poor posture while seated is arguably the most influential and relevant in the majority of the American population we work with.
The average person that walks into a fitness facility interested in personal training is either looking to alleviate pain, lose weight, or improve performance. In most cases, a lot of those people typically have sedentary dominant jobs and are seated at a computer desk the majority of the day. Unless they consciously maintain spinal stiffness and optimal posture while seated, their job leaves them susceptible to poor sitting posture over long periods of time. This sustained posture can then compromise overall posture, which may lead to dysfunction and hinder their ability to reach their fitness goals. Poor sitting posture leads to dysfunction and pain due to poor pelvis positioning and its influence on the spinal alignment throughout the vertebral column. Muscles affected by this posture are usually tight and short hip flexors, abdominals, adductors, hamstrings, and pectorals with elongated or underactive glutes,rhomboids, and erector spinae. This is also why a lot of these people tend to develop structural asymmetries such as Jandas upper crossed syndrome or lower crossed syndrome. All these factors play a role in a person's ability to develop low back pain and eventually lead to impaired movement.
Ultimately, poor posture is very easy to achieve with all the forces being distributed on the body. Sitting posture is just as important as standing, if not more important. Proper awareness, strengthening, and stretching should be utilized in order to counteract those forces. Identifying the different forces and movement patterns that affect postural dysfunction are key to alleviating pain and improving fitness with central nervous system efficiency. In order to correct postural dysfunction and achieve perfect posture we must define the idea of "Perfect posture". "Perfect posture is a condition where body mass is evenly distributed and balance is evenly maintained during standing and locomotion."(Dalton, pg.33). By defining and understanding what it takes to achieve this perfect posture, we can systematically begin how to correct postural deficiencies and help minimize the development of pain before onset symptoms begin or worsen.
Dalton, E. (2006) The Puzzle of Perfect Posture. Massage and body work. Pg.33-34. Retrieved july, 31, 2013.
Barr, K.P. (2005) Lumbar stabilization. Core concepts and current Literature, Part 1. Pg.474-478. Retrieved July, 31, 2013.
How is your posture?
Workout of the Day
A. Two minutes, max rep hand release push ups
B. Deadlift 5x5; 2020 tempo. One set every 2 min for 10 min
C. 8 min AMRAP
20x Russian KBS
A. Front Squat: One rep every minute on the minute for 10 minutes; load; 50%, 60%, 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, 90%, 90%+ for all remaining sets
B. 4 min AMRAP, rest 2 min at each
1.Wall Ball, max reps
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A. x5; Overhead Squat; Build to a daily tough set of 5 reps, from a rack
B. Lil' Nancy;
3 Rounds for time;
A. One set every 45 seconds for 9 minutes/
1x Power Clean + 1x Push Jerk
Load; 50, 60, 70, 75, 80, then 85% across;
B. For time; [Lactic Power - #nasty]
Power Clean 115/75#
Burpee Box Jump Over [24/20]
Experience at the USAW Level 1 Sports Performance Certification
Over the weekend of January 31st and February 1st I had the pleasure of traveling back home to take part in one of the best seminars with one of the best coaches in the business, The USA Weightlifting Cert with Coach Daniel Camargo (1 of 14 Level 5 USAW coaches in the nation). Coach Camargo was brilliant, breaking down the Olympic lifts (Snatch, Clean, and Jerk) into beautifully simplistic explanations, as well as covering pre-training assessments, equipment and their uses, the benefit of a pair of Weightlifting shoes, and the basics of programming for Weightlifters. It was an awesome experience and I cannot wait to implement what I've learned back here at home with all of you. Here are just a few of my big takeaways from the weekend:
1.) The importance of assessing every new athlete that walks through our doors. Everyone that trains at CFG has a history, and like a doctor would on your first encounter, that history needs to be assessed. This includes information about your general health background such as any old injuries, your prior athletic background like what activities you were involved with prior to coming to CFG, and a baseline assessment of your flexibility and conditioning level. All of these factors help us as a coaching staff decide the best path to place you on as an athlete for short-term and long-term goals.
2.) The importance of the footwear. Weightlifting shoes are arguably the most important piece of equipment a lifter will use. Now a weightlifting shoe is not a normal shoe you'd wear during your daily activities. The shoes are made specifically to facilitate the Olympic lifts. They have a solid flat sole and are not spongy or shock absorbing so that the lifter can be more stable and have a more direct transfer of force against the weight they are lifting. They should be nonslip to ensure a strong footing at the bottom of a squat or in the split of a jerk. And they have a raised heel (3/4"-1") to help athletes more comfortably reach the bottom of a squat with an upright torso. Now your shoes should not be used as a way around developing flexibility in your ankles but it should be used to compliment the flexibility you already have. If you're interested in investing in a pair, reach out to any of your coaches and they can point you in the right direction.
3.) The importance of the Power Position. This is the position during either the snatch or the clean where you have your torso upright, shoulder slightly behind the bar, bar in contact with your body (the hips for the snatch and the upper thigh for the clean), the arms are relaxed (not bending at the elbows), and knees are slightly bent. The goal off the first pull from the ground is to reach this position. The Power Position is named rightly so because it is the position where the body can utilize the largest muscle groups in the body (legs and hips) to generate the force upward on the barbell to allow the lifter the time needed to pull themselves under the bar and catch the bar overhead or on the shoulders safely.
Look for Coach Camargo on Instagram (@camargo_oly) and Facebook (Camargo Oly Concepts) for other knowledgeable posts.
Top: Dmitry Klokov (2008 Olympic Silver Medalist in the 105kg/231lbs class) hitting the power position with a 495lbs clean.
Bottomt: Lü Xiaojun (2012 Olympic champion in the 77kg/170lb class) hitting the power position with a 374lbs snatch.
Workout of the Day
Back Squat; one set of 3 reps every 2 min for 10 min; 30x2 tempo
5 min AMRAP, rest 2 min; 5 min AMRAP
12x Wall Ball
6x Pull Ups
rest 2 min;
2. 12x Strider [6 each leg]
6x Hand Release Push Ups
A. Push Press + Push Jerk, from rack One set every minute for 10 min
B. 15-12-9, reps for time
CtB Pull Ups
Rest 10 min;
12-9-6, reps for time
CtB Pull Ups