The Delta

Posted by Brian PCF
Sep 19 2010

Delta, noun – an incremental change in a variable, as Δ or δ.

The needs of an Olympic athlete and our grandparents differ by degree not kind. – Greg Glassman, What is Fitness?

Teaching a snatch where there is not yet an overhead squat, teaching an overhead squat where there is not yet an air squat, is a colossal mistake. This rush to advancement increases the chance of injury, delays advancement and progress, and blunts the client’s rate of return on his efforts. In short, it retards his fitness.

There is plenty of time within an hour session to warm up, practice a basic movement or skill or pursue a new PR or max lift, discuss and critique the athletes’ efforts, and then pound out a tight little couplet or triplet utilizing these skills or just play. CrossFit trainers have the tools to be the best trainers on earth. We want virtuosity!! – Greg Glassman, Virtuosity

Let’s start off with a proposition: there are movements the body is designed to do and movements the body is not designed to do.

At a sufficient volume, speed, and load (and potentially in combination with other movements) we can conceivably gain a degree of therapeutic development.

The statement that “if you aren’t deadlifting, and your back doesn’t hurt, you are simply asymptomatic” is consistent with what we’ve found training athletes. Moreover, this applies to all the basic functional movements of Crossfit.

The picture above should speak volumes to experienced Crossfit athletes and coaches. We see this phenomenon day after day in our clients, and know it implicitly applies to our training as well.

The key is to know which day you want to go all out and attempt a new PR lift or benchmark, and which day you should work on some skill development, and then just roll out and stretch.

The first thing you should do is talk to a coach. Bias about your training state and/or the desire to compete override many athletes’ common sense.

If you are training solo, then the best indicator that we’ve found is recurring low-grade injury and pain. If you are continually experiencing shoulder, hip, back, or any type of consistent joint or muscle pain, then your training for that part of the body needs to be focused on a therapeutic dose of exercise.

This will strengthen the supporting muscle groups as well as move the problem area through a healthy range of motion, loosening any tissue that may be restricting blood flow to the area, and hence limiting the bodies ability to heal itself.

This approach has to be coupled with what we call “Train like an athlete, recover like an athlete.” Walking out the door, jumping in the car, showering, grabbing dinner and watching TV is not an option for a Crossfit athlete who is looking to make continual gains or compete. Simple and effective recovery tools like ice (duh!), myofascial release, and PNF stretching should be ingrained in every athlete.

Additionally, we’ve found that proper dosing of fish oil can assist greatly, especially in the case of minor nerve inflammation.

In short, Coaches should know their athletes and how to steer them towards increased fitness, but not at the expense of mobility. This isn’t to say they should not risk injury, just try to predict the risk versus reward with as much accuracy as your experience can offer. Athletes should steadily learn in order to predict a workouts outcome, and base their scaling and recovery efforts around that outcome.

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