Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Poseidon's Trident

Two athletes, locked in battle, longing only for pastel sunsets and the ocean's cool breeze. One will emerge the victor, one forever shamed where the land meets the sea...

One of the most athletic skills one can learn is how to 'hand off' power from the hips to the shoulders. This skill was developed by way of the dumbell clean today at SFCF. How many other movements can you think of that utilize this skill? Post thoughts to comments.

On a side note, make sure you put your equipment back where you found much as your coaches love cleaning up after you let's not leave the box looking like this:

See you at 6am,


Ross Naughton said...

Fist -- Poseidon's Fist!

Incidentally, gratuitous metal umlauts are called for. So, Poseidön's Fïst. "It's like a pair of eyes. You're looking at the umlaut, and it's looking at you."

Ironic Warrior said...

Hi! I've been doing crossfit for 3 weeks.

Love it..exercise that makes you puke eh!

Jack said...

Gotta love the snatch for the "hand-off" of power from ankles, knees, hips and shoulders. And besides it's a cool movement.

Ross Naughton said...

In a more relevant mood, I see that my knees are too far forward. Bummer. This must be why it feels like I'm always about to develop tendonitis in my knees.

As for the "hand off" of power: maybe my memory's wilted, but in years of rowing I don't think I ever heard a coach talk about the importance of the hip flexors in maintaining and transmitting the power of a stroke. The talk is all about the legs, arms, and back -- and not even lower back, really, but rather the lat edges and muscles flanking the upper spine. This makes *some* kind of sense, since those are the muscle groups most easily seen, and readily felt, to be working. But really it's weird not to talk about the hips, since they are so important in "handing off" the force, which dissipates unless the hips maintain a sort of will-to-openness. Now I guess there can't be too much emphasis on tension in the hips/lower back, b/c that tension can't be kept up in a sprint race and will inhibit full reach. But it seems to me that a bit more attention could be given to these matters, since the "hand off" is so vital to the stroke's efficiency -- and since, otherwise, the "hand off" point becomes the complex of lumbar vertebrae, whose components have this bullshit tendency to rupture under repeated strain.

J.D. said...


Funny stuff about the rowing stroke huh? Kelly and i talk it about it all the time. Our experiment has been my sister who started doing cleans, swings, heavy squats and deads a few times a week and low and behold her times got better. A lot better a lot faster than other girls on the us team. It seems counter intuitive to many rowers and their coaches that maximum power output from a heavy lift could improve your 2k scores in what these athletes consider an 'endurance sport'. As far as i am concerned it makes sense that if you improve your maximum power output you also improve your ability to distribute a greater amount of power over a given period of time.
Think about the mechanics of a perfect rowing stroke... now think about the mechanics of a perfect squatclean. they are pretty damn similar. while rowers dont fully open their hips, the progression of pulling with the legs, hips and finishing with the arms/back is the same.
A cool thing ive discovered lately on the erg that translates from o lifting is that by actively tightening the midline stabilizers at the end of your catch, you can more effectively use your posterior chain in the pull. when those midline muscles are tight, that leg power translates right up your spine into that handle. I have found that by lengthening my spine to create extra tension in the posterior chain and then "locking up" my midline before the pull i can get my 500m slpit to drop a few seconds with no increased effort on the pull. Pretty neat stuff.
Maybe someday more rowers will figure out that if they go lift something heavy they might find the holy grail to improving speed.

Nick said...

damn we have some smart ass people at SFCF.

Ross Naughton said...


Couldn't agree more. I've also noticed the similarities among the rowing stroke and the squat clean (and the sumo deadlift high-pull, and the kettlebell swing, and the kipping pull-up, and . . . ). Rowers just need to do more of this stuff -- assuming that they're doing some of this stuff already, which may not be so. Wasn't so for me. Rowing-related weight training I did comprised moves that, in retrospect, seem of questionable use. I mean, in college we did tons of bench pulls. Those seem good for times when you're trying to pull something toward you while simultaneously hugging a telephone pole, but don't obviously yield much when your legs are extended in front of you and your chest isn't braced against something.

Locking up the midline during the pull is definitely the way to go, and is helpful for reminding the rower when to exhale and when not to. Good find. It's tough to do for extended time, though, especially in a race -- which is another reason why rowers need to do stuff to strengthen the core, and get used to "feeling it" as an essential part of the (fairly) complex movement that is the stroke.

Finally, please keep us posted on your sister's progress toward Beijing! Her fans at SFCF are rooting for her.

J.D. said...

she reads this and will kill me if i say too much...

but we will know in about 2 weeks weather or not she is boated for beijing!!!