Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Think of It As Potential Potential

Typically, warming up for the front squat or clean involves the usual lower-body biased movement prep rigmarole (that's abbreviated as LBBMPR). It is rare to see athletes prep for the significant thoracic extension required for success in these movements. We often hear coaches cuing the athlete to have quick elbows in the clean turn-over rack, or to keep the elbows up in the front squat. We do not however often hear coaches go the next step with their athletes and facilitate these trouble positions of emphasis.

You can think about the upper back extension required for a successful rack as increased likely-hood potential of a successful lift. For example, most missed front squats or failed cleans happen as a result of not being able to maintain the upright back during the ascent out of the hole (lots of steps have to happen for that position to even occur in the clean of course...) In an attempt to solve the upright back position/thoracic extension limiting factor, coaches will have their athletes turn out at the set up, pull with a much lower butt position, and coach the athlete to let their knees track out over their feet. These all work. So too does getting the athlete a little more supple in the mid to upper back prior to lifting.

Lost thoracic extension in the hole cannot be reclaimed during the lift. If your elbows drop and your upper back rounds, that will be the position in which you will or will not complete the lift. So starting out with maximal upper-back/thoracic extension is vital. It's potential potential.

Our warm up for the clean/front squat includes the usual LBBMPR AND lots of thoracic extension prep like kipping, cobra press ups, overhead squats, shoulder mobility work, and a little time on the pipes of pain.

It works too. We have to cue elbows up a lot less, and our athletes are able to move weights at the limits of their strength, not the limits of their flexibility.



Anonymous said...

Please tell me more about the pipes of pain. They look killer! How did you guys decide to start using them?

Ian said...

I love the high knee socks Diane! And I love the french fry pipes for the IT bands...yeah!

Ian Kellogg said...

I would also like to hear more of these pipes of pain...

Tom said...

Oh wow, I thought those were just yellow foam rollers. But they're ACTUAL pipes. You's guys is hard core. I love it.

Robert said...

Also, Coach Diane helped me in a big way by doing a bit of PNF stretching with my hands and elbows in the rack position. To Coach Kelly's point: one must keep the elbows high to complete the lift in an efficient manner: by getting the hand/arms in the rack position Diane PNF'd them to open up those muscles and it was a huge improvement. Thanks CDF (Coach Diane Fu).

Anonymous said...

love the steel!

sakura @ cf solano said...

Hey San Fran! Sakura from CF Solano in Fairfield. Just seeing if anyone was planning on attending our Tribute/Fundraiser WOD for the OPD officers on Saturday. I sent Kstar the flyer and invite.

Hope ya'll can come out. If you do plan on attending, there are details on our site. Please post to our comments if you're interested. We've got folks from CFOW, CFV, CFEB, CFO, DCF and other CFs coming. Also, departments from all over Alameda, Solano and Napa counties have been invited.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the pipes. The paint chips in what's left of my hair. The bruises on my the pipes.

James F.

mjj said...

Hey K-star thanks for treatment this morning. Will test it out and let you know. I like seeing the secret SF training facility, it was sweet. Angel throw a super-duper wod my way let me have a crack at it.

Oh and for the record the REAL Crossfit San Francisco will crush Lalanne fit all day day, e'r day!

Yep I said it ;)


Pat Griffin said...

Hi everyone,

On the very unfortunate topic of memorial workouts, tomorrow at open-gym at 10:30, I will be doing a workout in honor of fallen Pittsburgh Police Officer Paul Sciullo III, as well as the other two members of the department that lost their lives in the line of Duty on April 4. As some of you know, Pittsburgh's my hometown, and Paul was one of the original members of Crossfit Pittsburgh, the same affiliate where I choose to attend classes when at home in PA. Even though I never had the honor to meet Paul, it's been an enormous loss for Jen and Mike, the owners there, as well as all of their members. Needless to say, it really drove it home for me once I realized that Paul was a member of our community. You can view the LODD announcement on their home page:

The workout will be set to represent his badge number, 4179, his age added together, and his favorite exercises.

9 Rounds for time:

4 Shoulder Press (55/75)
1 Deadlift (185/275)
7 Burpees
9 Pushups

It's gonna be a burner, but I fully intend to bang this one out in his honor. If anyone cares to join me, feel free, but no pressure!

All the best,

AOD said...

That Wod you told kelly about was legit! send me your email and Ill send you my wod:

Happy Easter All! AoD

JP said...


Thanks for letting me workout at CFSF tonight. That workout brought back bad memories of swimming sets of 100-yards on the minute back in '91!

jp from CFOakland

Anonymous said...

New blog?

Corrine said...

For any of you who are still on the fence about competing in the NOrCal Qualifier on May 2-3, today (Friday) is the last day to sign up. Midnight.
Just do it!
A bunch of us are staying at the Super 8 Motel - Gilroy on the 1st and 2nd.

Anonymous said...

With age and injury, I have lost so much shoulder and probably thoracic flexibility that OH squats are limited to much lighter weight than I am capable of lifting. What is the silver bullet for regaining flexibility in my shoulders?

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