I just got back from Calgary after spending a week studying under James Fitzgerald of Optimum Performance Training (OPT). For those of you who don’t know, he’s one of the most successful and knowledgeable strength coaches out there. He also won the CrossFit Games in 2007 and has placed well in each annual CrossFit Games competition since. In other words, the guy is no joke.
In addition to learning from James, I got to hang out with about 15 other forward thinking coaches to throw around all sorts of ideas. The whole week helped clarify a few thoughts CFQ has had for a while and gave us some totally new concepts to play with. This is an exciting time at the gym and it’s a great time for new people to start out.
One of the things we are going to prioritize is something called structural balance. In fact, because we love you all so much this week we are going to be checking out the structural balance of your shoulder.
What is Structural Balance?
This is a super important concept to understand. Your body’s muscles act in concert to express their strength. If one part of the chain is weak compared to the other sections, the chances are high that it will catch up with you eventually. Not only will this imbalance expose you to an increased risk of injury, it will limit your performance. For example, if you wikipeadia the shoulder joint, you’ll see all kinds of large and small muscles that act together to provide healthy, stable mechanics. If one component is off, the whole chain suffers.
Imagine trying to fire a cannon from a canoe. No matter how strong the canon is the instability of the canoe will make the endeavor unsuccessful. This same basic concept applies to the structural balance of your body. For example, if the stabilizers of your shoulder are weak (hint: they usually are), then you are setting yourself up for potential shoulder injuries and limiting your performance on upper body exercises. Don’t let your shoulder be a canoe. Turn it into a battleship. You feel me?
Luckily, after studying data from thousands of athletes, some of the world’s best strength coaches (and our mentors) have come up with a set of ideal strength ratios for different muscle groups. This gives us the unique ability to test structural balance and to say when an athlete has achieved it.
This week we’re going to get a picture of where everyone is at, and then we’ll prescribe some work to solve any weaknesses that we find.
Weekly Warm-up: 5 mins Freestyle Rolling or Lacrosse ball
- Bear Crawl (1 length)
- 4 Turkish Get-ups/side
- 10 Box Jumps (go big!)
Part 1: Shoulder Press - build up to a 5RM
5 min Double Under practice
Part 3: Use last weeks Max Reps for Chin Ups and Dips. Try to get more total reps through the sets/rounds.
- 50% max Chin Ups unbroken, or best effort
- 50% max Dips unbroken, or best effort
- rest 60sec
Part 4: Test 8RM for Seated External Rotation - tempo is . When tempo falls off pace, the set is OVER. This is strict.