BRIGHT SPOTS

Bright Spots

Bright spots are daily victories and successes that you experience inside and outside of the gym. We encourage everyone to focus on daily acts of excellence and celebrate their bright spots because positivity breeds more positivity.

It’s easy to be positive when everything in your life is going well. The hard part comes when you feel like you get knocked down. We all have bad days when we feel like crap during the workout, our job is stressful, and our family is driving us nuts. How we respond to these challenges is a choice.

Choose to stay optimistic during the tough times by changing your mindset. Start by focusing on what’s going well and always remember to include some fun in each day. When you’re having a frustrating day at the gym, remind yourself that training should be fun and the gym should be an escape. Finding just one thing, a bright spot, to be happy about or proud of will help change your mood.

“Bright Spots Friday” (BSF) is way to reflect on your week and revisit all the things that went well. In “The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive,” author Jim Afremow writes “Too often…we think back to what went wrong or what we did not do rather than what went well or what we accomplished…reward yourself for a job well done by keeping success fresh in your mind.”

It’s important to review the high points, PR’s, and positive moments from the week. Overcoming daily challenges and savoring what you have accomplished will lead to future bright spots. Do not undervalue what you’ve accomplished this week. Give yourself a mental high-five and celebrate.

By Conner Edelbrock

Inner Perfectionist

Slay The Inner Perfectionist
Perfectionism can be a fatal flaw, especially when it comes to CrossFit. You might compare yourself to others; be constantly dissatisfied with your performance; obsess over your position on the whiteboard; overthink a technical lift; or be afraid to fail or appear weak.
To overcome your inner perfectionist, start by focusing on doing you best. Sometimes we have a bad day, when we don’t perform well. Realize that it’s impossible to maintain a peak level of performance every single day. You may not PR or get a gold star every workout. Each day brings an opportunity for us to do our best, but realize there is a process that includes highs and lows.
Focus on long term goals. When we make goals to lift heavier, lose weight, or learn a new skill, we ignore the steps it takes to accomplish those goals. We often expect instant transformation and forget that there is no such thing as an overnight success.
Sometimes we just need to relax and have fun. As a perfectionist, you may get caught up in mastering every detail of a snatch or clean. Realize that there are times to focus on technique and then there are times to relax and just lift.
Lastly, take a step back and look at how far you’ve come. Progress might seem slow, but look at where you started and celebrate what you’ve accomplished.
By Conner Edelbrock

Broken Chain = Broken Habit

DON’T BREAK THE CHAIN
Meghan White recently shared a strategy for developing better habits that Jerry Seinfeld used to become a funnier comic. Seinfeld said ‘the secret to creating better jokes was to write every single day.’ In order to motivate himself he used a large wall calendar and big red marker.
Each day that he finished his writing task he would draw a large “X” on his calendar. After a few days a chain of red X’s would appear. He said ‘your only job is don’t break the chain.’
We can apply this strategy to forming any new habit, such as going to the gym, eating vegetables, or mobilizing every day. Start by picking one goal and each day you successful complete that goal, mark a big “X” on your calendar.
There is also an app called Streaks, where you digitally mark an “X” on your calendar. A wall calendar serves as a visual reminder to continue your streak, but the app allows you to create several calendars, one for each goal.
One study by the European Journal of Social Psychology said it can take anywhere between 18 – 254 days to create a new habit, but on average it takes 66 days for something to become automatic. Focus one day at a time and soon your resolution will become a lasting habit.
By Conner Edelbrock

Washing Knee Sleeves

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How to Wash Knee Sleeves
Knee sleeves are a great accessory item that offer compression for your joints on squat days, but sometimes we forgot to wash them. Knee sleeves are commonly made out of neoprene, which will absorb moisture and start to smell if we don’t care for them.
After wearing (and sweating) in your knee sleeves, it’s important to prevent mildew from growing. Don’t throw them in your gym bag right away. Make sure you turn them inside out and allow them to air dry.
Washing your knee sleeves after each time you wear them may be excessive. Shoot for washing them after every 3-5 wears. You can throw them in the washing machine on gentle cycle or hand wash them. Use a mild laundry detergent and add 2-4 ounces of distilled white vinegar, which will help kill mildew and odor. Skip the dryer and allow them to air dry.
Neoprene is durable and washing your knee sleeves regularly will improve the condition and reduce the smell.
By Conner Edelbrock

Harness the POWER

Do This Exercise To Be More Explosive

For every barbell movement, a level of explosiveness needs to be present. You need to be able to explode out of the bottom of a squat, to perform a deadlift or to perform a power clean or snatch you need to have explosive hips. Nearly all of our power and explosiveness comes from our hips. So, to get more explosiveness and power for your power clean, for example, you should do more power cleans at increasingly heavier weights. That’s true, but let’s talk about an exercise that will greatly improve explosive power, and it doesn’t require touching a barbell!

Box jumps!

Let’s continue using the power clean example. In a power clean, there’s an aggressive extension, followed by an immediate flexion in your hips. Those same movements in your hips are present in a box jump, just without a barbell. You can train explosiveness without worrying about the technique of performing a clean!dsc_0278

There are tons of different box jump variations. You can just do them bodyweight, you can wear a weighted vest, start from a seated position, or even hold dumbbells. By holding dumbbells, the arm swing is taken out of the movement and you rely solely on hip drive and leg power. What is most important is that you follow a progressive program. Start by finding a 1RM box jump, then in the following weeks perform 6 sets of 3 at 75%, and then 5 sets of 2 at 85% before retesting a 1RM.

Jumping is the foundation of explosive power. If you want to see improved barbell movements, performing box jumps may give you an extra boost!

By Jared Bradford

Self-Talk Affirmations

selftalk.JPGGary Mark, author of “Mind Gym,” explains that “We all have conversations going on inside our heads. I call it self-talk. Every athlete hears two competing voices. One is a negative critic, and the other is a positive coach. Which voice we listen to is a matter of choice.”
What voice do you listen to? What do you say to yourself when you step up to the barbell? What thoughts do you have when you look in the mirror? To change your self-talk, start by monitoring what you tell yourself and identify your negative thoughts. Challenge these thoughts by replacing them with positive statements. Develop a positive mantra you can recite when you feel the negativity creep in.

Using affirmations are another way to develop positive self-talk. Affirmations are powerful and meaningful statements or quotes that foster a positive mindset. You don’t have to say them to yourself in the mirror or write them down in your diary, but affirmations will help train your brain to think differently. Shower yourself in positive statements by writing them on post-it notes and hanging them in your bathroom, on the fridge, or in your car and recite them to yourself throughout the day.

What we tell ourselves on a daily basis determines how we feel, and how we feel affects how we perform. In the book “The Champion’s Mind,” author Jim Afremow explains that positive and negative self-talk resemble a good and bad wolf. It’s up to you which wolf you decide to feed. Take control of your thoughts and you will improve your physical performance as well as your daily outlook.

By Conner Edelbrock

The Ups & Downs of Floor Press

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Like the bench press, the floor press is a pure upper body movement. When you floor press, you are not able to drive your legs like you can on the bench press. This forces you to use maximum effort on the upper body muscles, mainly the pectorals, triceps and shoulders.

But why do we floor press? Well the biggest reason why we utilize the floor press in any weightlifting program is to decrease shoulder pain. Most athletes when bench pressing flare their elbows outwards causing stress on the shoulders, the floor press reduces extension at the shoulder joint and the likeliness of injury. Also, the floor press decreases stress on your lower back. When most athletes set-up on the bench press, they increase the arch in their lower back during the movement. If you have poor mobility in your hips it can wrench on your lower back further.

So let’s floor press!

First we set up the barbell. The athlete should lay on their back with their eyelevel directly under the bar with their knees bent and feet planted on the ground. When setting up the barbell most of us use a squat rack with j-cups, you want the height of the barbell set up so that when you lift off you barley scrap the j-cups.

Where do I put my hands?

To find an appropriate grip, start with going shoulder width apart. The goal with the grip is to keep your elbows tucked at a 45 degree angle to maximize your lift when pressing. When gripping the bar your wrist should be in line with your elbows, straight under the bar. Now when choosing a grip width, a couple of factors may affect the position you will want to go with. Such as your shoulder flexibility and any prior injuries. The best thing to do is to start just outside the shoulder width grip and move inwards or outwards depending on your shoulder mobility.

Lift Off!

Once you have found your position, think about pulling the bar straight out from the rack. DSC_0012.JPGIf you press the bar off the rack too much you lose you upper back stability. Now the starting position of the bar is where you want the lift to end. It sounds weird, but this will help with stability.

Don’t Rush!

One of the biggest problems I see with lifters is that they are in a rush to complete the movement. TAKE YOUR TIME, let the bar settle over your lower chest with your arms locked out at full extension. Find your position and squeeze the bar as hard as you can, try to break it then spread it apart. This will screw your shoulder blades into the ground and give you a nice flat back to maintain stability.

Control!

Think about activating your lats and controlling the bar on the way down. Don’t let the barbell control you and the descent of the movement, this will help add stability throughout the lift. The descent ends when your upper arms are flush with the ground.

PRESS!

Stay tight and press. Pretty simple from here. Make sure you keep your elbows tucked, wrist in line with your elbows directly under the bar. Finish the movement with your arms locked out at full extension to where you started.

By Jake Eggers

Should I take Creatine?

Creatine is not just a fitness supplement. It is found naturally in our body, and is also contained in meats and fish! There are many different types of creatine on the market, created by many different companies. The most tried and true type is Creatine Monohydrate. Not only is it the most used, most common, it is also the most studied.

A creatine supplement supplies the phosphocreatine system with energy. This energy system is used for quick, rapid movements such as sprinting, heavy barbell exercises, or jumping. These movements are considered anaerobic. As such, creatine has been shown to increase performance of the phosphocreatine system, therefore increasing strength, fat-free muscle mass, and anaerobic power output, among others.

A typical athlete will take 5g of creatine per day (about 1 tablespoon). It is best to take a creatine supplement with carbs, as these carbs (Gatorade, for example) will better transport the supplement in the body to the working muscle cells. Creatine may be taken pre or post workout.

Many creatine supplements require a “loading phase”. This typically consists of a 7 days period where a higher consumption of creatine is prescribed. That is, instead of taking 5g per day, 20-30g may be taken. However, there have been studies that show a loading phase adds no benefit and not doing so will not diminish the effectiveness of a daily consumption of 5g.

Creatine is not just for the high-performance athlete! If you are looking for a stronger squat, bench, deadlift, or to add lean muscle mass, you may consider adding creatine to your diet.

By Jared Bradford

Better Performance in 5-Minutes!

DSC_0117The basic principle behind doing a dynamic range of motion warm-up is to prep your body for movement by elevating your heart rate and improving circulation, thereby increasing blood flow and “warming up” your working muscles. Warming up properly will lead to a better performance once the real work begins. Above all, injury prevention is our number one reason to warm-up. On day one at CrossFit Worthy, everyone is taught 10 movements that we refer to as DROM (Dynamic Range of Motion). Let’s go over them again so we can fully understand the purpose and effect of each movement so you can better determine which exercises you NEED to be doing before EVERY workout and why.

  • High Knees:
    • Stretch glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors
  • Butt Kickers:
    • Stretch quads, hip flexors
  • Karaoke:
    • Improve coordination
    • Warms-up abductors, adductors, calves, gain Range of Motion (ROM) in torso/spine
  • Straight Legs:
    • Stretch Hamstrings, glutes, calves, spinal erectors
    • Improve balance
  • Open the Gate:
    • Stretch adductors, gain ROM in external rotation of hips
  • Close the Gate:
    • Stretch abductors, glutes, gain ROM in internal rotation of hips.
  • Squat and Shuffle:
    • Stretch adductors, quads, hamstrings.
    • Glute activation
  • Bear Crawl:
    • Warms-up shoulders, builds shoulder strength and stability
    • Increases hip mobility
    • Improves shoulder and scapula function
  • Crab Walk:
    • Stretches chest muscles, shoulder and hip flexors
  • Inch Worm:
    • Stretches hamstrings, glutes, calves, low back muscles and lats
    • Improves scapula function, hip function
  • Spiderman:
    • Stretches hip flexor, glutes, calves, hamstrings, adductors

What you need to be doing before every workout:

  1. Move to an aerobic warm-up (Row, Bike, or Run 3-5 minutes)
  2. DROM
  3. Crossover Activation
  4. Foam Roll if needed

Here’s a guideline to follow if you are sore/tight in certain key areas:

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Foam Rolling has a purpose in warming up, but it is NOT the only thing you should be doing. Foam rolling breaks up fascia to help get muscle flexible again, but without an elevated heart rate, blood won’t circulate to warm your muscles.

Arriving just 10-minutes before the start of class, getting these things done,  can give you the most benefit and enjoyment out of the workout that day. We are creatures of habit, so make good warm up habits. If you don’t have good warm up habits, make new ones, now. It doesn’t take long and your lifts will thank you!