612-644-9781 info@crossfitslipstream.com

Breathing: So Simple Anyone Can Do It

Of all the physical functions that keep us alive, breathing is the most mysterious.  Unlike heart beat or digestion, we have a degree of conscious control over our breathing – rate, depth, direction, and timing.  But we do not have complete control.  It will start up again whether we like it or not.  Consequently, breathing is the link between our conscious and unconscious minds.  By manipulating our breath, we can increase our control over physical and emotional states, test physical abilities, and improve physical and mental performance.

“…only a few minutes per day can help you take greater control of your physical and emotional states, allowing you to intentionally control your performance, both in and out of the gym.”

Before we can do this, however, we should ensure our breathing mechanics allow us to access the full power of the breath.  Ideal breathing mechanics activate the parasympathetic nervous system because they tell us that all is well and we can remain calm.  This is primarily due to feedback from the diaphragm and sinuses.  For this reason alone, we should ensure we breathe through the nose and use the diaphragm as the first and primary breathing muscle.  The diaphragm moves down to initiate breathing followed, if necessary, by the lower ribs and intercostals, and finally – and only if necessary –  the upper chest if breathing heavily.

Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/take-a-deep-breath

Many of us have developed the habit of breathing primarily with the upper chest, which activates the sympathetic nervous system and increases our stress levels.  It also expends more energy to obtain less oxygen than breathing into the larger, lower lobes of the lungs and throws off our movement mechanics.  Breathing through the mouth has similar effects.

Related: The Mindfulness of Movement

To rediscover the diaphragm, or verify that you’re using it, lay down or sit in a style that allows a neutral spine and pelvis (the “stable midline” I’m always talking about in class).  Dig both hands under the ribcage on either side.  This should be weirdly uncomfortable, but don’t force it.  Breathe as normally as possible through your nose and observe what moves first.  If it is not the hands, imagine filling the bottoms of the lungs first until that happens.  This is diaphragmatic breathing, which is how we should breathe all the time.  Perform at least ten (10) breaths as normally as possible, and observe any tendencies or habits you may not have noticed before.

Once our connection to the diaphragm is established, we can seek to increase or decrease our level of excitement, altering the balance between our parasympathetic (relaxed, calm) and sympathetic (high alert) nervous systems.  The classic advice to “take a deep breath” when you need to calm down is a simple implementation of this idea.

Related: 7 Bedtime Routines to Help You Sleep Tight

To start exploring your ability to change your physiological and emotional state through breathing, start with the following exercises:

To wake up, improve focus, or similarly excite your systems, breathe through your nose and:

  1. Ask yourself how you feel.

  2. Inhale for a 5 count and exhale for a 5 count for 3-5 full breaths.

  3. Take 20 breaths in and out at the fastest rhythm you can control.

  4. Immediately start the same 3-5 cycles breathing in and out, but this time for a 6 count each.

  5. Take 20 breaths in and out at the fastest rhythm you can control.

  6. Repeat for a 7 count and 20 fast breaths.

  7. Finish with 2 breaths inhaling and exhaling as slowly as possible.

  8. Ask yourself how you feel.  Compare to before the start.

To slow down, prepare for bed, or otherwise calm down, breathe through the nose and:

  1. Do 5-10 cycles of 1:1 breathing (inhale for X amount of time, exhale for the same amount of time).  For example inhale for 4 seconds & exhale for 4 seconds.

  2. Do 5-10 cycles of 1:2:1 inhale-hold-exhale.  For example inhale for 4 seconds, hold your lungs full for 8 seconds then exhale for 4 seconds.  This should be relaxing, not stressful.  If you start to feel anxious, shorten the time interval you’re using (for example go to 3-6-3 instead of 4-8-4).

Try one or both of those protocols and notice what, if anything changes.  Do you feel more awake?  Alert? Sleepy? Anxious? Calm?  Breath work is highly individual, and requires practice and attention.  Still, only a few minutes per day can help you take greater control of your physical and emotional states, allowing you to intentionally control your performance, both in and out of the gym.

Contact me with questions, or to learn more!

John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

john@crossfitslipstream.com

MEMBER HIGHLIGHT – MEET ELLIOTT!

Why did you decide to try CrossFit?

I started CrossFit because I needed to become more active for both mental and physical health.

How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?

CrossFit has helped my fitness results in the ways that definitely surprised me. I’m able to get back out and wakeboard, play sports with friends, and get back into rollerblading.

How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?

CrossFit has helped my health and life by giving me confidence and helping me live the life I want.

What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
My favorite CrossFit movement would have to be handstands, handstand push-ups. They were something I was able to do in my younger healthier life. And I am happy to be able to do them again.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?

For anyone who is considering CrossFit, try out a class or two and I’m sure you’ll like the experience. The coaches will help your work out by adjusting to your fitnes level.

5 New Tips to a Better Snatch and Clean & Jerk

I just attended the USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Certification Clinic, dedicating 16 concentrated hours to learning about, examining, practicing, and coaching the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk.  Here are 5 takeaways you can begin using right now to immediately better your snatch and Clean & Jerk.


TIP 1: HOOK GRIP

Ask yourself, “what would a monkey do?” If your answer was “grab that thing using the gift of the opposable thumbs and chuck it!” Then you are correct! The hook grip should be used for lifts that require you to pull from the ground including the Snatch, Clean & Jerk, and Deadlift. To do the hook grip think about the following cues: “web to bar, thumb around bar, finger, finger, cinch”. Basically, your goal is to create a secure attachment between your body and the bar. By wrapping your index and pointer finger around your thumb, you are not relying on any one individual finger to help you keep your grip. Instead you are using at least two of your fingers to “lock” your grip into place. It’s going to feel odd and uncomfortable at first, but if you can fight through the discomfort you will see your PR and finger strength go up!

Related:The Importance of Foundational Strength


TIP 2: KNUCKLES DOWN

This was a new one for me. Not only do you want to lock your grip into place with the Hook Grip, but you also want to think about pointing your knuckles down towards the ground (pictured on the right).  This downward pointing action will create a slightly flexed wrist (towards) your body. We do this to create yet another locking effect, but this time with our wrist. We are able to accomplish two goals: (1) we have another layer of hook that helps us maintain our hold on the bar and (2) we are better able to keep the bar closer to our body. The closer the bar is to the body, the less of a fulcruming affect we have and the more efficient and easier our lifts become.


TIP 3: REMOVE THE SLACK

Before you initiate the lift, you want to make sure you’re not already placing your weight forward onto the balls of your feet. By beginning with a forward-shifted weight, the bar will get away from you and you will find yourself jumping forward to try to  catch it. Instead, remove the slack from the bar by shifting your weight onto your heels. As a result, you can load up the quads and hamstrings (like springs) readying them to begin the first pull.  To remove the slack, think about gently tugging on the bar before you initiate the lift. You should hear a small, audible “cling” as the bar makes contact with the weights.

Related:Entering the Gym: Mind Tricks for Performing Your Best During a Workout


TIP 4: CRACK THE ACORN

At the top of a Jerk, Snatch, or any pressing variation (strict press or push press), you want to think about “cracking an acorn” between your armpits and your shoulders. A good way to think about this is to really try to create tension by “bending the bar” towards the sky (pictured on the right), which also simultaneously requires that you pinch your shoulder blades back and down. This way you have set up your shoulders such that they are more stable to carry the load.


TIP 5: STRETCH THE WRIST OUT AND BACK

Lastly, as you either receive the catch (Snatch) or finish with your press overhead (Jerk), you want to slightly flex the wrist backwards so that the bar can better rest on the base of your palm rather than the upper half of your hand or your fingers (pictured on the right). This is a more stable position as it keeps the bar directly over your shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. Also, as the weight gets heavier and heavier, it will literally become impossible for you to punch the bar overhead with straight knuckles because your small finger muscles will be unable to generate the power to keep the heavy bar in place.

If you are looking for more ways to improve your Snatch or Clean & Jerk, feel free to reach out to me at Jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com or schedule a personal training session with me or John at John@crossfitslipstream.com. Until then, keep on lifting!

Jasmine Gerritsen

Coach/Trainer

Jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com

 

 

Torch Fat and Feel Great with Burn45

Burn45 is a class we developed specifically to help people burn off excess body fat in only 45:00 without leaving you exhausted for hours afterwards.  How does it work?

Burn45 uses the Maximum Aerobic Function (“MAF”) number to set a target heart rate zone, then we use sets of 5-10 repetitions of functional movements like squats, presses, and carries to get your heart rate into that zone.  Rest as needed between sets, and work as hard as you like, but keep your heart rate within 10 beats above or below your MAF number.  

“Burn45 is a class in which we do NOT want you to go hard”

What’s your MAF number?  The basic calculation is 180 – your age in years.  If you have a history of heart disease, or have been working out regularly for a year or more, it might be lower or higher.  You can do a more individualized calculation here.   

Related: Why Personal Training?

At the MAF heart rate, your body uses aerobic lypolysis, which is the fancy way to say “fat burning,” as its primary energy source.  If you go too hard and get your heart rate up much higher, you’ll switch to burning sugar (aerobic or anaerobic glycolysis).  Burning sugar in a workout causes more muscle damage, hunger and fatigue.  Those can be good things if your goals relate to shorter, harder events, but not if you’re interested in losing fat and having energy all day.

So Burn45 is a class in which we do NOT want you to go hard, feel the burn, or end up gasping on the floor.  We DO want to burn fat and build your aerobic system.  Both of those abilities will help you handle long events, busy days, and get the most out of your time at the lake.

In our Burn45 class, you’ll come in, warm-up, learn new movements or improve your abilities with old ones, and then get your heart rate to 10 beats above or below your MAF number and keep it there for up to 40:00.  Instead of steady-state cardio that may cause you to burn muscle instead of fat, we use resistance exercises that strengthen and tone your muscles while improving your mobility and overall physical capabilities.  This means you’ll do 5-10 repetitions of an exercise, or a few seconds of carries, holds, and the like, then check your pulse.  If you have a heart rate monitor, it’s a great tool to use.  If not, we’ll teach you to take and calculate your pulse, which is less expensive and more reliable than any monitor.

Related: 3 Steps to Improve Your Nutrition and Get the Results You Want

Burn45 will help your body make fat its preferred fuel.  When that happens, you’ll feel less hungry, eat less overall, and lose unwanted pounds faster.  Since we’re using resistance exercises to reach your target heart rate, you are strengthening and toning in the process.  It also learns that it needs muscle mass if you’re going to do these things to it.  So it’ll keep your muscle and burn other stuff, like – you guessed it – fat. 

See you there, or contact me for more information!

John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

john@crossfitslipstream.com

Entering the Gym: Mind Tricks for Performing Your Best During a Workout

 

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Give me a run-based workout, and I will crush it. Give me a workout full of gymnastics movements, and suddenly I want to use my running skills to run away. I start thinking negative thoughts and no longer see myself as capable and strong because I have told myself over and over that I am a runner and I am not a gymnast.

Your head game, or perception of yourself, can either enable or disable you from meeting your fitness goals. Below are two tricks I have started using before I set foot in the gym to get ready to crush any workout I encounter.


Trick #1: Figure out what is REAL and what is OPINION

“It is important to recognize how much of your athletic identity is 1) changeable, 2) based on how you see yourself in relation to others rather than what you have actually accomplished, and 3) colors how you are most likely going to approach your future athletic goals.”

In one paragraph, I want you to describe yourself as an athlete. We will call this your ATHLETE NARRATIVE. Tell me anything and everything you want. There is no right or wrong way to write this.

Now I want you to underline anything that is objectively and factually true. This is the FACTUAL YOU. This is the stuff that cannot be changed or manipulated. Some examples include your age, any injuries you have sustained, how long you have participated in a sport or activity, and your PRs. These are things that are not opinion based; they are simply facts.

Second, highlight anything that is opinion or interpretation-based. Look for adjectives (descriptive words) or “I statements”. Some examples could include “I’m slow,” “It takes me a long time to learn weightlifting movements,” and “I’m great at bodyweight stuff”. These are all RELATIVE statements because they stem from non-objective comparisons to what you perceive are the standards of being an athlete. These are not immutable facts like the lines you underlined. Instead, these are feelings or ideas you have about yourself that can be changed.

Below is an example ATHLETE NARRATIVE with facts underlined and relative statements highlighted:

I am 24 years old and started lifting weights in the 9th grade. I began learning about CrossFit in the tenth grade where I attempted my first cleanit wasn’t great. I played basketball for 15 years and was pretty good technically, but I didn’t have travel-ball experience my teammates did and so I struggled with organized ball. I did track in high school for 4 years and wasn’t very great at it but at least I didn’t give up. I did martial arts intensely for 2 years where I qualified early for my black belt. I felt like I naturally excelled. I have a shoulder injury from martial arts, which is why it takes me a long time to warm up for overhead lifts: it’s frustrating. While I followed CrossFit throughout college, I always felt super intimidated to do Olympic lifting because I didn’t have a coach to tell me what I was doing wrong. Now I’m in between scaled and RX. I’m not as strong or good at gymnastics as I need to be to go RX, but I’m good at the bodyweight/aerobic workouts. I would like to do RX soon.

Whether your RELATIVE statements are positive or negative in nature, it is important to recognize how much of your athletic identity is 1) changeable, 2) based on how you see yourself in relation to others rather than what you have actually accomplished, and 3) colors how you are most likely going to approach your future athletic goals.

Related:Positive Self-talk: What is it Good for Anyway?


Trick #2: Be the best version of yourself by not being yourself

“Sometimes we have negative RELATIVE statements or narratives we tell ourselves about who we are as people and as athletes that hold us back from reaching our true fitness potential.”

Once you have finished trick #1, you are better equipped to identify weaknesses in your head game. Trick # 2 will help you rewrite your ATHLETE NARRATIVE. I picked up this nifty trick from The Brave Athlete Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion. Sometimes we have negative RELATIVE statements or narratives we tell ourselves about who we are as people and as athletes that hold us back from reaching our true fitness potential. But what if you could re-invent your ATHLETE NARRATIVE? What if instead you were as kick butt as G.I. Jane? It may seem silly at first, but I’m challenging you to create a fitness alter ego, someone you can become when it’s time to dominate the gym. Make this alter ego a compilation of any and all people (even fictional characters) that inspire you and make you want to be as tough, fierce, or cool as they are. Below are questions to help construct the person you want to be when it’s workout time.

  1. What is your alter ego’s name? It can be made up or the name of a character/person you want to be (i.e. Wonder Woman).

  2. Whose personalities and traits are you borrowing to create your alter ego? List the people and traits (i.e. fierceness from Katara, Boldness from G.I. Jane, ruthlessness from Katniss.)

  3. What’s your alter ego’s back-story? Where did they grow up? How did they become so awesome? What have they accomplished?

  4. How will you trigger yourself into being your alter ego? Will you wear clothing that makes you feel strong? Will you flex your biceps before a lift? Do you strike a power pose?

  5. What is your alter ego like in the gym? Are they serious and get straight down to business? Do they avidly record your results? Are they insatiable for feedback?

  6. When you feel your lowest during a workout, or when you feel dubious about finally attempting a heavier weight or harder variation, what does your alter ego like to repeat to themselves? Think of a mantra (i.e. dig deep, get it, you got this!)

Related:Thank You Note to My Body

Before coming to class I challenge you to try Tricks #1 and #2. It’s uncomfortable to confront the narratives that keep us back, but once we can identify our weaknesses, we can begin to re-write who we want to be and what we are capable of accomplishing. If you want help with Tricks #1 or #2, email me at jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com,

–Jasmine Gerritsen

Coach/Trainer

jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com

MAY MEMBER HIGHLIGHT – MEET JESSICA AND MATT

Why did you decide to try CrossFit?

(Jessica) Matt’s sister and bother-in-law have been doing CrossFit for a year longer than us and were having great results, staying accountable and found a wonderful community of people. We knew we needed to get in shape and didn’t know exactly where to start so we took their recommendation to start CrossFit as well!

(Matt) My sister and brother in-law spoke highly of it. I wanted more accountability to make myself get off the couch and work out instead of watching people in shows that clearly are motivated enough to work out.

 

How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?

(Jessica) Before CrossFit when I went to the gym I would jump from machine to machine not knowing what to focus on and sometimes not knowing how to properly use it for maximum results. Having a CrossFit coach that knows the movements and structures your workouts is invaluable. They make the hour you spend with them very efficient so that you see better results faster.

(Matt)  I think the biggest thing they we gain from coaches is efficiency. They help show us movements to work muscles that we don’t use often, and keep the workouts interesting. I don’t have to be planned when going to exercise, I just show up and do what they tell me to do. As long as I take care of my diet outside of the gym I feel what I’m doing here will get me the results I want. Also, they are pretty cool people that make me look forward to working out instead of dreading it.

How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?

(Jessica) We’ve been at Slipstream for a year and can definitely say that I’m in significantly better shape then when we started. This goes for other aspects of my life as well: I have more energy, am more cognitively aware, eat better, and have better relationships with friends & family. I’ve found that by improving one aspect of my live(Matt) I feel more aware of the muscles I have (and the ones I don’t…haha). It has helped me notice how

(Matt) I’ve been seamlessly improving all other parts of my life.activites and dietary changes have affected my body.

 
What is your favorite CrossFit movement?

(Jessica) I don’t have a favorite movement but I definitely have a least favorite! Rowing and wall balls are simply the worst.

(Matt)  I’ve always liked running and that really hasn’t changed; however, I really like all the variety of movements the most. Except for Burpees, we are pretty much arch enemies  

 

What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?

(Jessica) Give it a try and come to one of the guest days! There’s an intimidation factor around CrossFit that it’s incredibly intense and that you have to already be in the best shape of your life to make it through a workout. The truth is that there’s people of all ages and strengths and each workout can be modified to accommodate where you are at physically. This is also a wonderful community of like mindedpeople that are trying to better themselves. You’ll find that they don’t judge, they’re incredibly kind and will go out of their way to help and encourage you.

(Matt) Just do it. The workouts may look intimidating sometimes, but you will never regret doing them and may even surprise yourself with how you do on some of the movements. There is a variation for everyone!  

 

Racing Season Preparation Guide

It’s finally starting to feel like spring here in Minnesota, which means the roads around town are starting to see quite a bit more action (and no, I’m not talking about all the potholes). Whether you’re gearing up for a 5K, half or full marathon, or obstacle-course race (OCR), this post will provide some tips on what you can do today to make this your best racing season yet.


HAVE A PLAN

If you haven’t done so already, sit down with your calendar and write down the dates of your upcoming races, and start to schedule your training mileage. Give or take a few weeks depending on your starting level of fitness, the general rule of thumb is to give yourself 16 weeks to specifically train for a marathon, or 10 weeks for a half-marathon. Next, write down your training times in your planner, blocking out more time for long runs and important workouts, and treat these times like an appointment so you’ll be less likely to miss one. However, don’t feel pressured to stick EXACTLY to the plan. If you’re sick or fatigued, listen to your body, and adjust mileage and/or rest days as needed.

Related: “It’s Easy, Just Fall”: My Experience at the Pose Running Clinic


EASE INTO THINGS

Running can cause a lot of repetitive stress on the body, particularly the joints and tendons of the legs. If your training recently hasn’t involved logging lots of miles on pavement, take a few weeks to ease back into running outdoors. Taking rest days and crosstraining will give your ligaments, tendons, and joints time to heal between runs, keeping your body feeling healthy and ready to tackle hard workouts as your race approaches.

Related: The Importance of Recovery


MIX IT UP

While this tip especially applies to those of you training for obstacle course races, runners should still pay attention, since crosstraining can help prevent injuries and fight training boredom. If you are taking on an OCR this summer, you’re almost guaranteed to be tested with odd object carrying, climbing, and grip strength tasks. Pull-ups, rope climbs, and farmers carries (and any other form of carries) should be included and prioritized in your training to allow you to tackle the obstacles you’ll face. Luckily, we do all these at the gym, so be on the lookout for the workouts that involve these elements. If you are looking to solely stick to running, add in hill workouts, mile repeats, and sprint work to more fully develop your engine and keep training interesting.


FUEL PROPERLY

You may have heard this already, but you can’t out-train a poor diet, so nutrition needs to be a part of your plan when prepping for a race. First and foremost, eat enough to make sure you’re recovering from taxing workouts like your long-runs and sprint work. That being said, instead of loading up on sweets to meet this need, look to anti-inflammatory foods like greens, nuts, and cherries to reduce the amount of inflammation your body will experience during training. Pay attention to, and even keep a log of, what foods you ate before a hard workout and how you felt during the workout. Then, prioritize the foods that made you feel best during your workouts, especially in the days leading up to your race.


While these tips are certainly not all you’ll need to get ready for your next road race or OCR, these will provide a starting point as you begin to work towards your goals this season. If you’re interested in learning more about how CrossFit can help get you ready for your next race, come in to chat with any of the coaches, or drop us a line at info@crossfitslipstream.com.

–Jay Alexander

Coach/Trainer

jay@crossfitslipstream.com

Thank You Note to My Body

Dear Body,

Not many things remain constant throughout our lives, but you’ve been there through it all, so I wanted to finally take the time to thank you for all the lessons you’ve taught me along the road.

“Rather than focusing on what I can’t do and who I don’t look like, I now choose to focus on the incredible things that my body allows me to do, day in and day out.”

First of all, thank you for teaching me that your appearance and health don’t always go hand in hand. When I started college, for the first time I felt pressure to look good, which was what initially lead me to develop an interest in fitness. I started doing traditional bodybuilding exercises and tried to stop eating refined carbs, all in the hopes that my body would start to look better, and this would make me a happier person. I didn’t care that I felt tired and weak all the time, and was getting sick almost every other week. I checked the mirror every day to see if I grew a 6-pack overnight. When progress didn’t come as quick as I’d hoped, I got discouraged with my body, thinking I would never be good enough.

Related: Measuring Progress Off the Scale

When January of 2017 came along and I started my internship at CrossFit Slipstream, how I viewed my body started to shift. For the first time in a long time, CrossFit gave me something to work towards. I wanted to lift heavier weights, learn difficult gymnastics skills, and do a workout faster than I’d done it before. I started to view eating as a way to fuel my body, instead of make it look different, so I started to pay attention to what foods made me feel healthy, strong, and ready to work. Within weeks, I started to sleep better, feel stronger, and generally felt happier. I stopped paying as much attention to the aesthetic side of fitness. But a funny thing happened, my body composition continued to improve thanks to the work I was doing in the gym that I actually enjoyed, but I now saw this as more of a side benefit than my main motivator.

Related: Positive Self-Talk: What is it Good for Anyway?

Throughout this process, I started to become increasingly aware of how amazing the human body is. Our bodies constantly adapt to what we put them through, placing us in a state of constant improvement. Weights that seemed impossibly heavy when I started CrossFit, I’m now able to lift for multiple reps at a time. I can do gymnastics elements that used to scare me to death. Rather than focusing on what I can’t do and who I don’t look like, I now choose to focus on the incredible things that my body allows me to do, day in and day out.

So thank you, body, for proving to me that I am already strong, that I am enough, and that how I look does not have to define my self worth. Thank you for allowing me to adventure and do the things I love to do, like skiing, hiking, CrossFit, yoga, and traveling. Even when you’re sore, tired, and cranky, you endure and teach me how to love myself a little bit more. Thank you for constantly improving, and doing things now that I never imagined I could do. While I could never truly repay you, I will continue to strive to treat you as best as I can, so that I can do the things I love as long as I live.

–Jay Alexander

Coach/Trainer

jay@crossfitslipstream.com

“It’s Easy, Just Fall!”: My Experience at the Pose Running Clinic

Unlike any other athletic sport or skill, running often goes un-coached. Even in college cross country, coaches focused on the mileage, speed, hydration, or the mental game involved in running–but not the actual form of running itself. I left the world of running all together because I found my body felt more broken the more I ran. So I was excited to learn Slipstream was hosting a Pose Method Running clinic, which seeks to provide the framework to run more efficiently and (most importantly) pain free.


  “The Pose Method is simple: Pose—Fall—Pull”

Image result for the pose method

“The Pose Method is simple: Pose—Fall—Pull!” The clinic began with John running us through different body-awareness drills. We removed our shoes (gasp!) and practiced walking around pointing our feet outwards (duck walk), pointing our feet inwards (pigeon), and pointing our feet in neutral. I could feel all of the little muscles in my feet and ankles groan and awaken with this diversity of movement. I realized that in CrossFit I take the time to feel what my body was doing, but I was hardly mindful about my movement during a run.

Related:The Mindfulness of Movement

Similarly, I realized that I do not pay attention to my breathing patterns when I am not exercising, and so was shocked to see how much my chest rose when John had us lay down with a kettle bell on our belly to see if we were belly (diaphragmatic) breathing or chest breathing.


Pose

After becoming more aware of our bodies, John began teaching us about the Pose portion of the method. The Pose is essentially a position that anyone, regardless of how efficiently they run, reaches at some point during a stride. In this position shoulders, hips, and ankles are stacked, the body leans slightly forward, and the knee bends such that your ankles are under your hips.


Fall

Once in the Pose, your body is optimally positioned to use gravity to help you fall forward. Everyone has a Center of Mass (COM) also known as a Center of Gravity somewhere around the belly-button/midsection (depending on your build). If you can learn to gently lean your COM past your base of support (which is the ball of your front-foot) then you don’t have to waste any energy pushing away from the ground; you literally just fall.


Pull

The Pull relates to the foot that will be moving as you fall forward to catch yourself. Instead of driving your knee forward and out, which is how we normally practice running, in the Pose Method you pull your heel up to your hip and quickly relax that pulled leg so that it falls beneath your hips. Gravity is what gives you forward motion, not your quads. Below you can see the difference between traditional perceptions of the running form and the Pose Method running form.


Below is my before and after video. As you can see, in my before-video I aggressively pushed off the ground and reached my front foot in front of my COM. If you look at my after-video, you can see that my shin is more vertical and is beginning to land closer to my hip. I’m also thinking about how I can use gravity to help me move forward as evidenced by my forward lean. Maybe running wasn’t the problem for me after all. Maybe it was the way I was running that was leading to my injuries.

Take Aways:

  • Running doesn’t have to be painful and synonymous with injury

  • There are efficient and inefficient ways to run. If you are experiencing aches, pains, or injuries, you are likely running inefficiently.

  • Running is something that needs to be learned, just like any other sport and it begins with BODY AWARENESS

Here are some tips to begin teaching yourself how to have more BODY AWARENESS when you walk/run:

  1. Take your shoes off and try walking around barefoot. How do your feet naturally hit the ground?

  2. Slowly move your body weight on different points on your feet: heels, balls of your feet, outside, inside. How do your feet respond?

  3. Go on a shoeless 60 meter jog. What do you notice about how you land? What feels sore after?

Related:Why Personal Training?

This article can’t encompass all of the intricacies involved with learning and re-programing your body and mind to do the Pose Method. So if you are interested in learning more about the Pose Method, or in potentially receiving personal training in the Pose Method, feel free to contact john@crossfitslipstream.com.

–Jasmine Gerritsen

Coach/Trainer

Jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com

 

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