The Muscle Up Paleo Challenge has begun! If you are having second thoughts and want to register, do so ASAP on their FaceBook page. They will not accept any more registrants after Tuesday. You will need to get weighed at the gym and perform a bench mark workout of 12 min amrap 500 meter row buy in 20 squats, 15 burpees and 10 sit ups. This will all be done over again in four weeks. You will also have to keep track of your attendance to CrossFit classes. I have a packet from Muscle Up to help you with the challenge. To those who signed up … good luck!!
Here’s a great article from CrossFit Verve regarding your accessories used such as the weightlifting belt. Please take the time to read this!!! Also, I will be addressing the different types of footwear necessary for CrossFit such as running sneakers, minimal sneakers and Olympic lifting shoes on another day!
Lifting heavy is a part of CrossFit. The Olympic lifts (snatch and clean & jerk) and power lifts (back squat and deadlift) act as great bench marks to see the increase in our strength. As we get more comfortable with the lifts we begin to look around and take note of everyone’s accessories as they lift. We see people bust out the knee sleeves, the weight belts, the sweat bands, the wrist wraps, the special shoes, etc, etc, etc. We start to ask ourselves “Do I need those accessories? Will they help me lift more? Will they help me lift better?” All valid questions, today I would like to address only one of those accessories, the weight belt. It’s an item that Verve has made available for the use by it’s athlete’s but unfortunately it’s an item that can easily be used wrong. I once had it explained to me as such, “a dry erase marker is a great tool when it is being used to write on a whiteboard and transfer knowledge. But if I take the same dry erase marker and start jamming it into my eye, and I am no longer using it the way it was designed, it now becomes a tool capable of causing injury.” If used inappropriately, the weight belt has the potential to be more harmful than helpful.
How does a weight belt work? Well let’s first address how it doesn’t work, it is NOT designed to support your back. It is NOT designed to stabilize your back. The belt is not meant to be worn when your back hurts or feels tight from previous work in an attempt to “save it” or “prevent it from getting hurt”. A weight belt acts as a surface for your abdominals to brace against during a time of increased intra abdominal pressure.
“To use the belt effectively, you need to use the Valsalva maneuver. This involves take a large breath of air into your belly (not your chest), and trying to exhale forcefully with a closed throat. This will push your belly out into the belt, which will help increase the pressure build up around your entire midsection.” (1)
The goal is not to tighten the belt as much as possible but rather to create the tight feeling through the Valsalva technique. The next question then, is when should I wear a belt? A weight belt is not creating a stabilized midline where none exists. It does not create core strength, the athlete needs to already possess it.
“If you are lifting correctly, your midsection should be strong enough to support itself through the vast majority of tasks you put it through. You may be limited in how much weight you can lift, but you are not in any significant danger of injury without it. The belt really comes into play when you need the extra support to get after heavy weights.” (2)
Breathing hard against a belt is a skill that needs to be practiced prior to heavy lifting. If you are new to using a belt, bring it out during the warm up sets of a heavy lifting day. Continue to use it through the heavy lifts. On days of light weight, high volume (meaning lots of repetitions), leave the belt behind. This is the work our midline should be able to handle on it’s own.
We got the why, we got the when, now how about how do I wear a weight belt? A good starting place is around the natural waist, allowing the belt to go across the small of your back. It is not meant to be worn low on the hips or across the hips/ hips bones. When there is flexion at the hip, i.e. squatting, deadlifting, the belt should not get wedged in our hip crease. On the flip side, we do not want to wear it so high that it presses against our rib cage. The belt should not worn to it maximum tightness but rather with enough room to place one finger between your belly and the belt. This room is where we will press our belly against when creating our intra abdominal pressure.
There are an abundance of cool tools and accessories used by athletes to aid in lifts. If you have a question about when you should or even if you should be utilizing them ask a trainer, they will gladly point you in the right direction. If you are unsure how to use any of these cool accessories, again, ask a trainer. Accessories can be incredibly helpful but if used improperly, can have the opposite effect.
EMOTM 10 min:
5 deadlift 60% of your 5 rm today + 5 burpee over the bar
3 Deadlift + 3 burpee over the bar
If you do not get it all done within the minute, rest until the next minute.
CASH OUT: (optional)
Progression is wall walks, static handstands against the wall. Please use the gymnastic mat for safety purposes if you’re going to attempt handstand walks.