Core, core, core.
We are always talking about keeping our core tight, stabilizing the core, training the core, but what exactly is the core? The core is comprised of muscles in the front, side, and back of the midsection. All these muscles work together to create core stability which is required when working out, especially when it comes to CrossFit. Every time you pick up a pair of dumbbells, get under a heavy barbell, or swing a kettlebell, your core is firing to prevent excessive spinal motion (i.e. rounding your back, overextending, or leaning to one side). Needless to say it plays a very vital role in CrossFit!
If you want a nice visual explanation check out the Instagram post from Squat University to the right.
In order to support any kind of heavy load properly we need to have a strong and stable core. Like I said, you have probably heard us talk about this a lot, and I have even seen some people put in some extra work to train their core.
People sometimes perform exercises such as sit-ups, GHD sit-ups, or strict toes to bar/hanging knee raises thinking it will give them a stronger core. Unfortunately these exercises do not build a stronger core, they just build strength in that particular motion and aesthetics. If you were trying to build your toe to bar or sit up ability they would be great options, but they will not help you support heavy weights.
In order to build core strength we have to perform movements that train the core to resist motion. Some good examples of this are planks, single arm exercises (presses, carries, RDL), and heavy carries or walks (yoke, dumbbell, barbell). Training these types of movements is going to help increase our core stability. We like to recommend the The McGill Big 3 For Core Stability – Squat University, as a starting point for addressing the core as a weak link. Core stability is ultimately what we need when it comes to supporting external loads which we do A LOT of in CrossFit.
Do Sit-ups Work?
In CrossFit we are always trying to focus on how to improve our physical performance. While having a 6 pack may look great, it does not have any correlation to becoming physically stronger. Do not be fooled by a lot of these flexion movements (sit ups, toes to bar), they will not help you build a stronger core. Do not get me wrong, I am not bashing any exercises that are of that nature, they serve their purpose. When it comes to getting stronger though, we want to make the most of our time and ensure that we are following proper training protocols in order to do so. This is why we need to perform movements that help us prevent excessive spinal motion.
Performing core strengthening movements like the ones we have discussed above can be fairly tricky. Details such as proper bracing and movement patterns need to be on point for the exercises to be the most effective. These movements are not simply the type that you just do them and they work wonders, they take a lot of concentration to be effective. In saying that everyone can perform them and everyone can benefit from them. So please ask a coach to give you some good core exercises to help train your core!
Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often.
What’s the story you tell yourself? It’s always evolving and changing based on your experiences. The facts about your past can’t change, but the story you tell yourself about them absolutely can.
Rewrite Your Story
Rewriting your story isn’t about denying the bad things that happened or pretending that they’re good things. It’s about finding meaning in the events of your life, to recognize the learning and growth. It’s about how those events made you who you are. It’s about appreciating that person and taking ownership of where you want to go next.
Fitness Leads to Happiness
Fitness sits on a spectrum that starts on the left with sickness, then moves to wellness, next to fitness, and finally to happiness. We’ve experienced it firsthand, both in our own lives and with our members. When people are healthier and fitter, they are happier.
That’s not to say that bad things don’t still happen to us. We’re in the middle of a 100-year pandemic with COVID-19. Not many saw that coming. The world is a rough place. It will knock you down. We just have to keep getting back up. We have to prepare for the fight in whatever form it comes next. Our fitness is the tool that helps us. We need to be stronger than the world is bad.
So what monsters do you face in the story you tell yourself? We know they seem too big to overcome. We once thought ours were too. We can help you start to rewrite your story. Time to exercise your demons – they’ll be doing jumping jacks before you know it!
Who am I?
I want to be healthier and stronger, both physically and emotionally. I want to be a more functional human being and a better version of myself for as many years of my life as I can. I want the same for my family my friends and my community.
I want to embrace the journey and learn from my mistakes. Failure doesn’t define who I am, because it paves the road ahead for me to become better. And I want to be associated with the community that encourages me, supports me, and values my success as much as their own.
I am a member of Fern Creek CrossFit. And this is where I go to get healthier, stronger, and feel great.
Are you concerned about COVID-19 and going to the gym to workout? We get it. We are too, but that doesn’t mean your fitness goals go on hold. It means you have to be mindful and even more diligent with what you do each day. Here’s some recommendations for Louisville residents:
Do things that push you into the “fitness” category.
CrossFit has a great model for Sickness – Wellness – Fitness (see the continuum image below), but we believe the next phase after fitness is happiness. When you have fitness your body is better prepared for disasters of any form (common colds, accidents, seasonal flu, etc.). Plus you’re a fully functioning human and can choose to focus on whatever you want to do.
If you’re sick, the only thing you can focus on is getting well. Once you’re well, we want you to be better prepared for what life throws at you. To do that you need fitness. To push past wellness into the fitness category, consider the following:
- Eat Real Food (think things that grow from the ground, run on the ground!)
- Exercise Daily (include conditioning & strength ie CrossFit)
- Sleep 7-9 hours
- Hydrate with at least 80oz water
- Practice Daily Stress Relief for 5 – 10 mins
Practice standard precautions to prevent any contagious disease.
These seem like no-brainers, but they bear repeating, especially in the midst of bad seasonal influenzas or pandemics like Coronavirus COVID-19. Follow these guidelines (and check with your state department of health – in Kentucky that’s here):
- Wash Your Hands for at least 20 seconds with soap & water
- Cover your mouth when you cough
- Avoid sharing drinks / finger food
- Fist bumps or elbow taps vs high fives
- Wipe down equipment at the gym – before and after if you’re unsure the last person cleaned it
- Stay home if you’re feeling ill & monitor your temperature
At higher risk for complications? Do you care for with someone at higher risk?
If you’re living in the “sick” category mentioned above on the continuum, you’re at a higher risk for complications. Follow the CDC recommendations which includes avoiding large groups.
In our gym, we are taking all the same precautions we have been throughout flu season (and really all year round). That includes wiping down equipment after each use with sanitary wipes, encouraging hand washing, and cleaning surfaces and floors multiple times each week. We even have at home workouts members can do. We’re also planning remote coaching options.
We encourage you to focus on living a healthy life so that you will bounce back regardless of when unexpected illness hits. We want the best for you and everyone in our local Louisville community.
Stay safe and be well!
CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman has been highlighting the importance of Dr. Norman Kaplan’s paradigm-shifting 1989 paper “The Deadly Quartet” for more than a decade.
In this talk from 2007, Glassman explains Kaplan’s findings: The frequent coexistence of obesity, hypertension, glucose intolerance and hypertriglyceridemia suggests a shared pathogenesis, and “what’s causing heart disease is not dietary fat intake but excessive consumption of carbohydrate.”
CrossFit® – Forging Elite Fitness® (http://crossfit.com)
The CrossFit Games® – The Sport of Fitness™
The Fittest On Earth™