March 8, 2011


Skill: Hollow Rock

Strict Shoulder Press

Strength: Strict Shoulder Press


WOD: 5 Seated Shoulder Press

8 Clapping Push Ups

15 Superman Rocks

8 minute AMRAP

Albeit an awesome and uproarious holiday, this Tuesday was anything but Fat at Undisputed fitness.

We stared with a hollow rock in the skill set/warm up.

The critical part of this movement is to pull the lordotic curve (lumbar arch) from the back so that the entire back is rounded from shoulders to butt. Initially, you will find that the rocking is rough because of a flat spot in the lower back. This is a perfect measure of both a weakness in and inability to innervate the lower abs.

Lower ab recruitment is the toughest part of ab training and never well developed by most athletes. It is so common as to be a visual cliché that the aero- bics instructor who teaches “ab classes” at your local gym can do thousands of crunches but still has a lower abdominal pooch as though three months pregnant. Activation, full recruitment, and development of the lower abs require enormous concentration and focus over months if not years. The hollow rock is a near perfect tool to both test and develop low ab capacity.

When mastered, the body is dished out flat, the hands and feet are low, and the impetus for the rocking is nearly undetectable. When you can do this smoothly – no flat spot – for two minutes you’ll have the best abs in town. – The Crossfit Journal(Issue 09, May 2003)

We followed this with a Skill and then strength set of the Shoulder Press. The following is a fascinating blog posted by Crossfit Solana on The Bench Press VS The Shoulder Press:

“Bench Pressing had long been the gold standard for “fitness” as I knew it.  Ever since I was in high school my teammates and I were always concerned with how much we could all bench press.  It was a feat of manhood, a test of ones strength and often times the more you weighed the more you could bench press.  Not much credit was given to guys who were 140 to 180 pounds bench pressing 225 to 240 pounds.  All eyes were on the lineman who were easily stacking 6 plates on the bar (315 pounds) and pushing out 2 to 3 rib crushing bouncing reps.  Come on we all know where to find most guys on Monday at Globo Gym; they are sitting around waiting for their turns at the various Bench Pressing stations.

Now I love the bench press as much as the next guy but I woke up one day with a throbbing shoulder and to had to realize that unless I took naps on the bench, and that was all I ever did, a 400 pound bench press wasn’t going to happen.  Randy asked a very good question today: “Why don’t we Bench Press at Crossfit?”  Lo and I did some research, my answer to Randy and others is this: The Bench Press is not a functional movement.  It is useful for a measure of “raw strength” such as in football.  Shoulder Press is a more valuable exercise due to the nature of movement and its transference into other lifts (push-press, push-jerk, clean and jerk, thruster, overhead squat, snatch, handstand push-up, etc, etc).  The bench press is good for lifting things off of your chest and since none of us are loggers I’m not too worried about being pinned underneath a giant log.  However, Bench Pressing would be a valuable lift for rest days or after the WOD if one wanted to increase their “raw strength” or just for fun.

Think about the difference in the two movements and think about the muscles involved in moving the weight.  The Shoulder Press has a larger range of motion (you take the load from your chest to over head the whole distance) versus the bench press where the bar comes to chest and most people don’t get a full range of motion.  The shoulder press is better then the bench press because it forces you to use your entire body to stay tight and maintain mid-line stabilization; instead of allowing the bench to do the work for you.  Coach Burg has four questions on how to find out if an exercise is useful: 1) Is the exercise ground based and are you standing up while performing the exercise?  2) Is the exercise a free weight exercise?  3) Does the exercise work multiple muscle groups and surround multiple joints? 4) Is the exercise performed in an explosive manner?  Bench Press scored 2 “yes” answers on these questions while Shoulder Press scored 4.

So these days when somebody asks me how much I bench press I ask them what their Fran Time is.”

The workout looked easy on the board but was anything but. The seated presses burned the shoulders out and then we went right into clapping pushups. After the clapping pushups, we were humbled by the superman rock. It was only 8 minutes long, but it was a brutal 8 minutes.

^ Check out the air between Rod’s hands and the floor. That is how it is done folks!!!

We also had the distinct pleasure of starting Yoga classes today with Beth… Yoga is a great addition to our schedule at Undisputed. It gives us the opportunity to stretch and breath while working on our strength, posture and alignment.

Yoga classes will be held from 10:00 until 11:15 on Tuesdays and from 2:15 until 3:30 on Saturdays.

Come take advantage of this excellent opportunity!!!!

On a celebratory note:

Rod Harrison, one of our most loyal and entertaining athletes celebrated his ONE YEAR Crossfit anniversary today. Rod shared with me that since he began Crossfit, he has gone from an XLarge to a Medium and he has gone down 4 pants sizes. He credits his dedication to Crossfit, dancing through his animal movements and being on the Paleo Diet for close to 3 months. Rod said that Crossfit made him strong and Paleo slimmed him down. He told me that recently,when he runs into people they tell him that they think that the beard is working for him. We agree, the beard looks good, indeed, but we know that it is a whole lot more than that. Rod came to us uber graceful and coordinated. An Actor. A dancer. An entertainer. He has since, gotten in touch with his inner superman. Rod has incredible form an finesse in all of his movements. From the heavy lifts, to grapevine, to clapping push ups. He is dazzling to watch(we all knew this about him) on stage and at the gym. He is now an athlete. A damn hard worker. And as Tait say “a fine Amercan”. I asked Rod to share the secret of his success. “It’s not just the coaches at Undisputed Fitness that have changed me, everyone that I have ever worked along side with has helped me. The drive and support of every single person that I have worked out with has contributed to my success. The community at Undisputed(along with my coaches) has pushed me to ask more of myself and supported me when I thought that I could not do anymore.”Rod, you are an inspiration. We are so grateful for you participation in what makes Undisputed great! Thank you for bringing laughter and dance to all the classes you attend. Thank you for you!!!!! We can’t wait for your 2 year anniversary!!!

Where would you like to be in a year, in regards to your fitness and health?

Rod, you are so awesome.

Comment by Alexis B — March 11, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

Mobility WOD