posting this not so much to dump on CrossFit as much as to point those looking to expand their strength/fitness/anti-fragility goals in the right direction. And also cuz one of my strength and well-being mentors (Kenneth Jay) is quoted in regards to cardio training with weights (it can’t be done, basically). The big points:

  • weight is often added to exercises/movements with not enough instruction. Shortcuts encouraged. Injury rate is far too high.
  • CrossFit is not cardio (you can’t get a cardiovascular workout from liftin weights. Except maybe from the kettlebell swing. But it’s got to be heck-of-light weight even in that instance)
  • What you want in your physical routines is variation. What you get is randomness.
  • Lack of individuation

I think there is a discussion to be had about the benefits of lifting fast. But that has to be done with lower weight and better form, the opposite of what CrossFit encourages and the hardcore CrossFitters don’t want to have any sort of discussion on the matter. And therein lies the biggest and most dangerous problem with CrossFit: a culture with refusal to listen to others and refusal to self inspect.

nodamncatnodamncradle asked:

I don;t know anything about tai chi, so this might not be helpful, but considering the pose it looks like chair and eagle poses would be good for working on the leg aspects. The chair pose helps with not hunching and eagle should help with getting a tighter leg cross!

Yknow I’ve seen chair pose done two different ways: one where the posture is more-or-less attempting to be perpendicular to the ground and one where it matches the angle of the shin. I know in the type of lifting I do (inspired by Danish Olympic strength/conditioning coach Kenneth Jay’s system) the latter sort of posture is a lot better for heavy weight movement and lifting whereas the former we try in Wing Tsun for our kicking. Wing Tsun in general has been a great help to my posture due to our basic stances either in form or movement. When I started I used to have a chronic lower-back and sacral spine pain, but good posture training has helped tons in just about entirely eliminating the last vestiges of that.

Eagle is that kinda cool looking yoga pose that’s a lot trickier than it actually looks. It’ll certainly help your balance and it may help in hip flexor stretching, but I wonder if it does enough in hip flexor sustained strengthening (which is more what I’d be looking for, personally). What I appreciate even more from Eagle though is the shoulder stretch. In my experience after a hard workout people do a fair amount of leg stretching, but tend to relatively neglect the arms. Stiff shoulders are a huge hindrance to advanced Wing Tsun, so loosening up the shoulders is always welcome part of a routine.

Of course, as I’m always telling my students, the best way to get good at A Thing is not some secret exercise or shortcut but to do That Thing.

For angrytaichiguy's tai chi challenge “Holding The Urn”. Tried this out after my personal workout* and before my teaching schedule. Clearly not as pretty as his (getting that foot up is the hardest part, I need a little bit more flexion) and my urn is too massive I think, but standing on one leg isn’t so bad, we practice a single-leg stance a lot in Wing Tsun for mobility and kicking (the full gamut and application of kicks might be Wing Tsun’s best “secret”). Also underrated is holding a decent posture in this position and not hunching over. I made it a little over 3 minutes on each leg so “shooting fireballs” and having “hawks land on my shoulder to offer gifts” sounds like an attainable goal. Obviously I practice Wing Tsun, not Tai Chi, but it’s good to try something outside your usual movement patterns and workouts from time to time even if only to contrast what it is you do do well and often.

*kettlebell cardio is no joke.

also: maybe next time i’ll try it while standing on one of those balance beams we have :)




people have talked to me my whole life about the physical difference between “good pain” (associated with muscle development, increased flexibility) and “bad pain” (associated with ‘you’re about to be out for the rest of the season because you’re trying to push through an injured knee’). the mental difference between “good pain” and “bad pain” was less emphasized and i’m having trouble sorting it out on my own: where’s the precise line where pain turns into self-harm? i mean, “exercise” often shows up on lists of “things to do instead of self-harming” and i always thought that was hysterically funny. i had a coach in high school who said the sign of a good run was vomiting at the end and like, that’s literally not true (it’s actually more likely a sign of over- or under-hydration, or of poor training), but that doesn’t mean i don’t agree with him. it feels intuitively right — you know, no pain no gain no guts no glory etc. etc. etc. i am in very real pain this morning, i can barely bend my knees without wincing, and i’m unmistakably pleased with myself.

feel like hungryghoast might have something to add here

1. Sometimes “good” and “bad” pain is easily distinguishable by learning the difference between muscle soreness (however extreme) and joint/ligament/tendon inflammation/pain. You needn’t be an anatomy expert but some basic understanding of the body does go a long way toward helping in this distinction. When you think about how the body actually functions, you tend to have a bit of a better mind/body connection, particularly if something begins to bother you.

2. The more you train the more you should be coming in tune with the limits of your own body and how much it is proper to push those limits. Not all personal trainers and coaches are great with this (most are, I think but be wary of the ones who treat all their clients the same way in this regard). This is where “no pain, no gain” comes into play, you begin to learn how much of the perceived pain is just your Ego or Self fighting against yourself. Toeing that line and slightly edging over it is the essence of the mental game in pain in training.

3.  i know CrossFit advises otherwise, but if you can’t do the rep correctly you might should stop doing reps (for at least a couple seconds to reset if not for the session).

4. The biggest problem I think MOST people face is less about how hard they push IN practice, but rather how much rest/recovery they give themselves before returning to such a hard workout. How much rest is needed? Well, bodies are different, see point 1. Also remember that “rest” needn’t be sitting on your ass, there are usually alternate or light ways to train. Not every workout needs to *feel* like such a workout.

Ω. that “pleased with oneself” pain in the soreness is a pretty great feeling once you get used to training and especially when you have a goal in mind that you’re moving towards. You begin to relish it and when you plateau you’re just waiting for the next time you find a way to push yourself into that place again. Certainly not “self harm”. Once you get there the mental distinction becomes pretty clear compared to having a pain that is NOT this type of soreness and feeling a compulsion to get back on track, pushing oneself where one shouldn’t (now that I would call potential “self harm” where one should be attacking/investigating that compulsion)