I recently bought a couple of new Dynamax medicine balls and all I can say is.. AWESOME!!!
They're a little bit bigger than traditional medicine balls and a lot softer so you can throw them, slam them and toss them around with out having to worry too much about hurting anyone or damaging anything!
The Dynamax med balls vary from 4 to 20 lbs., they come in a variety of different colors and are all the same size. They're a perfect fit for the gym, at home, out in the park or where ever else you want to do any conditioning drills or training!
Exercise & Workout article by Ben on Monday, August 23, 2010 5:00:31 PM EST
Marlaena and I were in Seattle last weekend for a workshop with Pavel Tsatsouline who is the founder of the RKC (Russian KettleBell Challenge) and the author of a ton of great training books. The workshop was hosted by the Kettlebility Studio and covered three of his body weight books - Super Joints, Bullet Proof Abs and the Naked Warrior.
The morning started off with Super Joints. We spent a few hours going over a ton of different joint mobility exercises, warm-up drills, dynamic and static stretching, contract and relax stretching and various breathing techniques. We spent a lot of time on the hips and were shown various ways to open up and find space in your hip joints so you can get better depth in your squat and deadlift. This part of the workshop was really beneficial for me because I've always had tight hips, tight hamstrings and lower back problems.
After the morning session we took a small break and then moved on to Bullet Proof Abs. This part of the workshop was also huge for me because a lot of time was spent on power breathing and exhalation and building abdominal pressure in your mid-section to make you more stable and stronger in your lifts. This is something that I've always had difficulty with and I was glad to finally learn how to "breath behind the shield!" After the breathing techniques Pavel showed us a variety of horrendous ab and oblique exercises that made me sore for days!
The last part of the workshop focused on the Naked Warrior which covers the one arm push-up and the pistol squat. Pavel believes that these are two of the toughest body weight exercises that you can do and if you can master them both, you are well on your way to being a fitness rock star! I was really looking forward to this portion of the workshop because I have been working on my one arm push-up and my pistol squat for the past few months. I picked up a lot of great tips and was able to do my first pistol squat with my left leg (using a kettlebell as a counter weight) and managed to bust off a few one arm push-ups off the floor using each arm. (Marlaena did pistols on both legs but had to stick to normal push-ups!)
Overall the workshop was a great experience. It was awesome to meet Pavel in person and have the opportunity to listen to him explain and demonstrate so many different exercises and drills. I'm happy that I bought and read all three books before hand too because there was so much information to take in. And I'm really glad that Marlaena took a ton of notes because by the end of the day I had already forgotten everything we had worked on that morning!
I'll be filming some of these stretches and hip mobility drills in the next few weeks and will add them to the site in one of the next updates!
General Fitness article by Ben on Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:37:07 PM EST
With a population well over a billion people I know China has a much bigger gene pool to draw from but this is getting a bit ridiculous!
Have a look at this video that was posted up on CrossFit Vancouver the other day. It's of an 8 year old chinese boy doing a very solid 75 kg. clean and jerk. Yes, I said eight years old...
I've been working on my clean and jerk for a few months now and I'm just starting to feel comfortable with the clean let alone the jerk. It blows me away when I see videos of young kids pulling off such complex lifts and moves, especially when it's with such a significant amount of weight! And it's also definitely a bit humbling knowing that I strive to have technique even close to this little powerhouse!
Amazing/Funny Fitness article by Ben on Monday, August 16, 2010 12:06:13 AM EST
I just completed and PASSED my level one CrossFit certification course! It was a pretty intense 2 day course that was hosted by CrossFit Vancouver and it was an absolute blast!
We learned all of the foundational lifts that CrossFit teaches from the deadlift to squats to push jerks to medicine ball cleans. The instructors were incredibly knowledgeable and all were experienced and active CrossFitters so they were able to pass on a lot of great tips and progression suggestions for exercises like the kipping pull-up, the muscle-up, handstand push-up and the glute/ham developer. (a machine similar to a back extension machine but a lot harder)
It was a pretty intense couple of days and there was a lot of information to absorb but it was all put together and instructed incredibly well. And even though there was a lot of lecturing over the two days (which I really enjoyed) we were also able to spend a really good amount of time working on the technique of the various lifts and were also treated to a WOD (workout of the day) each day.
The first day we did a workout called Fran which is 21 thrusters (95 lb. front squat into overhead press) then 21 pull-ups, 15 thrusters then 15 pull-ups then 9 thrusters and 9 pull-ups for time. This is an incredibly exhausting workout. There weren't enough barbells at the the gym so a few of us had to do the workout with dumbbells. I did it with 40 lb. dumbbells which is supposed to be about the equivalent of a 95 lb. barbell and I found it to be quite challenging! I finished the workout in 5 minutes and 23 seconds. I was a bit disappointed with my time but still thought it was pretty decent for my first time ever using dumbbells.
The WOD we did on the second day was a mix of 3 body weight exercises in a Tabata style circuit - 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. We did this in teams of 3 and rotated through the exercises for a total of 9 minutes. The 3 exercises were the v sit-up, the burpee and the air squat. It was a short, intense workout and definitely got the heart pumping! (not quite as brutal as Fran was though)
The course also covered more complicated lifts and exercises like the snatch and muscle-up and focused on progressions for both that will be incredibly beneficial for me and my clients and eventually this site when I start to film and incorporate some of these new exercises and movements.
The course ended with a multiple choice exam. I can't share what was on it because I signed a confidentiality agreement (and I never would) but I can definitely tell you that it was pretty challenging and that I'm very happy that I did my reading, watched a bunch of videos and paid very close attention to the lectures all weekend!
Anyways, I am now a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and have started on my long and very exciting journey to learn and experience as much as I can to become the best coach and fittest athlete that I can be!
General Fitness article by Ben on Tuesday, August 03, 2010 4:49:24 PM EST