Oh Jillian!

A Fitness Icon Challenges CrossFit

So, Jillian Michaels created some controversy recently regarding CrossFit and some of the movements that we utilize.  She progressed further by questioning the methodology of CrossFit’s strength & conditioning system.  Specifically questioning its variance and overall safety.

Observe Balance & Symmetry… or the exact opposite

As a human utilizing CrossFit as my primary strength & conditioning program for the last decade, a physician treating patients of various backgrounds but including Marathoners, Triathletes, CrossFitters, Weightlifters, Powerlifters, and Athletes competing in all types of mainstream sports, a student of the human system with a Masters in Sports Science & Rehab, and a normal person with an interest in common sense, I had to throw in my opinion.

Let us start at the very beginning… a very good place to start.  Jillian Michaels is a bad-ass!

Didn’t see that one coming?

Seriously, much respect to someone who in one day will positively influence more people toward greater levels of health and wellness than I will throughout my entire life time.  And yeah, this is my occupation, of which, I am very good.  But let’s be completely honest… she is a health, wellness, fitness icon that positively motivates men and women alike at levels that the lot of us can only dream about.  She deserves our respect and admiration.

That said, I think there is merit to her thoughts on kipping.  But that is all.  She is discussing something that has been cycled through the community 20 times over in the last 5-7 years.  In other words, it is old news and she is severely late to the game… something that may be strategic (which I will get to later).

“Bad Sushi” face

Regarding the methodology, all I can say is “seriously?” 

  1. The exercises are too complicated for the average person – Yes, we should only keep people in their comfort zones with movements that they can already do so they can stay the same and not progress to new levels of capability and capacity which inevitable allows them to experience greater level of physical confidence, but also mental confidence within every aspect of their human existence (severe sarcasm).  We must not ever let this occur (even more severe sarcasm). She can’t really believe this.
  2. Instructor Certification isn’t Rigorous Enough – Is she a Level 1 certificate holder?  If not, she can’t really speak to it with any level of certainty or judgement… or she wasn’t able to pass the test.  Who knows?  Having gone through the certification process, I can say that it is rigorous, and it is potentially more informative, efficient, and applicable than any other course or certification that I have experienced. 
  3. CrossFit logic doesn’t make sense – Constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity for the purpose of increasing work capacity over broad time and modal domains.  I dare her to put forth a sentence that supports her methods in such a clean, concise, and (dare I say it… yes, I dare say it) LOGICAL fashion.  CrossFit’s market penetration/saturation speaks to the results of the methodology.  There is too much data to support it being a logical system to say anything contradictory… unless she is just saying it and doesn’t really believe it.
  4. There is no time for recovery – This is totally true if you find the other 23 hours in a person’s day inconsequential and believe that every person who utilizes CrossFit is forced to workout every single day.  So yeah, this is also a bit silly.  3 on, 1 off, 2 on, 1 off is pretty much an industry standard.  The confusion may reside in the fact that a seasoned CrossFitter’s “off” day is generally a “recovery” day which consists of exercise that many would consider too “extreme” for the average person, but is actually very easy, relaxing, and restorative to the seasoned CrossFitter.  I know that may offend some… but it’s true so I gotta say it ya’ll.
  5. Not enough variety – Say what?  I thought it was too complex?  And now, there isn’t enough variety.  I have never heard anyone say this when evaluating CrossFit.  Honestly, the argument used to be that it was varied too much to make any gains (True for an elite specialist, False for a well-rounded and generally fit human).  I believe that her argument is for more training in different ranges of motion, which has merit and exists in our gym (and probably many gyms) today.  However, I think that most of her focus here is on isolation of muscle groups which is something that CrossFit has avoided and will always avoid.  We aren’t body builders.  We are dominators of human existence that can seamlessly transition from activity to activity across the spectrum of human capability.  Yet, some isolation work in areas of atrophy or areas that need enhanced movement awareness can be very beneficial.  So yes, she is making a solid argument that while CrossFit is very close, it is not perfect. (Last bit of sarcasm… maybe 😉)

Now it’s time to bring this full circle. 

  • She is a bad-ass and huge asset to the human species
  • She has influenced millions and has probably made many millions in the process of becoming a fitness icon… hmm?
  • She is late to the game on the kipping issue and potentially for a reason… hmm?
  • Her 5 issues with CrossFit are of the low-hanging fruit variety and don’t have much backing, but may resonate with people who don’t like CrossFit… hmm?

Add all of this up, while considering that Jillian Michaels is a very smart woman, and you may come to the inevitable conclusion that she doesn’t really believe much of this, but is saying it to maintain market relevance, excite her base, and prep to launch a new (or old) product to make more of the monies. 

GET SOME!!!

What do I say to that? Well done!

Huh?

In the end, CrossFitter’s will love CrossFit more, Jillian Michaels lovers will love Jillian Michaels more, people will talk about Fitness more, people may do fitness more, and there may be an increased level of general fitness in the world which will curb the long-term cost of healthcare.  All good things!

Good Luck and #keepmoving

Dr.J

CrossFit Open 19.2

Keys to Success

We are back once again, once again, right?

19.2 is a repeat of 16.2 and for the long, skinny folks that praised the heavens in 19.1, it was a collective GROAN as the compact and strong CHEERED for a chance at redemption!

This workout is a special variety of GRIND as the weight increases for the squat cleans as you become even more fatigued. However, this workout isn’t really about the Sexy Clean. On the contrary, it is about the boring SKILLS that allow you to express your power. This video will clue you in…

Key Components

  1. Warm up your posterior chain (hips/hamstring/groin) for the squat with the pigeon stretch
  2. Warm up your posterior chain and your anterior chain (psoas/quad/TFL) for just about everything with the squatting runners stretch
  3. Un-Inhibit the TTB with the hinge-flexion-hinge mobilization. It will reduce the resistance from your posterior chain so it is easy to get your toes to the bar
  4. Free up your Lats with a mobilization so that you don’t thrash your rotator cuff, bursae, or biceps tendon in the TTB and your front rack is free and available for the cleans.
  5. Get some good warm up into the calves, Achilles, and plantar fascia so there are no surprises in the double-under… and you are operating as an INDUSTRIAL SPRING rather than a SLINKY!
  6. Relax and Progress your Gymnastics and Skill
  7. Have Fun and Stay Alive as you express your Power with the Clean!

Good Luck and #keepmoving

Dr.J

An Annoyingly Simple Fix to Knee Pain

Glute-Ham Activations – An often forgotten component to resolving knee issues.

Knee pain can be scary. In many cases, it is so severe that the patient thinks there must be something structurally wrong with the joint. There must be severe arthritis, meniscus tears, or ligament damage. The pain is so bad that something must be broken!

99 times out of 100, it is simply an inflammatory condition that gets so bad it incapacitates at the same level as a severe tissue damage.

What makes this even more frustrating is that many patients are doing the right things:

  1. Modifying exercises
  2. Mashing out Quads
  3. Mobilizing Quads
  4. Using compression sleeves/wraps/bands
  5. Building ability to front and lateral lunge
  6. Praying to the Knee gods for salvations

However, until the Glute-Ham Activation is applied to the equation, most will struggle with making improvements.

I struggled with Patellar Tendinitis for a good 9 months, before I broke down and started doing what I tell my patients to do (I know, right?… Doctors are the worst patients).

When I injected the GHA progression into my prep and recovery I started making fast and stable improvements to the point where I still lift heavy, run fast, jump high, and do it all “NAKED”.

Slow down, I do have clothes on, but I don’t wear any belts, braces, sleeves, tape, inserts, balms, bands, or magical potions. I just own the improvements and express them daily… kinda the idea, right?

Hope this helps you and if you need more guidance don’t hesitate to look me up on the “Get Started” page.

Good luck and #keepmoving

Dr.J

A Runner’s Best Friend

Lateral Lunge

Running is great… said a handful of people. Once.

Just kidding, running is a major life skill and takes a level of mental toughness that is rivaled by few things. It is also hard on the entire body because of its highly repetitive nature and short range of motion.

When we take that into consideration, it is easy to understand why running generates the most “over-use” injuries with respect to modes of exercise. It isn’t dangerous, but it will break down the body over time, unless…

The lateral lunge is a great way to give the body full range of motion and do so in a totally different plane of movement.

Don’t let your body panic! Give it what it wants so you can keep doing what you love.

Good luck and #keepmoving

Dr.J

CrossFit Open 19.1 – Keys to Success

Push-Pull City

It is obvious that the arms will be balanced with a push and a pull. But do you realize that the legs should also be going through a push and a pull?

The squat portion of the wall ball is a push/drive through more of the anterior chain muscles (quads), whereas the row should be more of a pull from the glutes and hamstrings.

Confused?… No worries, check out the video and learn how to dominate this workout.

Hints:

  1. Deadlift the Row
  2. Squat the Wallball
  3. Find a pace and don’t look back
  4. But before you do that… mobilize
  5. Hamy stretch
  6. Pigeon Stretch
  7. T/s foam roll for front rack/squat shape

Good Luck and #keepmoving

Dr.J