I replied that I would, and then I didn't hear from her again. Not until weeks later, anyway.
When I did hear back, she let me know that she had pestered the Crossfit owner about me coming out and that I should be hearing from him soon.
Then I didn't hear from him for a while. But once I did, it didn't take us long to work out the arrangements and get some dates in place for making this happen.
Those dates were this past weekend, and to say I had a great time would be like calling the Grand Canyon a ditch.
IFBB Pro Heather Grace made my travels far less stressful than they would have been, by shuttling me to and from the from the Crossfit box as I needed. I want to start off by giving her a very big thank you for supporting me, making those travels less stressful, and also for bringing many people to attend the seminar. She's ridiculously awesome.
The owner of the place, Ian Starr (if that's not a porn name just waiting to happen I don't know what is) was incredibly hospitable, and runs and awesome box. Whether you like crossfit or not, I don't give a shit. The place was big, well kept, tons and tons of bars, space, chalk, and strongman equipment. Ian is a professional in every sense of the word, and made sure I was taken care of. And I don't mean in a porn star kinda way. However his wife continuously reinforced the notion that he was indeed, hot for me.
Day one was lecture, and I went over programming, talked a little about the transitions between life and training, and generally just got a feel for the group and their experience level. This group had a fairly wide range of experience from a few months to a couple of decades. Still, the resounding voice from the group was, they all wanted to get better in their technique and to set the stage for getting stronger. Obviously these are the things I want to hear.
We kicked off the morning with squats, because from a technical standpoint, squats tend to take up the most time in regards to teaching and helping people correct some issues.
When I was in Chicago, I taught people benching, so I didn't get a chance to look at anyone's squat really.
These are the main things that I generally saw the most from people trying to fix their squat -
- They don't understand if they are more inclined to be high bar or low bar squatters. Generally speaking, people with long torsos and short legs, will do better with high bar squats. However people with short legs can do both pretty easily.
- People with shorter torso's and longer legs almost always feel like low bar squats are more suited for them.
- Moving the bar an inch on someone's back is often enough to change all the mechanics around so that things feel more natural. This happened quite a few times.
- Most people don't know how to drive properly with their hips, and in the desire to get deep enough in the squat, they lose their foundation by tucking their hips up under them. Yes, butt wink. Butt wink is not bad unless it's severe. And then it's bad because the hips aren't in a very good position to assist in getting out of the hole.
- Most people struggle more from tight hip flexors than they realize. I see this because they can't hold a neutral foot position. Their heels immediately turn inwards even if they are trying to maintain them neutral.
- Almost everyone at the seminar fought their natural forward lean. As soon as made them stop, their squats felt better. Most people are trying to stay too upright in the squat. If you are those midget length legs and can do that, that's fine. But I had many people that I "forced" to lean a little more, and suddenly their squat felt natural, and stronger.
After squats, we pulled. Since the deadlift is a very easy movement to teach and perform, I thought it'd be a great idea for all of us to close the day by actually pulling some real weights instead of just working the technical shit.
However some people still had some issues.
- Crowding the bar is pretty popular. If your knees are over the bar at the start of the movement, then you're at a leverage disadvantage over the bar. The bar won't come off the floor with as much power until your hips rise, your knees clear the bar, and your shoulders move over it.
- Lots of people had the opposite problem, and that is they had the bar too far away from their shins when they pulled.
- People have trouble understanding that the hips need to be higher than they think. It's ok to dip, to get a bit of reflex going on with the hips, however most people try to pull with their hips too low.
- We still had quite a few people pull PR's. Which was awesome to watch. It's always a joy to watch people do things they think they cannot do, or haven't even tried before. It's an amazing thing to see people come to life at the revelation that they are better than they thought they were.
I decided that since everyone was going to pull, I might as well pull with them. Since I had pulled earlier in the week and was still adjusting to the altitude, I felt pretty weak so I just did the following....
Deficit Stiff Legs - 500x3, 545x3
After pulls we went back over some things I had seen from both squats and pulls, and closed shop for the night.
I felt like day 1 went well, and that I was able to connect with and help, a lot of people that showed up for those reasons.
Day 2 would be bench, overhead work, assistance work, and a male vs female challenge I thought everyone would be up for.