Tuesday 140722


Push Press – Find a new 2RM


20:00 of:
Odd – 5-TTB
Even – 10-KB Swings (2 pood M/1.5 pood F)

From CrossFit 


“Being new to CrossFit, I haven’t had a chance to get reasonably proficient at a lot of things. … I find my biggest asset is that I’m just a strong guy naturally.” 
In this year’s CrossFit Games Open, Thomas Ackerman, a member of AE CrossFit in Woburn, Massachusetts, finished 10th in the Masters Men 60+ Division.

After finishing the first-ever Masters Qualifier in fifth, Ackerman is headed to Carson, California, for his first trip to the CrossFit Games.

While he has worked out all his life, Ackerman has only been doing CrossFit for a year-and-a-half. His weakest showing in the Qualifier, and in all events including the Open workouts, was Event 3—3 rounds of a 30-calorie row, 15 handstand push-ups and 30 double-unders.

“Being new to CrossFit, I haven’t had a chance to get reasonably proficient at a lot of things,” Ackerman said. “I struggled on handstand push-ups. I haven’t quite mastered the technique.”

As a result, he came in 30th, which was the only Qualifier event in which he was not in the top 10. His best performance was a sixth place in Event 2, the chest-to-bar pull-ups and squat snatch combo that played more to his strengths.

“I find my biggest asset is that I’m just a strong guy naturally,” he said. “I’ve worked out in the gym for a long time, but I need to work on my technique. I’ve been playing basketball forever, and doing some running, so my metabolic activity is very good.”

Last year, he finished in the top 10 percent in the Masters 55–59 Division. This year, he’s bumped up to the 60+ Division.

“I thought I did pretty well last year given that I was at the upper end of my age group and it was the first year that I had done it,” Ackerman said. “I did go back and benchmark myself against the 55–59 age group this year, and I did better. This year, I would have been about 6 or 7 percent.”

When he’s training, he makes it count.

“Tom is one of the hardest workers in our gym,” said Dan Reale, Ackerman’s coach and general manager of AE CrossFit. “He is constantly staying after or coming in early to get in extra work. He usually does Rx and beats the younger guys with the same weight.”

Reale also sees Ackerman’s impact on the CrossFit community.

“Everybody knows him in the gym even before his great run at the Open and Qualifier,” Reale said. “People look up to him. He is also very modest and one of the nicest, most down to earth guys. He’s always cheering others on during WODs and helping people get through their workouts.”

There are also more practical reasons for Ackerman learning to train smarter and make every workout count.

“I’ll expand my workouts in terms of frequency and style, and at the same time try not to burn myself out or injure myself,” Ackerman said. “At my age, most of the injuries tend to be strains in my shoulder or a little bit of tendonitis, and it takes a little while to heal. If you strain something pretty bad and you can’t train for three to four weeks, you’re losing all that time. If you do it right before the Games, it could be a knockout injury.”

His training is also limited by the fact that he has a demanding full-time job as a financial executive for Charles River Laboratories in Wilmington, Massachusetts, a medical research company with facilities around the world.

“I’ve got a pretty important job and it keeps me busy, so my workouts tend to be in the 5:30- or 6:30-a.m. class on my way into work,” he said. “I want to use the time to train as wisely as I can. I need to figure out how to work it in without being disruptive to work.”

He’s also seen various reactions to competing as he ages. Ackerman competes in road races, and he’s found other athletes who eagerly look forward to moving into a new age division.

“Guys say to me, ‘Geez, I’m 53. In two years I’ll be 55. I can’t wait to compete against the 55-year-old guys,’” Ackerman said. “I’d laugh, thinking, ‘Who the hell wants to get older faster just to win a neighborhood race?’”

Ackerman is focusing on improving his technique in certain movements like handstand push-ups. But he needs to be smart about his training and scale some workouts.

“Rx weights are a good for strength,” he said. “If I’m doing thrusters in a workout like Fran, I’ll do the Rx weight. But if I really want to hone my skills, I’d probably do something like 65 lb.”

In addition to work, Ackerman also balances his training with his family—and the two will be combined in a fortuitous way. Married for nearly 40 years with three adult children, one of his daughters lives in San Diego, California, so the trip to Carson will be a family affair.

“So my wife is excited,” he said.

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Monday 140721


BSquat get a new 1RM!

5, 5, 5, 5, 5 ,3, 1, 1, 1

women glances over sunglasses

Eye-tracking data shows that both men and women tend to visually fixate on the face, especially when they say an image elicits a feeling of romantic love. However, with images that evoke sexual desire, the subjects’ eyes move from the face to fixate on the rest of the body


Where someone’s gaze falls could indicate almost instantly whether attraction is based on feelings of love or of lust.

Scientists say if the gaze is focused on a stranger’s face, then love is possible, but if the gaze focuses more on the stranger’s body, then the attraction is more sexual in nature. That automatic judgment can occur in as little as half a second, producing different gaze patterns.

“Although little is currently known about the science of love at first sight or how people fall in love, these patterns of response provide the first clues regarding how automatic attentional processes, such as eye gaze, may differentiate feelings of love from feelings of desire toward strangers,” says lead author Stephanie Cacioppo, director of the High-Performance Electrical NeuroImaging Laboratory at the University of Chicago.

Previous research by Cacioppo has shown that different networks of brain regions are activated by love and sexual desire. In this study, the team performed two experiments to test visual patterns in an effort to assess two different emotional and cognitive states that are often difficult to disentangle from one another—romantic love and sexual desire.

Male and female students from the University of Geneva viewed a series of black-and-white photographs of persons they had never met. In part one of the study, participants viewed photos of young, adult heterosexual couples who were looking at or interacting with each other. In part two, participants viewed photographs of attractive individuals of the opposite sex who were looking directly at the camera/viewer. None of the photos contained nudity or erotic images.

In both experiments, participants were placed before a computer and asked to look at different blocks of photographs and decide as rapidly and precisely as possible whether they perceived each photograph or the persons in the photograph as eliciting feelings of lust or romantic love.


The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, showed no significant difference in the time it took subjects to identify romantic love versus sexual desire, which suggests how quickly the brain can process both emotions, the researchers note.

But analysis of the eye-tracking data from the two studies revealed marked differences in eye movement patterns, depending on whether the subjects reported feeling sexual desire or romantic love.

People tended to visually fixate on the face, especially when they said an image elicited a feeling of romantic love. However, with images that evoked sexual desire, the subjects’ eyes moved from the face to fixate on the rest of the body. The effect was found for male and female participants.

“By identifying eye patterns that are specific to love-related stimuli, the study may contribute to the development of a biomarker that differentiates feelings of romantic love versus sexual desire,” says coauthor John Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience. “An eye-tracking paradigm may eventually offer a new avenue of diagnosis in clinicians’ daily practice or for routine clinical exams in psychiatry and/or couple therapy.”

Coauthor Mylene Bolmont, a graduate student at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, contributed to the study.

Source: University of Chicago

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Saturday 140719


800m Run
30-Wall Ball Shots

600m Run
20-Wall Ball Shots

400m Run
10-Wall Ball Shots

What were you doing when you were 14?  Were you Clean and Jerking 337 lbs?

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Friday 140718

5 Burpees
60m Sprint (Walk back to the start)

Dead Lift
80% of your 1RM x 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1

From CNN

We’re genetically linked to our friends

We are as genetically similar to our friends as we are our with our fourth cousins, scientists say.
We are as genetically similar to our friends as we are our with our fourth cousins, scientists say.
  • Scientists find we’re more genetically similar to our friends than to strangers
  • Study analyzed genotypes of more than 800 pairs
  • We share about 1% of our genes with our friends

(CNN) – This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “You’ve got a friend in me.”

A new study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science suggests friends may be more than just people you lean on when you’re not strong; they might actually help you carry on — genetically speaking.

“Looking across the whole genome, we find that on average, we are genetically similar to our friends,” said James Fowler, coauthor of the study and professor of medical genetics and political science at UC San Diego. “We have more DNA in common with the people we pick as friends than we do with strangers in the same population.”

Over the past decade, Fowler and coauthor Nicholas Christakis, professor of sociology, evolutionary biology and medicine at Yale, have studied the science behind social networks. They’re seeking a biological explanation behind some long held social notions.

“We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘Birds of a feather flock together,’ but we want to know why,” Fowler said.

Using data from the Framingham Heart Study, the researchers were able to conduct what they say is the first genome-wide analysis correlating genotypes between friends.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Framingham Heart Study started in 1948. It is a long-term, multigenerational study, designed to identify genetic and environmental factors influencing the development of cardiovascular and other diseases. The generational genetic data provided by the Framingham Heart Study made it an ideal starting point for Fowler and Christakis.

The study contained 1,932 subjects. One group consisted of pairs of unrelated friends, while the other group was composed of unrelated strangers. Scientists examined 1.5 million markers of gene variation to accurately measure the genetic degree to which each person was similar to his or her paired friend or stranger.

“We have found that we share about 1% of our genes with our friends,” said Fowler. “On average our studies indicate we are as genetically similar to our friends so much as we are our with our fourth cousins or people who share great-great-great grandparents.”

Of the genes most prominently expressed between pairs of unrelated friends, the researchers found that the olfactory system genes were overrepresented.

“Friends tend to smell things the same way,” said Fowler. In prehistoric days, for example, people who liked the smell of blood might hunt together, whereas gatherers might prefer the smell of wildflowers. Nowadays, Fowler says, that translates into people who like the smell of coffee congregating at coffee shops.

Researchers say that our DNA could be a driving force behind the activities we are drawn to and the social activities we engage in. As such, we are more inclined to interact and foster friendships with people who are genetically similar.

Also, the genes that we have in common most with our friends, are also under the most rapid evolution. They seem to be evolving at a rate faster than our other genes, the researchers say.

“Social networks may be turbo charging evolution,” said Fowler.

“Not only with respect to the microbes within us but also to the people who surround us. It seems that our fitness depends not only on our own genetic constitutions, but also on the genetic constitution of our friends,” said Christakis.

Conversely, researchers also found that the people we choose to associate with tend to be immunologically different, which may offer us extra immunological protection. This supports past research that found spouses tend to have different immune system genes.

“There may also be advantages to complementary rather than synergy when it comes to immune system function,” said Fowler. “You don’t want to be susceptible to disease that your spouse or friend is susceptible to. You want to be immune to those diseases because it could provide an extra wall of protection so they don’t pass them on to you.”

This study, researchers say, also lends support to the view of humans being metagenomic – meaning we’re not only a combination of our own genes but of the genes of the people with whom we closely associate.

“Most of the study of genetics has been one gene, one outcome,” Fowler said. “I think this is going to completely change the way we think about genetics. We have to look beyond ourselves.”

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Thursday 140717


Hang Clean – Heavy Single.
Then take 80% of that heavy single and perform 4 sets of 5 FSquat Reps


If you hate Burpees like I do, this is an interesting read.  From the Spartan Race Blog


by Dr. Jeff Godin, Ph.D., CSCS, & Spartan Coach

Occasionally we slip up with our diets and sneak in some junk calories. When we do, we have to pay the price…In Burpees!  At Spartan Coaching HQ we have been conducting research to quantify energy expenditure during the Burpee exercise.  Here is what we found:


Calories (kcals)

burpees for 130lb individual

burpees for 180lb individual

1 large French Fries




1 IPA beer




1 Slice of Dominos Peperoni Pizza




1 8 ounce Ted’s Bison Cheesburger




1 scoop of Ben Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream




1 12” Roast beef sub from Subway




1 Cola soft drink




1 Fried Calamari Appetizer




1 Plain Bagel




1 Slice of Cheescake




1 Egg McMuffin Sandwich




1 Cadbury Creme Egg




 First we calculated the amount of work being performed during the Burpee. We calculated work as:

-  Work (w) = force (f) x distance (d)
-  f = weight of the individual in kilograms
-  d = distance from the floor to the maximal height of the head during the jump in meters.


Male Athlete A:

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Wednesday 140716

400m Sled Drag (M 90/ F 60)
20-Bsquats @ 50% of 1RM

From The LA Times

Obesity: We’re not overeating, we’re under-exercising, study suggests


Medical Research Obesity Research Stanford University

What’s behind the rise in obesity? Researchers say it may be too little exercise, not too much food

In 2010, 52% of women said they do no exercise outside of work

A new study suggests that under-exercising, rather than overeating, may be at the heart of America’s obesity epidemic.

Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine report a strong correlation between the rise in obesity and a striking drop in the amount of time Americans spend exercising when not at work over the last 22 years.

Their analysis uncovered no evidence that American’s have increased their daily calorie count in the same time period.

“We wouldn’t say that calories don’t count, but the main takeaway is that we have to look very carefully at physical activity. The problem is not all in the intake of calories,” said Dr. Uri Ladabaum, a professor of gastroenterology at Stanford Medical School. Ladabaum is also the lead author of the study that will be published in the August issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

The study relies on data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 2010, which Ladabaum and his team used to look for trends in obesity, abdominal obesity, physical activity and caloric intake in the last two decades.

The most startling finding in the study is the drop in the amount of exercise Americans do in our free time. The researchers found that from 1988 to 2010, the percentage of adults who reported doing no exercise in their free time grew dramatically from 19% to 52% in women, and from 11% to 43% in men.

“We suspected there was a trend in that direction, but not that magnitude,” said Ladabaum. “People can get exercise in other ways, but most people don’t walk or bike to work, and most people are not in jobs that require physical activity.”

At the same time, the researchers found that the prevalence of obesity increased from 25% to 35% in women, and from 20% to 35% in men. In that time period the proportion of normal weight men and women dropped, while the proportion of overweight men and women remained the same.

But here comes the surprising part: The researchers did not find any evidence that people were ingesting more calories on a daily basis in 2010 than they were in 1988.

“The one caveat here is that the amount of calorie intake was based on self report, so it is possible people were not recalling correctly what they ate, or not reporting correctly,” said Ladabaum.

Ladabaum notes that the study can tell us only that a major drop in time spent exercising occurred at the same time as a rise in obesity, not that one caused the other.

“The study looks at trends and certain associations, but does not prove any cause and effect between these,” he said.

He also wants to make clear that the fact that the average caloric intake did not change substantially does not mean that caloric intake has been optimal at the population level or at the level of individuals.

“We simply did not detect a substantial increase over time,” he said.

Even with all those caveats, however, this study could still be used to inform policy on managing America’s obesity epidemic.

“Even though it is very difficult to prove directly that public health interventions promoting physical activity will make a difference, I think they will,” he said. “This study should serve as a reinforcement of the message that we need to think of a multi-component solution where diet is a big part of it, and physical activity is a big part as well.”

However, there is a big difference between telling people that they should be exercising and actually getting them to do it.

“The finger wagging Puritan in me wants sedentary folks to get off the couch and exercise, but my public health background cautions me to go beyond the data tables and look at the lives of Americans today,” writes Pamela Powers Hannely, managing editor of the American Journal of Medicine in an editorial.

She notes that single mothers in particular, may have difficulty figuring out how to work exercise into their already hectic lives. She also wonders if this may explain why the rise in obesity has been most prevalent in women between the ages of 18 to 39.

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Tuesday 140715

Workout 1-Snatch +2-OHS – Heavy Single

20-DL (M 185 / F 135) Scaled 135/95
800m Run
400m Run
200m Run

From The Atlantic

The Sugar-Addiction Taboo

When can you call a food addictive?


Now that the holidays have come and gone, it’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, “Did I really need to eat the whole box of chocolates?” If you did it in one sitting, you may suffer from Binge Eating Disorder, a newly-sanctionedpsychiatric diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V by the American Psychiatric Association. But even if you ate the box over several sittings, you might still suffer from its more controversial cousin—Food Addiction, not yet included in the DSM-V.

There’s been a lot of heat about food addiction, but little light. None other than Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, has spoken out in favor of the diagnosis. Yet the psychiatric and the scientific communities have been slow to get on the bandwagon. Many scientists eschew the diagnosis whileothers embrace it. Not surprisingly, the food industry has largely dismissed the notion. No one argues that food isn’t pleasurable, or even that food doesn’t activate the “reward center” of the brain. But can food truly be addictive? In the same way that alcohol, tobacco, and street drugs are?

Some scientists poo-poo the idea on basic principle. You don’t need alcohol, tobacco or street drugs to live, but you do need food. How can something required for life be addictive? There are three levels of motivation: liking, wanting, and needing. When we go from wanting to needing, that’s when we start to invoke the concept of addiction. As a species and as individuals, we clearly need food.  Strike one for the naysayers.

But do we need all kinds of food? Certainly, we need those foods that supply essential nutrients—those things our bodies can’t synthesize itself. These include vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids (found in protein), and essential fatty acids (found in fish and various vegetables). If you’re missing any of these you’ll get some classic nutritional deficiency disease, such as beriberi or scurvy. But what about energy? We certainly need energy, but we humans are very capable of turning protein or fats into energy when it is required. What if a foodstuff supplies only energy? Alcohol is energy, but it is certainly not required for life. There’s no biochemical reaction that requires alcohol. Thirty-nine percent of Americans are teetotalers, and while they might be missing out on some fun, they’re not exactly ill.

Which brings us to sugar. Another fun substance, full of energy, made up of two molecules linked together: glucose (kind of sweet, and not that much fun), and fructose (very sweet, and a whole lot of fun). Glucose is a nutrient, although not essential—it’s so important, that if you don’t eat it, your liver will make it. But what about fructose? Is fructose a nutrient? As it turns out, there’s no biochemical reaction that requires dietary fructose. A rare genetic disease called Hereditary Fructose Intolerance afflicts 1 in 100,000 babies, who drop their blood sugar to almost zero and have a seizure upon their first exposure to juice from a bottle at age six months. Doctors perform a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. From that moment on, they’re fructose-free for the rest of their lives. And they’re amongthe healthiest people on the planet. Alcohol and fructose both supply energy. They’re fun—but they are not nutrients. Strike two.

But oh, do we want it. As an example, rats are not big fans of lard. But if you lace the lard with some sugar (called “cookie dough”), that’s another story — indeed, in a controversial abstract at this year’s Society for Neuroscience meeting, rats were found to prefer Oreos to cocaine. And we humans are not far behind. Arecent study by Dr. Eric Stice of Oregon Health Sciences University looked at our obsession, by parsing out the fat from the sugar. Subjects laying in an MRI scanner consumed milkshakes where the fat and the sugar concentrations were dialed up or down.  Bottom line, fat stimulated the somatosensory cortex (in other words, “mouthfeel”), but only sugar stimulated the reward center. And adding fat to the sugar didn’t increase the reward any further. This study shows we want sugar way more than we want fat.

I’ve argued previously that excess sugar has been added to processed food because the food industry knows that when they add it, we buy more. And 77 percent of the food items available in the American grocery store are spiked with added sugar. But is this just “wanting”, or are we “needing”? Is sugar just abused, or is it downright addictive? In animals, it’s a “no-brainer.” Dr. Nicole Avena of Columbia University exposes rats to sugar water in an excess-deprivation paradigm for three weeks, and they demonstrate all the criteria needed to diagnose addiction: binging, withdrawal, craving, and addiction transfer (when you’re addicted to one substance, you’re addicted to others as well).

But has the food industry created a “need” for sugar? America loves fast food, and the rest of the world has embraced it with open arms, due to its palatability, portability, and price. Fast food is made up of four items: salt, fat, caffeine, and sugar. Salt and fat don’t drive addictive behaviors, as there’s no tolerance or withdrawal. Caffeine is a well-characterized addictive substance. But what about sugar? In the reward center, sugar stimulates the neurotransmitter dopamine, and dopamine drives reward. But dopamine also down-regulates its own receptor (which generates the reward signal). This means the next time round, you’re going to need more sugar to generate more dopamine to generate less reward, and so on, until you’re consuming a whole lot of sugar, and getting almost nothing for it. That’s tolerance, and sugar is guilty as charged. What about withdrawal (headache, fatigue, jitteriness)? Here things get a little stickier. Most sugar addicts are looking to mainline their drug of choice, and that means a soda. Soda usually has caffeine too. Upon cessation, they certainly get withdrawal, but was it the caffeine or the sugar or both? We still don’t know. Strike two and a half?

The concept of sugar addiction will continue to evoke visceral responses on both sides of the aisle. One thing most agree on is that sugar should be safe—and rare. That means “real” food. In the short term, Americans must watch out for ourselves, and that means cooking for ourselves. The American Heart Association recommends a reduction in consumption from our current 22 teaspoons per day to six for women and nine for men; a reduction by two-thirds to three-quarters. Our current consumption is over our limit and our “processed” food supply is designed to keep it that way. Food should confer wellness, not illness. The industry feeds our sugar habit to the detriment of our society. We need food purveyors, not food pushers.

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Monday 140714

1000m Row

10-Pistols (alternating)
10-HR Push-ups


1000m Row

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Saturday 140712


2 Person Team WOD.  Each team member completes:

200m Run

30-Cals Row

30-Lunge Steps

30-Ball Slams

30-Wall Ball Shots

30-Body Rows


Top 20 Fitness Movies Of All Time

Ever have those days when you just don’t feel like working out? Yeah. We do, too.

Since everyone needs a little inspiration now and then, we’ve rounded up our picks for top 20 fitness movies.

1) Rocky I-IV

No explanation necessary.

2) Karate Kid

A bullied young boy (Ralph Macchio) strives to master martial arts and become a true fighter.

3) The Cutting Edge

A has-been hockey star (D.B. Sweeney) and Olympic figure skater (Moira Kelly) are both struggling to get back to the top of their careers, but they’ll have to do it together.

4) Chariots of Fire

Two athletes from Britain compete in the 1924 Olympics. (The theme song to the movie alone may inspire you to run.)

5) Cool Runnings

A group of men set out to become Jamaica’s first bobsled team to make it to the winter Olympics (based on a true story).

6) Vision Quest

A teen wrestler sets out to beat the best high school wrestler in the state—but in order to compete against his rival he has to drop two weight classes.

7) Mighty Ducks

Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) is forced to coach the worst peewee hockey team in the league. Can this hockey team beat the odds?

8) Without Limits

Follows the life of famous runner Steve Prefontaine from his training days to his quest for gold at the Munich Olympics and more.

9) Batman Begins

Average rich-boy Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) decides to become a superhero, which means he has to be in tip-top shape to protect his city.

10) G.I. Jane

A young woman, whom no one expects to succeed (Demi Moore), enrolls to train as a Navy SEAL.

11) Pumping Iron

In the film that many say made Arnold Schwarzenegger famous, amateur and professional bodybuilders prepare for the 1975 Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe contests.

12) Step Up

A teen boy befriends (Channing Tatum) an aspiring female dancer in need of help. Will the boy, known for quitting everything, quit this too?

13) Flashdance

An aspiring dancer holding down two jobs wants nothing more than to become a professional ballerina.

14) Ali

Actor Will Smith portrays boxing legend Muhammad Ali in his early days in the ring.

15) Hoosiers

A coach with a seedy past and the local town drunk train a high school basketball team. Based on the true story of the Indiana team that made the state finals in 1954.

16) True Blue

Two crews. One race. And only one team can be victorious.

17) Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story

A look at the life of martial arts master Bruce Lee and his struggle to rise to the top.

18) Breaking Away

A young man from a small town has little motivation to do much—except cycle.

19) Blue Crush

A surfer girl finds herself prepping for a big surfing competition, and falling in love.

20) Bend It Like Beckham

A young girl, naturally gifted at soccer, goes after her dreams of becoming a soccer star, despite her parents’ wishes.

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Friday 140711

Work up to 85% of you DL 1RM.
Try this:
35% x5
50% x5 x2
62% x5
70% x5
755 x5
85% x 5 x3

10Wall Ball Shots
15-KB Swings
200m Run
Rest 3:00

I am SO very happy Concept 2 issued the following!

Debunking the Myths: Damper Setting, Stroke Rate and Intensity

Myth: A damper setting of 10 will give you the best workout.

Reality: A damper setting of 3–5 is likely to give you the best workout. Too often, we see indoor rowers set at 10, because the athlete thinks that a higher number must be more challenging (or will reward them with a better time). The real challenge is to accelerate the flywheel at a lower damper setting, where power must be applied such as in a sleek, fast, rowing shell. A damper setting of 10 is more like a slow heavy rowboat—still a workout, but more about strength than cardiovascular fitness. Keep in mind: the best rowers in the world who compete at the Olympics, do not row competitively at a 10! Emulate them; aim for 3 to 5.

Try this: Row 100 meters at different damper settings: 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. Keep your stroke rating at a 24. What feels differently? Which damper setting gave you the best time? Keep in mind, you still may want to change the damper setting for longer workouts. See more on damper setting.

Myth: The higher the stroke rate, the better the workout.

Reality: It’s not how high your cadence is, it’s how hard you’re pulling. Traveling up and down the monorail quickly without generating power is called “spinning your wheels.” You create power when the flywheel—not you—spins faster, which means a better workout. Rather than worrying about how quickly you can move up and back on the monorail, take the time to focus on getting as much power into each drive as you can. To focus on this power, think of rowing with a ratio of 1 beat for every 2 beats you travel up the slide. A good target stroke rate (measured as “strokes per minute” or spm) for most workouts will be in the range of 24–30 spm.

Try this: Start rowing at a high stroke rating (such as 28–30 spm) and note your pace per 500m. Every minute, reduce your stroke rate by two beats (30, 28, 26, etc.) and try to keep the same pace. This will challenge you to generate power at low stroke rates. If you can maintain this efficiency, your overall pace should improve.

Myth: The indoor rower is too easy for me.

Reality: On the indoor rower, intensity is created by the user. The harder you row, the more wind resistance is generated, and the more resistance you feel. It’s just like in a boat where the harder you pull and the faster the boat moves, the more drag resistance is created by the water on the hull of the boat. In either case, if it feels too easy, it’s because you aren’t rowing hard enough. This is common when one first tries the indoor rower; it may take a few sessions to master the technique and get to the point where you can effectively use your legs, core and arms to accelerate the flywheel. This user-controlled intensity is what makes the indoor rower is so versatile—it can be used by everyone from rehab patients to Olympic athletes. And it can be used for all types of workouts, from long slow distance to short intense intervals.

Try this: Focus on using your legs, core and arms to accelerate the flywheel. Try to row your weight in watts. Maintain these watts even at different stroke rates. This tests your ability to increase intensity. Also check out our video on Rowing with Greater Intensity.

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