Friday 150410

From CFHQ

Workout

5 rounds for time of:
20 wall-ball shots, 20-lb. ball to 10-ft. target
75-lb. sumo deadlift high pulls, 20 reps (KB Swings 70/53)
20-inch box jumps, 20 reps
Push presses, 20 reps (75/55)
Row 20 calories
Rest 1 minute

Distance running may be an evolutionary ‘signal’ for desirable male genes

New research shows that males with higher ‘reproductive potential’ are better distance runners. This may have been used by females as a reliable signal of high male genetic quality during our hunter-gatherer past, as good runners are more likely to have other traits of good hunters and providers, such as intelligence and generosity.

Persistence hunting may have been one of the most efficient forms of hunting, and as a consequence may have shaped human evolution

Danny Longman

Pre-birth exposure to high levels of the male sex hormone testosterone has already been shown to confer evolutionary advantages for men: strength of sex drive, sperm count, cardiovascular efficiency and spatial awareness, for example.

Now, latest research on marathon runners using finger length as a marker for hormone exposure shows that people who experienced higher testosterone in the womb are also better at distance running – a correlation particularly strong in men, although also present in women.

Researchers say the finding that males with greater “reproductive potential” from an evolutionary standpoint are better distance runners suggests females may have selected for such athletic endurance when mating during our hunter-gatherer past, perhaps because ‘persistence hunting’ – exhausting prey by tirelessly tracking it – was a vital way to get food.

Distance running may also have acted as a positive ‘signal’ for females of desirable male genetics more generally, say researchers: good runners were likely to be better persistence hunters and consequently better providers. This increases the likelihood they would have other key traits of good providers such as intelligence and generosity.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Division of Biological Anthropology and is published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

“The observation that endurance running ability is connected to reproductive potential in men suggests that women in our hunter-gatherer past were able to observe running as a signal for a good breeding partner,” said the study’s lead author Dr Danny Longman.

“It was thought that a better hunter would have got more meat, and had a healthier – and larger – family as a consequence of providing more meat for his family. But hunter-gatherers may have used egalitarian systems with equal meat distribution as we see in remaining tribes today. In which case more meat is not a factor, but the ability to get meat would signal underlying traits of athletic endurance, as well as intelligence – to track and outwit prey – and generosity – to contribute to tribal society. All traits you want passed on to your children,” he said.

Using the largest sample of marathon runners of any study of its kind, Longman and colleagues tested for specific finger lengths known as the 2D:4D digit ratio. Previous studies have showed that those exposed to more prenatal testosterone have a longer ring finger (4th digit) in comparison to their index finger (2nd digit).

This digit ratio is the most accurate known way to tell if an adult was exposed to higher levels of testosterone as a foetus – a proven predictor of the “potential for reproductive success” in men, say researchers.

The team analysed 542 runners (439 men; 103 women) at the Robin Hood half marathon in Nottingham by photocopying hands and taking run times and other key details just after runners crossed the line.

They found that the 10% of men with the most masculine digit ratios were, on average, 24 minutes and 33 seconds faster than the 10% of men with the least masculine digit ratios.

The correlation was also found in women, but was much more pronounced in men, suggesting a stronger evolutionary selection in men for running ability. The 10% of women with the most masculine digit ratios were, on average, 11 minutes and 59 seconds faster than the 10% with the least masculine.

Longman points out that prenatal testosterone exposure is a very small influence on running ability that doesn’t compete with training and muscle strength when it comes to performance, but their unprecedentedly large sample size of over 500 people enabled the team to gather conclusive evidence.

“Humans are hopeless sprinters. Rabbits, for example, are much faster sprinters, despite being fat and round. But humans are fantastically efficient long-distance runners, comparable to wolves and wild coyotes,” said Longman.

“We sweat when most animals would overheat; our tendons and posture are designed to propel our next strides – there was likely a selective pressure for all these benefits during our evolution.”

Persistence hunting is thought to have been one of the earliest forms of human hunting, evolving approximately two million years ago, said Longman.

“You can still see examples of persistence hunting in parts of Africa and Mexico today. Hunters will deliberately choose the hottest time of day to hunt, and chase and track an antelope or gnu over 30 to 40 kilometres for four or five hours. The animal recovers less and less from its running until it collapses exhausted and is easy to kill,” Longman said.

“This may sound crazy, but when a hunter is relatively fit the amount of energy they expend is actually tiny compared to the energy benefits of an antelope-sized animal, for example. Before the domestication of dogs, persistence hunting may have been one of the most efficient forms of hunting, and as a consequence may have shaped human evolution.”

Tuesday 150210

Strength 
Snatch – Work to a heavy single.
Back off to 75% of that heavy single and complete 7 singles.  Make em look good!
Snatch Grip Push Press – use the same weight and get 5 sets of 5.

MetCon

3 rounds, each for time, of:
20 chest-to-bar pull-ups
30 wall-ball shots, 20-lb. ball
40 push-ups

Rest 3 minutes between each round.

Only have time for 1 of the above, pick the Strength WOD

From Breaking Muscle

HOW TO PROGRESS YOUR WAY TO A PERFECT PUSH UP

 Guest Contributor

Push ups are the go-to exercise of the universe. They’re used as strength tests in school and in the military, as punishments in gym class, and to impress people on the beach.

In my studio, I use them to assess upper body and torso strength, muscular imbalances, and the ability to move the body as a unit. Unfortunately, most of the people I see have never learned how to do a push up properly, and a large percentage can’t do one full push up.

When I ask to see one push up, people tend to laugh embarrassedly or stare at me as if I’ve just asked them to bench press my car. “Can I do ‘girl’ pushups?” they ask, looking at me hopefully.

Never fear – all is not lost. There are many ways to gain your first full pushup or to improve on the push ups you already have. The tips below should help get you well on your way.

Master the Correct Elbow Position

The biggest mistake I see in pushups is people’s elbows sticking straight out to the sides. If you do them this way, you’re definitely not alone. Michelle Obama’s famous Ellen pushups were done just like that. And I’m not gonna lie – it made me kind of sad.

Think about it this way: if you were going to push, say, a refrigerator across the floor, would you do it with your elbows flared out like an angry chicken? Chances are, you wouldn’t. The way the human body naturally pushes is with the elbows at about a 45-degree angle from your ribs If you’re an elbow flarer, this one fix will significantly change the way your pushups feel.

De-Droopify Your Torso

A droopy torso in a push up also makes me sad. So, for the sake of my happiness, clean it up. A push up is essentially a moving plank. Therefore, your abdominals should be fully involved. A good little trick to find a solid core position is this:

  1. Put your thumbs right on your bottom ribs.
  2. Put your middle fingers right on your hip bones.
  3. Now, without bending your upper body forward, try to bring your ribs and your hips (your middle fingers and your thumbs) closer to each other. Essentially, you’ll be flattening out the curve of your lower back. You should feel your abs flex. If you can’t figure out how to make this work, try squeezing your butt. That usually forces your pelvis into this position.

 

Maintain a solid core position by bringing your ribs and your hip bones closer together to create a tighter plank.

Put It All Together

In addition to the elements above, a good push up needs you to keep your head neutral (don’t tilt your chin up or down – this is more important than you might think) and your legs locked and together. Your hands should be right underneath your shoulders. (There are plenty of other hand and foot positions that are perfectly legitimate, but we’re just dealing with the basics right now. We’ll get to more advanced stuff later).

“A push up is essentially a moving plank. Therefore, your abdominals should be fully involved.”

Something I like to do in my push ups is to sort of screw my hands into the floor. You’ll want your middle finger to point to twelve o’clock in your push ups every time. With your hands in this position and without moving them, rotate your arms away from your torso. This will engage your lats so they can help your push ups a bit more and will help secure your elbows into the correct position.

What If I Can’t Do a Full Push Up?

Glad you asked! There are lots of ways you can build up your strength.The first thing to do is figure out your sticking point so you can work on it.

Your sticking point is the place at which you can no longer lower yourself down (or push yourself up) with good form. Once you know that, then take one (or more) of the following approaches to power up your push up.

Do Top-Down Work

From the top plank position of your push up, lower yourself slowly and under control all the way to your sticking point. Once you’re there, try holding that position with excellent form for 3-5 seconds. As you get stronger, start to lower and raise yourself just a hair under that point, and then a hair over that point.

Do Bottom-Up Work

Lie on the floor on your stomach with your hands and feet in push up position. Try to push yourself in one solid piece up to your sticking point and practice the raising and lowering sequence. If you can’t push yourself up off the floor, then push into the floor as hard as you can as if you were going to do the push up. Hold this isometric for 3-5 seconds. You just found another sticking point.

Elevate Your Push Ups

Find a bench, sofa arm, table, or other elevated stable object you can put your hands on for push ups. Make sure it’s not too easy. It should be a height that is challenging, but at which you can do a full, chest-to-bottom push up with excellent form. 

Practice your push ups at this height. As you get stronger, use lower and lower surfaces until you reach the floor. I find this method is significantly more effective than “girl push ups” (and I hate that term, too). Your body does not behave the same way from your knees as it does from your toes. If you practice knee push ups, you’ll get very good at knee push ups. Practice full push ups instead.

Do Negatives

From the top position of your push up, lower yourself as slowly as you can all the way to the floor with excellent form. Reset and repeat. If you can’t do this with full range of motion, elevate your body until you are at an angle that works for you and progress from there.

Do Positives

From the floor, push yourself under control and with perfect form all the way to the top position. Reset and repeat. If you can’t do this with full range of motion, elevate your body until you are at an angle that works for you and progress from there.

How to Progress After Your First Push Ups

If you can already do some decent pushups and would like to increase your strength or reps, increasing your range of motion can help you. I like to use two kettlebells for this.  With perfect form, lower to the absolute end range of motion you can manage – without pain, of course – and practice that way. Push ups off the floor should come a lot easier if you master these.

Accessory Exercises to Help Your Push Ups

  • Tricep exercisesYour triceps straighten your arm at the elbow, so getting them strong can help any sort of pressing exercise. Overhead extensions, skull-crushers, bent-over extensions, pulldowns, and dips are just some of the exercises you can use to build tricep strength.
  • Planks and bananasAs I mentioned before, a push up is essentially a moving plank. Practicing hollow position and planks for time (both from your hands and from your elbows) can help strengthen a droopy torso. (For a full description of “bananas,” see my pull up article).
  • Bench press The bench press is a great way to strengthen your chest and all the muscles that assist pressing from the chest. Obviously, abdominal stabilization will not come into play as much with bench press, but it’s a great way to learn how to push a lot of weight.

Once you’ve mastered the push up, you can play with it a million different ways.

Wherever you are with your push up progressions, practice a few variations several times per week, and you’ll get stronger and better with time. Enjoy the ride, and let me know how it goes!

MELODY SCHOENFELD
At 5’0” and 100lbs of vegan fury, Melody Schoenfeld is a certified, highly educated personal trainer with almost 20 years of training experience in many different disciplines. Melody is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the NSCA, a level 2 RKC, a CK-FMS, a Certified Nutrition Specialist, a Certified Indian Clubs Specialist, and is Z-Health R, I, S, and T Phase certified. She is also a CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist specializing in a hybrid of trigger point,… Read More

Monday 141117

To hit your 1500 KB Swing total for the month, you need to be close to 700…how are you doing?  Maybe today will help.

Workout
Use your Strict Press max for the weight. Complete 4 sets of AMRAP Bench Press

MetCon
10 rounds of:
5-Toes-To-Bar
10-Push-ups
15 KB Swings

From Takepart.com

Sugar Isn’t Just Making You Fat—It’s Making You Sick

Scientists compiled 8,000 studies about the dark side of America’s favorite sweetener and put all the findings into one user-friendly website. 

(Photo: Ian Hooton/Getty Images)

November 14, 2014

You never hear anyone say, “I shouldn’t have eaten all those Skittles, they’re totally going straight to my endocrine system.” But based on new evidence from the researchers behind SugarScience.org, sugar might be more of a health risk than more people realize.

Scientists from University of California, San Francisco; University of California, Davis; and Emory University reviewed a combined 8,000 clinical research studies on sugar’s role in the metabolic system, then compiled all their unbiased findings in a user-friendly website, which describes itself as “the unsweetened truth.”

The site’s focus? The areas where the researchers say the medical data is strongest: diabetes, liver disease, and heart disease.

The scientists are no longer simply focusing on the relationship between sugar and obesity—a concept espoused so often that we’ve become numb to its meaning. They’re trying to explicitly tell people that this is a matter of life and death. If you consistently overconsume sugar, your risk of chronic dietary disease will increase significantly.

The rotating infographics that dominate the home page display simple but poignant messages set against cartoon backgrounds. “Added sugar is hiding in 74 percent of our packaged food.” “Too much fructose can damage your liver, just like too much alcohol.” “The average American consumes 66 pounds of added sugar per year.”

If you dig deeper into the site you can find the extensive methodologies used to put together the data, but it’s clear that the site is more concerned with informing people than espousing scientific jargon. It also offers a SugarScience resource kit that contains easily shareable information, a SugarScience Alerts System that sends you pertinent new data, and an invitation to Ask a Sugar Scientist any question that hasn’t been answered on the site.

This is really an extension of the war on sugar that was spearheaded by SugarScience founder Robert Lustig, a professor of endocrinology at UCSF School of Medicine, back in 2009. He published a 90-minute lecture on YouTube called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” that has more than five million views to date in which he argues that sugar’s effect on the endocrine system should legally classify it as a toxin.

SugarScience’s launch was strategically timed with the end of the midterm elections. Since many of the researchers are employees of public universities, they had to seem impartial toward Berkeley’s and San Francisco’s proposed excise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages.

But now that Berkeley’s one-cent-per-ounce tax has passed, making it the first tax of its kind in the U.S., SugarScience seems to be in a perfect position to capitalize on that sweet, sweet, anti-sugar momentum.

Monday 141027

We were to squat today.  It is too nice not to run.  so…

Run 400 meters
50 pull-ups

Run 400 meters
50 push-ups

Run 400 meters
50 sit-ups

Run 400 meters
50 squats

From The Atlantic

Teaching Math to People Who Think They Hate It

A popular Cornell professor tries to help language-arts types learn how to “make math” instead of just studying it.

The author’s son and husband take the scalene triangle challenge. (Jessica Lahey )

Math has never been my strong suit. I opted out of it at every turn, particularly in college, where I enrolled in linguistics to fulfill my quantitative reasoning requirement. I even tried to overcome my aversion by taking a second whack at Algebra in my forties, but sadly, I still hand restaurant bills to my husband when it’s time to calculate the tip, and have long since given up on helping my teenage son with his Algebra II homework. Despite my negative feelings about math, I am a huge fan of Steven Strogatz, author, columnist, and Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University.

I follow Steve Strogatz on Twitter, and while I don’t always understand his tweets (“Would you like Bayesian or frequentist statistics with that?”), I do find them fascinating. When Steve tweeted that he’d be teaching an introductory math course for non-math majors at Cornell University (#old_dog#new_tricks#excited), I emailed and asked him to tell me more. Why would a veteran professor of higher math choose to spend a semester in the company of undergraduates, many of whom would rather visit the dentist than spend two hours a week exploring mathematical concepts?

The short answer is that Strogatz has discovered a certain thrill in rectifying the crimes and misdemeanors of math education. Strogatz asks his students, more than half of them seniors, to provide a “mathematical biography.” Their stories reveal unpleasant experiences with math along the way. Rather than question the quality of the teaching they received, they blamed math itself—or worse, their own intelligence or lack of innate talent. Strogatz loves the challenge, “There’s something remarkable about working with a group of students who think they hate math or find it boring, and then turning them around, even just a little bit.”

Strogatz believes the key to this turnaround lies not in the material, or the inherent talent of the student, but in changing the way math is taught to liberal arts majors. The curriculum he teaches is called Discovering the Art of Mathematics: Mathematical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts (DAoM); it was developed at Westfield State University byJulian Fleron and three colleagues and funded by a grant by the National Science Foundation. The DAoM approach, which is publicly available through a free collection of books and workshops, is rooted in inquiry-based learning: It focuses on student-led investigations into problems, experiments, and prompts. The typical mathematics for liberal arts class on the other hand, is typically presented in lecture format, usually by non-tenure track instructors, and only serves to further disenfranchise students, Fleron claims.

Twelve years of compulsory education in mathematics leaves us with a populace that is proud to announce they cannot balance their checkbook, when they would never share that they were illiterate. What we are doing—and the way we are doing it—results in an enormous Read more Monday 141027