Notes from Coach Dylan

Hello PDX Strength Tribe,

With all of the changes happening around our community, we’ve been thinking about different ways to engage with you – enter mini-blog numero uno.

Since we are all experiencing changes, a good topic to start with is variance. We spend much of our time in class (and in our recent videos) finding modifications, but rarely does this mean making a movement more challenging. For those that want to try harder variations* in the safety of your own home, here are a few things to consider:

Prioritize Eccentricity
The eccentric phase of a movement is the lengthening or stretching of the muscle group. We can often think about this as the lowering part of a movement or moving towards the ground. Prioritization here intensifies a movement by involving more muscle fibers into the total range of motion. We have a tendency to forget about this when we move faster or start to get tired because we can get a little assistance from our friend gravity, or if you’re a flat earther from the ground’s magnetism. To incorporate – flex or actively engage the priority muscle groups during the movements OR add tempo/timing to your movements. For example, in an air squat think about pulling yourself down rather than dropping OR add a :02 (or more) lowering phase.

Be Dynamic
If tempo isn’t your thing, we can also intensify (some of) the concentric – or shortening – phases by making them dynamic. This essentially allows us to work in a larger range of motion because we are prioritizing full extension, often propelling us off the ground (Take that, Earth Magnet!). Because of this, we also add a little stabilization or catch effort into each movement. To incorporate – think about jumping any time you are on two hands or two feet, and potentially shifting hand/foot position on the catch. For example, in a dynamic push-up we could add a clap, move our hands out/in, jump our hands to an elevated target, etc.

Move Around
Saving all the science-y stuff here (except for perhaps another Flat Earth reference). Our bodies move in all directions, therefore we should move in all directions – forward/backward (run/drag), up/down (burpee, any one?), side to side (Cossack squat), unilaterally (single arm/leg), and rotationally (… like the Earth.). We are often good at the forward/backward and up/down parts because they are predominately how we move in our lives and in the gym. To incorporate – combine planes of movement together. For example, instead of a traditional lunge substitute the Cossack squat or instead of a regular plank do a side plank (don’t forget the other side). Some of you might even come up with a totally new movement altogether.

I encourage all of you to take on the WODs that have been posted, modify them as you see fit, try out something new, play a little bit more in in your workouts, ask questions on Instagram and Facebook, and embrace and explore new variance.

*A coaching note here. Everybody can work towards a more challenging modification. When we make a movement more challenging we also need to modify the time under tension. As the intensity increases our sets/reps/seconds decrease.

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