Friday, December 31, 2010

Into the New Year with a Blast from the Past

This is footage from the 2004 Midwest Championships--the first time I ever took video at a competition. JMBrown dukes it out with Danny Herr in a epic battle of 77 kg school-age dudes. It is a sentimental favorite.

Happy New Year to everyone! May your 2011 be filled with PR's on and off the platform.

Monday, December 27, 2010

RIP Bud Greenspan

Two great moments in time from the work of Bud Greenspan. He was the ultimate story teller and a friend of weightlifting, with his 1953 documentary of and then 1986 SI article remembering two-time US Olympian, John Davis. I would love to purchase his official Olympic documentaries if they are available. Does anyone know if they are for sale?

Until then, I will hunt around YouTube for some more Greenspan gems and try to find more on John Davis. It is so refreshing to read and see these stories of the human spirit and condition. So much of today's media, especially the sports media, focuses on the flashy trappings of professional athletes or the seedy underside of their lives. It's now all about entertainment and the freaks that entertain; not about the purity of a sport, sport skill or the head-to-head competition.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Video for thought: Why aren't more women sitting at the head of the table?

Never Say Never

Career-ending injury? Not for Zach Krych.

Easy, Economical Visual Feedback

Most of you know have seen my videos and know I'm pretty competent with Dartfish. Great software, but it is expensive and in order to use it in the gym (via In The Action) you have to have your camera streaming to a laptop via Firewire cable or an IP camera set up. This can be a problem if you cannot leave things set up in the gym and there are other things and people flying around the gym. I'm not interested in leaving my laptop or camera around chalk, bouncing barbells or bounding bodies.

What to do? Well, I've used my circa 2000 Sony DSC camera quite successfully to take basic video, but the screen is really too small to see well, and there is no easy way to slow down the video or to quickly get it to people without importing the images to the laptop and emailing them after the session.

I've considered the Flip video cameras, but again, you need to connect the camera to a computer to send the files. The Flip Share / Library is very, very nice, but the screen is still small and you cannot slow down the video or go frame by frame.

Enter the the iPod Touch (gen 4) and VideoPix app! I broke down on Black Friday and went to the Apple Store to get an iPod Touch. I love it. I can take 720p HD video and then open VideoPix to slow the video down to any speed you desire (30 - 1 fps) or scroll through the video frame-by-frame. Now you cannot render and save the video in slow motion--easy to do with Dartfish, Movie Maker or iMovie--but you can capture beautiful sequence stills and easily email the raw video to the athlete if you have Mifi or Wifi in the gym.

I also have iMovie ($4.99) on the iPod, but I think VideoPix ($.99) is much more useful. You simply capture the video with the iPod camera and then VideoPix grabs the video file you want to use and let's you view it with frame grabber and scrolling tools.

So there you have it. Great little tool you can easily carry around the gym. Yes, it doesn't have digital zoom or anything, but it allows you do capture movement and give your athletes quality immediate feedback on the go.

And a giant thanks goes out to my client Mike Roswell (pictured above) from Combat Crossfit in Liberty, MO for alerting me to the VideoPix app!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

OT: Revenge of the Electric Car

The Fobers, owners of a plug-in NEV for 1.5 years now, will be first in line when this film hits the 314. We highly recommend watching Who Killed the Electric Car? to get a bit of the history of the electric car and the issues surrounding its success (or lack thereof) in the US.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Great barbell warm up drills from Greg Everett @ Catalyst Athletics

This warm up series and video is like an early Christmas present! It is so refreshing to see someone else emphasize purposeful, dynamic mobility work and quality bottom position work with the barbell. I love the long pulls for both lifts. Lately I've been emphasizing the muscle snatch and clean with all of my athletes to help develop mobility, proper receiving position and smooth, close turnover for the snatch and clean. I will definitely be incorporating these barbell sequences into my warm ups.

And I could just hug Greg for asking people to maintain grip on the barbell with the clean long pulls into the receiving position on the shoulders! Solid racking of the bar on the shoulders in the bottom position demands a very specific shoulder flexibility. Yes, you need normal wrist and elbow mobility, but the key here is shoulder mobility; specifically BILATERAL shoulder external rotation in the context of BILATERAL shoulder flexion with normal thoracic spine mobility.

If you fail to stay connected to the bar and let the hand open and wrist extend to receive the bar, you will not only unnecessarily beat up your wrists, you will likely have a tenuous bottom position rack on heavier lifts and struggle to stand. If the wrists extend early, the shoulders and t-spine are not required to do their job. Do not let your wrists compensate for poor shoulder mobility; it will come back to haunt you. Trust me on this one. Be kind to your wrists. Help your shoulders and t-spine develop good mobility to do these lifts and force yourself to use a full grip with drills like this and with front squats.

Fast elbows are simply the result of super-aggressive combination of a shrug against and external rotation of the shoulders around the bar. The shoulder, wrist and elbow work together as one smooth unit in order to meet the bar and place it smoothly and precisely in the receiving position. The beginning lifter must first be smooth and then super-fast with light weight--with full ROM--before s/he can be successful with heavy weights. Gotta link and sync the segments. Gotta learn to stay connected to and move aggressively around the barbell.

Do these drills with purpose and you too can develop the mobility to lift precisely and move smoothly with the barbell. Yes, the Sots presses are tough, but use PVC or a 5 kg bar to work into these positions. Modify your squat height if you need to. Play with some extra ankle mobility in the bottom (1/4" heel lift) and see (feel!) what happens. Be patient and don't rush it. It takes time and work for the ankle, hip, spine and shoulder tissue to adapt to these demands.

Thanks for this video and the entire CA exercise video library, Greg. It is one of the finest online weightlifting resources out there.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Kings Firecrackers!

Very impressive group of young women in 4th - 8th grade. Read more about the team and the PE teacher/coach who founded the club here. You can see more video on their website.

I wonder if they do any conditioning besides jumping rope?