Build that Foundation: Crossover Symmetry

The 2014 Open Season officially ends tonight at 8pm. Be sure to submit your scores for 14.5 before 8pm so that we can get your scores validated and you can see where you fall on the Leaderboard after 5 weeks of hard work. Amazing job by all that participated; we’re proud of you all!

Paleo Challenge Update: In light of all the thrusters in 14.5, we have moved around some of the Paleo Benchmark testing days. New schedule is below:
1RM Clean & Jerk AND 1 Mile Run Test – Tuesday 4/1
Christine – Wednesday 4/2
Fran – Friday 4/4

crossfit-pyramidAnything worth building requires a strong foundation.  If our framework is weak, we are limited by how big we are ultimately able to grow.  The same can applied to our fitness.   As seen in the pyramid to the left, nutrition is at the base.  Without a strong nutritional base, the size of our pyramid (or our fitness, in this case) is limited.  To take it a step further, we can apply the concept to our shoulders.  If we try and build on a tight shoulder (chest, lat, thoracic) and weak scapula  (the small muscles that provide stabilization to the shoulder), we are only limiting our shoulder strength potential in the long run, while also subjecting ourselves to potential shoulder issues somewhere down the line.

Crossover Symmetry
How do we build a strong scapular foundation and ultimately develop a powerful, healthy shoulder?  By first restoring range of motion to the shoulders through myofacial techniques (pvc, softball rolling, etc..) and stretching, and then strengthening/activating the deep stabilizers of the shoulder girdle.  Enter, Crossover Symmetry:

IMG_5182You all may have seen these fancy bands hanging around in the mobility room.  These bands and the programs developed for their use are great for producing a super strong/injury proof shoulder base.  I am going to give you a quick rundown on how to use the bands,  the different programs and when to use each of them.

IMG_5181-001You will see two programs hanging on the wall in the mobility room.  On each of the programs, the exercises are to be done one time straight through in the designated order.  As you progress over time, you may increase the volume and go through the program twice.  For each exercise, there will be a cord height (eye level or knee level) that determines which hooks you should hang the cords from for that particular exercise.  For the Scap Jack program, all exercises should be performed at eye level.

While performing each IMG_6379exercise, the bands should be crossed over.  The right band will be in your left hand and the left band in your right hand as shown by the gentleman to the right.  At the bottom of each chart there is a tension grid to help you determine the appropriate bands to use for the program.  Please note that the suggested band tensions are different with both programs and are merely suggestions.  Also within each chart, for each individual exercise on the chart, you will see that the band tension may change (H or L).  If you feel yourself cheating the movement by overusing your traps and neck to do the work your scap should be doing, lower the tension.  You can also make a lighter band more difficult by stepping further away from the wall.

More on the specific programs: The Crossover Symmetry chart can be used for three different objectives: Activation, Recovery or Plyometric.  Activation and Recovery are the best objectives to build a strong shoulder foundation.  The Activation objective is to be done before any shoulder intensive barbell/gymnastic work.  It will help improve posture and shoulder positioning as well as activate key stabilizers before the rotator cuff. 

To perform the activation objective, simply follow the standard workout description and complete each rep at a controlled pace with a pause at the end. The  Recovery objective also follows the standard program but with slow eccentric contractions at the end of each movement.  The Recovery objective will help remove lactic acid and other wastes post WOD while also strengthening tendons.  The Plyometric objective follows the advanced program on the same chart.  It requires dynamic stability and includes a preloaded eccentric contraction and a plyometric concentric contraction.  To perform, take each movement to the end range and then perform 5 plyometric oscillations before returning to the beginning of the movement.  6 reps of each exercise in this fashion are to be performed before moving on to the next exercise.  Lastly, the Iron Scap program follows the chart on the right.  This is a progressive program that optimizes scapular positioning and movement.  It also enhances the energy transfer from the torso to the upper extremities.  Similar to the activation program, reps should be performed at a controlled pace with the exception of the last exercise (ATYT), which is to be done as fast as possible.

Here is a little more science on Crossover Symmetry if you want to nerd out.  That should be enough to get you started on your bulletproof shoulder process.  Check in with your coaches to give you a rundown on each exercise on the program and start getting to work on building that foundation!

Handstand Hold
Handstand Walk
Handstand Push-up

Toes to Bar
Front Squat (135,95)
*3 Handstand Push-ups after each round

Level 2- 115,75
Level 1- 95,45, 4 Rounds
ADV- Deficit Handstand Push-ups