WOD – 130116 – “Fran”
1000m Row/800m Run
Workout Specific Warm-up:
3 X 10 Thrusters, up to work weight
Pullup warm-up after each set
The Stretch Shortening Cycle
by Luke Palmisano of CrossFit Verve
So I was in Bhutan last week, fighting off several packs of Bengal Tigers. Amazing animals. But deadly. As a gang of ninjas approached not long thereafter, I looked at a rooftop several feet above me. I realized that jumping to the roof was my opening to elude my foes, and escape into the wilderness (I had to make it back home in time to teach the next morning). As I contemplated the jump that faced me, I dug deep into my soul, and recalled the knowledge dropped on me by some Russian scientists I met one weekend in Belarus while mixing some new beats for Nas. I will now drop said information on you.
Think of a rubber band. When you stretch a rubber band as far as you can, and then release it, what happens? You guessed it. I jump in fright like a five-year-old girl. The band also contracts in accelerated fashion. Why? The idea is that when the rubber band extends, it stores energy. When you quickly release it, the energy is released quickly, which indicates increased force. We like force (not “The Force,” which is also a pretty cool thing). According to some people smarter than I, this is how our muscles and tendons work. A great example is the Olympic lifts. Take a hang clean, for example. When I push my hips back to prepare for my hip drive, my hamstrings extend. If soon after my hamstrings extend, I perform my “jump” for my lift, where does that stored energy go? Wherever I direct it. In this case, into the weight I am lifting. Or into a horde of ninjas. But what if your hamstrings aren’t very stretchy? What if you in general aren’t very stretchy?
Then we must become so.
Take that same rubber band we had earlier, and now put it into a freezer for a few hours. When you take it out, and then stretch it, what will happen? At best, the stretch reflex will be much slower. At worst, the band may tear. So we see that some athletes who start doing CrossFit are often very stiff. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t strong. On the contrary. It may mean, however, that said athlete may not be very explosive. The ability to use muscle elasticity to explode into a clean, or bounce out of the bottom of the squat position, or drive ourselves under a bar in a push jerk, is largely dependent on your own personal suppleness. Additionally, the ability to avoid things like knee, back, or shoulder pain after doing the previously mentioned movements is also contingent on the suppleness of your muscles and tendons.
I could go on, but the children of Uganda need me, so off I go. The morals are, stretch your hamstrings. And beware the ninja. I bid you adieu, and good day.