Every year we have a 100,000 meter rowing challenge that runs from the day after Thanksgiving to News Years Eve!
This year we are making it a 100,000 (or more!) meter challenge but you will account for running, rowing, biking, AND ski erg meters.
Simply add your name to the boards hanging on the walls under the Crossfit Federal Hill logo!
There is a column to keep a running total of running meters, rowing meters, and combined bike and ski erg meters. In the last square of your row on the board, you’ll put your grand total (all the way to the right)!
When is this Challenge:
This challenge starts November 27th and the last day to accumulate meters is December 31st.
When can I get my meters in?
There are squares in the gym marked by green tape that can be used to accumulate meters on any machine. During morning classes (5:30am, 6:30am, 8:30am, 11:00am, and 12:00pm) you can simply sign up for open gym and utilize the green squares if you are planning to just hit some meters. Weekdays at 3:00pm, 4:00pm, and 6:30pm(M/W/F ONLY), and Sundays after Capacity there are specific Meter Challenge Spots you can reserve in Zen Planner.
Please avoid coming in to accumulate meters on weekdays between 4:45-6:30pm and on Saturdays as that puts us closer than we would like to our capacity limit of 25%.
Why Would I Do This?
We do the 100,000m challenge every year at this time to help keep you consistent through the cold months and through the holidays! Its a fun and very approachable challenge for all fitness levels. Some days the cold and the dark may have you down and a crossfit workout seems like too much. You know what isn’t too much? A quick 20 min on the bike to warm you up! So lets encourage each other and see how many meters we can rack up!
Can I Use a Green Spot for Regular Open Gym?
No silly billy, that’s what the regular open gym spots are for! We purposely made these spots small as they are just for biking, rowing, or skiing.
Can’t I Just Hop on a Machine for Meters Whenever I Want?
Please respect the times we have allotted in Zen Planner for this so that we can keep our capacity at a safe level. This is especially important for the evenings and Saturdays. There are not allotted times in Zen Planner during the 5:30am, 6:30am, 8:30am, 11:00am, and 12:00pm because open gym is typically empty during those classes. Because of that you can reserve an open gym spot for your meters during those times. Thank you in advance!
Thursday November 26: 8:00am, 9:00am, and 10:00am classes Friday November 27: 8:30am will be the FIRST class of the day
Thursday December 24: 8:00am, 9:00am, 10:00am classes Friday December 25: CLOSED Thursday December 31: we have added a 3:30pm class and the 5:30pm class will be the LAST of the day Friday January 1: 9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am classes
If you travel (car, train, plane, bicycle, any mode of transportation), or socialize outside your usual “bubble” please keep our community safe and take THREE days away from the gym to monitor your symptoms. The cases we have had in the gym from travel could have been avoided with just a three day grace period.
We wear masks at ALL TIMES.
Athletes enter the gym through the side door to have their temperature taken. If the coach is wrapping up class when you get to the gym, just wait on one of the colored dots inside the door until they can get to you.
Not a COVID procedure, but there is NO MEMBER PARKING in front of the gym. Please find street parking.
Due to increased attendance, we will be offering three new class times! Starting Wednesday November 4, we will be offering an 11:00am class on M/W/F, a 3:30pm class on Fridays, and an 11:00am class on Saturdays.
Thank you for your ongoing support and patience as we continue to adjust under COVID procedures!
I wanted to let you know that I will be moving on from CFHE. Harbor East will now be run by John Silvers (current CFHE member), Nick S (owner of Charm City CF) and Andrew Wheeler.
Change is challenging, but I truly feel this will be best for the community. I took over Harbor East 3 years ago. In that time I have met some amazing people and had a chance to build and run a second gym. The friendships, the community and the support will be something I am always grateful for. I would remiss to not take this opportunity to thank you again for your support through the COVID closure. The gym would not have survived without you. It is because of your financial support that you still have the gym you love to go to every day. With all that said, I have not been able to spend the time at Harbor East that is needed to continue to grow and push the gym forward; the time this community deserves. Kelsea has done an amazing job stepping in as a GM and running the gym, but we leave you in the hands of people that can dedicate the time and energy it will take to push the gym forward. Kelsea, having spent more time with you all, is heavy hearted to leave, but her passion lies in trying to grow the Community of Strength Project at Federal Hill and continue as GM there.
The past three years have been a gift and learning opportunity. I am excited to see how the new owners continue to grow and expand the community. For the rest of October we will still be running the gym, but the new owners will be around and open to taking meetings if you want to hear more about their plan. Please reach out to them here EdenStreetFitness@gmail.com.
On November 1, the programming, class schedule, and coaching will be entirely in the hands of the new owners at HE. Please direct all related questions to the email above. Through the end of October, the programming is still IA’s.
In order to make this transition smooth we will be keeping both gyms open to both communities for the remainder of 2020. There is only a small percentage of the membership that moves back and forth between the gyms. If that is the case for you, you can continue to do that for the rest of 2020. All you need to do is email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will keep your account open at both gyms. On January 1, 2021, we will be two separate gyms. Over the next few months (Nov and Dec) you will need to change over your billing to the gym that you want to continue with.
How Anthropometrics and Hip Positioning Can Determine Your Ideal Squat Variation
In honor of the IA community continuing to squat its tailbone off each Tuesday for the next few weeks, I thought we’d briefly address why the squat, a movement so seemingly simple and non-complex, is a deceptively special snowflake.
If you take a second to consider, it makes sense that there would be as many distinct squat patterns as there are people that squat. Starting with anthropometric variance (height, weight, limb ratios, etc.) and adding in an individual’s specific musculoskeletal adaptations to years of sport, exercise, repetitive movements and postures (or lack thereof), we’re presented with a litany of explanations for why your squat will never be the same as anyone else’s.
Despite the fact that everyone holds their own non-replicable movement capacity, we tend to harbour an expectation that each athlete is one of about five general cues (plus a mobilization or two) away from exhibiting a ‘perfect’ squat. We visualize this ideal squat to involve, in no particular order: feet symmetrically aligned somewhere between hip and shoulder width apart, a neutral spine with lumbar curve in-tact, unrestricted depth below parallel, zero lateral/medial hip shift, knees tracking in line with toes, relatively vertical torso, with heels and toes anchored to the ground throughout.
Because we know that achieving this ideal requires a generous range of actively accessible motion though the ankles, knees, hips, and spine, we prime our squats with foam rolling, spine and joint mobilizations plus glute activations to stimulate our neuroreceptors, get the juices flowing and open up positions we avoid or don’t move into throughout the day, which our brains have a tendency to protectively restrict.
Basically: we’ve got a solid, basic working knowledge of the squat, we’ve got our bases covered with movement prep, and yet many athletes still struggle with feeling like their squat doesn’t look or feel ‘right’.
A quick detour before I move on: An unsatisfactory squat may be an issue of *actually* taking the ten minutes a day, every day, to do your prehab. I know, I know. It’s boringgg. I’ve been known to slack on my ankle dorsiflexion and eccentric hamstring work, too. More often than not, I just have to take a deep breath, set a timer for 10 minutes, and get it done. It’s always worth it. If you’re reading this and realizing that you have no idea what your personal ‘weakness work’ is, see a PT (like the lovely people two literal steps away at FX!) and find out. Remember, to pave the most efficient path to your health and fitness goals: Assess, don’t guess.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can address the fact that there are certain anatomically-determined aspects of your squat that we simply cannot change. The easiest ones to pick out of the weeds are: trunk vs. femur proportions and position/angling of and between the hip sockets. What? Okayyy, here we go…
Those with long femurs (a long femur = more than 26% of your total height) usually boast strong and comfortable deadlifts, but are at a mechanical disadvantage when it comes to keeping the hips close to their center of gravity throughout a squat. Let’s give our long-femured gym-goer a purely hypothetical name: Laura. Laura’s tendency is toward stronger deadlifts but proportionally weaker squats. She struggles to keep her trunk upright, folding aggressively forward while attempting to maintain balance over the midfoot – especially if she struggles to drive the knees out. If you are like Laura, your goal is to find a squat style that allows you to maintain an upright posture. Taking a wider stance and strengthening your capacity for hip abduction (getting the knees out) will work in your favor, as they both effectively reduce the distance that your hips have to travel away from your midline the closer you get to and front parallel. If hip abduction is a struggle or a wider stance feels off, you’ll likely benefit from wearing lifters/ using a heel block (2.5 or 5 lb plates work, too), along with allowing the knees to track forward – again, reducing the distance your hips move back and trunk dips forward. You may also find that front squats are more comfortable, as the anterior position of the weight is easier to keep in line with your center of gravity (yay, levers).
Long trunk + short femured lifters, congratulations: you’re built to squat! Your body is set up to keep your hips closest to your center of gravity throughout the movement. How do you know which category you fall into? Good question. Let’s take it from Greg Nuckols:
“…the femur averages 26% of the body’s total height, so measure from your hip to the outside of your knee joint. Divide that number in inches or centimeters by your height in inches or centimeters. If you get .26 on the dot, then you’re average. If you get more than .26, you’re erring farther towards “long femured” and if you get less than .26, you’re erring farther towards “long torsoed.””
Anteverted vs Retroverted Hips: The final point we’ll consider today is the specific articular geometry happening at your hips. The visual above shows how the angle from which the femoral neck snuggles into the actetabulum affects everything along the chain, down to the direction your feet point. This explains much of why some people are able to keep the toes directly forward without rotational compensation from the tibia/femur, while others feel right at home sitting into a deep squat without significant discomfort or adjustment of stance and toe angle.
Dean Somerset discuss at length in this article, but here’s the crux of it all:
“The shaft of the femur doesn’t just always go straight up and insert into the pelvis with a solid 90 degree alignment. On occasion the neck can be angled forward (femoral head is anterior to the shaft) in a position known as anteversion, or angled backward (femoral head is posterior to the shaft) in a position known as retroversion. Zalawadia et al (2010) showed the variances in femoral neck angles could be as much as 24 degrees between samples, which can be a huge difference when it comes to the ability to move a joint through a range of motion.”
Of course, there are other factors at play to further complicate things:
A) The acetabulum itself may be angled forward or backward, to the the tune of thirty plus degrees – which translates to thirty or more extra degrees of flexion compared to your retroverted friend, who would exhibit that much more extension.
B) The center-edge angle, which indicates the difference between the center of the femoral head through the vertical axis and the outer edge of the lateral hip socket, has been shown to vary from 20.8 to 40 degrees according to a study done by Laborie et al (2012).
C) Not only that, but there can be significant difference (20+ degrees)in anteversion and retroversion between your right and left sides, according to more studies done by Zalawadia. How fun! This means that it is entirely possible that, for those of you who naturally assume a staggered stance when you squat and can’t seem to shake the habit, this is exactly why. Now again – this could also be the result of soft tissue differences. So now the question remains – how do you know what’s caused by what? And what do I do about it?
For one, if you’re having regular pain or feel ‘off’ while squatting (despite your best efforts to mobilize and activate), you can try a few passive mobility tests that can at least give you feel for whether or not certain ranges of motion are accessible right off the bat. If they are, then you know you’re not limited by things you can’t change. Your homework is then to get there actively (see a coach for help). Even better – see a PT to help determinoe whether your tendencies are geometrically determined, soft tissue related, or both – and as a result, help you future out which pre-squat routine and squat pattern is best suited to you. Happy Squatting!
This marks week two of our 20 Rep Back Squat Cycle! You can expect your high volume back squats on Tuesday, so what can you expect the rest of the week?
We have athletes who are able to and want to really push the intensity on this cycle. This leaves them not wanting to be too sore after Monday’s workout and fried for some of or for the rest of the week. We also have athletes who are unable or don’t find themselves wanting to push the intensity of the cycle. So they need and want workouts programmed every day that will push them. To accommodate all our athletes, here is a look into our programming discussions and how to best approach your week.
On Monday’s we are setting you up for a “long, move your body” workout. You can keep the intensity moderate on this and simply get a long sweat on to prep your body for heavy and high volume squats the next day OR you can challenge the weight and push the intensity in this long workout.
On Tuesday’s we squat and I will continue to post Coach Laura’s article on the best alternative for you, but you can find it on the blog (or click HERE)! Following the squats, we will have a flush. This is for our athletes to move with purpose after an intense 18-20 min of squatting or you can treat it as a sprint workout if you needed to take it easy on the squats.
The remainder of the week, we want you all to know that we expect athletes may need to scale down workouts. We are still programming workouts that could challenge athletes outside of the cycle. Please know we encourage you to scale the weight/intensity depending on how you are feeling. Even if you don’t feel sore, your central nervous system may still be fried. That may result in you feeling sluggish or weak during the workout. Take care of yourself and know when you need to scale.
You’ll see skill work mostly on Wednesdays and Fridays. This will range from light-moderate barbell work to drill position and technique to purposeful single leg/ hip work to keep your body healthy through the cycle. We will program squatting a second day, but not until later in the week. Otherwise, we will keep the intensity focused on pulling, pushing, and the posterior chain.
Help us, help you stay healthy through this high volume cycle! Happy Squatting!
If your hip, knee or back is feeling out of sorts just in time for our 20 rep back squat cycle, opt for one of these alternatives instead. If doing the full twenty reps with the alternative exercise is still aggressive, scale to 10 or 15 reps. 10 or 15 reps still leaves potential for significant gains in strength and muscular endurance, without the high volume of a twenty rep set. Below is a little information about each movement, so that you can make the most informed decision about which is best suited for you:
A. Squat to Box: Transfers more work to the posterior chain (hips, hamstrings) for a less knee-dominant exercise by sitting the hips back (as opposed to directly down) and sending more weight to the heels. Start with a 14 in box, then use plates to adjust up or down as needed to get the tops of your thighs just below the knees when seated. When performing a rep, use the box as a target, not a seat – gently tap the box without transferring weight, and stand right back up.
B. Box Squat: Very similar to the Squat-to-Box, but even more posterior chain dominant with a full stop at the bottom. This pause prevents you from using the momentum created by the stretch-reflex (bounce out of the bottom), instead forcing you to improve starting strength at depth. Try to stand directly up from the bottom (as opposed to “rocking” off the box by shifting weight forward and then up as you stand). Check out this video on more details explaining the difference between A.and B.
C. Front Squat: You may choose to front squat if back squats are generally uncomfortable due to your specific anatomy or mobility restrictions. It may seem like a small difference, but back and joint angles adjust significantly to maintain your center of mass over the midfoot, depending on whether the barbell is in the front or back rack position. A front squat requires more anterior core strength and creates greater torque at the knees as they translate farther forward than they would in a back squat, while your back angle remains more vertical. In a back squat, your hips typically experience the most torque as your back angle adjusts to become more horizontal. The most comfortable option between front and back squat may be an obvious choice for you, due to variations in range of motion at the ankles and hips. proportionally long/short femurs or trunk, and midline strength relative to your legs. Alternatively, you may be equally comfortable with both options due to none of these being a huge limiting factor. It’s all individual, so adjust as needed.
D. Rear Foot Elevated Back Rack Split Squat: There are two important reasons to opt for this one: 1) If you are looking to work on reducing a significant imbalance between sides, or 2) if your trunk struggles under heavy load. One leg = lighter barbell = less torque on your back. And of course, your weaker leg can’t rely on the stronger one to take over, so this one keeps you honest. Movement Demo
E) Deadlift: If you need a completely hinge-dominant option because squatting as a movement is out of the question, this is for you. You may opt for Conventional, Romanian (taken from the rack, starting at the hips, lower down to mid-shin), or Sumo (wide stance).