Get those Glutes Fired Up!

By Coach Courtney

Sleepy Glutes? Gluteal Amnesia? Dead Butt? Whatever you want to call it - the terms all mean the same.

Your gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in your body, but also arguably the smartest.  The glutes have figured out through our desk job sitting and Netflix binging change in society that they really don’t have to work as hard as they once did when our ancestors foraged for food and were, bending, lunging, walking the majority of the day.  The glutes essentially turn themselves off and chill out while they allow our erectors, hip flexors, and quads to do their work for them.

Does anyone ever notice after lunges that your knees hurt? Or perhaps your quads are on fire? Do you actually feel your glutes when you do lunges? This could be because your glutes are not firing and, thus, having your other muscles take on the work for them.  Like I said - smart.

However, we NEED our glutes to fire!!  I have personally learned this the hard way and had some annoying little injuries start to pop up due to my glutes going dormant.  I have spent the past four months dialing back the weight, working on glute activation, and focusing on strengthening my glutes and I can confidently say they are now FIRING and funny enough - those annoying little aches and pains I was experiencing have also gone away.

Below is a list of exercises you can try to help wake up your glutes.  Even performing these prior to your workout will help. Perform each for 1 min and your glutes should be on fire.  If your quads or hamstrings are on fire…. Stick with it - soon enough the glutes will learn to take over and really focus your mind on squeezing and feeling your glutes throughout the entire movement.

Hip Bridge

Hip Bridge

Lateral Banded Walk

Lateral Banded Walk

Bird Dog

Bird Dog

Why Do We Do This - The Air Squat- by Coach Allen

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“There is a compelling tendency among novices developing any skill or art, whether learning to play the violin, write poetry, or compete in gymnastics, to quickly move past the fundamentals and on to more elaborate, more sophisticated movements, skills, or techniques. This compulsion is the novice’s curse. The novice’s curse is manifested as excessive adornment, silly creativity, weak fundamentals and, ultimately, a marked lack of virtuosity and delayed mastery. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to be taught by the very best in any field you’ve likely been surprised at how simple, how fundamental, how basic the instruction was.”- Greg Glassman

Often misunderstood, the good old “air squat” is actually a vital, natural, functional, component of your being. The following will illustrate the “why” behind the programming of this movement and hopefully bring it back some much deserved respect. There is a saying in CrossFit that goes “the deficiency illustrates the need”, and what it means is simply if you can’t do something you should do that thing more. So, if you can’t get into the bottom of a squat comfortably the best remedy is to continue trying to get into the bottom of a squat until it becomes comfortable. At its most basic level that is why we do it. There are, however, several more reasons and so here they are in no particular order:

1. Squats are an innate human function: The first and most important reason why squats are important is that squats are natural. Did you know that you squat multiple times a day? Sitting, standing, and using the restroom all require you to squat. If you want to be a functional human being, it would be a good idea to keep one of your most basic movements in strong working order. The more that you build your squatting muscles, i.e. your quads, hamstrings, calves, and abs, the longer you’ll be able to function normally and even optimally.

2. Strength and conditioning: Any strength and conditioning program worth anything will not only make you stronger but will also increase flexibility and strengthen your joints and connective tissues. We see this in the air squat. A sound air squat will keep the joints and tissues in the hips, knees, ankles, and back strong for as long as you live. Everyone can benefit from it. The most elite athletes in the gym and the newest on-ramper in the gym will both benefit from spending time everyday to perfect their air squat. It safeguards us against damage when we squat with weight. There’s a reason they don’t build houses on quicksand, people. A shaky foundation leads to a shaky temple and it is our job as coaches to do everything we can to protect you from injury.

3. Improve posture: Whether you're performing a weighted or body weight squat, you'll be engaging the upper back (lower/upper trapezius and rhomboids) to help stabilize the body through the movement. This strengthens the muscles responsible for proper posture.

4.Squats increase your circulation: A study published in the American Heart Journal states that “squatting from the standing position increases arterial blood pressure, cardiac output, and “central blood volume” in normal subjects”. Simply put, squatting gets the blood moving around your body in a more efficient manner. Good blood circulation is imperative to good health because blood carries oxygen to the brain and all other parts of the body. Poor circulation can lead to diabetes, thyroid disease, hypertension, and obesity.

5. Fundamentals: Back squat. Front Squat. Overhead Squat. Thruster. Wall ball. Clean. Snatch. What do all of those movements have in common? That’s right, a squat. If you can’t air squat properly, you can forget about performing these movements at heavy loads. Did you miss your last PR back squat attempt? Revisit your air squat! Laziness learned by going through the motions in your air squats instead of really trying to do each and every one perfectly will quite literally turn different muscle groups on and off. If you can do 25 air squats unbroken and you’re not tired at all, you’ve probably found a way to do them with very poor form.

So there you have it. Way more reasons than you ever wanted when you asked the question “why do we do this” and hopefully the next time this exercise shows up in a wod or warm-up you will slow it down, do it right, and reap the benefits. If you want to get a little deeper into fixing your air squat read this article (http://journal.crossfit.com/2002/12/squat-clinic-by-greg-glassman.tpl). You can also always ask a coach for mobility exercises to improve your squat.

Coach Allen

MORE TIME AT CRUX! - Dr. Victoria West

I am excited to offer more availability at Crux starting April 9. Morning and late evening sessions will be available throughout the week and weekends.

Starting a part time practice at Crux has been my favourite career move so far. The results at Crux have impressed me and surprised me on more than one occasion, and those who own those results didn't come for tons of hands on "treatments" - they did the work diligently. Compared any other patient base I've been a part of, the members at Crux are a "gold standard" when it comes to their commitment to the work between sessions - for real, I brag to my practitioner friends . That means instead of being a doctor that treats the same issue over and over and over and over again, I get to do something different every time patient comes in because they are typically constantly improving between sessions until they are where they want to be. I decided to leave my downtown practice this month so I could make more time to do that, and less of the "over and over" - because it's THE BEST. 

The Open showed us that the Crux community is high functioning. We push the boundaries of our abilities constantly and don't settle in with the general population leaving their mobility on the couch and their fitness level category at "goes for walks". 

You are my people! I have based my entire practice (/life) on being able to work with anybody's start point for movement and fitness and improve it, until there is nothing left in the "I want to be able to do that" list. I am committed to working with you for permanent improvements, speeding up your recovery from injuries, constantly learning, and adapting my practice to the needs of the Crux community. 

No matter your injury riddled history or prior aches and pains, their is better always on the table and I'd be happy to work with you to get it. 

Online booking is available at "drvictoriawest.janeapp.com". 

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Be your own superhero!

By Coach Cindy

How many of you have said these words, “ today will be different, today I am going to make that first step towards a healthier me” but then you hit snooze on the alarm? Or maybe you tell yourself that you are going to start meal prepping on Sundays, but then Monday rolls around and you haven’t even been to the grocery store?

You get mad at yourself each time and swear this time it will be different.  But then another week passes by, maybe even a month, and you are at the same place you were 2 months ago (maybe even a little more out of shape)  Eventually, you just stop thinking about it and give up. “It’s not worth the fight with yourself”. Or is it?

Do you want to be better at your sport, or are you happy getting winded after the first min of play?   Would you like to be the fun grandparent that can play with the kids; or the one that is afraid to get down on the floor to play, because you may not be able to get back up? Do you want to live a longer, more fulfilling and active lifestyle into your golden years, or just hope you have good genetics? Whatever you want, you need to make the first steps to make it happen.

We have people every week contacting us because they want something different. Everyone has their own “why” they want to start. The conversation usually starts with them saying they want to look better. However, after asking “why?” a few more times, it gets down to the real reasons. Try it. Ask yourself “why?”

No one here cares if you don’t know what a kettlebell is, or that you can’t do a pull-up YET!  No one here cares if you haven’t been working out for 20 years. No one here cares where you are when you get started. But everyone cares when you start. Because unlike your day to day life, here we celebrate even the smallest of successes. It’s what motivates us. And will motivate you.

Don’t look at anyone else, just the one person you see in the mirror each morning. Be your own superhero.

Be your own Superhero!

Be your own Superhero!