A Call to Standards for Coaches, Owners and Athletes

This blog post is a nice summary of what I find in good CF boxes as well. I don’t necessarily agree with the vertical forearms bit (I think you can do push ups in many different positions) but otherwise a nice read 🙂

This isn’t specifically a post for outside or inside the gym. But I’m over these nonsensical blog posts railing on CrossFit. Let’s change direction and highlight some gyms and people doing it right in the strength and conditioning world shall we? There are far more educated, conscientious fitness professionals quietly going about their business of improving peoples’ lives than there are fools allowing neophyte clients to get rhabdo. For heaven’s sake.

I have had the privilege of working in or around some top-notch CrossFit gyms in the Dallas area. I’ve also traveled plenty and seen what prompts the backlash at our community but here’s the problem: very little of this silliness is done with malicious intent. It derives from lack of understanding, low barriers to entry (a good AND a bad thing) and…frankly…little motivation to raise the bar.

Here is my shout out to excellent gyms, a call to standards for…

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About Antony Lo
Antony Lo is an APA Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist based in Sydney. His website is www.MyPhysios.com.au. He specializes in the management, treatment and prevention of pain and dysfunction, particularly of the pelvis and ribcage. His sub-specialties include Crossfit and Exercise Performance Optimization, Ante-Natal and Post-Natal Care and difficult cases that have failed treatment elsewhere.

4 Responses to A Call to Standards for Coaches, Owners and Athletes

  1. Ted says:

    Interesting article indeed.

    As for the push-up part, I think what was intended to be said by the author was that one should have the capability to perform a rather extensive set of conventional push-ups with vertical forearms.
    I agree with you, Antony, that there are a lot of ways one can perform the exercise, such as diamond push-ups which are performed with the hands very close together to target the triceps more, which obviously leads to non-vertical forearms.

    Yesterday, I ordered a pair of olympic rings and another suspension trainer (similar to TRX). I often read it was safer for the elbows and shoulder joints to perform calisthenics on these.

    I always do pull up variations on a straight bar and dips on v-shaped implements. Do you think performing chins, dips, push-ups, etc. on rings is safer than using stable implements such as a straight bar or the ground?

    Thank you.


    • Antony Lo says:

      Hi Ted.

      Safer? What is safe?

      For me, safe is being able to control shear and maintain optimal movement patterns thought the range of motion you are working.

      “Stable” equipment like a pull-up bar will help get more reps but *may* cause repetitive strain injuries if mobility and flexibility is limited.

      Equipment like rings and suspension training has a less stable surface to work from. So more demands on your control systems. So, usually, you do less.

      So which is safer? The technique you maintain is what makes what you do safe. If the equipment you use does not allow you to maintain good form, then you are in an unsafe situation. Well, a riskier situation. Even with perfect technique, injuries occur.

      I hope that helps 🙂


      • Ted says:

        What you say makes a lot of sense, Antony. Thanks for that.

        What is usually mentioned as a reason for why the movement is safer when done on rings is the activation level of the stablilizer muscles and the idea that rings allow for a more natural movement pattern. The idea behind this is that exercises on straight bars for example MIGHT cause the prime movers to overpower the stabilizers in the long run.

        The rings should be here tomorrow. I will see whether I can feel a difference.

        If I interpret your response correctly, what matters is that the individual has at least sufficient mobility, finds themselves in good positions at all times and stays within their own capability and consequently within reason.

        My main goal is to become very strong but stay healthy at the same time. Therefore, I do listen when people talk about alternatives that may be safer to the joints and the like. But it has become a trend to throw down the “UNSAFE//DANGEROUS” hammer all the time.
        Overhead presses destroy the shoulders.
        Squats destroy the knees.
        Deadlifts destroy every single limb the human body has.
        It is ludicrous for the simple fact that every person has individual demands and capabilities. What kills one, may save the life of another one, drastically speaking. I find what works best for me is listening to my body. If something feels right, it most probably is.


        • Antony Lo says:

          Thanks Ted.

          Everything is basically a risk.

          I talk about reducing risk and I guess something for me is “unsafe” if an unacceptable number of injuries occur. But what is that number?

          Therefore balancing the risk is the key.

          Rings required your stabilizers to work harder so you can’t move as much load. The bar allows you to use tension to get around your weaknesses.

          It is why people who can ring muscle up can bar muscle up but not all who can bar muscle up can ring muscle up.

          And then we can discuss the whole “functional” thing…what people mean is “specific”… But that is a different rant for another time 😉

          Have fun Nd let me know how you go with your new toys 🙂


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