I had my first real vacation in a long time this past weekend. I went to Sweden for a short labor day holiday to visit my cousin Eva. A lot of people thought I was crazy to go all the way to Sweden for four days, but the experience was definitely worth the travel.
I did pretty much no research and had no expectations of what to expect before going over. I let my cousin plan the whole thing (because its not really a vacation if you have to make decisions). So other than the fact that I knew when I was going to take off and come home I had no clue what to expect.
First I’d like to commend the Thunder god Thor for keeping up the good work. I didn’t see a single ice giant the entire time I was there. I wasn’t expecting reindeer and sleds being pulled by polar bears, but ya’ know a boy can dream.
So armed with nothing but a dead cell phone and what Swedish I retained from the Swedish Chef on the Muppets, I threw up my out of office and ventured off to Sweden.
For some reason (I’m cheap) I had to take a connecting flight through Pittsburg. I always back food when I travel and I’m pretty competent about finding food in an airport. Pittsburg, however is probably has the least healthy airport food in the world. I wound up getting most of my flight chow from a Duane Reed drug store.
After a flight stuck in the middle seat and some decent sleep, I finally landed in Goittenburg. Also, I really hope I spell check this before I post it, but we all know that’s not going to happen.
Goittenburg is on the west coast of Sweden in the south and kind of close to Denmark. So, no sleighbells and Santa. The weather was kind of like a sunny version of Seattle.
My first impression flying in was that I was in the middle of the woods. There were a lot of woods surrounding the city and the airport was pretty far out of town. So landing seemed like a northern wilderness adventure.
My cousin picked me up from the airport and we headed into the city. We started the trip with a traditional Swedish shrimp dish in this awesome restaurant that overlooks Goittenburg.
That’s as good of a point as any to talk about the Swedes. First of all, they all speak pretty good English. Pretty much, everyone I met or ran into spoke better English than any other country I’ve been to in Europe.
CrossFitters tend to talk about Scandinavians like they’re all part-time Vikings and part-time training partners for Magnus Samuelson. Swedes are in much better shape than Americans. To be honest, I saw much more black Swedes than I saw fat Swedes. They were friendly and fit.
In my short time there, I ate pretty close to Paleo the entire time. I didn’t do anything unusual, gladly ate what I was served, and enjoyed every bite of it. The food was awesome.
My favorite dish was definitely the blood sausage and lingonberry jam. It tasted like warm, fresh bread with not overly sweet jam. There’s always some trepidation when trying new food, especially when it has such an intimidating name.
The first day in Goittenburg was a lot of sightseeing. We did the Padden river tour first. The city is known for its harbor and canals, so we were able to see pretty much all of the major sites from the water.
Next we did a Segway tour of the city. Yes, that is about as cool as a rollerblading tour of the Atlanta beltline. I don’t care, it was fun and I got to see cool things. If you can’t have fun doing something like that, then you are a dickhead.
The best part of the trip was when we went out to Eva’s summer house in Gullholland (no way I spelled that right on the first try). We kayaked, hiked, and walked around something that otherwise only exists in travel shows and post cards.
Other things I did in no particular order: rock climbing, got yelled at for trying to touch a bridge on a boat tour, lifted on Eliko bars in a globo gym, got yelled at for “loudly lowering” the nicest barbell and bumpers I’ve ever lifted on (No I did not slam the bar, the gym was upstairs so there was no dropping of weights. I lowered a 210kg down as gently as I could and I still got yelled at), did some back squats and push jerks just enjoying the oscillation, did some low bar back squats just to piss people off when they read this, almost went swimming but realized that the water was more jellyfish than water, saw a taxidermy museum, saw a fort that was built in 1307 by the Norwegians, and got to see my cousin’s University (we’re both MBA candidates).
We also went to the amusement park inside Goittenberg. Its surprisingly large considering that its inside of downtown. The rides were fun, but the funniest part was going through the haunted house. It had painted up actors that would jump out and scare people. We went through with two huge Danish guys who screamed louder than any girls and completely freaked out. It was hilarious.
I actually was able to learn my way around the city pretty well.
The trip was amazing. I loved getting to see my cousin again. The last time I saw her was last Christmas when she came to visit. The time before that was probably over a decade ago. The trip was great.
So my buddy Johnny sent me this video of him doing multiple muscle ups with a false grip.
He’s a false grip muscle upper. He’s stronger and more comfortable there. To be honest, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the false grip muscle up. The issue comes with the grip. You’ll hit the point where the grip slips out and you have to reset which costs time.
I also think that if you’re doing multiple reps it will tax your grip more than using a regular grip. This gets to be an issue in a grip intense WOD where you’ll eventually have to transition to a barbell movement. An example of this would be “Amanda” where you have to switch between muscle ups and snatches.
A few notes on his muscle ups.
He’s working on the turn out at the bottom, which is usually a standard.
The problem here is that it cock blocks his kip. He has to work so hard to keep his false grip that his arms stay bent that he can’t get a full transfer of force from his hips into his muscle up.
It is possible to keep a false grip and have a full kip.
But the difference looks like this old video of Graham Holmberg
Versus what he can do without a false grip (8:30 in)
You can also see in this video of the Valley Girls (Kristen Clever, Becca, Voigt, a pre-name change Lindsey Valenzuela, and Katie Hogan) going through a thruster muscle up WOD with a wide variety of a kipping techniques in order to keep their false grips.
Now compare that to the gold standard of kipping efficiency in the muscle up of Camille
Pretty obvious on the limitations that keeping a false grip will have. Taking Newtonian Physics into this. If for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, the further forward you can go into your kip, the further and faster back you can go.
If you want to improve your false grip kipping muscle ups, I would start by practicing hip to rings pull ups keeping the false grip for each one. Once this number starts to go up, you’ll get more and more out of your kip and more muscle ups.
So, I have to start by apologizing for not getting to this sooner. About 100% of the comments on this site are spam (mostly penis pills and purses and fake air jordan’s if anyone is interested). So I mostly glance over the comments and delete them all. I thankfully caught this before deleting it.
Hey guys, So I do pretty well with my eating. I eat about 85% clean on a weekly basis. I stick mostly to the Paleo diet scheme and take fish oil, a multivitamin, and Osteo Bi-Flex on a daily basis. The issue I am having now is that I cant seem to get stronger. I am really looking to get stronger and build more lean muscle. It is quite disappointing when I can not Rx a WOD when heavy Oly lifts are involved. What are your recommendations as far as supplements are concerned? Do you recommend taking a whey protein post work out? How about a casein protein as a meal replacement? What about creatine, BCAAs, Citrulline, and Arginine? I have so many questions when it comes to maximum performance. Any help is greatly appreciated
Lots of questions in here and I’ll get them in line.
Robb Wolf has a funny rant about percentages of clean eating. So reading that made me laugh, but I get what you mean.
Not sure why you’d take Osteo Bi-Flex, I’d recommend dropping that and taking a Magnesium supplement at night and spending more quality time on mobility.
My biggest recommendation for this is a heavy supplement regime of squats. I know its kind of a dickhead answer, but there is nothing you can take (not even steroids) that will magically make you stronger. You need to focus on getting stronger first and training for strength. There are plenty of options, I have some hypertrophy and strength programs for sale (send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for info). There are also great books, like Mass Made Simple by Dan John, and several online strength and conditioning programs.
I think the best bang for your buck comes from the folks at Barbell Shrugged in their 6 week muscle gain challenge. They do a lot to coach you through the training and recovery to accomplish your goal.
As for supplements, seriously you need to fix your training first. Whey protein and eating until you are uncomfortably full is the best way to go. Creatine doesn’t hurt either, but don’t expect any powder (even illegal ones) to do anything for you if you are sticking with a Metcon heavy CrossFit program.
I love CrossFit, but if you have a glaring weakness a GPP program is not the fastest or most efficient way to resolve that problem.
If you are trying to get stronger, any of those supplements will help. But supplements won’t push the needle that much. If you’re lucky, you’ll get at most a 2% change from a supplement. However, 99.9% of every gain you will make will come from time under the bar doing big, heavy, complex movements.
Lastly, if you are trying to get stronger never replace a meal. That’s like trying to catch your breath by going underwater.
I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of the new Weightlifting Seminar from my friends at Barbell Shrugged which can be found here. I’m not going to lie, I’ve seen a lot of similar video seminars and spent more then a few weekends at Weightlifting Clinics. I’ve also been coaching the Olympic lifts in CrossFit gyms for a few year.
I know I’m a little more experienced then the true target audience for this video, but I learned a ton from watching it. I think back to the days when I first started learning CrossFit (2005-2008) and I would cherry pick workouts because I couldn’t figure out what the difference between a Power Snatch and a Snatch was.
If in those days of “screw it, I’ll just go for a long run” I missed out on a lot of opportunities to learn good habits and how to lift and move. In those days of hunting the internet before every weightlifting gym had a youtube channel and the only place you could see the lifts online was on the CrossFit mainsite this video series would have been earth shattering.
I still have a large amount of friends who live or are stationed in far away lands or who train by themselves in a garage or globo gym. For these folks this video series would be invaluable.
While I picked up several tips, cues, and got some different ways to think about these lifts, a beginner would be able to watch this series over and over again to a tremendous benefit.
One of the coolest thing about this series was watching lifters of all levels getting coached. I got to see two of my friends, one of whom has actually coached me a lot on the lifts when we both trained at CrossFit Inception), get coached. Seeing people at my level, people who can out lift me, and some more beginners work on technique was pretty cool.
The other part that I enjoyed was the Barbell Shrugged quality. Shout out to CTP, this series tape rivals any of the highest quality work out tape by Fonda. Seriously, compared to most of the instructional videos you can find online, this is on a different level.
I saved the best for last. The series is taught by Zach Krych. If you don’t know who that is check out the video below:
Zach Krych Injury & Comeback
The dude is a bad ass and an inspiration.
Definitely check it out.