How Deep Should I Squat – To 90 degrees For Safety? [Rant Warning!]

quarter squatOK, I don’t often rant online…but I have to on this one. The pictures/memes I have posted should give you an idea of where I sit on this topic – to squat to 90deg or lower?

Too many patients get told not to squat past 90 degrees knee bend. This is supposedly to save their knees from the horrors of arthritis and strengthen their knees…

…OH…MY…LORD…Spare me!





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CrossFit Open Workout 14.5 – Tips and Suggestions

Well, burpees and thrusters were left on the list and that is what we got…with spice! You won’t be saved by the clock…you will either finish or you will quit/scale the workout.

This blogpost will attempt to help you warm-up, consider some strategies for the workout and how to recover.

It seems so simple but for many of us plebs, this workout will be like a chipper…

Here are some earlier blogposts I wrote on Burpees and Thrusters.



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CrossFit Open 14.4 – Tips and Suggestions

A chipper! I love chippers. not because I am good at them but because there is work to be done. I might keep going until I get to muscle ups, even if the time cap elapses, just to finish the cleans!

Here are my suggestions including recovery from 14.3. I have also included links to the movements I have written about in the past.

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CrossFit Open WOD 14.3 – Tips and Suggestions

20140209-215525.jpgSo finally the heaviest weights ever come out! This is going to jack your back and it is going to test your mental fortitude. This is one that you don’t want to have to do again. Please be careful out there!

Why don’t you subscribe by email for more tips?

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So You Wanna Get To Regionals? Let’s Think About That For A Sec. A Guest Blog By Brent Fikowski and Antony Lo

Wanna get to The CrossFit Games Regionals? Let’s think about that for a sec… Written by Brent Fikowski…with some editing and opinion from Antony Lo at the end.

It is my pleasure to have Brent Fikowski guest write this blog about making it to Regionals. in case you don’t know, Brent came in 6th in the Australian Regionals with only 3 points between him and 4th placed Matt Healey. He is now competing in Canada West and killed 14.1 with a score of 443…

What Brent wrote:

Trying to make it to Regionals? How many people have you heard say “I think I’ve got a shot this year” or “I’m training for Regionals”? I know I have heard everyone and their uncle tell me this. Do some have a shot? Absolutely! But some are being unrealistic.

Lets go over some things you need to realize before you make this lofty goal.

  1. Every year it gets more and more competitive. If you have been doing CrossFit for a while and you haven’t made it yet, you need to have made some VERY large improvements in the last 12 months. Or if you are new you need to have a background in power/endurance/strength and have learned all the skills quickly.
  2. Last year the 48th placed individual male in Australia finished with 372 points. So on average he placed 74th in all the WODs. Now compare your previous Open scores to the 74th rank score. How close were you? Which one were you the farthest off and why? Are these weaknesses gone?
  3. Still think you have a shot? Pick your two worst movements and decide whether you prefer short or long WODs. Put those two movements together in your least ideal WOD length. How well would you place in that WOD against the best in your region? Or make the same comparison but with your ‘perfect’ WOD. Would you rank in the top 74 with your performance? Remember these are Open-Style AMRAPs, 4-17min long with repeating movements, standard equipment, easily judged.
  4. STOP FOCUSING ON YOUR 1RMS! Quit comparing your strength numbers to Games athletes. You need to spend your training time becoming better for The Open. If you can’t do 50 unbroken double unders because you have spent every extra minute this year increasing your PRs by 5kg, you probably failed miserably at 14.1. When you qualify for Regionals, focus on becoming stronger so you can be more successful at that level. Until then become good at Open workouts. Do lots of wall balls, burpees, and high repetition barbell movements with medium weight.
  5. 48 individual athletes qualify each year… but realistically how many spots are there available? -In each region there are probably 10-20 individuals that are a LOCK into Regionals. The top athletes. The athletes that have been to the Games, the athletes that have been to Regionals three years in a row. The ones who were in the top 10 last year. The ones sponsored by some brand. Make no mistake, they WILL qualify. -Then there are the other 28-38 athletes that qualified last year to Regionals. They made it last year, they know what it takes to get there, and they have been training to try and get there again. -After that you have 20-30 athletes or more that have made Regionals in previous years. Maybe they were out due to injury, a new life commitment, or they ranked a few places too low last year. But they are training hard all year, and are ready. -Don’t forget the individuals that have never made it, but have been very close to qualifying. Maybe they would have made it last year if their muscle-ups were more efficient, or their overhead strength was better. They’ve worked all year and you can bet those weaknesses are but a memory now.
  6. Lastly there are all the unknown newbies! Every year there will always be a new face at Regionals. This is one reason why The Games process is so exciting. -So be honest with yourself, where do you fit in? Can you beat enough of those other athletes to steal one of those 48 spots? Because you do not have to ‘qualify’ in the top 48, you have to beat out the rest to get there.

This is not meant to discourage but rather to give you a realistic look at what lies ahead so you can enjoy the most exciting time of the year as a CrossFiter. Stop staying up late ‘Leaderboarding’ and just enjoy exercising with your friends. Getting upset after the 3rd week because you are 200th is not where you want to be right? All you can do is give 100% in the Open WODs. That is it. In an interview with Chad Mackay at Regionals 2013 they asked him about what his goals were halfway through the weekend. Did he say win? Got back to the Games? No, he said he was just trying to give his best every WOD.

Brent Fikowski

What Antony thinks:

I back Brent 100% on these points. What I would like to add are the following points as a PT who specializes in improving the performance of CrossFitters from Games-Level Athletes to the newbie…

  1. Technique, technique, technique. I simply cannot stress this enough! I have seen seriously good competitors (Games Level Athletes) improve simply because I corrected their movement a little or gave a different cue. These little things might be awkward to start with but they are for training…if you train to move well, you will move well during competition time. Far too many people trying to break into Regionals push themselves to go harder and faster and rarely consider that they need to back off the weight and intensity and fix their form issues. When you get your house in order, your performance will soar!
  2. Stop wasting time on routines that can take an hour to get through because you are “prehabbing” this and “rehabbing” that. In my experience, I can usually cut down your accessory work and “mobility” work down to about 15-30mins per day. When you combine that focused, mindful training, that is what will help you achieve high-level performances. You need to see someone who can pull all the threads together and consdense your warm-up, rehab, prehab and accessory work into a tight, focused program. If you can’t find someone, ask me…I now do Skype consults!

Let us know what you think. Brent and I are happy to take any questions or comments you have.

CrossFit Open WOD 14.2 – Tips To Help You


Kat Dalecki coming out of a 75kg Overhead Squat

Well, that escalated quickly…

Dave Castro has thrown in some advanced moves fairly early on in this CrossFit Games Open – Double Unders were first on the menu and now Chest to Bar Pullups – typically they have been used to sort the wheat from the chaff in the back half of Open events in the past.

One downside is that people might feel discouraged that they can’t do that movement – they shouldn’t feel that way – you can still do the workout and scale it…take each Open WOD as a challenge to get better. Each of the past 2 Opens saw me achieve a new PB at something…have a go!

This blog will be broken into advice for those close to CTB pullups and for those who have CTB. If you are not even close to CTB pullups, that’s ok – get your 10 OHS and then scale and work on your pullups.

For my previous advice on OHS and CTB Pullups, read by clicking on the links below…

Overhead Squat Advice

CTB Pullups

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Does CrossFit Have a Hole In It’s Typical Movements?

I have been doing CrossFit for just over 2 years now…and I am loving it. But I have some questions that I am genuinely interested in getting answers for…they relate to movement in 3 dimensions.

Typically, a CrossFit Workout of the day (WOD) require us to many different things – in fact, it could be argued that any movement is fair game to be included in CrossFit. I am OK with that. However, we certainly do a LOT of sagittal plane motion, not much rotation (transverse plane motion) or side bending (coronal plane motion).

Let’s back up a second here and define what those movements are:

  1. Sagittal plane motion is basically if  bent forwards and backwards…or running forwards in a straight line, toes to bar, sit ups, clean, etc etc. This is by far the most common plane of motion that CrossFit works in.
  2. Transverse plane motion is basically like discus throwing. You rotate around an axis that is like a spear through your spine. A roundhouse kick or punch, Swinging a sledgehammer sideways, Russian twists, etc are examples of transverse plane motion.
  3. Coronal plane motion is basically leaning side to side as if you were trapped between 2 planes of glass. Cartwheels, Side bending, and side planks are examples of movements and exercises that are in the coronal plane.

My question to everyone is this…what exercises can you do in CrossFit that are easily judged and can be practiced by everyone that include rotation and side-bending/lateral motion?

If we are to stay healthy, we need movement in all 3 planes. Lateral bar-over-burpees are a good exercise. Russian twists with a plate or ball have the complication of people with low back pain risking a flare up. You can do torture twists on the GHD or use a “Torsonator” but otherwise what else is there to do? The Double Banger event at the 2012 CrossFit Games was pure inspiration because I do wonder how many people program for rotational motion…and you can see on the videos that a lot of athletes just aren’t comfortable with twisting.

For coronal plane motion, there aren’t many things I can think of that fit sideways movements. You are string 2 ropes like in obstacle course racing and have them move across sideways. There are always the lateral jumps over broomsticks at 20″ or 24″ (let us pause a moment for all the broomsticks that have passed from this earth as a result of people landing on them…). Lateral bar-over burpees is another that can probably considered as combining coronal plane motion with sagittal plane motion. But what else is there left? Would a Kettlebell “windmill” pass the test? I guess “The Worm” could be classed as using some coronal plane motion – again, genius programming that showed up some athletes’ weaknesses…

All of these motions can be completed with a resistance band or Theraband. You can use a cable-cross machine at the globo gym to assist. You can pass medballs around to a partner but will we see anything like this in the CrossFit Games?

So, in my ignorance, please let me know what your favourite rotational and side-bending exercises are and whether these can be programmed into a CrossFit WOD or will they forever remain in the realms of “Accessory Work”?


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