December 11, 2005
The rings and slackline are inherently stable. The shaking all beginners’ first experience is essentially brain-noise finding free expression in a frictionless plane. Calming these tremors, quieting this brain-noise, improves balance and strength, i.e., control, in any environment.
Can inherently unstable training apparatus (BOSU Ball, Indo Board, and Swiss Ball) do the same for control in all environments?
From carport to raw box – CrossFit Eastside.
Posted by lauren at December 11, 2005 7:21 PM
all i know is med ball preacher curls are the answer.
Ummm, I don't know. What's the answer?
Click on VIDS. Bunch of great "running"
I was talking to a buddy and he says you start by stretching and then you just start (literally) running with it. Good Luck!
Sorry...Click on Free Running then VIDS
Matt - Great Video! Thanks. So is that the WOD
for tomorrow? Hope not.
All - at the bottom Crossfit Eastside's site
was a picture of a squat rack. Anyone know
While I agree that the Dvinsk clan is an amazing vid, it isn't Parkour so much as insanity in an urban environment. Parkour isn't about taking unecessary risks or doing dangerous stunts, but rather, it's about finding effecient and effective methods to overcome any obstacle in your environment.
If you register on APK you can check out the video from my website "Dispersion" which is a little more along the lines of fluid and effecient movement (with a few bits of acro thrown in).
Super proud of my friends Carrie & Streeter. It's been inspiring watch them hone their coaching craft out in the carport. Plus nothing says home sweet home like pulling into the driveway to find the Wed. evening workout crew going at it hammer & tongs. It's hard to believe they will be moving out. This feels like CrossFit empty nest syndrome.
Jeff: Those are IronMind Vulcan Racks:
Seems to me that instability devices that aren't meant to be stood on or pressed against (i.e. the Swiss Ball) have fewer real life implications than the Bosu ball or Indo board. However, I'd guess that simply learning a sport that employs an instability device such as skateboarding, snowboarding, and/or surfing would be much more beneficial. That, and infinitely more fun.
Ramp party at my house.
Here is what I've been taught, and since been using:
Our Core MUST be strong, right? Its the center of the body and the begining point for all movement.
-If the core is unstable and does not remain a solid foundation trhoughout movement, it will not allow optimal force reduction, production and transeferance to occur throughout the kinetic chain.
Balance must be addressed to challenge the proprioceptive mechanisms in the kinetic chain to stimulate maximal sensory feedback and optimize neuromuscular efficieny. Power Training increases the demands placed on the core and balance systems of the kinetic chain to meet the more realistic speeds and forces encountered in everyday activity. Core, balance, and power training go hand-in-hand and always performed simultaneously in exercise. To achieve proper core stabilization strength, we must first place the body in a controlled unstable enviroments, which in turn require neuromuscular stabilization (balance). Reactive Training (Plyos) also imporves neuromuscular effciency and is a progression to increase the range of speed that the nervous system will be able to optimally function.
Okay...I can keep writing, I'll save it for the next Cert Course. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?
I was about to say that the video you linked to rocked! ...but then it was challenged as being un-parkourly correct...so I had to check the other video out, diversions.
While I agree that the production values are higher on the second video, I have to say the Russians rock!!
The poetry of physically fit humans surmounting (literally and figuratively) a visually oppressive environment is truly inspiring.
Plus the music was pretty cool. Gotta love that French rap.
The sport in general looks promising and is sure to upset security guards and building supers everywhere.
"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."
I would have worded the question like this were I too recast it:
Does training for balance on unstable apparatus adequately meet the needs for balance in stable environments?
My answer is a definitive, "no".
Anyone ready for Slackline Parallel bars?
Haha, Daniel, their video definitely rocks, ours is good for editing a camera-work, and for showing the potential for varied effecient movement, mostly at ground level. Being that I'm an admin for two relatively large Parkour websites, I am constantly working to get people the right idea. Every time somebody sees a video of the Dvinsk clan risking their lives (and at such a young age!) and then they call it Parkour, we are automatically associated with activities that have the potential to lead to death or severe injury. I train quite often with kids in the 13-17 year range, and they are too easily influenced by these things. I would rather influence them to strive for fluidity and grace above all else, rather than assume that you are only making progress once you take to the rooftops. :D
Here's a pretty good introduction to some of the philosophy behind the sport:
It's not to say that roof-level techniques CAN'T be part of somebody's practice, but it's definitely not a requirement (unless your goal is purely to impress others)
Oh yeah, and check out the Parkour Video Magazine, especially volume one which features some kids from the TCT clan from Cambridge. They are probably one of the best examples of pure Parkour skill (minimum unneccessary acrobatics or flair) that I have seen.
The first line - rings and slackline are inherently stable - is a brilliant observation, although a bit difficult to accept for the beginner because it is anything but obvious.
Quieting the brain noise - intriguing.
Slackline parallel bars? That's scary.
Wow...Zen & the art of defying GRAVITY?????? & all probably without Under Armor....
Michael, Carrie and Mulvaney,
Nice..... your new box is a beauty! Your clients are soooooooo fortunate to have you all. Keep it up!
Lisa and Jim
A niiiiiiiice wide open warehouse space, loooking beautiful!! man, I am getting jealous and I better find a facility really soon!!
Kick some butt out there my friend and congrats!
A little off-topic (but not completely given the point about rings and instability), but today I conquered the white whale - I just did a ring muscle-up, my first.
It weren't real purty, but damn did it feel good when I pressed that sucker up. Kipped like a bastard. Thx to Amp, Hutch, Stretch, and Jake who were all yelling their encouragement at my first 3-4 close misses. A little over a month in to CF; color me addicted!
FWIW, that russian video was cool, but I had the same thoughts that Jesse mentioned above about kids trying that and getting seriously hurt. Looks great on video and gives the impression of being "spontaneous", but without proper training and practice, you get dead quick.
OK Coach, I'll bite.
"Does training for balance on unstable apparatus adequately meet the needs for balance in stable environments?
My answer is a definitive, "no"." -Coach
But does it cut the muster for preparing for moving through UN-stable environments?
I try to employ unstable foundations (artificially of course) in some of my workouts in order to prepare for activities in situations where I can't rely on the stability of whatever may be under-foot, and I can't take time/focus to literaly watch my footing. Am I on the wrong track?
Nice work EastSide!
I grew up swimming at Waverly Way. Now, I can come visit family and train Eastside style! Nice Carrie!
SSGT Leclair: Concur. I use BOSU in conjunction with the slackline. CrossFit is universally scaleable. Many of my customers are not ready to the slackline and need some intermediate steps so I employ the BOSU and SPRI Disk.
Which is the best: Slackline - no doubt. Are all my clients ready for it. No. So scale.
I owe you a phone call.
That video is way cool.
Fresh off my 1st mu, felt a little froggy. Came up with this stupidity (for time).
1/4 mi. + 1 mu - did 1:34 + 1 mu
1/2 mi. + 2 mu - did 3:05 + 2 mu
3/4 mi. + 3 mu - did 5:34 + 1 mu & 6/6 dips/pu's
1 mi. + 4 mu - did 7:50 + 12/12
Total time = 25:20
I did 2 mu's before I started to prove it wasn't a fluke. Nice burning in lungs now. I'll bet tomorrow is some kind of running/cal ass-smoker. Watch.
A newbie's opinion on balance training: I think training on unstable environments probably gets one about 90% of the way there and here's why - we spend an hour or two (at most) a day training in that unstable environment, but we spend every other waking hour generally moving, walking, running, picking up boxes, doing yard work, driving, or otherwise in a stable environment. That alone provides us a significant amount of training on stable ground. I would guess we need very little more stable platform training for balance (and only for very discrete activities) IMHO.
I worry that the training stimulus of the inherently unstable training tools is WAY, WAY too specific (especially in the corrective phase of off-balance).
I’ve not seen any of the balance toys deliver a fraction of the transferable balance skills to stable or unstable environments that even dilettante gymnasts possess (same for agility, accuracy, and coordination) I’d bet on the gymnastics training to improve my odds walking the top of a tall block wall, returning to a run in a running stumble, or tearing across loose rock.
My choice for prep in unstable environments would be PLENTY of practice in that environment coupled with balance beam, slackline (and hinted variants), tumbling, rings, weightlifting, and lots, and lots, of one legged squats.
When are you getting to Santa Cruz?
There are folks I’d slackline, folks I wouldn’t, and some that I’d mat below the line and to the side of and teach falling. Those that I wouldn’t put on a slackline even over a mat I’d have squatting, and practicing balance drills sans gear, and squatting, and squatting.
Talk to you soon.
Funny this topic should come up now. They started a BOSU class at the local gym. As far as I can tell it is sort of backward thinking. Taking stable single joint resistance movements and using a BOSU to make you engage your "stabilizer" muscles. I think the mainstream gym folks could save money on BOSU's and learn some Oly lifts, then progress from there. Anyone up for some BOSU C+J's?
I will speak from the side of the industry that is guilty of pushing these devices. Here is a little history as I know it:
The unstable appartus movement is centered around writings and talks done by Vern Gambetta (who is a friend) and Gary Gray (a well known PT). Vern's influences are very similar to the crossfit concepts, but I would argue that he has more of an approach to addressing the higher motor skills of elite athletes. Thus, unstable apartus would effect the nervous system sufficently of a highly trained athlete. However, Vern's pervious "employer" took the concept to a mass market approach. Others caught on and "functional training" is now at every health club in America.
It has been my experience that most of these products are unnecessary, especially in the crossfit environment. They are "toys" for undeveloped and undertrained client who are looking for a quick fix. In my opinion, I only know one person who uses a Bosu ball in a useful manner. He specializes in ACL rehab for elite athletes.
If you take the time, stop looking for quick results, then the foundations of crossfit will produce long term results.
"Calming these tremors, quieting this brain-noise, improves balance and strength, i.e., control, in any environment."
First, I'd argue that, if my feet were actually attached to a slackline, the only truely stable position would be me hanging upside-down by my feet. Any other position isn't.
But that's not important. I used to teach flying, in particular formation flying. Very similar to balancing a bat on a finger, i.e., unstable. One trick I used to smooth out pilots was "happy hands". I'd have them make continual microscopic corrections, even if they didn't preceive a deviation to correct for. That process of shortcutting the deviation/think/react loop almost always improved their precision. Then we could work on the smoothness.
What was interesting was when we started doing high-G turns, in the 4 to 5 G range. At those G loadings you're weighing about 1000 LBs with all the gear on, so its an exertion just sitting there. The relative correction sizes should have remained the same as in 1 g flight, but instead the students would scale them up by the G's we were experiencing. In short, they'd be all over the place. So I'd have to get them to disconnect the size of control movements from how much effort they were exerting otherwise.
Not sure how this has anything to do with Coach's question, but it seems to be related.
Interestingly, the wild oscilations of the slackline begin at a fraction of your bodyweight. If you had to stop mounting when you shook no one would have ever gotten on top.
You'd be more stable upside down for sure if glued to the line. You're also more stable flat on your back than standing but that doesn't make the earth inherently unstable.
Deviations from rest on the slackline and the rings are uphill whereas on the inherently unstable toys it's downhill in all directions.
With the rings and slackline I've got to learn to stop making extraneous movements. With unstable toys I learn to dance around the balance point without falling.
Dancing around a balance point, or falling off balance and chasing my balance point are easier than learning balance. It is way easier to walk on your hands than it is to hold a handstand (still).
Were you, perhaps, teaching the young aviators to dance around the balance point only to find later that better inputs, and balance, were required at higher g's? Seems consistent.
Good inputs all.
Took me all night to download Dispersions, but it was worth it. Thanks for the link Jesse, and nice work yourself.
In regards to some of Coaches comments concerning dancing around the balance point and slackline vs. BOSU and other toys, I think that there is a inherit element of sport specify built into Crossfit, much of which is likely an accident (or at least not inherit in the design).
For example there are some great sport specific movements for an O-lifter, a runner, a rower and a gymnast in Crossfit, far less for a skier, soccer player, football player, etc. I feel that a program for GPP would have to go out of its way in order to avoid some real world movements from one sport or another (there would be no purpose as well). It would be impossible and impractical to have a WOD that reads:
4 downs as a collegiate defensive lineman
1 rounds as a collegiate wrestler
15 minutes of 1:1 basketball with someone of similar skill
However, similar workouts with an O-lifting regime, rowing or running regime would work well for a GPP program and be accidentally specific for people involved in those endeavors as their sport of choice.
While time on the slackline would be sport specific and real world to a gymnast or someone involved in straight line stability (cat burglar?) , something approaching a more real life situation for me (as a tele skier) would be doing a lunge with a med ball on a BOSU. Nothing on dry ground comes as close and is more real world to my pursuit. Dancing around the balance point is adjusting around a changing surface and not falling down, no stabilizing to calm but a dancing game.
Slackline is real world for a circus high wire act, but academic (albeit good academics) for someone involved in other pursuits. A floating log looks a lot like a Swiss ball, so what would be more real world for a Champion of Logger games?
Maybe I am missing the point?
Great discussion! Keep it up!
How does instability training fit in at a home/garage gym? Rings do seem to be #1, but we'd need lots of pads for a slackline. I know Mark's been showing some one legged and blindfolded drills on his site - do those fit in?
I wonder if med ball tosses while on skis would be a good drill. Or kettlebell swings while on skis? This has piqued my interest so we may try later today.
About a year ago I spent a lot of time on a slack line, enough that I could walk, turn around, and do squats.
During that time, I was in a minor earthquake. Before I was able to register was happening, my body made the tiny corrections to stay in balance over my hips. My first thought was "why am I am a slackline?" then I figured it out. It is interesting when learned, conscious motions and skills become automatic
Steve, you can set up a slackline anywhere that you have the room (though I would at least suggest grass as a base). One of the major benefits I see of slacklining outside of the balance aspect is training the ability to recover and fall appropriately, i.e., learning when to give it up and jump before you end up going head first. One way you can train this without anything other than a slackline with with a broomstick or a friend that you can hold their shoulder. Gradually use the assistance less and less, and occasionally at least TRY to stand up without anything and you will stil be reaping some major benefits while still have fun!
That was supposed to read "is with a broomstick.."
And Matt, thanks a lot, it was a lot of work, but well worth it!
My daughter, Alison, (who just turned 6 yesterday) was in a beginner gymnastics class for about a year. She learned all kinds of tumbling and balance moves. Worked on rings a little and some on paralell bars.
Friday, as I'm picking her up from school, she jumps off the top step of the stoop in front of school; lands; takes 2 steps; begins to stumble; goes 3/4 of the way down, face first; recovers; runs to the car laughing the entire way.
Moral of the story: Her gymnastic training obviously gave her stability in a non-stable environment without her knowing it.
She's ready for slackline training when you are Coach.
RIP Richard Pryor. First dirty mouthed comedian whose records I owned. Mom never listened to them, thank God.
"Tell Bill Cosby to have a Coke and a smile and shut the f%^k up!"
Run: Fairmont Canyon-Alki 45min
Justin, if you remember from "world class fitness in 100 words," there's a part that says "regularly learn and play new sports."
How do we know that ring work, one leg squats, handstands, and slacklining improve balance universally and not just specifically, Coach?
I just have a question about pull ups if any one can answer. The people in all the video i see are jerking to get up. I was always taught that your body stay still while you pull with your back and arms. Are there any benifits to jerking up your pull ups?
Go back into the Message Board and search on "kipping". It's way too expansive to start addressing here in Comments. Trust me, you'll find everything you need/want back there.
I think the jerking is only supposed to take place when strict pull-ups can no longer be done -- a cheat rep is better than just stopping completely when you can't do strict reps anymore. At least that's my interpretation.
Actually, the messageboard clarified the kips for me. Thanks for the advice.
1.5 mi on the tread mill as penance for missing Fri's WOD.
ME Black Box lower body day
front squat (in the unstable environment of a pitching and rolling ship)
185 x 3
185 x 3
185 x 3
205 x 1
225 x 1
235 x 1
Week 2 of a twelve week deadlift program.
210 for 10
255 for 10
295 for 10
325 for 8
355 for 6
Rack pulls, 380lbs for 3 sets of 5
The perfect rest day: backcountry skiing with about 2500 ft of climbing (but it's all about the down).
did a lower volume, muscleup version of yesterday's WOD...
WOD: 6 rounds + 4 muscleups. this one gets hard wicked fast. i went consecutive for the round of 5, 4/2 for round 6, and then 4 more and done. potent stuff.
No resting today...running up and down stairs + that special set of exercises. Oh yeah!
BIG CONGRATS to the Eastside crew. I'm so proud of you all back there. Making your dream come true is no smal feat.
"1.5 mi on the tread mill as penance for missing Fri's WOD."
LynnE, penance treadmill runs are to be done backwards.
In "normal" athletic movements, you have a loop between neuromuscular inputs, including those of the eyes and ears, and neuromuscular outputs--what you do in response--that are mediated by some level of conscious or semi-conscious thought. With respect to balance, you have to factor in as well the vestibular (I think that is correct--the balance part of the ear is what I'm intending, if I'm wrong) apparatus.
When I think about a slackline or my experiences with unsupported, stationary handstands, my first thought is of the immediateness of it. You have no opportunity to consciously think anything, so the primary task is to negotiate a peace between your conscious mind and the rest of "you", so that you can shut up your thinking, and establish a direct link between your muscular input and your balancing controller. Immediate, rather than mediated corrections.
This is only NECESSARY in conditions of extreme instability. Otherwise, as you indicated on the balance boards, you can look at the board, assess consciously where to be, and stand there.
I believe Moshe Feldenkrais addressed issues of balance in "The Elusive Obvious". Babies have only two fears, (they thought when he wrote it, in any event): loud noises, and falling. Much of how we learn to move in the world is related to what is effectively a primal fear of losing our battle with gravity. He addresses this issue at length, if memory serves. I read it 10 years ago.
Correction: it was "The Body and Mature Behavior." His first book, I believe.
SWEET! Congrats again Mike and Carrie! I can't wait to get that place setup!