OPEX “Cheating” on 16.1?

EDIT
Yesterday afternoon OPEX released a blog post explaining their side of the story. If they did get approval from the South Regional Director that they could use the smaller plates then I cannot understand how it is fair to dock their athletes 15% of their reps. If you can’t take the regions director for his/her word, then what is the point of having a director for each region?

Or, maybe Castro is just upset that OPEX continues to send athletes to Regionals and the Games and they are not a CrossFit paying affiliate?

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Yesterday Dave Castro posted this on Instagram calling out some OPEX members of cheating:

You can read the comments. Some are supportive of Castro, some are appalled that he would put a video like this on his Instagram and “shame” the OPEX team and some just called Castro names because, well, some people are just trolls.

As a guy who blogged on the Rockies for many years, had access to the press box, locker rooms, etc, I don’t see what the big deal is with this video? I mean, I don’t see how this is “shaming” anyone.

Are the people who think this is shaming, do they feel Tom Brady was shamed during the football inflation mess? What about when Alex Rodriguez was caught using steroids? How about when any actress gets a boob job and it makes Entertainment Tonight?

I wrote a blog entry about this last year during or shortly after the CrossFit Games – as this sport grows more and more people are going to be hungry for information. Athletes that use steroids will be published in public and if a team cheats they will be called out, too. The fans will want to know what happened to athlete so-and-so, or why team X didn’t make Regionals when it looked like they should on the leaderboard. This stuff needs to be made public, people want to know. And giving the fans more information about the sport is the only way to go, not hide it and pretend like cheating isn’t happening. What did that do for baseball and steroids in the late 1990’s? Didn’t turn out well for Bud Selig and baseball and Castro is not going to make that same mistake.

Now, if in the caption under the video in Castro’s Instagram post he made some derogatory or insulting comments then it would be different. But, he didn’t. He kept the caption very factual and let the video do the talking.

And, on a side not, BE NICE TO THAT BAR!!! OUCH!!

If the debate is around whether or not that is cheating, that is another story. As this sport grows, so must the rules. The rules didn’t call out how big the plates need to be on the bar, thus standardizing the height of the bar in which the athletes had to hop over. Since that measurement was not clearly stated then anyone could take that standard however they chose. In OPEX’s case apparently they though small fractional plates were OK. And OK to drop?! OUCH AGAIN!

As a Raiders fan I will never forget the tuck rule. It was a mess. And it was a fumble. But, the NFL had a gray area and in the next off season they did their best to clear up any ambiguity surrounding that sort of situation. I bet the next time the Open contains bar facing burpees the height of the bar or the height of the plates are listed within the standards. CrossFit obviously thought that no one would drop an expensive piece of equipment from overhead prior to do the burpees without some sort of protection – bumper plates. What they didn’t consider is that some gyms might have beater bars in which they don’t care if they don’t spin. Drop away!

One comment that I saw that I found interesting essentially said that if an athlete isn’t going to make it to Regionals, then why even try to find gaps in the rules like that? Why try to “cheat” when you aren’t going to sniff the top 20 in your region anyway?

This feeds into the question: why do the Open? Why pay CrossFit $20 just to exercise? I mean, everyone could easily do the Open workouts without paying CrossFit and then just sort of see how poorly you stack up to Noah Olsen and his ridiculous number of reps. I already know I am not as fit as Mat Fraser, why pay $20 to find out for sure?

Because people love to compete. I pay money to run in 5k races when I know I won’t finish in the top of any sort of heat or age group no matter how it is sliced. Participating in organized competition of any kind is fun. And when you are competing you start to look for ways to beat your opponents. What little thing can you find that your opponent might not be thinking of? In Bill Belichick’s case that might mean video taping your opponent’s practice. In CrossFit it might mean using small metal plates instead of standard bumper plates to lower the bar in which you have to jump over.

What do you think of the video? Blatant cheating? Or just trying to find an edge? Should it be shared with anyone and everyone? Or should it be kept secret and people watching OPEX athletes left wondering why their scores were cut by 15%?

I say that OPEX was trying to find an edge, not cheat. And share away. I want all the information I can digest this time of year in the CrossFit world.

Hell, I am still super curious what happened to Tony Budding and the NPGL. Why is he no longer the head man? If you are going to be a public sport you better be ready to leave no stone unturned.

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A day in the life at 24 Hour Fitness

I have been going to 24 Hour Fitness again on Thursday nights as I have a few hours to spare. I use this time mostly as meat head time – I do “body building” exercises as opposed to “functional fitness”. You can find me doing curls, lat pull downs, leg curls and extensions and other exercises mainly utilized on focusing on one muscle group. Very few compound exercises.

Anyway, last Thursday I saw one lady doing shoulder work on a machine…while watching TV. Not sure she actually had any resistance on the machine, but her eyes were certainly getting a workout watching TV.

Then I also saw this:

Gotta love the people who are more worried about looking at Facebook or posting to Facebook than working out. She did move her legs, occasionally, but didn’t take her eyes off of her phone.

Say what you will about CrossFit, but you don’t see this during a CrossFit class.

24 Hour Fitness Fails

I still hold onto my 24 Hour Fitness membership because it is only $14 a month and I do use it from time to time. Like during the colder months when I play in a billiards league I don’t go home between work and my league (I live in the opposite direction of where I play pool so going home doesn’t make sense). This gives me a few hours to burn between work and league and I usually go to the gym. A few weeks ago I started doing supplementary movements to help work on my squat and deadlift totals.

I try not to hate too much, but since CrossFit always takes a punch to the gut I think 24 Hour needs to also (and, really, probably all Globo gyms).

These two videos are from a few weeks ago. I missed two GOLDEN GEMS last week. A 24 Hour Fitness trainer, whose arms were about as big as my thighs, was trying to coach his client on a power clean and overhead squat. It was horrifying. His demo of the power clean was a reverse curl from his toes, essentially. No dip in the catch, weight on his toes, no “scarecrow” and all curl. While it was impressive how light he made 95 pounds look for a reverse curl, his power clean form was atrocious to say the least. Then he tried to coach an overhead squat. He put the same 95 pounds overhead without issue (probably could have done so with one hand), but when he tried to squat – OUCH!. Again, back to all toes and he only got MAYBE to a quarter depth before he hit his end of range of motion. He couldn’t even get near parallel without struggling. His shoulder, hip, ankle…well… entire body mobility was pathetic. He took three attempts at squatting the weight and all three resulted with him dumping the weight forward from about a quarter squat, before he ditched the idea of his client trying.

Just the perfect example of how bad training can be anywhere you go – not just at CrossFit gyms.

Anyway, on to the two videos I DID get. The first is of a guy doing curls in the squat rack. No matter how much you curl it isn’t right (and he is only doing 95 pounds). The second is a short video of a girl doing “leg presses” on a machine. This is a short video, but she did this same movement for, no joke, about 10 minutes straight. She was on her phone typing away and doing these “presses” for 10 minutes.

And

The last video I got was a guy doing bench. He had a good weight on the barbell, I think it was about 275, and he was doing quite a few reps, maybe five or six. The set just before this he struggled on his fourth of fifth rep and went for one more and got stuck. When the barbell came crashing back down on his chest I ran over to help him pull/push it back onto the rack, but he waved me off and lowered one side of the barbell to drop a few plates, then the other side to drop a few plates and then the barbell almost flipped back to the other side with the 45’s on it, but he caught it. He finally got it off of himself and cleaned up the weights he dumped. Then he put it all back on and went back to work. Since he didn’t want my help when he was stuck under the bar I figured I would get out the popcorn and my phone to record the hilarity that would ensue.

Unfortunately I was blocked by another guy who watched him fail the set before and he jumped in to help. Apparently his help was wanted, so I didn’t get the failure even though he was headed back down the same path. Speaking of not being safe (typical CrossFit diss)…benching without a spotter with weight you will fail with. Hello possible neck injuries.

I hope to get some better videos in coming weeks. I could make a “24 Hour Fitness Fails” video to counter all the CrossFit fails videos. At least mine is honest in that all videos were taken at 24 Hour Fitness whereas the CrossFit fail videos typically include videos of people doing pullups on some shitty pullup bar hanging from their bedroom closet.

And CrossFitters have horrible form

The “hang cleans” in the first half or so of this video are horrible. But, only CrossFitters have horrid form.

These two are obviously ripped and it looks like they are “hang cleaning” 235, but if they had any sort of decent form they could add 50 pounds. From the lack of creating leverage at the bottom of the lift, to the super early arm bends, to the lack of a shrug and a horrible catch which is hard on the wrists, they are ugly. Strong dudes, ugly form.

This is why you don’t let former footballers (US style) teach you the Olympic style lifts (unless they have had some additional training post-football). It’s all brute strength and little form. There are a few footballers that work out at my box and they all do this sort of stuff – and don’t get me started on how the body builder was holding the barbell. Strong as oxes, but form would add so much weight to their lifts.

A few new fail videos

Ah, I got to visit 24 Hour Fitness last week and found a couple good fail videos. It’s pretty much a sure thing that if you visit a globo gym you will find someone either doing something completely pointless or doing something with horrific form….or both.

I nailed two individuals, one under the supervision of a trainer, for short videos. I unfortunately caught the very end of another lady’s last “burpee” that I wanted oh so badly since I love burpees and she was destroying my favorite exercise.

I apologize for how short these are…I really need to learn how to use the camcorder on this phone….

First up, the rounded back bent over row:

This poor bastard was performing these for the first time and under direction from his “friend” in the white t-shirt. Unfortunately his friend rounded his back more than this guy. They had very light weight set on the ground, bent over with HORRIBLE form, rounded their backs, picked up the light weight and never even made an effort to straighten their backs before doing the pulls. This is a great exercise to isolate your lats, but when done like this it is just asking for pain.

Next up is some sort of funky half-assed Turkish get-up or a Russian twist or a…hell, I don’t know.

I honestly have no idea what this is or what it is supposed to be working…other than possibly putting your back into some sort of funky twist. The trainer had no problem watching his client perform this movement with both hands for numerous reps. I wasn’t counting and I don’t think they were watching a clock, but she did these things for either 20 reps or 30 seconds each hand. Or, who knows, since they don’t know what kind of exercise it is maybe they didn’t really care how many reps or how long she was doing it. Maybe she wasn’t supposed to be doing it?! Maybe the trainer wasn’t even paying attention and had fallen asleep with his eyes open?!

And CrossFit gets a bad rap…