Month: September 2014

Coaches Blogs

TAKE THE ROCK

Let me start by saying thank you to the Apex Predator Athletics community and my family for coming out and supporting such a worthy cause with the Red Circle Foundation.  I would also like to thank the Nadadores Locos and the Vietnam Veterans of Diablo Valley for hosting such an amazing event and offering the opportunity to be involved free of charge.  Swimming from Alcatraz has been a goal of mine since childhood, and spending 47 minutes and 17 seconds staring into the nothing of San Francisco Bay was the cathartic experience I hoped it would be.

prerace

Prerace briefing on the Hyde Street Pier.
Pre Race briefing on the Hyde Street Pier.
Your first view of the Rock as you exit the harbor.
Your first view of the Rock as you exit the harbor.

 

Due to heavy currents pushing our escorts around during their transit across the bay we had to wait 30 minutes just off the coast of the Rock.  We all felt a little more comfortable at that point since now it seemed like a normal military evolution.  Hurry up and wait. Just like old times.

This isIt didn’t take long for many of us to revert back to our most primal of instincts.  What do you expect when you leave sailors and marines alone on a boat?

safety

This event was completely staffed by volunteers who woke up to muster before dawn.

This event was completely staffed by volunteers who woke up to muster before dawn and provided all the transportation.  My safety escort is in the bright green kayak picture above.

 

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After the initial jump from the deck, of a boat driven by a former Airborne Infantryman, the pack quickly broke itself up, and I found myself in the faster group.  There was a strong ebbing tide which pushed us around a bit, but the water temperature was surprisingly warm.

Pictured above is the most graceful of the entries, of course executed by a former "dental tech" that never saw a clinic since he was too busy with the Marines in the field.

Pictured above is the most graceful of the entries, executed by a former “tech” Corpsman that never saw a clinic since he was too busy with the Marines in the field.

splash

At the time of writing this article we have come together to raise $1165 in less then 2 months, 100% of which will go directly to the families of Special Operations warriors who have paid the ultimate price.  I was honored to suck salt water in exchange for such an awesome outpouring of support.  I only wish there was more I could do.

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This isn’t me but this was my view every time I looked up to spot.

baybridge swim

Most of the photos from the event are of the second pack where there was a greater number of intermediate swimmers.

fin

 

47.17 Time 4th Overall 1.4 miles (plus or minus .1)

Doing a 5k because someone at work guilted you into it?  Don’t feel a strong connection to inflatable 5k’s? Are you running a marathon in October?  Why not use the opportunity to help others while you realize a personal goal?

As we move forward I am proud to announce that our community will continue to work hand in hand with The Red Circle Foundation to raise money and awareness about this pressing need. The current fundraiser is active on their site, but as of today we have a team page which any member of our community can use!

https://p2p.charityengine.net/rcf/Fundraising/team/apexpredatorathletics-team 

So now its your turn to get in the fight.  If you need help figuring out how you can contribute reach out to me and I will be happy to give you some good ideas!  Make a difference in someones life today.  Join APA and RCF in an effort to give back to those who have given all already.

-GPS

I would like to thank my family, friends, and the APA community for supporting me in accomplishing this life long goal. Together we are capable of great things.

I would like to thank my family, friends, and the APA community for supporting me in accomplishing this life long goal. Together we are capable of great things.

Myself and Joe Jackson who is also a Navy veteran. He finished first overall with no wetsuit in a time of 37 minutes.

Myself and Joe Jackson who is also a Navy veteran. He finished first overall with no wetsuit in a time of 37 minutes.

Adam Campbell

Are you athletic? Or are you just in shape?

There’s a relatively new phenomenon I’ve noticed as of late; maybe I’m just not very observant and this has been around for quite some time, or maybe my perception is off and I’m totally crazy. In any case, I wanted to put this out on (virtual) paper and ask for some other opinions and observations, so here we go. It seems (to me) that there is a recent influx of individuals who are in incredible shape, but are not athletic. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, I want to remind everyone of something Obi-Wan once told Luke, deep in the swamps of the Dagobah system: “many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view”. So, for the purposes of this article, we first have to establish my point of view.

One of the definitions for ‘athletic’ that I found reads: “of or pertaining to athletes; involving the use of physical skills or capabilities, as strength, agility, or stamina”; obviously this definition is extremely broad (heck, the word “athlete” is in the word and definition). Much like the definition of “fitness” is very nebulous, the definition of “athletic” is right in the same realm. Is this bad? No. It just means we need some further refinement, which is where my point of view comes in.  When I say ‘athletic’, I’m specifically referring to a person’s ability to use physical skills or capabilities while moving fluidly in three dimensions, specifically while playing a sport. And when I say ‘sport’, I’m referring to field sports: rugby, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, football, ultimate Frisbee, etc. I realize that this is a very narrow definition, but I ask you to stick with me for this.

First, I’ll explain what I mean in the idea of someone moving in three dimensions. Think back through your last few months of workouts; I would guarantee you’ve done some squats, pressing movements (bench, push-ups, press/push press/jerks), pulling movements (deadlifts, pull ups, rows, Olympic lifts), and probably some metabolic conditioning (sprints, rowing, jump rope, burpees). What do all of those movements have in common? They only move the body in one to two planes. What’s a plane? Well I’m glad you asked; for a quick crash course, take a look at the image below:

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So we have three planes: Sagittal (divides the body into left and right halves), Coronal (divides the body into front and back halves), and Transverse (perpendicular to both the Sagittal and Coronal). All of those movements above fall into one of these planes, moving either straight up and down, or to the front and back. I can’t think of any CrossFit workouts (named or otherwise) that I’ve done that involve any sort of movement from side to side; moreover, I can’t think of any that ask us to move from one plane to another while performing a third task. I will freely admit I haven’t been in a CF gym for quite some time, so it’s very possible these workouts exist (which makes this whole article moot). Now think back to your experience on a sports field; was there ever a time when you only operated in ONE plane at a time? If you did, I would imagine you had a relatively short career. In field sports, the most successful athletes are able to transition seamlessly from one plane to another while still completing a given task (dribbling a ball, juking out a defender, tackling an opponent, etc.) without missing a beat. 

Secondly, why ‘field sport’? Well, in today’s world, the idea of ‘sport’ is ever changing. The emergence of the National Professional Fitness League is just one example; below is a short list of some of the other sports that can be found around the world:

-National Sauna Championships

-Chess Boxing

-Competitive Eating

I told you…chess boxing. It’s real. YouTube it.
I told you…chess boxing. It’s real. YouTube it.

As you can see, the range here is broad, and each has in own unique training stress. Each requires a specific set of skills that really only apply to its slice in the wide world of sports. Conversely, if one is talented at one of the field sports (ex. Football), and decides to try a different one (say, soccer), he or she might not be able to dribble a soccer ball like David Beckham, but on a field they can sprint, plant, cut, change direction, and move right along with other experienced players on the field. And in general, they are able to pick up the new game in a relatively short amount of time, and play halfway decently. I would venture that everyone can think of an example of a person they know who has demonstrated this ability.

Now with the framework set, I’ll move on to my observations. Every Sunday I play Ultimate Frisbee down at the beach; it’s a pickup game so it’s not incredibly competitive and usually lasts for about 2-3 hours. At the very least, it’s an excuse to get outside and get some sun. More than once I’ve brought my friends from one of the local CF gyms who wanted to try it out. I would warn them that it can be a gasser; if you’ve never played, Ultimate brings in aspects of soccer and football (soccer in the sense of the length of game and constant movement, football in the sense of quick explosive sprints and fast changes of direction), all with the handling of a frisbee. They always give me a skeptical look; after all, they have conquered Fran, and Murph, and that one workout that had a gas mask and weighted vest; can handle the unknown and unknowable. Inevitably, they get on the field and find themselves getting run in circles by people who are far less in-shape than they are. It’s not that my friends aren’t fit; they are some of the fittest individuals I have met. But ask them to quickly change directions on a sprint, and they look like a bowl of jello trying to move around. They will be sprinting down the field for a catch, and rather than the executing plant/cut/sprint technique that I mentioned above, it’s more of a sprint, start chopping their steps to slow down, open their front leg and turn their body (thereby signaling the new direction of travel), then start sprinting again.  And this isn’t an isolated incident; think back to the Games events that asked competitors to perform an “athletic” task like change direction or throw a softball. This pool of men and women competing for the title “fittest person on earth” had trouble completing these basic tasks.

Need I say more?
Need I say more?

I don’t bring this up in an attempt to bash CrossFit or other related activities in any way, shape or form. Rather, I bring it up because I find this whole situation interesting in that it has created a unique umbrella of fit but traditionally “unathletic” individuals. Usually, competitors went to the gym to better themselves on the field; activities in the gym were meant to build a raw strength base, while the individual skills required for the sport was honed on the field. With the huge growth of the CrossFit community and the development of the Sport of Fitness, the gym has effectively become the competition field. This adds a whole new level to the psychological aspect of competition (you know as you’re getting tired your opponent is too so you just have to outwork them; conversely, no matter how many times you thruster the barbell, 95lbs is always 95lbs), but also brought in this whole crowd of people who never played sports growing up, but are now considered an athlete. I’m not saying this is bad by any means (I actually think it’s awesome), it’s just very interesting to me that there is this whole subset of people willing to beat themselves down for the whiteboard, when there is nothing else to be gained.

I want to end this little article asking for inputs from the community. Thoughts? Comments? Disagreements? Keep in mind that, for the sake of this article, I defined “athletic” in terms of how it relates to field sports; I’m not saying that this is the only way to define the term. If anything, today’s wide world of sports have shown us that calling someone “athletic” is about as descriptive as calling someone “nice”. And again, this wasn’t an attempt to bash or put down folks in any way; it’s just one person’s observations in an ever growing arena.

– Adam

Coastal Athlete Program

A Non-Conventional Approach To Strength And Power Development in…

Monday night the Apex Predator Athletics Research Team (APART) gathered baseline aquatic data with California State Monterey Bay Women’s Water Polo(CSUMBWWP).  The team’s in-water metrics and land based strength and endurance testing scores will be measured throughout the three-phase strength cycle they will be following.  The program is a sport-specific design developed by Coach Scheppler, with a heavy emphasis on explosive hip movements.  Below is a short summary of the training design.

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By introducing dynamic, explosive hip movements and a mode-specific strength and conditioning program to aquatic athletes, we can improve strength and power performance in an environment not traditionally associated with strength and conditioning. Total volume of movements will be minimized in an effort to lower the injury rate amongst our target population; no weighted exercise will exceed 8 repetitions, and traditional core movements will be augmented by gymnastic exercises.

The training and testing cycle will encompass 3 months (13 weeks), with a pre-phase test to be administered at the beginning of each cycle and one final test being performed prior to winter break.  If possible, athletes will again be tested immediately following the break, and one final time post-season to measure drop off post training cycle.

Water Polo is a unique sport in that its relationship to the tactical maritime athlete is direct.  The ability to exert force in a dynamic explosive fashion provides an advantage both in collegiate play as well as in a rescue or combat scenario.

Polo Team 6 aka POLOGRU - caption credit Coach Ian Visible
Polo Team 6 aka POLOGRU – caption credit Coach Ian Visible

Total strength in the water is relative to mastery of the domain.  An athlete’s ability to deadlift 400 lbs is negated if they are incapable of transferring that strength in a single upward movement to block a pass or close the reaction gap to a survivor.  While endurance is usually considered to be the hallmark indicator of an individual’s athletic ability, if this same person cannot exert strength dynamically when needed, then all the endurance in the world won’t matter if the survivor slips under the waves before you get there, or the ball flies over your head and out of your reach.

We will be conducting 4 tests in the water.

– Max vertical leap from water line (3 attempts)

– Max cross bar touches to water line (30 sec interval / 2 attempts)

– Mid range sprint test 

– Endurance swim test (3 possession simulation – 150 meter wallless swim)

We will be conducting 9 tests on dry land

– Max push ups (2 min)

– Max sit ups (2 min)

– Max pull ups (2 min)

– Max vertical leap (3 attempts)

– 1RM

– BP

– BS

– FS

– PP

-HPC

Follow us on Instagram (@apexpredatorathletics ) and remember to Like the Facebook page for regular updates on training results.

-GPS