The Long Overdue 2013 Regional Review

Preliminary Thoughts:
- from a competitors stand-point the Regional weekend was run and organized really really really well. The best year yet.
- judging was well done at my regional. Consistent and correct.
- the competitiors continue to improve. Very motivating for myself to keep improving.
- I think the Canada West venue is the best of any regional. If not the best, it has to be top 3.
- I was at the NorCal Regional as a Coach...why don't they hold this indoors instead of outside in a dirt field with dust blowing around? As well, Khalipa owned that Region. Wow.
- IMO the program design of the 2013 Regionals was better than the 2012 and 2011 Regionals. Dave Castro said it too, kind of.
- IMO the program design was very different when compared to the 2012 Regional. So, not surprisingly, it led to different qualifying athletes for most Regions.
- I will do a seperate post on my thoughts relating to the current system of testing in fitness.
- I love competing and coaching in this sport/thing.

Event 1 - Jackie
Row 1000m
50 Thrusters @ 45lbs
30 Chin-ups
Energy System Tested: aerobic power for most
Traits/Characteristics: speed of movement, stamina
- this is one of my favourite events of all-time. The first time I did this event in a competition was back in 2009. Back then it took me 6:20 ish to finish (the chin-up standard was chin over vertical plane, which is a BIG difference and was a first time experience for me at that time). It was the last event of the Canada West Regional. DJ was on my left, wearing a headband - ha! The second time I did this event in a competition was during this year's Regional. This time I finished in 5:27. My row time from 2009 to 2013 was the same. The improvement in time came from increased speed of thruster reps and chin-up ability (I did 27 + 3 this year, albeit with a different standard).
- the reason I like this event so much is that it is a true test of aerobic power. For the top competitors all movements are limited more by your willingness to suffer more as opposed to the fact that your legs or shoulders are too smoked to continue OR the weight is too heavy to be sustainable for you. However, with that said, the limiting factor in the event was different for the average male vs. the average female. Men needed to move FAST through the thrusters and chin-ups if they wanted to finish well. Females had to do well on the chin-ups if they wanted a good time. Not to say that the thrusters weren't important for females, just that the chin-ups were way more indiciative of their placing.
- one thing I think needs to be created for standards is "maximum feet width" for squatting movements in these competitions. It will at least make everyone have to a "classic" squat instead of a quasi wide stance/short range of motion squat (some good examples of this occured during the thruster porion in this event). If you are going to set hand width on HSPU's, why not set feet width for squatting? Same goes for chin-ups.

Event 2
Energy System Tested: ATP-CP
Traits/Characteristics: upper body strength, flexibility, accuracy of smashing the bar onto your cervical spine
- i think the OHS is one of the worst possible tests to be included in fitness testing for "strength/high load" specific events. It is simply too biased to overhead strength in humeral abduction/external rotation. No one fails overhead squat maxes due to squatting inability (unless you are either very inflexible or your legs look like this). Individuals fail due to their upper body. One could argue the OHS has it's place in fitness testing, but it's places is not as a strength/power test. Speaking with a tenured Olympic Lifting competitor a while back about my disdane for this event I obtained a good quotes from him, "the OHS is a monkey lift. It takes little skill to be good at it". The snatch and clean and jerk movements would be much better predictors of a persons capability when compared to the OHS. Seeing how you only have a finite amount of testing to have the competitors enage in during the weekend, why not use the most predictive tests available too you? And, don't give me the constantly varied BS. What's constantly varied about having Chin-ups, HSPU's, Muscle-ups and Toes to Bar in high reps each and every year?
- before someone posts in the comments that I only dis-like this event because I sucked at it. That is simply not true, I have sucked at OHS since the mid 2000's due to shoulder dislocation/labrum tears. So, I have had plenty of time to get use to sucking at this movement and I still think it is a crappy test.
- lastly, why the hell did they not use racks? I know at least one person fractured one of their cervical vertebrae during the event. How many others got injured? I am sure space was an issue as they had a tonne of equipment on site.

Event 3
30 Burpee Muscle-ups
Energy System Tested: ATP-CP Battery
Traits/Characteristics: upper body pulling/pressing strength and stamina
- why the hell were the ring heights standardized for males and females? I imagine it is simply due to time constraints which I can respect, but taller individuals were not doing the same movement as shorter individuals. Doing a jumping muscle-up is not the same as doing a standard kip to initiate the muscle-up. I was at the NorCal Regionals to coach one of my athletes and was able to see first hand Annie Sakamoto struggle with the rings blowing around in the wind as they were well above her reach. I can only imagine this cost her 30-45 sec over the course of the event. She also finished 1-2 points out of qualifying for the Games. You do the math.
- adding a burpee to each rep magnifies the limiting factor in the muscle-up for the average competitor - locking out the dip portion.
- one thing I like about doing the burpee with each rep is that it slows everyone down as you can only complete 1 rep at a time. I think makes the event a touch more even for the various sizes of competitors involved and places more imporance on agility and transition.

Event 4
100 Wall Balls to 10ft - 20lb for men, 14lb for women
100 Chest to Bar Chin-ups
100 alternating Pistols
100 alternating DB Power Snatch - 70lb for males, 50lb for females
Energy System Tested: competitor dependent, but...after the chest to bar chin-ups it was all aerobic for most.
Traits/Characteristics: total body stamina/muscular endurance, glenoid labrum fitness and ankle dorsiflexion range of motion.
- before I get going, this was probably my favourite event from the weekend because I performed as well during this event as I ever have in my exercising career. My brother, James, came through with a timely message for me the day before the event. In classic James fashion the e-mail was not long, sentences were short, no punctuation included but the message was spot on as usual...

(I should probably not include profanity in my blog posts, but this one was important)

- I could dissect each portion of the message from James and how it relates to me a my abilities, which he is very familiar with. But, here is my interpretation (the short version) of his message, "With an OHS like yours you ain't gonna qualify for the Games, you know this, I know this. But there is no reason you can't do well in every other event if you say fuck it more than wonder what if...oh yeah, and be present enough to quickly forget about how badly you did on that OHS event".
- females should have had to do chin-ups, not chest to bar. Or, the chest to bar numbers for the females should have been 60-75 or so. Not 100. It is not reasonable to expect the average female to compete with the average male on high rep gymnastics. Not to say they can't do them, just that the volume of repetitions should be adjusted accordingly.
- this is the MOI for my glenoid bankart tear from 2005. Except I did it during hockey, not Rugby. Loss of eccentric control during a kipping chin-up is when damage is potentially going to occur to the individual. This is also why people who cannot perform strict chin-ups have no business doing kipping chin-ups. Glenoid labrum, bicep tendon, elbow...pick your injury. Most of the top males would not have reached this point due to their level of upper body pulling strength/stamina, but the lower placing male competitors and many females will reach this point. Dropping of the bar at the top of each rep may reduce the chance of injury when completely fatigued. Either way, after this event there had already been 30 chin-ups + 30 muscle-ups + 100 chest to bar chin-ups...seems like quite a bit o upper body pulling movements and the toes to bar and rope climbs were still to come.
- when I hurt my knee back in October 2012 (jumpers knee) I had nightmares that there would be pistols in the Regionals. I was unable to perform a pistol until mid-May 2013 (no joke) and my Regional was June 7-9th. The pain in my knee was simply too much to handle OR the pain was so much it would shut off my quads during decent of the movement and I would fall to floor. Luckily with the help of heating before hand, icing afterwards, diclofenac, Ian Goodwin and Brian Myles I was able to get them done. I actually had 2 celebrations during that event 4. First when I finished the pistols as I knew I had accomplished something very important to me. I had immediately quieted all my doubts. Second when I finished my 400th rep. This was the first "Saturday evening" Regional event I have finished under the time limit. I credit this performance to the amount of correct aerobic work I did during the accumulation phase of my training year (June, July, August and September 2012) and having a correct peak for the Regional weekend.
- anyway, pistols are a terrible exercise for testing...that's basically it.
- the db snatches were a great finish to the event. To me, these felt just like burpees in the idea that you know you aren't going to fail or miss a rep, it's just that each rep sucks and the faster you go the more it will hurt. These take a large toll on your back when done in high reps.
- overall the event was pretty well balanced as far as body size is concerned.

Event 5
DL - 315lb for males, 205lbs for females
Box Jumps - 30"
Energy System Tested: competitor dependent, but...for me it was ATP-CP battery
Traits/Characteristics: bending strength/stamina, jumping proficiency and grip strength/stamina
- if you were able to do everything unbroken then it may have been an aerobic power test for you. If you did not finish the event, then it was an ATP-CP battery event for you. Which presents 2 different future training strategies on how to improve your time on this type of event.
- I was in the last male heat all weekend long. This meant that my rest time between the end of event 4 and the beginning of event 5 was about 2.5 hours (a.k.a. not long enough).
- the box jump issue has been beaten to death by myself, Epic and others. But, it still needs to be said. Rebounding box jumps NEED to be removed from fitness competitions. There were a few people injure their achilles tendon on this event in other regionals. Yes, every sport is going to carry with it "risk". But, there is a point when risk becomes needless or avoidable by those in control (kind of why hockey goaltenders now wear masks when they didn't wear them in the past). Once again, there is NOTHING special about rebounding box jumps. Believe me, they will not be missed.
- I chose to step down on every rep. This was done 100% to save my knee as it would not have been able to handle rebounding box jumps. Plus, my legs were so smoked I probably could not have done the rebound anyway.
- check out DJ Wickham's no rep on the box jumps in the round of 9...absolute classic!
- at this point in the event my hands, forearms, lats, low back, quads and hamstrings were smoked. This made the deadlifts much harder than normal as all of the areas listed are very important to performance in high rep/high load deadlifts. For those competing, did you feel that the deadlifts were dangerous being placed at this point in the competition? Or, did you think it was fine?

Event 6
100 Double Unders
40 Toes to Bar
30 Axel bar Shoulder to Overhead - 160lbs for males, 100lbs for women
90ft Front Rack Walking Lunges with Axel bar - 160lbs for males, 100lbs for females
Energy System Tested: ATP-CP Battery for most
Thoughts/Characteristics: upper body strength/stamina and single leg strength/stamina
- for me all the "hard" events were on Friday and Saturday. For me the Sunday events were not going to be "hard" as I knew I would be too limited by the movements/loads imposed so it was just a matter of keeping the breaks short, being smart and doing what I could.
- the HSPU's were by and large the determining part of this event. If you were slow on these (longer then 5-6 minutes to finish 50) then you did not place well. As a simple comparison, Josh Bridges finished the 50 HSPU's 3 minutes faster than I did and he finished 3:30 min faster than me on this event.
- the double unders were just there for show and too add a touch of shoulder fatigue.
- I am a tall guy and had to use a low chin-up bar for the toes to bar...not cool.
- the entire event was based on work:rest schedule. How many reps can you do per set? How short are your breaks between sets? This is exactly what ATP-CP Battery events/training look(s) like.
- the walking lunges were not too hard for me (I did them in 2 sets with 10-15 sec rest b/t sets). Typically in my off-season accumlulation phase I do a large amount of single leg work and in the past I have done this regularly in my training. But, this is a noticable weakness for many competitors - single leg strength/stamina. I was surprised by how many people had to break this portion into 3+ sets. This movement is a much different challenge than pistols. Here is a video of some serious single leg strength (side note - he competed team in NorCal and did the walking lunges unbroken during his portion..great guy as well). Here is another example - 15 year old female hockey client, 140lb bwt, 5'7".
- I really like testing lunges and the like for fitness assessment, but to me it is still a mystery as to how best fit them in to a competition.

Event 7
4 rounds:
2 Rope Climbs to 15ft
4 Squat Cleans - 225lb for males, 135lb for females
*with 100ft shuttle run between each movement
Energy System Tested: ATP-CP Battery for some, Aerobic Power for some, a mix of both for some
Thoughts/Characteristics: movement efficiency, upper body pulling stamina, squatting strength/stamina and running (sort of).

- how much do I have left in me? I am sure this is what competitors were asking of themselves before this event.
- if you were able to do the cleans and rope climbs quickly with short breaks then it was more of an aerobic event for you. If the rope climbs and/or cleans were slow then the event was likely an ATP-CP Battery event for you.
- the was a great event to compete in and a great event to watch live. Here is the event from my Regional. Myself, DJ Wickham and Lucas Parker were going head to head (to head) by the end. Lucas pulled away with the touch n go reps to finish. Here is a video of my client Chelsea Ryan from NorCal this year (I am not much of a camera man). 
- I really like the combo of cleans and rope climbs. It was a good match. This was (IMO) the most skill demanding event of the weekend. 

Here are some client pics/performances:

 (11th - NorCal)

 (29th - South Central)

(16th - Central East)

(left - DJ - 4th - Canada West)
(right - me - 5th - Canada West)

Not pictured above:
Dan Goldberg - DNF - North East - failed OHS on event 3
Fraser O'Neil - 11th - Canada West
Lauren Pryor - tied 10th - Canada West
Jessica Tillapaugh - DNF - Canada West (elbow injury on Event 3)
Jolaine Bloom - DNF - Canada West (flu)