THE WEEKLY HOWL is Nervous About Ring Dips

Every pec injury is not a pec tear: It appears that there has been a rash of athletes injuring their pectoral muscles before or during the CrossFit Regionals. The event that has been at the center of these injuries is Event 2 which alternates ring dips and dumbbell snatches. The workout calls for 45 dips broken out in 3 sets (21-15-9). This seems like a standard CrossFit WOD so it’s curious that so many athletes would be injuring themselves.  I wonder if the CrossFit Games is in that point in its development where money, publicity, and new competitors are streaming into the sport but the athletes and coaches haven’t built a solid support infrastructure yet. Are the athletes failing to increase their recovery processes in order to balance out the increase in training intensity and volume that they need in order to stay competitive in a rapidly growing sport? This reminds me of the rash of injuries that plagued the UFC around 2010. Fighters were training harder than ever but they weren’t doing everything that they needed to do to stay healthy. Managing rapid growth is always a challenge and this was an unfortunate byproduct of being “the fastest growing sport in the world”.

CrossFit is on a similar growth trajectory. It is also in a constant state of evolution. The CrossFit Games appears to get harder and more varied every year. Dave Castro prides himself on pushing the athletes out of their comfort zones, which makes training for the CrossFit Games uncharted territory. It is a very young sport and everyone is still figuring out the best way to train and recover. This may be the injury stage as athletes are feeling the pressure to test their limits and train harder than ever.

Of course, this doesn’t explain why so many athletes are suffering the same injury. I would expect to see a variety of injuries.

Olympic Fever: The International Functional Fitness Federation has announced the formation of USA Functional Fitness, the USA Functional Fitness Championship, and the World Championships. The end goal here is to get functional fitness into the Olympics. I have so many questions:

-What is the format of this competition going to be like?

-How is CrossFit going to respond to this? Will they see this a great opportunity to grow the sport of fitness or a threat to the CrossFit Games?

-What other countries are going to compete? Why do I have a feeling that Iceland will be well represented at this competition?

                And finally, I have one suggestion: Aim for the Winter Olympics not the Summer Olympics. It may not be quite as glamorous but it will be much easier to get into the Games and there is no reason that this competition could not be held indoors. The Winter Olympics could use some buzz. Besides, you wouldn’t want to compete with the CrossFit Games for talent.

How many devices do we need: Fitness wearables have been all the rage the last few years but I have been a skeptic ever since Nike exited the space. David Kretzmann of the Motley Fool raised the question of whether fitness tracking is a feature or a product. In other words, will fitness wearables continue to stand on their own or will they become a feature on a wearable device that does many other things. He compares fitness trackers to Garmin. GPS trackers were very popular until they got subsumed by the smartphone. GPS became a feature not a standalone product. FitBit’s struggles and the continued success of the Apple Watch in that space would seem to support Kretzmann’s point.

Video Killed the DVD Star: BBC.com had a good article on how fitness vloggers are disrupting workout DVD’s. I would have liked to see more thorough examination of the economics. Because selling DVD’s is a very profitable business but being a YouTube star doesn’t always pay the bills. The article was very bullish on fitness vloggers but there will be a lot of growing pains along the way. And the big question in online fitness is if anyone can become the Netflix of fitness and if so, who?

Latest and Greatest: WatchOS 4, the new Apple Watch operating system, will allow it to sync with gym equipment to get more accurate data.

Called Gym Connect, the new feature will work by pairing your watch via an NFC sensor on the equipment. Launching in the fall, partners will include Life Fitness, Cybex, Schwinn, Startrac, Technogym and StairMaster, all whom will be building equipment that support this feature. Together these companies make up the majority of the gym equipment market.

                This is great for the equipment manufacturers but I’m not sure this is beneficial for gyms, who will feel pressured to upgrade their equipment once again. And how many members are going to actually use this?

Just a light workout: Alex Honnold free-climbed El Capitan in Yosemite, an absolutely staggering feat. He completed the 3,000 foot climb in just under 4 hours, something that takes elite climbers multiple days. And my favorite part:

Think about that on the day before the climb, Honnold bouldered just to stay loose, and that on the day of, after he finished, he was planning to work out because he’d only had “four hours of light exercise,” but definitely needed lunch first. The most shocking thing about Honnold’s free solo of El Cap isn’t just that it rewrote what humans are capable of, but that the human who accomplished it made it seem so logical and normal in the first place.

                The man is a mutant.

Tidbits:

-Ruth Bader Ginsburg has a fitness book coming out

-So does Dave Castro

-Watch out for fake weights on Instagram