In the dynamic, multi-joint movements that are practiced in every Flux class there is a foundational movement that must be mastered before any more complex movement should be attempted. These foundational movements build strength, stability, and ensure that our range of motion is safely being utilized. What’s funny peculiar, not funny haha, is that these movements are so foundational that some of the best examples are kids.
No joke. Ask a toddler to pick something up off the floor. They don’t bend forward and strain their lower backs and over-extend their hamstrings like we adults do. They squat. With nigh-perfect form! Their knees are wide, their chests are up, and they go diaper to dirt with their heels down. As adults stuck at desks or in cars for most of our lives, we have lost a lot of the flexibility in our hips and ankles, and strength in our backs to perform a healthy, strong squat. It takes those of us who have forgotten how to move a long time before we get that back.
Squats are used in almost everything. Imagine Bubba Gump and his shrimp; that’s how many movements use a squat. Air squats, front squats, overhead squats, back squats, squat cleans, squat snatches, box jumps, med-ball cleans, wall-balls, thrusters, and so on. And that’s just in the gym! Squats are fundamental in everyday life, the most obvious and basic being using the bathroom.
A strong healthy squat has several key points of performance. Starting from the ground up, the heels must remain on the floor. If a person has tight Achilles’ tendons or stiff hips, knees, or ankles, the squat might not reach depth which means the hips might not descend below the knees. And that’s ok! The more the ankles are working, the more flexibility will be built in the Achilles so that the squat can sit lower.
The knees must follow the path of the toes. The toes are pointed slightly out instead of straight forward. In order to save undue strain on the knees, they must follow the path of the toes. This means the knees are wide at the same time finding an even distribution of weight through the foot. For a depth squat, the hip crease gets below the knee crease. This activates the big muscle groups of the thighs, your quads and adductors, as well as the glutes.
As you work on flexibility in the lower half of the body, you will also be working on strengthening the core and back. The chest is meant to be as upright as possible in the squat. This means bracing the abdominals to support the torso, and in order to balance the body the erectors of the spine are activated. There’s a lot going on, but once the air squat is mastered the body is ready for any variation of the squat.
Squats are great not only for making one’s butt look good, they also build strength, stamina, cardio endurance, flexibility, and a host of other skills that make a person a better athlete. Can’t make it to the gym one day? Crunched for time? Want a leg day but don’t have weights around? Rock out 100 squats. Your heart rate rise, you’ll sweat, and you will certainly feel it in your legs.
Emily is the head Flux Coach, and our resident Icehouse Dottir. When Emily isn’t coaching Flux, she is working on elevating her own fitness & yoga game, sketching some badass tattoos for friends, or getting ink done herself.
2018 has been the most rewarding and challenging year to date. As with the theme since moving to Fargo I have experienced a lot of growth. The first half of the year was surrounded by major life events happening to and for the people around me. Some of which were amazing accomplishments (so many babies) and some were tragedies that rocked me to my core.
From the Beginning to Summer
Early 2018 was really great, Ashely moved to Fargo and we found our tiny apt on the North side. The amount of support she provides is a major reason I can achieve so many of my goals. There were so many babies born at Icehouse during this time of year, it was fun to watch and coach all the Moms as they crushed workout after workout. FNL is also a favorite time of year for me, ya’ll know how to make this place electric.
There was also a time of reflection as several OG’s of Icehouse moved from the Fargo area, yet it has been really fun to see where their adventures are taking them. Summer also brought a chance to head to the lakes and take some much-needed relaxation time.
Summer to Now
Although summer brought the lakes it also brought some very challenging times for me. There was an honest moment sitting with Ashley reflecting and asking myself “can I do this, do I want to do this anymore?” After a few visits to my therapist, she handed me a book that has forever changed the way I look at myself and the things around me. It has allowed me to change the trajectory of 2019 and really dive into who I am and where I want to go.
It takes a village and I have been amazed by the people around me, they keep me accountable and are not afraid to dive into the weird with me. Coaching is a part of what I love most about life, getting to help people see themselves differently is truly rewarding. I look forward to continuing to make Icehouse the best place to be in Fargo.
Moving into 2019
Each quarter I sit down and write goals for the quarter, so far I’m 1 for 3 on accomplishing them for this final quarter. I don’t always get it right and I have a lot of room to develop into those as 2019 kicks off. I have hired a coach because coaches need coaches too. Not a workout coach but a life coach and I will continue to make this a trend into 2019.
I’m learning a lot about filling my cup first and also creating the life I want to live. Language is a huge part of this and so is writing things down, I journal now more than ever (this is a practice I started in 6thgrade). I want to continue to be the best coach I can and to elevate everyone that walks into Icehouse, to help them find the best version of themselves. I’m looking forward to 2019 and continuing the dive into the weird, to live fully, and share openly with all around.
Sara Mozingo is the Co-Owner, head coach, and programing wizard at CrossFit Icehouse. When she’s not developing rep schemes and diving into the nerdery she enjoys hanging out in nature hiking trails or climbing rocks with her side-kick Mr. Mosely.
Jake Haile is our resident morning person here at CrossFit Icehouse and we believe him to actually be spring loaded out of bed each morning. When Jake isn’t pursuing his passion of coaching adults of all levels all over Fargo, he spends his time having dance offs with members, playing rec-league basketball and chasing around his 2 beautiful daughters.
Courtney Shoemaker is a Co-Owner of CrossFit Icehouse and Flux, and in charge of the behind the scenes juggling to keep the Icehouse ship sailing smoothly. She is passionate about fitness and identifies as a CrossFitter, Weightlifter, Yogi, Skydiver & overall Shenaniganer.
Building every day athletes. That is one of our main focuses at CrossFit Icehouse. Every day that a person walks into CrossFit Icehouse, the goal is to prepare them for life outside the gym when they leave. One of the ways that is accomplished is using functional movements in our workouts.
Functional movements mimic motor patters that are found in everyday life. For example, when you back squat, you are building up strength to get up off the toilet when you’re 80; deadlifting is picking something up off the ground; pressing is putting an object up on a top shelf. These are all things we do regularly inside and outside the gym, you just have to keep your eye open for them.
Functional movements are safe. Watching a CrossFit workout and saying it’s dangerous could be like telling someone they shouldn’t pick up the pencil they just dropped because isn’t not worth the risk. However, someone who bends over to pick up a pencil and has never been taught how to deadlift or squat properly, could throw their back out. That’s where CrossFit Icehouse comes in. We want you to move mechanically sound through a full range of motion to stay safe inside and outside the gym.
Functional movements are powerful and create a high neuroendocrine response. You are essentially doing more good for your body when you use functional movements. Functional movements allow you to move large loads, longer distances, quicker than isolation movements. They also create a larger physical and mental adaptation in your body. So, if you want to become healthier, and look and feel better, functional movements are the way to go.
Functional movements are fun! They allow you to challenge your full body in different ways and keep you moving. You are not just moving from machine to machine in a CrossFit workout, you are the machine doing the work. There is something very special about hearing how someone’s commitment to box step-ups has made going up a flight of stairs easier, or seeing the confidence radiate off of someone’s face when they PR their deadlift. These are all fun and exciting things that happen with functional movements.
So, next time you are struggling through a workout, or perhaps are fearing coming to the gym that day to complete a bunch of wall-balls, think about how those functional movements are going to make you better at life and help you become a better athlete outside the gym.