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Jason Stein

"Cindy," "Mary," "JT" Challenge?

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Jason Stein

Coach Sommer, friends,

My friend XX and I have both seen some tremendous personal gains in basic areas. Today, for example, both he and I executed L-muscle-ups.

We've been discussing the application and measurement of the strength gains achieved through following the Gymnastic Bodies WODs.

I think a great way to test base strength levels and power-output would be to borrow a few of the named WODs from Crossfit. I've picked three, "Cindy," "Mary," and "JT."

First, they are comprised of basic, complementary movements. They aren't skill-related, and I believe they're basic enough that even when fatigue sets it, form won't deteriorate to unacceptable levels. (Or will it? I guess that's a good question.) More importantly, there're enough posted results to create an index of performance.

I also selected three that don't feature a high-volume of reps, though I wonder if an exercise like "Angie" wouldn't be good to test the cross-application of gymnastic training to muscular endurance.

Alternately, I was thinking if the volume was too high, perhaps one could reduce the AMRAP exercises to just 10 minutes?

XX and I were also wondering how Coach Sommer's athletes could perform these, given the reports in BtGB.

I haven't performed any of the three (or four, if you count "Angie") in several months, so I'm curious to see how my performance would compare to previous attempts.

Anyways, if anyone else wants to test themselves, perhaps we can compare results?

best,

jason

Cindy

AMRAP 20min

5 PU

10 push-ups

15 squats

Mary

AMRAP 20min

5 HeSPU

10 SLS/alternating

15 PU

JT

For time

21-15-9

HeSPU/ring dips/pushups

Angie

For time

100

PU/push-up/sit-up/squat

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Blairbob

Jason, the only one that is low volume of those WOD's is JT. Mary, perhaps if the movements are tough for you strength-endurance wise. They all measure power output well or strength endurance.

I played around with HeSPU variants last week and posted it on CF. Doing HeSPU "craptastically" as most of them do ( not all of them do regarding Harrell's or Tuck's ppl ) with the arms wide and elbows out, back arched and hands 6-12 inches away from the wall- I was able to do 3x as many as doing them stomach to wall and hollow ( with the elbows tracking in ). Doing them with the back hollow like in the book ( but with the elbows more in instead of out [ though he wasn't doing them as wide as many CF'ers ])was a number of 2:1.

10m would make more sense. Honestly anything more becomes a chore to count and is a drag to look at the clock. I doubt my lil guys would last more than 10m.

I would probably do back to wall hollow HeSPU because of that volume so I just don't end up failing. Necessary for Mary and JT.

If I can't get a workout tonight anywhere, I could try Angie at home. Very limited equipment at home.

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Jason Stein

Robert,

I always look at WODs like "Angie" (or "Murph," "Chelsea," or "Barbara") as high-volume --- but then forget that 20 rounds of Cindy is 100 pullups, 200 sit-ups, 250 squats.

I wonder if the strength gains I've made over the last 6 months would translate to reduced soreness? I haven't done any Crossfit WODs since April. My desire to do high-volume stuff has withered from memories of just blasted teres minor muscles from "Angie."

From my brief interactions with Coach Sommer, I understand he places a premium on quality work, quality sets, and quality form, while the Crossfit affiliates tend to let a lot more slide for intensity's sake.

Though bad form is everwhere --- I was in South Beach, Miami, a few weeks ago, and hung out at the pull-up and p-bar set-up on the beach, hoping to see some Muscle Beach-type stuff. Man, was I disappointed. Though there was one guy doing waist-to-bar pull-ups --- they almost looked like front lever rows --- people were doing some shocking, simply SHOCKING, stuff.

How about this for another low-volume test of continuous power output? Sub-3 minutes would be beastly, I reckon.

Bodyweight Fran

21-15-9

burpees/pullups

Also, I made the mistake twice --- with Angie and JT --- of doing them 10 minutes or so following a ring strength series. It wasn't so much that I was fried physically, but my desire to pull myself over a bar or do a ring dip was non-existent.

My friend XX saw this post and said, "Great! Now you're making us do Cindy!" He wasn't psyched.

Though, and I shared this with Coach Sommer previously, the guy just shaved a minute-and-a-half off his Fran time (it's now somewhere at 4 and change, as RX'd), and I know for a fact he's only been doing sprint-work of 50 yards or less and the GB WODs --- that seems to me tremendous testament to advantages of this training.

best,

jason

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Blairbob

I know I recently timed myself doing 30 very correct form burpees and it took just short of 1:30, Speal did his 30 in 54s and myself imitating his form took 1:18.

Actually, I think I'd rather do burpee pullup than thruster pullup. I love thrusters but they are probably more tiring than burpees. I'm not exactly sure.

Cindy isn't a lot of volume if you are only just into the double digits but +/- 20 rounds and it's a lot of volume. I've been thinking of tackling Mary from now simply because its less reps. 15 kipping pullups will probably become an issue of my hands or with my hands.

Strength work will help in some of these workouts, especially with thrusters perhaps. I've tested how many times I can pushpress or thruster 95lbs and it isn't fun and lasts way too long. It's similar to that mark in the CFNorth standards of 45 thrusters at 1/2 BW. Ugh.

Yep Coach Glassman has said 80/20 or 90/10 is acceptable in CF. I don't even like 90/10 in gymnastics, perhaps 95/5 as it sometimes can happen.

Honestly, how much metcon ability does a gymnast need? 4 or 6 events for women or men's+light general WU and a few minutes of warming up each event.

10 minutes makes a lot of sense at the most 20 minutes of total consistent work, maybe 30 if you wanted to really be gruesome. I am very comfortable within 10 minutes, somewhat through 20 and can manage 30 ok. Hell, I could probably chug on past that but it's not my ideal duration.

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Jason Stein

Robert,

For those of us curious to see how this specific type of training has carryover for general fitness, Mary would be a great test. You could perhaps perform one of the named WODs every four weeks, so that every 90 days you'd have a new benchmark.

I think this is where the differences between "gymnast" and, as Coach Sommer describes it, "fitness enthusiast" come into play.

I'm not, nor will I ever be, a gymnast or a competitive gymnast. I'm only interested in maintaining a modicum of form so much as it helps me achieve my fitness goals. So, to highlight an extreme example, when I finish a ring workout, I don't drop off the rings and "present."

I also don't point my toes; an activation halfway between dorsal and plantar flexion requires more awareness, less tension, and therefore meets my needs; based on the last 6 months of WODs, I'm not sure that Coach Sommer will ever introduce the more complex dynamic, plyometric strength movements that require such an extreme degree of coiled tension.

The metabolic conditioning is also slightly valuable in that I want to be able to run a mile without doubling over.

I was thinking an adequate sub that involves a hip-snap and an overhead push to complement the pullups would be a Reverse Burpee --- might be more fun for younger athletes. That's the one where you start on your back, kip up to a squat, then kick to handstand.

best,

jason

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Coach Sommer
XX and I were also wondering how Coach Sommer's athletes could perform these, given the reports in BtGB.

Any curiousity about how my athletes will perform in metcon related workouts was thoroughly answered in my experiment years ago when they performed 120 muscle-ups and 240 jump-pause squats in 15 minutes with the Gymnastics WOD experience (BtGB, pg. 187). In fact, that experience simply solidified my initial intuition that superior metcon performance is only possible from a superior foundation of strength.

As has been shown repeatedly over the past few years within the fitness community, depending on an athlete's training background and the type of metcon workout involved, there may be a month or two of adaptation to new exercises and the metcon format, but very shortly after that adaptation period the much stronger athlete will begin to utterly dominate weaker athletes in metcon performance; regardless of how much longer (weeks, months or even years) the weaker athletes have invested in making metcon training their primary focus at the expense of increasing their foundational strength.

As XX and Jason have already discovered in their own training these last few months with their focus on GB WODs, superior physical preparation will always lead to superior metcon performance.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Blairbob

I've had the kids play with the inverted burpees mainly for fun or warmups, sometimes for metcons when I was doing a lot of strength metcon as my conditioning tool a few years ago. ( more so with girls, besides they found it fun and that was good because it was an advanced rec/preteam group ).

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Cnye94

Crossfit, although better then the standard program you would find in the gym isn't going to make you anything more then an average athlete. Also, with out having the form of all these exercises embedded in your brain you have a chance or seriously hurting yourself. Olympic lifts weren't meant to be done in a high rep, or fatigued state. One Olympic lifter I talked to who I believe follows Poliquin's principles said she did two sessions a day in the am a heavy 5X2 rep scheme, then in the pm a 5X6 rep scheme using light weights. And then they would do even more technical work after this to improve technique.

You will most likely never gain incredible strength because your never able to lift near maximum weight in a fatigued state.

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Jason Stein

Friend,

You have a flawed and incomplete idea as to what Crossfit is, how its workouts and exercises are taught and programmed, and how those workouts and exercises are supposed to be applied.

Chief among your misunderstanding is the belief it's designed to make you a better athlete, which it is not.

It is designed to provide you with a broad and general level of overall fitness.

Also, while I understand this is the internet, using "that one person at my gym told me one time" as evidence for any statement is, at best, ridiculous.

Here, I'll do some intellectual heavy-lifting for you: if you want a conversation regarding Crossfit's approach to strength training, perhaps you might compare Burgener's Black Box training with Starting Strength, Crossfit Strength Bias, Power to the People, and Modern Trends, noting similarities and differences.

Finally, you will note that none of the workouts I listed above includes any equipment beyond a pull-up bar.

regards,

jason

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Jason Stein

Coach Sommer,

I watched with interest the results of this weekend's Crossfit Games.

The results again drive home the point of the statements you made at the seminar in May, which you reiterated in the posts above: stronger athletes will dominate.

Also, just for the sake of the general Gymnastic Body community, a friend of mine has previously programmed at his gym several of the above workouts/tests as sprints.

"Sprint Cindy" and "Sprint Mary": AMRAP 5 minutes, Cindy: 5/10/15 pu/pushu/squats, Mary: 5/10/15 HeSPU/SLS (alternating)/pu.

regards,

jason

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Cnye94

Well... you said they were to test for power output, generally in a fatigued state power output will not optimal thus contradicting the whole point of your post. I understand they have their whole domains of fitness thing and they wish to be good at all the different domains of fitness when they have sub par programming. If your looking to get good at all the domains of fitness why not train with a 7 day cycle such as Max strength/Conditioning/Gpp/max strength/Conditioning/Gpp/Rest then repeat. Train with mobility work before hand, and more mobility work for cool down bam you have a great routine. I don't understand what I said was wrong about crossfit they do use Olympic lifts in a fatigued state which is putting you in a dangerous situation for no real reason.

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Jason Stein

Friend,

Interesting logic: riding up Mt. Ventoux on a bicycle or moving your center-mass x-distance, as in a pull-up, push-up, or squat, might be fatiguing, and therefore shouldn't be used as tests of power output? I don't understand. Neither of those activities can be used to measure work done or energy transferred per unit of time? You don't understand the definition of power output. Please notice the phrase "per unit of time" above.

From your initial post, in which you rely on a friend who, you're not sure, maybe is training with Poliquin's principles, it's apparent you don't understand strength programming, either rep or set schemes. Nor do you understand either general Crossfit programming or specific Crossfit strength programming.

There are several valid criticisms of Crossfit (which, I should add, I do not practice). It would be interesting if you could raise some of them. There are often posts on this very board from people reporting elbow and wrist pain from training planches, levers, and the seeming Holy Grail, the iron cross. This doesn't mean gymnastics training is inherently dangerous. The same ideas apply in training powerlifts in high volume or for time. There are also many valid criticisms of O-lifting in general; again, you have not raised any.

Finally, my initial post was not about Crossfit specifically or generally. It cited a few of their named workouts that I thought might be useful and fun for people training gymnastics-based workouts. There are probably valid criticisms of the above-named workouts as reliable tests of gains in power output, max strength, muscular endurance, perhaps even aerobic capacity. But again, you also raise none.

regards,

jason

Be th

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Blairbob

Some research into Olympic training shows that the only reason they were able to do the volume they do/did in Russian and the Eastern Blok was due to steroid/PED's/recovery drugs.

Jason, for someone like me, with a meager fitness level by CF standards and strength by GB standards I generally can do more than one round per minute in the first 5 minutes of Cindy. At 4 minutes, I've usually done 5 rounds and possibly 6 or 7 by minute 5. It's annoying because I look at the watch and think, 15 more minutes! :x

I haven't tried Mary in a long time. 5-10 minute workouts are something I'm really good at though and I get crappier at metcon as it gets longer.

For fun, I could see making the boys do a 5 minute set of Cindy and justifying that sort of metcon for our programming needs. Probably not 10 minutes, but Erik and I have done circuits for 10 minutes. Erik and I could do Mary probably using HeSPU on the wall but I don't think the other boys in the group could even work them off a block. Erik wouldn't be able to do the SLS and would have to do them graduated or with a deck squat roll.

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Jason Stein

Robert,

I wonder then, in a Sprint Mary/Cindy, if you could hit 10 rounds if you went all-out, knowing it was only 5 minutes? That is, a round every 30 seconds?

I was also wondering if you had a box, ledge or bench handy --- is it a strength or flexibility issue with your athletes? If it's flexibility, you can elevate the squatting leg and reach the other leg straight down or behind.

The value in a simple workout like a Sprint Cindy is that you can repeat the workout in 6 or 12 weeks, and compare times, or perhaps compare progressions of exercises. An interesting hurdle in gymnastics training is that sometimes progress is so slow or incremental that it becomes difficult to plan positive feedback loops or associations. As I mentioned elsewhere, I'm not ever going to compete, so there's no inherent build, peak or taper to my training, just long (long) term goals.

So it's kinda cool to blow through a workout and post a better time or notice progression to a more difficult variation.

Also, rest assured that by Crossfit standards I am definitely a "weak performer."

best,

jason

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Blairbob

Jason, I believe 2 of my athletes issues with SLS is that one has a very poor sense of balance, actually a couple do. My strongest boy I think has problems with SLS due to basic squatting leg mechanics ( how the knee tracks, knock-kneed, typical squatting positions ).

I might be willing to try with Erik and myself for 5 minutes one day but I'm not interested in doing it for all the boys because I don't think they would be able to do the reps remotely well or count well. I can't count for 5 boys that can't count well and watching for at least an acceptable form.

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Cnye94

You take it my acquaintance isn't established in any way, or just someone I met at the gym. This person was in the 08 Olympics. Power output would best be measured with Olympic lifts as that is when the situation would be optimal. WeightXSpeed/Time correct me if I'm wrong I have used the equation in a few years. I don't see how my criticism or generalizations are not applicable to crossfit... Olympic lifts can't always be used because technique is such a large part of the lift to test maximal power output.

Also, another issue you come across is the heart and lung could limit yourself on these workouts.

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Blairbob

Cyne, I hope you are not referring to Mike Boyle that the olympic movements cannot be done in fair volume. I recently came across training footage of Mike Boyle's athletes on youtube and it was nothing to be impressed by his athletes or him, period.

It is probably correct that the olympic lifts cannot be done in the volume that CrossFit does them in at the loads that olympic lifters lift at ( let's just say 50-80% of max's ). Most of the best CF'ers do cleans at 1.5xBW and above BW for snatch. Olympic lifters typically lift at 2x that. Completely different.

As much as I like CF, I did try to formerly use strength metcons as my bread and butter conditioning at one time and wasn't satisfied with it. It was very time efficient ( 4 rounds of this and that for 20-10 or 7-10 minutes worth as the focus of conditioning besides rope climbs, levers/planche/press/HS work ) Right now, with what we do being based on Coach Sommer and GB- my boys are enjoying it, I don't have to pull my hair motivating them, and according to the tests every 2 months they are getting awesome gains. I'm pretty sure the women's team coaches think we are just slack'n off compared to the volume they do but my boys love conditioning and the movements whereas the girls don't seem to at all.

The real gain is that they don't cheat reps as easily and I don't have to stress yelling at them ( I only have to when we are working on events to get back on task ). They don't seem to be able to count well and it's more of an issue of making sure they use proper form and don't get sloppy. I'm also not asking them to do some ridiculous volume where form cannot be kept because they are in the oxidative cycle or their movements are low power. We also aren't doing crap moves like crunches, curls, and wall sits.

2 months ago, I started employing skin the cats as a tool in the tests. It's a basic move, however we don't do them in much volume generally as a warmup though the younger guys will do lots of swings to invert and then skin the cat.

"Muscle-man" scored 10 reps 2 months ago and yesterday did 15. That's a pretty good gain for something we don't really use in our conditioning sets ( though he has probably worked the movement a lot in the past 4 years ). That gain is pretty indicative of the other boy's gains. It's also a really good movement to demonstrate core/midline strength besides some lat and shoulder strength. I've tested some other but we still have to use the rest of the week to test.

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Jason Stein

Coach Sommer, Robert,

XX and I finished the ring routine this afternoon. I twisted his arm and we assaulted Sprint Mary, AMRAP in 5 minutes: 5 HeSPU, 10 SLS/alternating, 15 pull-ups anyhow (i.e. kip, butterfly kip, strict).

I completed 3 rounds plus one HeSPU, and XX completed 3.

Both he and I completed full-ROM HeSPUs. We both noted immediately following the exercise that our strength in HeSPU has gone through the roof. I completed one unbroken set and followed it with another 4 before shaking out.

The strength gains from following the Gymnastic Bodies workouts has been both immense and measurable.

best,

jason

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Cnye94

Yeah, I just started to GB after weight lifting for over a year it was getting boring and incredibly taxing to hit the weights because they took a ton of time to load, and prepare everything. I was not referring to mike boyle and I actually do not know who he is. The lifter I talked to said they would do strength focused work outs in the morning and work as heavy as possible with a 5X2 rep scheme, then at night work a 5X5-6 rep scheme at night. Every 3rd week week they would lighten the load and cut the volume. They said training 18 hours a week was when they made the best gains.

I haven't been on this program for even a week so in a few months I'll let you know where I am at, congrats on your gymnasts improvement. :)

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braindx
Coach Sommer, Robert,

XX and I finished the ring routine this afternoon. I twisted his arm and we assaulted Sprint Mary, AMRAP in 5 minutes: 5 HeSPU, 10 SLS/alternating, 15 pull-ups anyhow (i.e. kip, butterfly kip, strict).

I completed 3 rounds plus one HeSPU, and XX completed 3.

Both he and I completed full-ROM HeSPUs. We both noted immediately following the exercise that our strength in HeSPU has gone through the roof. I completed one unbroken set and followed it with another 4 before shaking out.

The strength gains from following the Gymnastic Bodies workouts has been both immense and measurable.

best,

jason

This is why I think to be good at CF if that's your ultimate goal you should be doing primarily upper body rings/gymnastics work, and Oly/sprints for lower body.

Work on maxing strength out during the ~6-8 months after the games and then transition into metcon 4-6 months before the games.

Of course, I don't plan to be good at CF but I am going to try to get some people I know who want to be competitive CFers on this plan. Theoretically will work excellently.

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Blairbob

Steve, you are a bloody thief since I proposed that program like last year sometime and it's basically my hybrid system.

To note, Steve has advocated that system for years and more than likely I saw him do it before getting into a dialogue with him. He's got roughly 2.33x as many post on the CF forum as I do.

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Jason Stein

Steven, Robert,

I was thinking, if you wanted to dominate the Xfit Games, simply find out what program Miko, Khalipa and Hackenbruck were on prior to their remarkably short exposure to Crossfit --- and do that.

Then there's that Finnish girl with less than 2 months Xfit experience who practically won the whole shebang, except for the fact she learned and performed her first muscle-up in one of the final WODs.

Results like that sorta cement the sentiments Coach Sommer echoed at the seminar in May, which Steve mentioned above: the guys who dominate at Xfit are guys with massive amounts of strength spot-welded to met-con adaptation.

I'd be curious to see what kind of monsters the gymnastic/powerlifting hybrid would produce ... I'd subject myself to it, but for the fact that explosive weight-training causes both lower body hypertrophy as well as a radical increase in stiffness, both absolutely counterproductive to my main practice. Oh, and also, lifting weights bores me to tears.

Just kiddin'.

regards,

jason

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Blairbob

Jason, personally cleaning and jerking is kind of dull to me but I love the snatch. :roll:

I find C&J as to be something I have to work on while the snatch is a labor of love. It's working levers for me. I just can't get enough. Seriously, I love hopping on the rings and working levers into and out of all the time, pretty much anytime unless I'm tired.

That Icelandic girl is a polevaulter. Polevaulter= Track and Field gymnast.

I'm pretty sure explosive weight training such as the OL could be limited as to lower body hypertrophy but the unfortunate case is that much OL is done at lower intensities to work on technique which means more volume. It's much more difficult to express your physical strength in the OL unless you are good at them. You may be able to BS 400 and DL 500, but if your technique is shoddy; you may only be OL 3/4 BW which is lame...like soy.

Miko is a firefighter and Hackenbrook was a D1 Linebacker I believe. Josh Everett was a decent collegiate track and field athlete besides other sports and a fair o-lifter to boot ( I think he has placed as high as 9th nationally ). Rob Orlando does Strongman I think, Caity Matter played in the NBA and was a collegiate basketball star while Libby Dibiase was a good sprinter I believe. Kallista herself is a L9 or 10 gymnast and there are countless others with similar stories.

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Jason Stein

Robert,

Well you know, I've got a yoga background, so the weeks, months and years of preparation and training required to add 5 pounds to my clean or snatch never really intrigued me, maybe because I knew it could too easily become number chasing for me.

Crossfit is still relatively young, so we'll see where its elite performers come from and how they're shaped over the next few years. Though at the moment, it seems fair to say the top performers come to the practice with a pre-developed base of a lot of maximal absolute strength.

I don't know enough about it to determine if Crossfit is yet able to build that base of superior strength --- but then again, it's not really designed to develop pure strength, though they do have Crossfit Strength Bias.

I believe Coach Sommer has said on this board and elsewhere that he would be interested in the strength, fitness and conditioning gains possible through a combination of intelligent advanced gymnastics work and powerlifting, though it's not something he's willing to pursue with his athletes. Which is understandable; I imagine elite gymnastics is difficult enough without throwing in more technical skills that could lead to lower body hypertropy. Even 2-5 pounds in the legs can make quite a difference.

My buddy has on occasion paired sprint intervals and snatching with his static holds, and he's reported some fantastic quantifiable gains, i.e. increased power output.

best,

jason

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Cnye94

The next 6 months or so I plan to do GB while i'm in season for soccer and then hockey. In the off season I'll mix powerlifting with my GB work so I'll let you guys know how it goes :) .

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