Nicole Carroll doing bodyweight x15 in the Overhead Squat
December 6, 2007 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Nicole Carroll is a CrossFit trainer who works out of Santa Cruz. Here is a video of her aiming for 15 reps of her bodyweight in the Overhead Squat, which is a very impressive lift. (In .wmv format)

Just to give you some idea of how strong she is . . . I have about a hundred pounds on her and there’s no way I could do an overhead squat with that kind of weight. (If you try this at your local gym, please don’t throw the weights down unless you are using special bumper plates.)

SquatRx on the Overhead Squat
(starting at 2:20 in this video).

Peaches -- Boys Wanna Be Her
posted by jason's_planet (55 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't understand what the point of this post is, but at least you didn't say she's cute.
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:43 AM on December 6, 2007


Is she cute? I can't watch videos at work :)
posted by cell divide at 10:45 AM on December 6, 2007


you might want to mention that that first link will trigger a download.
posted by Hat Maui at 10:46 AM on December 6, 2007


This is like the perfect storm of jason's_planet posts. You have multiple posts about Crossfit, squats, AND women bodybuilders, and here they are all in one!
posted by dersins at 10:48 AM on December 6, 2007


It's an impressive athletic accomplishment. Carroll shows a lot of determination and I admire her for it.

I posted the video on MetaChat a couple of months ago. People liked it. So I thought I'd share it here.

That's the point.
posted by jason's_planet at 10:49 AM on December 6, 2007


BORING
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 10:50 AM on December 6, 2007


That's impressive. Overhead pressing your body weight, much less 15 squats can, only be done by a small proportion of the population, not your average joe weight lifter. The record on squat is 1213 pounds (Andrew Bolton)
posted by stbalbach at 10:53 AM on December 6, 2007


"overhead squat" == tubgirl?
posted by DU at 10:54 AM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metafilter, you keep giving me more evidence that Santa Cruz is a rad little town, just as I'm trying to leave it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:00 AM on December 6, 2007


This must be an Onion article or something.

"Local weightlifter intensely obsessed about something."
posted by ChasFile at 11:01 AM on December 6, 2007


"overhead squat" == tubgirl?

No, that would be "overhead squit".
posted by Rumple at 11:02 AM on December 6, 2007


Nicole is amazing. I just started overheard squatting and I'm not going to say my weight, it's too embarrassing. Anyone interested in other sweet fitness videos should check out the Exercises page of the Crossfit website. It not only has excellent video instruction of a lot of skills and techniques, but it has other feats of insane fitness. Like pregnant pull-ups.
posted by schroedinger at 11:10 AM on December 6, 2007


Bania: I start out with curls. That's good for the bicep. (motions with 2 fingers along his right bicep) I do 10 reps, 2 sets.

Jerry: That's fantastic. (sarcastically)

Bania: You work out with weights?

Jerry: No, I don't.

Bania: You should.

Jerry: Why?

Bania: (dumbfounded stare)
posted by aerotive at 11:12 AM on December 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hmmm... Must go do some reps.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:20 AM on December 6, 2007


I wonder how weight ratio works. I mean, is it exactly as hard for a 100lb person to lift 100lbs as it is for a 200lb person to lift 200lbs? I can make arguments for both "yes" and "no".
posted by Justinian at 11:21 AM on December 6, 2007


Is she cute? I can't watch videos at work :)

Yes, in a "she could kick my ass without breaking a sweat" sort of way.
posted by Justinian at 11:22 AM on December 6, 2007


I just started overheard squatting

That's how I do 'em. My New Year's goal is to overhear my entire workout, not just the squats.

Then it's just a matter of making it a podcast, and I don't even need to go the gym.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:24 AM on December 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Justinian,

I think it would be easier for a smaller person. My understanding is that the strength of a muscle is proportional to the area of its cross section, while weight is proportional to volume and density. So it seems to me that if there were two people of exactly the same proportions but different size, the smaller should be able to lift a heavier weight relative to their body weight than the larger. A large enough person with those same proportions would collapse under their own body weight. I think this is the main reason that ants can carry many times their own weight easily. At least I think this is right.

Not to say this woman isn't badass.
posted by squarehead at 11:36 AM on December 6, 2007


Regarding weight ratios: Here's Harvard's Steven Jay Gould in a 1974 Natural History Magazine article, Size and Shape: The immutable laws of design set limits on all organisms.

"Simply by growing larger, an object that keeps the same shape will suffer a continual decrease in relative surface area. The decrease occurs because volume increases as the cube of length (length x length x length), while surface increases only as the square (length x length): in other words, volume grows more rapidly than surface.

"Why is this important to animals? Many functions that depend upon surface must serve the entire volume of the body. Digested food passes to the body through surfaces; oxygen is absorbed through surfaces in respiration; the strength of a leg bone depends upon the area of its cross section, but the legs must hold up a body increasing in weight by the cube of its length. Galileo first recognized this principle in his 'Discorsi' of 1638, the masterpiece he wrote while under house arrest by the Inquisition. He argued that the bone of a large animal must thicken disproportionately to provide the same relative strength as the slender bone of a small creature."

(Emphasis mine.) Here Gould is talking about bone cross-sections, but similar rules of scale apply to muscle.
posted by sdodd at 11:54 AM on December 6, 2007 [5 favorites]


Care to explain (a) who the hell Nicole Carroll is, and (b) what she has to do with the crotch shot music video?
posted by Pastabagel at 11:55 AM on December 6, 2007


Squarehead: My educated guess is that you're right and it is a little easier for a smaller person to lift their body weight than a huge person. But, as you say, I sure as shit couldn't do 15 overhead squats of my body weight. I might die trying to do ONE.
posted by Justinian at 11:58 AM on December 6, 2007


Thanks, sdodd. That's exactly what I was looking for.
posted by Justinian at 11:59 AM on December 6, 2007


That first video raises way more questions than it answers:

1. Where was she working out? Some sort of apartment block garage stall/parking lot thing?
2. Do people in California videotape all their workouts or what? If this is so impressive that it merits a breathless post and videotaping, why isn't anyone paying attention?
3. Is 15 more special than 14? What about 16?
posted by unixrat at 12:03 PM on December 6, 2007


2. Do people in California videotape all their workouts or what? If this is so impressive that it merits a breathless post and videotaping, why isn't anyone paying attention?

Why would they be? Do people in Phoenix rent a stage and PA system for all their workouts or what?

3. Is 15 more special than 14? What about 16?

I'm guessing 15 is special because that's the number she was going for. As in, aiming for 15 reps, not aiming for 15 reps!. At any rate, yes, 15 is clearly one more special than 14, and one less special than 16. And about 15 times more special than lifting your own motherfucking bodyweight over your head and then squatting it holy flying fuck.
posted by vorfeed at 12:17 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


1. Where was she working out? Some sort of apartment block garage stall/parking lot thing?

I've got this one covered. Research Park. It's a business park, basically. There's a FedEx location right by there.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:26 PM on December 6, 2007


Care to explain (a) who the hell Nicole Carroll is, and (b) what she has to do with the crotch shot music video?

From the post:

"Nicole Carroll is a CrossFit trainer who works out of Santa Cruz."

Seems pretty straightforward to me.

"Boys Wanna Be Her" is the soundtrack to the main video. I included the YouTube link in case people wanted to know what the song was.

Sorry that you're having that kind of a day.
posted by jason's_planet at 12:48 PM on December 6, 2007


Overhead squat is very difficult. VERY. And she is doing full squats. I was watching that and both my knee caps exploded off my legs and bounced off the wall in front of my desk. I wish I could still squat like that but my knees are simply too damaged. There is no other way to say but that woman is very strong. And that is usable strength - not vanity muscle. Why CrossFit really is awesome.

Sigh.It's really depressing to have worked your strength up for years and then see it slip away. I'm squatting basically under 200-225lbs now. That's as much as I dare go. And even then every time I think "something is gonna go."

I'm slowly working my way back into simple light deadlifts. But even that is scary. The slightest shift in angle of my knee and I can feel it start to go. Damn. Getting older is a bitch.
posted by tkchrist at 1:10 PM on December 6, 2007


Nicole Carroll in Nasty Girls (direct link to .wmv video).
posted by chudder at 1:22 PM on December 6, 2007


Tkchrist--

Have you seen the Dan John videos where he talks about how to drop between the legs, and protect the knees? Link to the video.
posted by wuwei at 1:39 PM on December 6, 2007


Damn. So was I the only one counting the final, painful reps in her last attempt? Very, very impressive, especially as she was going ass to grass every time. (Yeah, her form went to shit in the last few reps, but that's obviously not how she trains.)

More and more, I'm starting to think I need go to a real gym again. I made it up to squatting 70% BW about 10 years ago, and I'd love to shoot for that -- and more -- again.
posted by maudlin at 1:49 PM on December 6, 2007


I made it up to squatting 70% BW about 10 years ago, and I'd love to shoot for that -- and more -- again.

Why?
posted by dersins at 1:56 PM on December 6, 2007


Sorry that you're having that kind of a day.
posted by jason's_planet at 3:48 PM on December 6


sorry for the snark, jason's_planet. I guess I am having that kind of day.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:59 PM on December 6, 2007


dersins: I should let maudin answer that, but I enjoy weightlifting for both the challenge and the overall feeling of being fit. After awhile, one just starts setting arbitrary goals to hit: Benching body-weight or whatever. It may look boring (it does look boring) but it's oddly fun.

I haven't tried crossfit, though, nor could I overhead squat like that.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:11 PM on December 6, 2007


MetaFilter: I wish I could still squat like that.
posted by schwa at 2:16 PM on December 6, 2007


I made it up to squatting 70% BW about 10 years ago, and I'd love to shoot for that -- and more -- again.

Why?

After awhile, one just starts setting arbitrary goals to hit: Benching body-weight or whatever. It may look boring (it does look boring) but it's oddly fun.


Its like that Simpsons episode where Bart is forced to [repetitive task -- I think it was stuffing envelopes] and Principal Skinner tells him he can make it fun by seeing how many he can do in an hour, and then try to break that record.

Then Skinner gets trapped under a collapsed roof for some reason and keeps himself sane through the endless hours and days that he's stuck there by seeing how many times he can bounce a kickball in an hour, and then trying to break that record.

I forget what the point was, though.
posted by ChasFile at 2:27 PM on December 6, 2007


wuwei While I can always stand to improve form I'm aware of most of Dr.Dan's details. For me the instability and pain is in the oblique - left to right shifting - not just front and back. All those little stabilizing muscles. It will be a long haul to get my body to accept the lift again.
posted by tkchrist at 2:30 PM on December 6, 2007


For more workout video fun, BTW, there was something of a minor meme circulating after the release of Frank Miller's 300 about the incredible workout regimines that the actors in that film undertook in order to get into shape for their roles. Google around for "The 300 workout" should uncover lots of videos and commentary on the whole thing, including some from CrossFit, where I guess some of the actors trained. Most are in the service of advertising the new CrossFit/Gym Jones/Rocky 3 "back to basics"/"a $3000 Nautilus is no substitute for good old fashioned sweat" ethos that's all the rage with the kids these days.

For example, here's a pretty impressive Sports Training Montage (you need a montage... monTAGE!!) featuring Vincent Regan, who played "The Captain," going from flabby girly-man to rock hard spartan in a mere 88 seconds!
posted by ChasFile at 2:37 PM on December 6, 2007


stumptuous.com has a good series on learning the squat: 1- debunking myths, 2- why squat?, 3- how to squat.

tkchrist: bummer! is it just weighted squats or bodyweight squats, too?
posted by chudder at 2:48 PM on December 6, 2007


Weightlifting/Crossfitting is not the mindless activity for me that you seem to allude to, Chasfile. It's about challenging myself mentally and physically. Squatting your bodyweight overhead is not the point, it's a benchmark, a next step down the road towards developing yourself. The feeling of accomplishment I get from working hard and seeing it pay off in a healthier, stronger me is amazing.
posted by schroedinger at 2:53 PM on December 6, 2007


dersins, I fell in love with squatting because it was something I learned how to do fairly well despite not being any kind of natural athlete. Krista tells pretty much the same story at stumptuous.com, although she has achieved a hell of lot more in training than I have.

I've run (and loved it, and screwed up my knees, and am hoping to run again after dropping another 20-25 pounds and getting some damn fine strong quads to support my weakass knees) and I'm starting martial arts this month (after recovering from getting a stress fracture in my fibula from -- wait for it -- WALKING too much this spring and summer). Basically, I'm just starting to get fit again. I'm 46, on the cusp of 47, and while I'm losing weight and getting more fit in some ways, I want to be able to fucking well push myself again and meet some arbitrary but exhilarating goals.

Finding out I could run 5k without stopping for the first time (and sprinting the last 100 meters), squatting over 100 pounds for the first time, and executing a perfect break fall my first time in karate class (OK, I'm a klutz and it was accidental) were all awesome experiences. I'd like to collect more awesome, even if it looks boring and arbitary to anyone watching me.
posted by maudlin at 3:03 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fair enough. Thanks for the response.
posted by dersins at 3:23 PM on December 6, 2007


tkchrist-- oh. Yeah I used to have some of that as a result of strength imbalances. It stopped after I started doing the olympic lifting program I was on for a while. That was really great for judo. Nowadays, I mostly do the Aunkai stuff I posted about a while back, which is cool too but in a different way.
posted by wuwei at 3:34 PM on December 6, 2007


“I wonder how weight ratio works. I mean, is it exactly as hard for a 100lb person to lift 100lbs as it is for a 200lb person to lift 200lbs?”

No. Basically what squarehead & sdodd sed. Practically, smaller folks are more efficient in other ways as well. Need less water proportionately, have better endurance in the field (because they eat and excrete less), they’re less liable to get hurt in falls, stuff like that.
On the other hand I can lift more straight weight than a guy smaller than me or a woman because I’m bigger but also because I’ve got larger proportions. I have a deeper chest, males naturally have more upper body strength than females (all things being equal), but people have different body types and skeletal structures (your somatotype - ectomorph, mesomorph, etc. is sort of cheesy rule of thumb grouping). Your lanky Emo/skateboarder built guy isn’t going to be a football lineman, f’rinstance. Even a relatively muscular guy like Michael Jordan wouldn’t do well in other areas just because of the way he’s built. And get too small and you can’t produce as much ATP (because you’re not storing as much energy) so there are chemical factors - really, all depends on your genetics and what you train to do (Schwartzenegger wouldn’t be a marathon runner, f’rinstance). And bone strength differences (in sdodd’s model) don’t make that much of a difference because there isn’t that much difference between human to human in scale that there is in, say, human to elephant or structural differences comparable to say human to giraffe and bones are stronger along one axis than across that axis so they’re built to take loads certain ways and there are reinforcing muscles and supportive bones to take loads. All depends on how you’re built.

So proportion is more than just blowing up a 100 lb guy to 200 lbs. There are complex body mechanics and muscle chemistry at work there. (And chimps are f’rinstance, sort of built like us, but really strong compared to us - even though they’re smaller - biomechanics)

But by the same token if you’re looking at Carroll and you want to quantify what it is she’s doing expressed in fitness compared to the fitness of another human, yeah, pound for pound she’s stronger than, say, I am.
(...of course, you need one of those hide-a-bed couches moved, you need a dinosaur like me. But y’know.)

But again, there’s a break off in that kind of efficiency*, for humans, if you get too small because there are musculoskeletal factors involved in load bearing.
(*depending on what task youre doing)

I think this is pretty neat tho.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:39 PM on December 6, 2007


The thing that impresses me is not the strength but the co-ordination.

I weigh 83 kg. I can squat that arse-to-grass for 20 reps no worries, and I've done 145kg for 5. If I wasn't worried about my knees, I'd probably shoot for a 200% bw squat. And while I can't standing press 83kg, I'm pretty sure that I can snatch it easily based on what I can power-clean. I'm by no means big or strong. I've just trained in an amateur off-again on-again sort of way for a few years.

My point is that the required level of brute strength is within most people's grasp. But avoiding falling over, hurting yourself, or dropping the bar is damned hard. And all the little stabiliser muscles must be crying out.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:50 PM on December 6, 2007


Every time I see anybody letting weights slam onto the deck like that, I remember how our HS strength-and-conditioning coach would give people detention for it. I salute her for her achievement, but I try to show more respect for my tools than that.

And I know it would've interfered somewhat with the videotaping, but a couple of safety spotters port-and-starboard wouldn't have hurt either. Maybe I'm just not macho enough about lifting.
posted by pax digita at 4:25 PM on December 6, 2007


Well, it looks like most of the why the hell would anyone want to lift heavy stuff over and over comments have petered out, but in case anyone who's not interested in weightlifting or morally opposed to it is still paying attention to this thread, I'll, umm, weigh in. It would be difficult to explain, without sounding like I was exaggerating or making fun, how recursively and often rediculously intellectual and academic most of my current social context is (just to give you a taste, I just got back from a 12-storey library that stays open till two am, where many people were, like me, reading books at midnight that often relied on words such as "milieu" and "discourse" to make their "points.") My point in mentioning this is to say that I am, after a year of serious weightlifting, unusually aware of how irrelevent physical ability is in most intellectual environments and also of the combined scorn and envy with which it is treated when it does get mentioned. Some famous, old-time curmudgeon, maybe HL Mencken, who knows, said something like "I hate sports with at much passion as someone who loves sports hates common sense." I still think this is funny as hell, and often have reasons to agree with it, but the kind of durrr, excersize is dumb attitude held by otherwise inquisitive and intelligent people is just, well, dumb. So if anyone still paying attention to this thread is thinking "what a waste of time" I have something for you to think about. Forgetting that there are serious, useful, and highly practical reasons to train with weights, if you do anything that is in any way difficult, you can learn lessons from weights that you can avoid in all other aspects of your discipline or profession. Only the truly driven and disciplined will avoid developing habits that let them work around their weaknesses in whatever work they do. If you lift weights seriously and don't cheat, the straightforward, measured, and incontrovertible difficulty of lifting something heavy will show you, I guarantee, things you didn't know about yourself in how you learn, how you grow, and how you deal with difficulty. If you never lift anything heavier than a pencil again, your time in the gym will have been worth it.
posted by nímwunnan at 5:17 PM on December 6, 2007 [8 favorites]


pax digita, she is lifting with bumper plates. They are meant to be slammed down--Olympic lifting requires a lot of balance, coordination, and speed, and if you are off even a bit you need to be able to throw the weight off as soon as possible (learning to lose the weight is as important as learning to lift it). So plates are made out of a relatively soft, bounce-able material that protects the plate from shattering when dropped on the floor in a dismount. It's not "disrespect". It's knowing your abilities and not risking a pulled muscle so you place the weight down gently.
posted by schroedinger at 6:38 PM on December 6, 2007


Well said nímwunnan. Funny that there is even that sentiment still going around. The health benefits are obvious, especially as you get older and naturally lose muscle mass. Nothing wrong with not lifting weights.
I suspect part of the meathead gym rat image is that when you leave the gym, if you’re working out hard, you’re tired, and probably hungry. So you’re not really on top of your intellectual game.
(For you folks that don’t lift - have someone wake you up in the middle of the night and try to have an intelligent conversation)

I’ve found my concentration improves dramatically in the off time when I’m training hard. Certainly better than coffee. That’s improved circulation, but the focus required in lifting, and doing so consciously with attention to what is going on with your body, must certainly improve your mental acumen.
That’s just conjecture tho, I haven’t seen any studies.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:01 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's some good lifting.

I just started overhead squatting recently, and just the 45 pound bar feels like a lot.
(I'm comfortable with about 185 lbs x 5 for a regular barbell squat.)
posted by mmagin at 7:46 PM on December 6, 2007


I do hindu squats, usually first thing in the morning and when my computer is rebooting or loading a game level.
posted by autodidact at 8:10 PM on December 6, 2007


Oh and FWIW she's cute as hell. Needless to say she has a rockin bod.
posted by autodidact at 8:11 PM on December 6, 2007


tkchrist: bummer! is it just weighted squats or bodyweight squats, too?


Both. Once you add weight the general feeling of instability is worse. I mostly do body weight exercises, anyway and only lift two days per week.

None of the damage is from lifting. In fact if I lift intelligently—and don't kick Thai pads or run too— lifting really helps. But after my big knee injuries two years ago my strength has never fully recovered.

The damage is from years of impact due to kicking. Hyper extending the knee in Karate. And later hitting hard heavy bags in Thai boxing. It did not help I was running with my pronated feet.
posted by tkchrist at 10:24 AM on December 7, 2007


That sucks, man.

Sorry.
posted by jason's_planet at 11:11 AM on December 7, 2007


I still think this is funny as hell, and often have reasons to agree with it, but the kind of durrr, excersize is dumb attitude held by otherwise inquisitive and intelligent people is just, well, dumb.

Very well put, there.

My own take on this is that the simple, unselfconscious exuberance of physical exertion threatens people who use irony and sarcasm to distance themselves from the world. You can't do a big lift ironically. You either give it your all or you're not going to accomplish it. If you live your live keeping raw emotion and primal physical energy at arm's length, or not addressing it at all, you're not going to understand something like serious weightlifting.

Hipsters take all of the old-time inhibitions of North European/Anglo-Saxon culture, the injunctions against emotional expression, the hatred of the body and rebaptize them as cool. That's the process we've been seeing in this thread.
posted by jason's_planet at 11:38 AM on December 7, 2007 [9 favorites]


Nicole Carroll is awesome and is proof that intensive weight training doesn't lead to huge bulky muscles in women.

I did a Crossfit London kettlebell masterclass a couple of months ago where one of the trainers was a guy named Jake the Barbarian from Santa Cruz. All the London trainers wanted to know from him was "Do you know Nicole Carroll?" and when he said yes they all but fell at his feet and touched the hem of his t-shirt.
posted by essexjan at 4:09 PM on December 8, 2007


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