Categorized as: CrossFit Open

Programming reflections

Developing our programming at CrossFit London is about merging the best of consistency with the benefits of variation; all topped off with obvious short and long term objectives.

It’s also about creating establish structures that deliver training gains.

Currently, we have a 3-day structure

Day 1) is titled All Elements and features the full squat version of the clean or the snatch. In the workout any elements can appear. As a regular skill we include some kipping practice

Day 2) is No Shoulder day where we alternate between the front squat and the Bulgarian split, and the back squat cycling with the deadlift plus the 1 legged Romanian deadlift.  The workout is limited to moves that do not include the shoulder. A shoulder rest day our skill focuses on the double under and the pistol.

Day 3) is No Squat day, currently upper-body orientated. We work through weighted pull ups/dips and cycle through the press, push press push jerk. The workout will not include a squat element- it needs a rest. Our regular skill is handstand based. It can be a 45 degree wall walk hold as your first step in getting upside down, to your first handstand push up, to handstand walking.

If you are following this programme, Day 4 is a rest day. However, as a gym with a big community, Day 4 is entitled Off Programme day.  We still schedule a great WOD, skill and strength for those who want to work 5 days straight through,  or it’s the only day they can make.

We are currently testing July’s  draft programme (about 2 weeks ahead of where you are) and are deep in designing the August/September programme. Interestingly, the 2 targets nudging our thought processes are Cindy and Isabelle. This has thrown up 2 issues

Issue 1 . Push-up homework

To achieve 20 rounds of Cindy, you need 200 push ups. It’s that simple and stark. We will prepare you by having push ups scattered throughout our preparatory workouts, but the reality is that you probably need more push-ups that we can ethically put in our sessions.

By ethically, I mean we cannot drag you, our beloved members, across London- often in rush hour- to charge you to do push-ups that you can do at home. Our dips, presses etc support this work. We set them, as in our mind you go to the gym to play with stuff you cannot reasonably have at home.

I have a plea. Over the next few week, please do push-ups at home. I’m hoping this week do 75 push-ups a day, the week after 100, 150, then 200. I need you to own 200.

This can be done as a hardcore task: three sets of 66! But it’s better to think about creating an easy habit. Five before you get in the bath, five in the  Starbucks queue, 10 while waiting for the bus, five before you brush your teeth. Why not post a clip of you  pushing up 9n public on the facebook group. Its now a thing.

When you come to do Cindy, I need you to know, know you can do 200 push ups.

Issue 2 Power snatch/power clean on day 3 WOD

The next issue is the power snatch versus squat snatch. I want to create 2  distinct pathways for these moves.  I want us to consistently pursue the squat snatch as a  thing of beauty, but develop the power/split snatching as the go- to workout move.

Day 1 will alternate (as it has done) between the squat snatch and squat clean. The focus will be on enough reps to develop the best form possible within the  20-30ish minutes allocated. For most, this is enough time to make substantial improvements (self-training and our Olympic lifting classes accommodate those who need more). Sometimes this will be delivered instructionally, other times as reflective individual feedback while you practice.  Often I suspect you’ll be sharing a bar and feeding back to fellow members as you watch them move. Peer coaching, under coaching supervision, can be very very useful as is using your phone’s camera to analyse and check form and spot weird habits in your classmates.

However, in the weeks  leading up to our Isabel test,  on day 3 in the workout, I  will often include a power snatch or a  power clean.

Yesterday we tested Isabel (30 snatches for time) as a day 3 WOD, therefore two days after the squat snatch element on day 1. It worked.  The next experiment will be to have squat cleans on day 1 followed by power clean in the WOD on day 3.  So over the next few months, note the pattern

Day 1  Squat Snatch dedicated session / Day 3 Power snatch in the workout

followed by

Day 1 Squat clean dedicated session / Day 3 power clean in the workout.

Obviously, we will vary the stimulus; different weights, different time domains, dumbbell versions.

Enjoy!

CrossFit Open 2017 Roundup

IMG_8429Yesterday marked the official end of the 2017 Open, with the final 17.5 scores being submitted. On Friday we hosted the final Friday Throwdown, including fancy dress theme, awards, and drinkin’. We had 72 members sign up this year; add to that all the drop-ins who stopped by plus all those who completed the workouts without signing up, this was the biggest Open at CrossFit London ever.

A big thank you and well done to everyone who attended over the last 5 weeks. It can be intimidating to workout with all eyes on you, but everyone did fabulously, even a few PBs and muscle-up firsts to boot.

 

Awards

It has become a yearly tradition at CrossFit London that we present awards to the top athletes and stand-out performers at the final Friday Throwdown. This year was no different. Well done to all our awards winners.

Top Female: Sophie Skinner
Blood & Guts: Gurdeep Sekhon
Most Judgemental: Ali Partridge
Best Newcomer: Mike Baynes
Most Improved: Jo Peck
Best Costume: Pete Thompson as Big Hero 6

but there are two more awards to give out.

Top Male: Sam Wood

The race was too close to call on Friday, but now that all the scores are in we can finally announce that Sam Wood is our Top Male athlete.

See the full leaderboard to find out where you came.

and

Spirit of the Open: Mani Randhawa

Always wearing a smile and always around to offer words (shouts) of support, Mani embodied that true give-it-a-go ethos and was just as concerned with everyone else’s performance as hers. That’s why she wins this year’s Spirit of the Open.

Both of your shiny trophies are in the Coach Comms locker in 9MP.

Winning Team

For the first time this year, all the CFL sign-ups were assigned a team to compete with. Team Glues, Team Quads and Team Abs. That team rivalry even spilled over into a few tense games of Flip Cup on Friday. Things came right down to the wire, with just 37 points between the first and second place teams.Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 13.45.13Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 13.02.24

But the overall win goes to Team Abs. You win this photo of Angelina Jolie clapping next to William Hague.

Congratulations!

Thank-yous

The Open takes a lot of organising and a lot of people to make it happen.

Without the help from all your coaches, in particular Tim, Carolyn, and Rachel the Friday nights wouldn’t be able to happen. They all gave up a lot of their time to help make the Friday Throwdowns go as smoothly as they did. Similarly, Kat, Rosie, Kate and Nic who ran all your catch-up sessions so that everyone could get a chance to complete the workouts.

Thank you to Chloë and Tom for all their filming and photo-ing, both of whom gave their time free of charge. (There’ll be a video coming soon from Tom, depending on how many days of footage there is to edit).

Many thanks to the judges too. It can be a real pain, and especially irksome when you’ve just finished a workout of death, but judging is an intrinsic part of The Open and a necessary evil. However, this year it has been incredibly easy to find judges whenever we needed, with everyone pitching in and lending a hand (especially our award-winning Most Judgemental judge, Ali, who was counting reps all the way to the end, beer in hand).

Thank you also to the board who funded the booze and drinks for Friday night and let us dick about in the gym after hours.

(Notes for next year: 12 pizzas is not enough. No-one wants red wine after a workout.)

Looking forward

Now that the Open is over, for those of you who enjoyed the rush of competition, keep an eye our for other competitions coming up this year, starting with the first round of the 2017 Box Battles. From there Coach Tim will be putting together some other in-house throwdowns.

For those of you looking to get back to your daily fitness grind, the Open will have given you the perfect insight into what you need to work on for next year. Whether that be your engine and you need to start going to MetCons, or your heavy snatches let you down and Olympic Lifting is where you’re headed next, there’s a class somewhere on the schedule to help you achieve that goal, so get at it.

I IMG_2598had an absolute blast this year and am supremely proud of everyone that took part. Here’s to doing it all again in 2018!

Five Nutrition Tricks from Elite Sport for the CrossFit Open

Here are 5 tips from the world of elite sport that improve performance and recovery to help you through the Open season and beyond.

1) Carb up, but not excessively

CrossFit workouts are several minutes or more of high power output, meaning they chew through your body’s carbohydrate stores.

Maximising the body muscle glycogen stores via ‘carb-loading’ has been used for years in other carb dependant sports, but consuming too much carbohydrate can lead to bloating and excess weight.

Athletes load carbs with their specific event in mind; don’t make the all too common mistake of using a template designed around a marathon for a WOD lasting ten or twenty minutes.

What to do: On the three non training (or recovery) days leading up to the WOD add in one more serving of starchy carbs per day.

 

2) Go easy on caffeine

Caffeine is an amazing tool for improving physical performance, but it has its downsides.

Caffeine exerts effects on many different tissues and organs. It improves muscular and nervous system performance, but it also jacks up heart rate and blood pressure. When you’re hammering through a WOD then your heart rate will be sky high and exacerbating this isn’t useful.

The second issue is that regular consumption of caffeine causes the body to adapt. This ‘caffeine tolerance’ means you don’t get the same benefits without increasing the dose, which in turn increases the adaptation further. As the intake creeps up you experience less benefits and more drawbacks like gastric ‘disturbance’, jitters, galloping heart, anxiety and dizziness.

What to do:

  • Minimise the dose: Older studies on caffeine used doses around 9mg per kilo of body weights, more recent ones show that lower doses are effective around 3 to 5 mg/kg. (1)

That works out at around

80kg person 240 to 400mg or about two to three cups of coffee, or one ‘Grande’ Starbucks

60kg person 180 to 300mg or about one to two cups of coffee, or one ‘Tall’ Starbucks

  • Use it in a best bang for buck manner: Athletes are encouraged to reserve caffeine for when it will be most useful, in other words before training and competition only.

 

3) Hydrate …

For the athlete hydration starts at least five hours out from competition. Being properly hydrated for performance means two things: getting the water into the body and then keeping it there, and electrolytes can help you with both of these.

It’s well understood that electrolytes – salts like sodium and potassium salts – help speed hydration during competition, what less people realise is that they can maximise hydration before the work starts, and keep you hydrated for longer by minimising loss through urine.

 

4) … But don’t over hydrate.

This seems counter intuitive, we all know hydration is vital for performance, but overhydration can be bad for health and mean carrying useless extra weight. In a WOD lasting typically between ten minutes to a half hour most don’t need a lot of extra hydration. Add to this that the environment at CFL is going to be cool with still air and the rate of fluid loss slow then the need is even less critical.

What to do:
Consume 500ml water in the two hours preceding the WOD in conjunction with one serving of a product like SaltStick chews (http://saltstick.com/product/saltstick-fastchews/).

If at any time you do need to stop and have a dry mouth using a trick of mouth washing with a sweet drink has been shown to improve performance in a number of different disciplines. (2, 3)

 

5) Post Match Breakfast

Whilst most of us diligently consume a post training recovery meal, and maybe even a recovery shake as well, few think about the bigger picture of the ‘post workout window’. Athletes are encouraged to beef up their breakfast the day after competition as this is another opportunity to fully reset muscle glycogen levels at a time when the body may be most receptive to it, meaning you can safeguard against stores slowly running down, and get back to normal training sooner.

What to do: Think of this meal in terms of ‘post workout’. Add more in the way of starchy carbs. A rule of thumb is 50% or more carbohydrate for longer tougher sessions, and less for lower workout sessions like technical days

 

Last but not least: Test the things out BEFORE the event

No list like this would be complete without the following words: no matter what sport you play or what tips and tricks you’re looking at, the day of competition (i.e an Open workout) is the wrong time to be testing new strategies out.

These techniques like the ones above should be tested in more routine sessions to gauge how you respond to them.

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Drew Price BSc MSc 

Registered Nutritionist / Author of The DODO Diet

drew@drewprice.co.uk 

 

 

REFERENCES & FURTHER READING

1) Goldstein, Erica R., et al. “International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and performance.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 7.1 (2010): 5.

2) Jeukendrup, Asker E. “Oral carbohydrate rinse: placebo or beneficial?.” Current sports medicine reports 12.4 (2013): 222-227.

3) Sinclair, Jonathan, et al. “The effect of different durations of carbohydrate mouth rinse on cycling performance.” European Journal of Sport Science 14.3 (2014): 259-264.>>

Beck, Kathryn L., et al. “Role of nutrition in performance enhancement and postexercise recovery.” Open access journal of sports medicine 6 (2015): 259.

Selecting and Effectively Using Hydration for Fitness ACSM

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