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Clean up your back act. For free!

It’s been a hard back week at CrossFit London. Most of you use your backs well, moderate your loads and maintain a tight core when lifting, meaning deadlifting isn’t an issue.

If deadlifting is an issue, it’s normally traced down to a lack of what Stuart McGill calls ” back hygiene”.  Poor back hygiene means you use your back when lifting, all the time! You also abuse your back every day, by slumping and slouching ( or overextending). I t could also mean you are ok, but you cannot control yourself in a WOD. You’ll pile through in a workout no matter what your body is telling you ( it’s ok, I did this too, but,  it’s tough being an asshole isn’t it!)

I’m an expert in this area because, for years, this is what I did.  Zero back hygiene. My back took everything I  threw at it. Until it broke.

If you have back pain, there are 5 key mistakes you probably make. I made them all

1) Having a slumping place. That’s the place where you mold furniture to the worst position for your back, and you slump there for hours.

for the record, here is my slumping place

2) I went searching for physio’s,  therapists and experts to fix my back. The reality is that they all fixed it.  I just went right on home and screwed it up again

3) I failed to take responsibility: I blamed CrossFit for setting the deadlift, furniture manufacturers for making soft sofa’s, girlfriends for buying soft sofa’s, the door of our flat being wide enough to allow a soft sofa into my life. I also loaded stress, poor diet and worry into the mix, to get top quality pain, I certainly didn’t moderate my exercise: anger drove my deadlift up to levels that would guarantee to destroy it.

4) A refusal to do the “guaranteed to work” boring therapy exercises

5) A refusal to realise that I was a “backaholic”. That I loved slumping and  I liked that sickly sweet pain that comes with 8 hours of hanging in your back. I think I also liked the sympathy I got, but that’s awful to confess (in fact, I’m going to edit that confession out).

The good news is this: unless you have back plague, or a demon has possessed your spine,  you can fix your back. Back plague, demonic possession otherwise known as  Red Flags are here: if you have these symptoms, you do have a medical condition (or a demon)  and you need help fast.

But, unless you are in the tiny minority who has something really wrong with their back , your pain is down to you, and you can fix it if you want or can be bothered to.

If any of our members are remotely interested, we will  go through the skills and drills  you need to fix your back on Sunday 16th July at 10.30am in the back room at 9 Malcolm Place E2, for free. The class “back hygeine” is on the booking schedule. You should be able to book in and the system won’t charge you!

Don’t worry about me!  If no one shows, I’ll drink coffee! After all, I’ve decided to manage my back. I’m so over needing it to hurt

 

 

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!

You too can get the splits… by starting where you are

Side splits or box splits are something everyone wants, but seem impossible to get. But not anymore.

When looking at a far off goal it’s easy to get disheartened. We keep telling ourselves, I don’t have it, why don’t I have it, this sucks etc. I should have the splits by now!

The first step is to ask yourself, what level am I at now? And accept it, be OK with it. If you start where you are you can progress smoothly, safely. Trying to jump in at a level that you think you SHOULD be leads to pain, poor technique, bad habits and worse case injury. Makes sense?

OK, back to the box splits. So you’ve worked out your level. Now it comes to choosing the right progression.

 

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The Butterfly

Sit down with your legs loose in front, then pull your feet in, soles touching, knees out and as low to the floor as possible. All of these progressions employ the ‘squeeze release’ method – come along to a flexibility class to find out exactly what this is.

Your partner stands behind and applies pressure on the knees using the squeeze-release timing. By standing as above your partner is able to use bodyweight to apply more intensity with less effort. Because in flexibility we like to be lazy.

 

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The Butterfly

We’ve got a little menagerie going on here. If your knees are touching the floor in the butterfly, it’s time to move onto the next progression. The them for this one is 90 degrees. Kneel on your hands and knees with a 90 degree angle at your knees, hips, shoulders and elbows. Then start to move your knees apart, keeping alignment. Alignment is key in flexibility for reduced injury, pain and to save years correcting bad habits. Sounds good?

Your partner applies pressure at the lower back or top of the thighs in the squeeze release method. Your goal will be squeezing your knees against the floor while they keep you pinned down.

 

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Butterfly – Blocks

Increase intensity further on blocks. Same pointers apply as above.

 

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Inverted Box Split

Final progression. Sit up close to the wall so you are literally sitting on the wall and your legs go up vertical, back on the floor. Then open your legs out in a scissor motion, knees locked. Stay loose and relaxed. Your partner applies pressure either to the calves or thighs – if you get pain in the knees then thighs are better. Go easy with this one and speak up if your partner is going too far as it’s a very intense stretch. Make sure you come out of the stretch slow as well or you will be walking like John Wayne (which may happen anyway – hey, he was kind of cool.)

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Pretty much anyone can get a box split if they WANT it bad enough – yes you too. It’s all about doing the right things consistently.

If any of the above sounds confusing, book into a flexibility class and I’ll be happy to help out.

Felix

Mobility: Achilles Help

As our programming progresses, we will seek to support your fitness performance by enabling and empowering you to do mobility at home.  To be effective, mobility and therapy drills need to be constantly and relentlessly applied, not slipped in before a class.

Some of this mobility will be preventative, but much will be reactive.  It’s very difficult to perform shoulder drills if your shoulders are fine, likewise, most lack the will to do ” bad back therapy” if their backs are fine ( it’s actually a bit of a nightmare getting people to do them when they are in agony and the results are immediate and pain relieving!)

Week, by week, the mobility team: Me, Kate, Carolyn, Sui, Felix, and Jenny will be compiling videos, supported by blog posts, to help you deal with “issues”  and to advance your flexibility and your mobility. In class, our trainers will hound you for the best form you can manage. Today’s issue is Achilles Pain

Everybody can fall foul of Achilles pain. Some will call it Achilles Tendonitis, others Tendonosis.  Im thick and i  prefer more obvious terms like, ” my  F***ing Achilles hurts”.

I endorse my use of the word  “hurts:

It cuts to the chase.

You”ll get this condition by a mix of too much volume in both running and lifting. Excessive double under’s and box jumps won’t help. Experimenting with flat shoes, if you have spent the last 30 years with a heel lift, will also bring this on. In fact, there is an interesting study that warns against Crossfitting and wearing flat shoes

Being an evil person, in general, won’t help.

Speaking personally as  an asshole who trains through pain,  training through the pain will really really make it worse and hurt. But no one could have stopped me, so I won’t stop you. I do though suggest you review your training and bring in as many mobility drills as you can find. Here are my 3 favorites

Eccentric drops: one of the No1 drills to fix. Sort of an extreme stretch, but without having to go to yoga class to do it

The voodoo band: do this occasionally, don’t go too tight in the early stages

Rock Tape. Modern research is showing that there is a sneaky bit of magic occurring under the skin in the subcutaneous fat. Gently pulling the skin allows magic pixie and fairy fluids to circulate and do magical things. It needs 2 strips:
This one

Then this one

I should point out that all pain has a stress element. The more you can build good karma into your life, the better. Pain is sometimes the body’s way of slowing you down?

Problems with your kipping pull ups and Double unders?

kipping and double unders

There are 2 skills you need to excel in a CrossFit class.

They are the kipping pull-up and double under’s.

To be honest, to learn them takes a while.

However,  that learning needs to be based on several drills that you need to know. Once you have these drills, it’s sort of easy!

Knowing the drills helps your self-practice,  and you’ll get more value out of the  Crossfit London warm-ups, where we drip feed skills practice in every mesocycle.

However, drip feeding individual drills can be helped if you can see all the skills in a single session. It also helps the coaches who don’t have to teach from scratch in an action packed class.

On Sunday we have a special “1.9” session at 9 Malcolm Place  E2 where you’ll be taken through the basic kipping drills and double under procedures.  It will boost your performance and is as good as a PT session ( just shared with 7 other people)

THE SMALL PRINT: you must bring your own  skipping rope

As an aside, if you have an i pad you can get our special double under  App for free.

This class is on the booking system for this Sunday at 10.30 am. Click here to book your space or visit the MBO  booking system.

If you cannot make this session,  why not approach your favorite trainer and organise a PT session?

Subject to take up, this may become a regular class!!

In the meantime: LEARN THE DRILLS, GET THE SKILLS

Finding your Strength Head: Introducing relative intensity

BlackworkProgress

The CrossFit London programme has many objectives, one of which  is to  help you find your strength head – shorthand for developing your strength knowledge. In this article we visit the basic language of weightlifting and how it relates to the concept of relative intensity.

When it comes to using weight; in simple terms, people think this: lift the heaviest weight you can, that’s your 1 rep max; then based on that you can lift 90% of it 3 times (3reps), 85% of it 5 times, 75% 10 times. If you do 3 rounds of 3 reps, that’s 3 sets.

So weight lifting is a mix of percentages, sets and reps, all based on a one rep max. Simples!

This is a great place to start, but to develop your strength head,  you need to develop your knowledge and insights into the strength game.

Some time ago, Zatsiorsky pointed out there are two types of  one rep maxes you can have: a competition 1 rep max, and a training 1 rep max.

A) A competition max is  where you get hyped up and get a PB  and scream a lot.

B) A training 1 rep max

Marvellous.

However, often people skip the full definition of a 1 rep training max.

A maximum training weight  is the heaviest  weight you can lift  without substantial  emotional stress.

Damn. No screaming.

For athletes, the difference between the two is great. The example Zatsiorsky cites is that for athletes who lift  200 kg during a competition, a 180kg is typically above their maximum training weight. As a possible indicator, if your heart rate increases before your lift, that’s a sign of emotional engagement. Weightlifting is meant to stress your body, not your mind.

That’s the job of your partner and employer.

In short, if you screamed it up – it’s too heavy to use as a basis for regular training.

So, if you are calculating reps and sets using a 1 rep max, please, please use the right one; otherwise you’ll break. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon… If you want to properly test your 1 rep max, book a PT session with one of the training team.

If you have been lifting regularly for a while, you have probably begun to review strength literature and you are probably aware that lifting 80% of your 1 rep max provokes strength gain.

So, when lifting sets of 5, you’d probably like to put 80% of your 1 rep max on the bar. Everyone does that, but think about what it is you’d are actually be doing.

Let’s forget weightlifting for a moment, and talk about bricks. Imagine you are a labourer on a building site. Lets say we run a test to see how many bricks you can move in a day. For argument’s sake, let’s  say you can move 1000.

Normally in training we wouldn’t want to move the 1000, we would do 800 ( 80%) but many people want to set 5 reps of that. So there you are, lifting 5 x 800 =4000.

If you tried to do that in a day, you’d probably die.

Back to the weight room. So you can lift 100kg calmly as your 1 rep max. You’ve been told if you lift 80% and over of this figure, you are strength training. So, to keep the maths easy, if you lift 80kg, you are strength training. But do you lift that 80% five times?

As you see from my poor labourer example, the first 800 was probably easy, but the next 800, isn’t easy, the 3rd 800 is getting you to breaking point.

In short, 80% lifted multiple times, isn’t perceived by the body as 80%. It sees it as much, much heavier because of the volume. The bricklayer, is of course a silly example – but try and get the message rather than be sidetracked in the endurance aspect of the example.

In simple terms, because you are lifting in sets of multiple reps, a load of 67% of your 1 rep max lifted 5 times has a relative intensity of 79%. It feels like 79%, your body thinks it’s 79%. It is 79%

Putting 76% of you 1 rep max on your bar for 5, has the effect of being 88%.

70% feels like  =82%,

73% feels like  =  85%.

80% on the bar for 5, is like lifting 91%.

Relative intensity is the simple observation that volume, load and rest effects how your body feels and adapts to weight.

Coach Robb Rogers gives a fuller description here:

http://coachrobbrogers.com/relative-intensity-concept-part-two

Remember your muscles are dumb, they don’t know or care about percentages. They just know what feels heavy.

According to Mike Tuchscherer; “The body responds to things like the force of the muscle’s contraction, how long the contraction lasts, and how many contractions there were. A percentage isn’t necessarily a precise way to describe this, as different lifters will perform differently.”

In take-home terms, if today you went to CrossFit London or CrossFit SE11, and during the strength session, you only got to 68% of your (proper) 1 rep Training max for 5; you actually hit the 80% in relative intensity. That’s the 80% you need to nudge your strength along.

For now, in our general programme, we are not obsessing about percentages; but those who do know their lifts, I hope will be grateful for this insight. For the rest of you, simply work to a set of 5 that you can comfortably lift, bearing in mind these RPE (rates of perceived exertion) as guidance.

On a scale from 1 to 10:

9: Heavy Effort. Could have done one more rep.
8: Could have done two or three more reps, but glad you didn’t have to.
7: Bar speed is “snappy” if maximal force is applied
6: Bar speed is “snappy” with moderate effort

After a while, I suspect a “five” you can do in class will be at an RPE between 7 and 8.

Once you bedded this concept of relative intensity into your head, you can look forward to many years of safe, effective lifting.

More “Strength Head” insights coming soon.

Grateful thanks to Coach Chet Morjaria @  Strength Education and to Coach Anthony Waller @ CrossFit London for the numerous corrections  and observations they supplied

Blackwork by Coach Kate Pankhurst, Certificate course piece @ Royal School of Needlework

 

Sorting out wrist pain

tim wrist pain

Wrist pan is awful and frustrating. It makes  you sit out workouts  you  know  could thrash, but cannot,  because  the moment your wrist bends back (extends) you are in agony. It also hurts. Hence the use of the term, PAIN.

 Here are several avenues for you to explore with our trainers to sort this issue out.

1) You probably  need to do more mobility work in your upper back: get to see anyone in the mobility  team (Kate Pankhust, Sui Wong, Jenny Nim ) they all know that the  nerves that come out of  your spine can effect the way your wrist feels.  Knots in your upper back, thoracic immobility can really hang nerves up. Read this interesting article and get a session booked with them .Obviously they will look into your naughty rotator cuff,  further down your arm, your forearm and your wrist .

Obviously if you’ve been diagnosed with a contagious neck  and upper back eating illness and wrist plague,  take your doctors advice. However,  if you suspect that years of hunching over your computer has locked up  your upper back, get it mobile. Obviously shoulder, arm and wrist massage,  needling , flexibility , taping, retraining can all help.

 2) All our training team  can get you to strengthen up your firearms: Strengthen the flexion of your wrist, think wrist curls and squeezing tennis balls. Preferably your own.  Think , strong forearms, think Popeye forearms.  Our trainers will tell you how!

 3)  In class, reduce the amount of time you spend in  wrist flexion ( think  push up position).  Think about push ups and burpees  on dumbbells or paralletts, . We bought them , you should use them

 4)  Crucial ! Get a review session booked  with one of our amazing trainers and sort out your front squat, your push press and  your thrusters. The key to driving stuff off your shoulders, without wrist pain,  is a violent extension of the hips first and WHEN THE BAR IS MOVING , and only then ,  you  get your  full hand around it and you  press.

If you start your press  with your hands before your hip has kicked into the bar, you are simply driving the force into  your wrists, and slowing a powerful awesome movement down. Get your coaches to review. If you have wrist pain, this is probably what you do.

 If you chat to most of our trainers, I’m fairly sure they can do a quick 30 minute PT for £20,  £25

 

Programming

ProgCrop

Programming is about sequencing exercises so they meet an objective, but also to manipulate fatigue and reduce the risk of injury.  The following outlines some of our short term and medium goals and some of the  programming structure we will use to deliver  you the fitness you want. This is less about whats actually in a class, more as  to how it arrives there.

Objectives for June

1)We want to put pacing runs on your agenda   By the end of June, you need to know what your 400m pace and time is, and commit to  run it consistently. A 400m in a WOD is no longer a staggered recovery run, it’s a paced piece of in-control work. As the months roll by we will be developing our pacing and aerobic capacity, so be prepared to record times, use heart rate monitors, and focus on those runs. Long term, we have decided that we would like most clients to run 1600 meters in 6 minutes (means 400m in 90 seconds, 800m in 180 seconds, 200m in 45 seconds, 100m  in 23 seconds.)

2) Underpinning leg strength is crucial. In June your task will be to discover and consolidate a  5 rep deadlift, back and front squat. We don’t want people lifting emotionally and screaming reps up, as much fun as it is. For June we want calm, effective consistent work. Once you know and own this figure, we will be adding a lot of variance. June is consistent, solid, good quality work. Anthony is in the wings preparing to add fantastic variation to our strength work from the end of June. Don’t let him down. When our coaches try and tailor strength components for you, they will need  to know  how many times you can lift a bar effectively 5 times. For some, this will be the same as a 5 rep max, for others as the time allowed may only be 10 or 15 minutes, its the best 5 you can do in the time allocated

We will ask you to do work on your pistol (1-legged squat) and you’ll be learning the balance and technique of the Bulgarian squat.

3) Underpinning arm strength  in  Crossfit training is crucial. Once you have your pull up and dips, weighted versions, combined with shooting for max unweighted reps, will prepare you for most WODs and most moves. They are foundational for handstand push-ups and the muscle up. We have tricks, and   controlled negatives for those still developing arm strength.

4) Skills. Like it or not, CrossFit demands you learn  certain  skills. You must know  how to kip (both pull ups and T2B), you must double-under and pistol. Our experience (as the first ever CrossFit affiliate in the UK) shows us that short, regular, quick practice is the key to achieving these skills. Obviously we have our skill classes to consolidate practice and mastery. I think we are about to develop a 1.9/1.10 as part of our beginner process to deal with kipping, double-under, pistol and muscle up progressions. This is under discussion

 5) As its election month, I can only say, go back to your box and prepare for dumbbells!!!

6) The programme for the next few months is structured around achieving good performances in 4 benchmark workouts. Spaced, about 3 to 4 weeks apart. The 4 are:

Fran, Elizabeth, 30 muscle ups for time,  Fight Gone Bad.

In the weeks running up to these workouts we will experiment and develop the  specific components. As an overview, if you take a move, say thrusters you need to  do them a) lighter for volume b) your Fran weight, for volume,  c) Dumbell versions, d) a Tabata test,  e) heavier thrusters.

Crucially you need a strategy. Are you using one now e.g.  do you break thrusters (whatever) into sets of 7, 5 and 3 with rest. Tim tells me one of the fire breathers can do 36 in a row!

STRUCTURE.

After much consultation, with more to follow,  we hear that those who want to follow a structured programme want 1 clear day’s rest between working shoulders, and no more than 2 consecutive days in a row working squats. Indeed, those with poor shoulder have begged for a no shoulder day!

We will produced a matrix that consists of 4 rotating days

All elements (blue)
No shoulder (pink)
No squats (green)
Off programme (yellow)

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For those wanting a “programme” The 3 day on / 1 day off  the programme mirrors the original, and still current, CrossFit prescription.

Using this as a structure you find that, as far as our  basic strength prescription goes:

Blue day  (all elements) will always have an Olympic lift. Alternating between the snatch and clean and jerk.
Pink days  ( No shoulder)will alternate between back squat  + deadlift, and front squat + Bulgarian split
Green days: (No Squat)   Overhead pressing (press, push press, push jerk)
Yellow: Off-programme, anything goes ( or catch up if there is space)

To further explore this ideas,

Blue day  (all elements) will  also seek to develop your kip ability
Pink day (no shoulder)  your pistol and double-unders
Green day ( no squats) your handstand ability ( everything from lying on the floor in a dish shape mobilising wrists, modest wall walks to kicking up, handstand push ups and handstand  walking drills)
Yellow day: Off programme, rest day for those committing to the 3 day programme, “wild card” for everyone else, a great WOD, some  unusual strength, fascinating skills and using those bits of kit unique to the gym space  you are in

To further explore this:

Blue day  (all elements) will  also strengthen your pull-ups: think, as a  starting point, weighted pull ups, 3,3,3,3,3. Green days ( no squats)  will include weighted dips 3,3, 3, 3, 3 ( these will soon vary and include max effort unweighted attempts  You know you need to slice through 50 pulls ups/dips to get a great workout. This regime gets you there.

To make it clear, each day, including Off Programme day, has a fantastic session with some skill, some strength and a great WOD. You can come as and when you like. This simply gives us a programming structure for those who want it . If you simply come 1, 2 or  3 times a week  , there will be a great session waiting for you.

More information soon. We will be  keeping a close eye on your performance and encouraging you to record and monitor your results.

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

CrossFit London’s New Location: Update (2)

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cudworthBack in October I posted a blog updating you all on the current progress with the move to the new gym. There has been a small (but very significant) step forward since then, which is detailed below. I hope it also gives you a small insight into the reason why this build is taking so long.

At around the time of the last blog post we had submitted to Network Rail our plans detailing the refurbishment of the new arches. Everything else we could have done up to that point was complete. Costings, drawings, equipment, labour, etc, etc, was all good to go from our end. All we had to do was wait for the “OK” from Network Rail. And wait we did. And wait. And two months later we’re still waiting for a response. This is why it’s been so long since the last update.

Well, last week we got a response, which means our proposal has finally made it to the top of the pile. They got back to us with a single point of contention, which, once overcome will mean we get signed off for works to begin.

So, assuming that we’re not waiting another two months for their next reply and for this final bone of contention to be resolved, it means that work on the new gym might start as early as the beginning of January.

As soon as we hear anything else, there’ll be another update. Fingers crossed.

 

Strongman Beginner's Class

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The original CrossFit London beginner’s course consists of seven separate Level 1 classes and cover everything you need to know for our Level 2 and other CrossFit classes. However, if you wish to attend the Strongman sessions you will need to complete an eighth (optional) beginners class which build on the first seven.

Jarlath

The session will cover:

  • Atlas stones
  • Logs
  • Axle bars
  • Tyre flips
  • Farmer’s handles
  • Yoke holds and carries

If you wish to participate in the Strongman classes, there will be a Strongman beginners at 20:30 on the first Wednesday of every month in 10 Malcolm Place. Keep an eye out on the schedule.

WOD 21 August 2017

Skill:

Handstands.

Strength:

Barbell Turkish Get-Up.

WOD:

Part A)

ME burpees.

1 minute rest before Part B)

400m run.

“Annie.”

400m run.

Part C)

3x ME L-sit attempts.

 

Looking to start with CrossFit London UK in Bethnal Green?

Find out more about our beginners programme here and you can book our Level 1 classes online here, or here for those with prior CrossFit experience.

If you have any other questions then you should be able to find the answers on the website but if you’re still stuck you can email me here.

What Shoulder Pain Exercises to Do For Crossfit

3 Tips For Shoulder Pain Exercises to Do For Crossfit

Do you get pain in your shoulders before or during lifting? Maybe some moves like snatches or overhead squats are impossible because of it?

Here are three tips to help relieve your shoulder pain to make it easier easier to lift and prevent further discomfort.

1. Diagnose

First step is to work out: how bad it is? Shoulders are complicated and serious injuries must be treated ASAP.

Ideally ask a physio or doctor friend who can give you a free once over. If it’s anything ligament- or tendon-related you are best to see a registered physiotherapist and do everything they say before moving on to step two. If the pain is just in the muscles, crack on:

2. Relieve

What exerciees can you do to relieve shoulder pain? Chances are pain will be from overuse or tight muscles so anything you can do to relax the muscle will help.

Start by doing some shoulder stretches after every Crossfit or weights session. This will ease out the scar tissue.  – you’ll learn some great examples in our flexibility classes.

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Adding in some foam roller work as well will help. Whatever you do:

  • Go light, especially while the shoulders are still sore
  • Get support. Seek the advice of someone who knows what they are doing as well as a partner to stretch with. Having someone else will ensure you don’t push yourself too far and can focus on easing your pain as fast as possible

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3. Prevent

Shoulder pain during and after sessions often comes from incomplete recovery. Make sure you stretch after every session as this is the biggest mistake people make – and you don’t want to be one of them.

Second thing you need to do is even out any imbalances, as chances are if you’re experiencing pain it’s from tight shoulders. Work on improving your shoulder flexibility consistently the bridge is ideal for this and looks cool as well!

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Anyone can get more flexible in the shoulders, no matter how tight you feel now, and once you do it will open up new possibilities and help you feel amazing in your sport and life.

So why not give it a try:

Come along to a flexibility class or if your serious about FAST results book a ‘Less Pains, More Gains’ get-flexible 1-1 on:

07504 142211

felix@superflexcoaching.com

 

Felix

WOD 20 August 2017

Skill:

Kipping pull-ups.

Strength:

Strict press.

3×5.

WOD:

AMRAP 12.

3x muscle-ups.

10x power cleans (80/60kg).

16x KB snatch (24/16kg).

 

Looking to start with CrossFit London UK in Bethnal Green?

Find out more about our beginners programme here and you can book our Level 1 classes online here, or here for those with prior CrossFit experience.

If you have any other questions then you should be able to find the answers on the website but if you’re still stuck you can email me here.