Tagged as: CrossFit London

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.


Programming objectives: July /August/ Sept 2017


All CrossFit London classes are designed to improve you, whether you are pushing the boundaries of your aerobic capacity in our Metcon classes, getting your first back flick in our gymnastic classes, deadlifting that unimaginable weight in powerlifting or finally dealing with that dodgy shoulder (whatever) in our mobility sessions; training with us will deliver you results.

We do however have a very focused Level 2 classes that has a series of block periodized objectives as well as GPP and the CrossFit Games Open targets.

Our global objectives are very much geared towards the CrossFit Open. This is an annual event that our clients love. It’s where we benchmark our members against other Crossfitters in the world. From previous experience, we pretty much know we want strong legs, strong arms, and a great core as well as skill in kipping, double unders, being upside down,  the Olympic lifts and an amazing metabolic engine. You’ll notice the first 30 minutes of each Level 2 class devotes itself to most of those objectives.

We have a relentless love for nudging your front squat, deadlift and back squat along. We dream of you having a better overhead position. We lust after you having a better clean and snatch. We are weird like that. We want you to double-under, pistol, handstand walk/push up. We know arm strength will give you the muscle up.

Our colleagues in the worldwide training community tell us to prioritize your l-leg training. You will get sick of 1-legged RDLs pistols and Bulgarian splits, but one day you will thank us for having the courage to relentlessly set these moves.

Todays, isn’t that day.

However, we know that CrossFit gives us benchmark workouts, Fran, Elizabeth, Fight Gone Bad, CrossFit Total, to mention a few. We use these to structure our monthly training and our block objectives

In our forthcoming “block”, the objectives are an improved performance in:

1) Elizabeth (21-15-9 Squat cleans, dips) scheduled 13/7

2) CrossFit Total  1 rep max back squat, press, deadlift) scheduled 25/7

3) 30 kneeling muscle up for time (more of a sub-target, but kipping muscle ups for the team, or pull up /dip subs if need be. 2/8

4) Fight Gone Bad: 10/8

5) Cindy: 28/8

6) 30 power snatches for time: 16/9

7)  100 burpees for time: 30/9

These will guide, but not be the sole determiner, of the second 30 minutes of our Level 2 classes (we still need to weave GPP and the Open criterias in)

You’ll notice an escalating abdominal section at the end of most workout sessions slowly creeping in. We all need good looking abs. It helps with career prospects.

However, there is an underpinning objective: and that’s to make you effective, independent, skilled, and knowledgeable trainees. Which means we will support your in-class work with blog posts, video’s and do at home routines.

It’s going to be an exciting year  and as trainers, we look forward to seeing your success. All you have to do is to get to class,  read the blog ( I actually mean, “do your home work”) and have an inquisitive mind.



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?