All Posts By

Andrew Stemler

Crossfit London: finding a great community.

If you have come to London, and are living near Bethnal Green E2, and you are feeling lonely, that means only one thing.

You haven’t joined Crossfit London yet.

For over a decade, Crossfit London in Bethnal Green E2 has been using community to drive the performance of its athletes. There is something about sharing your training time with motivated and committed athletes that drives your own performance.

You can jog on your own, and do yoga in your lonely bedroom. You can find a dirt cheap gym and have a relationship with a bicep curling machine, or you can decide to let your awesomeness show by training with us.

We will teach you lots and lots of cool stuff. We will  show you how to lift loads safely and effectively while boosting your metabolic capacity (your ability to run, row, bike). We will kick open the doorway to basic gymnastics and teach you how to push up, pull up, dip and handstand. There is a world of cool things in our syllabus that will engage and support you.

We will make you stronger faster and more skilled than you have ever been. You’ll also meet the nicest group of people in the world, who will support and clap and cheer and high five you as you improve. But, there is no such thing as a free lunch: you’ll have to support and cheer and high five others to help them along too.

Unfortunately, at the end of  some of our classes, you may be forced to hold a silly pose.

Oh well!

Crossfit london: The pursuit of physical excellence within a supportive community

The free shoulder flexibility course

Are you worried about your shoulder flexibility? Well, you are in good company! Many people are in the same boat. Too much hunching over computers and way, way too much texting means your chest is tight, your back is weak and your shoulder “don’t look pretty”.

At Crossfit London, we have years of teaching the Olympic Lifts and Adult Gymnastics to normal members of  the public, so we have developed  (and , to be frank, stolen) all the tricks to help you get a better shoulder position.

Whilst we cannot reproduce, in a single blog post, all of our sneaky shoulder flexibility developing drills and skills ( you have to jump into our classes or get a fabulous personal training session) here are some great drills to begin with.

Its our gift to you

Enjoy

Shoulder warm up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jP02Bf7WBU&t=54s

Dislocations

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=si9uzGEiCic&t=18s

Shoulder stretch

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yLWpWSgAaE

Strength

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REjV2alcRcY

If you find your progress isn’t as great as you had hoped for, or you want help before you start, and on going support,  do book in for a PT, get  a session with one of our therapists or check out our mobility and flexibility classes

Crossfit London is based in Bethnal Green London E2. It was the first ever Crossfit facility in the UK, and remains the biggest Crossfit Gym in London, Its facilities are both gorgeous and stunning

CROSSFIT LONDON : the house plant sanctuary

We do many things at Crossfit London in Bethnal Green E2. We make fantastic humans, and basically, bring the awesomeness out of awesome people. We do this through our authentic Crossfit , Olympic weightlifting and Power Lifting classes.  Our diabolical Metcon sessions (imagine a circuit class from hell) and our fabulous range of adult gymnastic classes round off the edges.

We also do this by offering a sanctuary and safe place for unwanted and abandoned houseplants. People in London can move frequently and it’s often the humble pot plant that can be on the receiving end.

We have made space in our fantastic cafe and reception space to take in and look after unwanted pot and house plants.

We know things get tough, but please don’t take it out on your cactus, cheese plant, or whatever that green clump of stuff is called!  If you find yourself at the end of your tether, bring in your plant for us to love and nurture. We wont judge you.

If you’re feeling under pressure, and you cannot give your plant the love it needs, bring it to us. We will water it, talk to it,  love it and add  delicate spoonfuls of  peat, potting compost or other plant yummy stuff.  You can come and visit your plant whenever you like.

At the other end of the spectrum, if you have always wanted a plant but were terrified by the responsibility, but still want that “human to nature” connection, do come to our Plant Cafe and sit near one of our therapy plants. They will lower your blood pressure when you stroke their little leaves and tickle their fronds. If you talk to them, they wont betray or judge you.

It’s basically a win win

 

Some foundational work for gymnastic strength

There are many secrets to achieving those sort after gymnastic skills that we all want. There is, obviously, lots of specific work and regular practice. That you’ll do in our regular classes, supported by our teachers. Crucially, however, the human flag, the lever, the planche, the muscle up  and the handstand all require a super conditioned core.

If you want to human flag at parties to impress your friends, or pop up into a handstand to impress, well, everyone, you need  a rock solid core.

The side planks, the hollow hold and the arch hold are essential daily practice. Build up to: getting the full move, then build to  90 seconds in each move, then aspire to achieve 3 sets of 90 seconds.

the foundation of gymnastic strength. A strong core

Our gymnastic strength classes will give you all the regular skills and drills you’ll ever need, but you need to support this with home practice.

Check out our Gymnastic Strength and Adult Tumbling classes  in Bethnal Green E2 click here

Back tuck secrets

By the time you walk into a nightclub and throw a near perfect back truck, you will have spent an awful long time on learning, developing and practicing it. To back tuck, you need a great jump, a great tuck in the air and a rock solid landing. These things all take time and repetitive practice.

That’s the secret.

The problem is everyone thinks this is easy, so most do not approach the subject with consistent intention: you must think in terms of  throwing 10-30 safe back tucks each session and support this by building underpinning drills and skills.

At our Crossfit London adult gymnastic classes in Bethnal Green E2 we try and make sure that the core skills are supported and rehearsed in skill based, but condition building, circuits, like this one: You’ll notice we want to get a nice tall jump, a great snap and tuck, and a solid landing.

Once we have looked at bits of the skill, we give our clients the opportunity to try the whole skill in safety, and in a variety of different ways. As with all sports, progressive practice is the key. You’ll notice the use of a close spot and support in the air.

You can check out our adult gymnastic classes here:

Basics: the common theme in Adult Tumbling.

At our adult gymnastic classes in Bethnal Green E2, we try and get our clients to perform 5 moves: The back and front handspring, the back and front tuck along with the round off.

Whilst we have lots of safe set ups to allow you to have a go at the whole skill, it’s crucial for your training that we develop lots of mini skill circuits. You have to practice the basics as well as do the fun stuff

So,  here is an example of a mini circuit, part of our preparation to develop your  back handspring  in Crossfit London’s  adult Tumbling sessions. Enjoy them. They are building your basics.  Basics build long term success.

Each week we have tumbling  classes on Friday evening and Sunday, early afternoon.

Adult Gymnastics: learning the back tuck

Since 2008, we have been teaching adults how to tumble in our adult gymnastic classes.  We have a wonderful  8000 sq ft facility four minutes from Bethnal Green tube station in London E2.

One of the moves that our adult gymnasts want is the back tuck. Which is great. It’s not over complex, but its performance is often interrupted by fear.

Obviously the learning process begins with the backward roll and is developed by various jump and tuck drills. As with all tumbling the stronger the jump, the better the move. The only draw back is that fear makes most people:

a) cut the jump short
b) throw their heads back
c) open way to early

This back tuck drill (once rehearsed a bit) makes the learner independent of the teacher, offers safe support if it all goes wrong, but crucially, allows the learner to build confidence

For more information about our tumbling, and gymnastic strength classes , where we teach you how to  perform the front and back lever, nail the handstand  and start work on the human flag , do check out our information page. You may also note that there is a free trial on at the moment!

Build your shoulder mobility to improve your snatch.

Once you discover the Olympic lifts, they do become a bit of a personal challenge.

Your job,  in partnership with your Crossfit london Coach, is to pick apart your strength, flexibility, agility and technique to achieve the best performance you can. The snatch is simply where these attributes combine.

However, there is one common limiter that many share when they try and achieve a good over head position in the snatch. Poor shoulder mobility.

Ive seen awesome athletes from combat, rugby and Crossfit , unpicked by  the challenge of overhead mobility.

As a massage therapist I can suggest numerous drills that allegedly deal with this issue. I personally feel they all take second place to the dislocation. Any stretch that attempts to mirror the position you want to achieve, I believe, trumps a generic stretch or therapy drill. That said a if you attempt to get the position you want AND throw in lots of stretching and mobility too, I think thats a recipe for success.

So let me recommend this procedure/drill called a Shoulder Dislocation, and no, you don’t  actually dislocate your shoulder! Buy a pole and improve your overhead position.

Some Olympic weightlifting science

Over the next year I want to try and consolidate all of the present research on the Olympic lifts on the CFLDN blog, so all those Olympic Lifters at Crossfit London in  Bethnal Green E2  can benefit. As reports surface (or I find old ones) I’ll post the title here along with a review of the conclusion.

Whilst reading any articles I write on the olympic lifts, do try and sink into a deep overhead squat.

Just for the novelty.

A fair warning though. I’ll be sharing the ideas of others. Some may be  accurate, others not so. The hope is that it will begin to inform your thinking and get you to critically reflect on your performance. It is , in reality, all about you.

I’ll reference, but I’ll probably not go the full Harvard route ( I’m getting lazy as I age)

So, let’s start with: The Snatch Technique of World Class Weightlifters at the 1985 World Championships. Baumann, et al.

This study used 3D  film ( ah, the time before mobile phones)  and measured ground reaction forces in the 1985 world championships in Sweden. The most interesting discovery was that knee joint movements are fairly small (1/3rd of the hip joint moments ) and do not correlate well with the total load. Better lifts actively control their knee movements.

The report identifies the point at which the lifter drops under the bar to be the most important and technically most difficult . It’s interesting to note that the trajectory of the bar  comes in towards the lifter. Many coaches emphasise bringing the hips to the bar.

It was noted that the movement ends with a jump backwards under the barbell. This has been noted by Garhammer(1985) and Vorobyev(1978) who thought it was  a fault. It was also noted that the pull brought the bar to approx 60% of the lifters stature.

Catalyst athletics offers these pointers about a possible back jump:

“My rules for whether or not a backward jump is acceptable are pretty simple:

  • The body, feet and barbell must all travel backward equally.
  • The body and bar must remain in close proximity during the backward movement.
  • The lifter must receive the lift in a solid, balanced position without a need for compensation or adjustment
  • It must be something the lifter has arrived at naturally, i.e. it’s not an intentional technical style”

Interesting!!

So check out some Garhammer thoughts  in Weightlifting and Training(chapter 5) in Biomechanics of Sport

This is quite a comprehensive (review) chapter and  he identifies  these  three characteristics in better lifters

1 ) faster movements

2)  body extension during the pull

3)  lower peak bar height relative to body size

But enough of talking about pulls and snatches  and what goes where. Below is an extract from Tommy Kono’s book showing successful and unsuccessful pull heights and the trajectory of the bar during the snatch. Notice the S pull!

We will talk S pulls in other articles!

 

 

A final word from Garhammer in .Barbell Trajectory, velocity and power changes and four world records

This study took place at the 1999 junior world weightlifting championships). The aim was to support the concept of using sub-maximal training lifts to increase power output. The paper concludes that 75% -85% of 1 RM is best to produce maximal power output.

New cafe opportunity in Bethnal Green E2

Crossfit London has created a  world-class venue in Bethnal Green E2: most of the difficult building decisions have now been made, which has given us some time to consider the finer details that will really make us one of the best training facilities in London.

Not only do we have world-class training facilities, but we have dedicated an entire arch towards changing room, shop and cafe facilities. With a large membership base, we are looking for the right company/person to join us in this unique space as we relaunch Crossfit London.

What are we looking for?

Simply put,  we have the facilities for a hot food kitchen and ideally are looking for a company that can provide a small but great brunch menu. The local area is lacking in healthy options and we will maximise our member’s training by providing nutritious options throughout the day. The party involved must be able to provide coffee and shakes as standard.

Who are we?

We are the first Crossfit Gym outside of the United States, the first in London, and the 9th oldest box in the entire world. There is a history here and we would like to become the first in London to have a dedicated cafe space as well. This gym is here to lead the way and we plan to do that with not only our team of coaches and our beautiful facilities but our approach to nutrition as well.

Who may apply?

If you are a passionate entrepreneur in the food business, who is looking for a new outlet, we want to hear from you. Ideally, we would like a company that is already established but as a small thriving business, we understand that sometimes you take a chance on the little guy. Most importantly we are looking for a synergistic relationship, this won’t be a relationship based off you pay us rent, this is a journey that we are all in together.

We are not looking to make Crossfit London something you simply stumble upon,  but a destination you plan your day around.