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All Posts By

Felix Leech

Why Shouldn’t You Just Go It Alone?

If you’ve come to a few classes chances are you appreciate the value of having support in your training. But why do we need a helping hand as human beings? Here are some tips to help you out:

1. 86400. That’s the number of seconds in a day. And if you do a training session just going through the motions that’s 3600 seconds you will never get back. Make sure every second you are progressing the most you can

2. Making mistakes yourself sucks. The advantage of learning from others is they have done it before, failed before and can save you the stress, time and possibly injuries. Failures are natural and useful but the more you can second guess the faster you can go

3. We are programmed to survive and reproduce. That’s the only thing our instinct helps us do – everything else we learn. Trouble is, we have every opportunity to learn the wrong way as the right. Getting support means you receive the right information
4. Life is hard. We get tired, in motivated, that lure of a party invite when we know we should be training. The more this comes up, before you know it you’ve fallen out of habit. Get someone who cares you being there as much as you do and you will keep doing the thing you love.

5. Which brings us to our last point – people you pay pay attention. This is more about getting support of a class or coach compared to a friend. You want someone who cares you progress more than you do or the interactions can be sporadic or unsustained. Paid help means both of you get serious.

Whether it’s in a class or 1-1, getting support takes more guts than going it alone and can be the smartest thing for your Crossfit and gymnastics.

If flexibility is that missing key in your training data bank, book into our flexibility class or try a 1-1 by booking a free taster session here:
https://10to8.com/book/qwzphv-free/191921

Best Stretches For Back Pain

Back pain is only too common, with as much as 4/5 people in the U.K. experiencing it in some form. Throw In deadlifts, weighted crunches and somersaults into the mix and you have a concoction of potential for aggravation.


What’s the fix?
Pain remedy comes in two forms – prevention and cure. In the realms of cure you may want to veer towards osteopathy, physiotherapy or chiropractic help so this article will focus mainly on the prevention side. If in doubt always consult your doctor.

Having said that, the following stretches will provide some relief from existing pain, and may help to overcome the smaller niggles.

The easiest and most holistic method what I term the ‘dangle’ or hanging stretch.

  1. Take a deep breath and on exhaling reach towards your toes.
  2. Starting out you may want to have a slight bend in your legs or even rest some weight on a small footstool through your hands.
  3. Over time your aim is to hang free with your legs straight but not hyperextended.
  4. The key here is to use gravity to do all the work, the longer you hang the more flexible you’ll get and better relief with less future pains. Anything from 1-5 minutes is a good time here


The alternative is to hold onto an object and pull your back out specifically:

  1. Find an object between hip and shoulder height. The closer your arms are to your torso the higher it will target your back, the closer your arms to your ears the lower so choose your height accordingly
  2. Lean off your object and pull while simultaneously pushing the point in your back that’s sore as far from the object as possible
  3. Vary your arm and body angle to work different sides
  4. If working your lower back tilting your hips underneath you will improve the stretch

Prevention comes in two forms. Having over tight hamstrings (the back of your legs) may be a cause of back pains so work on your flexibility using the back and leg stretches above.

An imbalance between hips and hamstrings can be detrimental as well so work the front with stretches such as these:


While flexibility plays a part good core strength is key.

You may be thinking ‘Olympic lifts DO work the core, but these will only work to an extent and some direct core work is necessary.

Arch holds for the back and plank and dish holds for the front help build core tension so your back isn’t under as much stress when lifting heavier weights.

You can find these exercises in our gymnastics strength classes or ask Your Crossfit coach for ideas.

Work your flexibility and core strength regularly to reduce your chances of back pain, while implementing the above stretches to catch any niggles early.

You’ll many more injury preventative and feel-good stretches in our flexibility classes, or if you have problem areas and are concerned why not book into a free 1-1 taster here:

https://10to8.com/book/qwzphv-free/191921

by Felix Leech
Flexibility Coach at Crossfit London / Crossfit SE11

How to Get Your Bridges Faster With Less Pain


Holding a gymnastic bridge holds a number of benefits, from building a strong back for overhead squats and opening up doors for gymnastics moves like walkovers and back handsprings.
Doing these stretches in the wrong way though can put your back out so read through as it will have a big impact on your long term training health.
OK first a slight terminology detour. When people talk about bridges and cobra stretches they talk about having a flexible back – but in fact it’s your ABS that are being stretched. So our focus here is to increase the flexibility in the stomach area.
Which brings us onto our first point:
1. Realignment. Whenever you stretch your abs you put pressure on your spine. A slight pinch feeling in your back is normal especially when doing bridges, but it needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Follow every bridge with some form of forward bend. This can be bending down to touch your toes, doing the same while seated, or grabbing a fixed object and pulling away as pictured.
 

2. Next most important step is to keep some tension in your core. Squeeze lightly in your abs, obliques and back while doing the bridge and you will protect your spine from over compression. This holds true however far you progress your bridge, as you want your strength to hold you in position and not your anatomy.
3. Breathe and stay relaxed. Breathing will naturally help you relax which will reduce pain, discomfort and slow progress. Breathing isn’t so instinctive when you go into a bridge though. Breathe through your chest make a conscious effort to breathe to avoid holding your breath.
4. Know the right kind of pain. A burning sensation in your shoulders and stomach is normal but sharp pains are bad and it’s likely you’re pushing it too far or in the wrong position. Some sharp pain in your back is unavoidable but be sure to release it using 1.) above.
 
Follow these tips to progress your bridges and backward bending faster and more sustainably. You’ll achieve better results in the long term.
If you are ever unsure if you are doing these right or want expert guidance come to a flexibility class as we cover bridges every week.
Or, for quicker results and less injuries in your training join a free Get Flexible & Feel Fantastic 1-1 taster by booking here.
Felix Leech
Flexibility Coach
Crossfit London / Crossfit SE11

Try Something Over And Over But It Just Doesn't Work?

Trying something new but it just hasn’t worked?
 
Chances are it isn’t entirely your fault.
Most of the things we do we do out of habit. We are, as one wise man once put it, a result of not what we do but of our habits.
Making a change therefore takes a change in are habits – and therefore getting a new PB or following a new training regime becomes easy.

Habits control our behaviours without us even knowing. Take for example what you eat for breakfast. Do you eat, the same thing more or less every day for breakfast?  Pretty much right? How long has that gone on for?
When most of us make our breakfast we don’t think about what we’re doing. Our brains go into autopilot, we boil the kettle, pour out the same amount of cereal or whatever that routine might be. Our subconscious mind kicks in, we switch off and let the habit do the work.

Now let’s say we want to learn something new like kicking into a handstand. We get into position, hands on the floor. But – we then switch off. Whenever we kick into a handstand, we get scared, tell ourselves it’s too hard, and our legs barely leave the floor. This continues long enough that a habit forms and left unchecked we do the same thing over and over.

To do something different we need to consciously THINK what we’re doing. Break it down, ask for advice and follow step by step until we learn the pattern.
After a while a new habit of the right technique forms and then – ONLY then – we can switch off.
So next time you face a challenge take a step back and focus on what you’re doing to avoid old patterns repeating. Before you know it, your habits will be working for you.
Build more good habit and make things easier in our flexibility class.
Or, for a speed boost in your flexibility and injury proofing book a free 1-1 taster session here:
https://10to8.com/book/qwzphv-free/191921
 
By Felix Leech
Flexibility Coach
Crossfit London & Crossfit SE11

I don't want to do that, it's too hard!


I don’t want to do that, it’s too hard!
Whenever we face something we’ve never done before, that’s often the response we get in our heads.
This is our comfort zone.
After all, who doesn’t like to be comforfable? This is an instinct that has been wired into.our brains to fullfil the human body’s one purposes – to stay alive.
Trouble is, being comfortable doesn’t get us great abs, PBs and cool gymnastics pictures for our Insta account.

The fun stuff is OUTSIDE our comfort zones. So to be better in ourselves, we need to Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.  And reap the rewards of more confidence, pride and a shot of adrenaline that gets us hungry for more.
So how do we get to that place of Euphoria when we have to climb a mountain first and where we are is actually pretty cosy and comforting thank-you-very-much?
First step is to start small. One of the last articles on scaling will help with this.

Find someone who knows what they are doing to support you, such as a Crossfit coach or gymnastics instructor. They can guide you through, give you tips and they will keep you from doing anything stupid.
The key is to test your limits but not go outside of them – no prizes for jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.

Finally, learn to enjoy that butterfly feeling when you’re treading into the unknown. The more you anticipate it as the next step, going upside down or bringing a heavy bar over your head will be all part of the fun of it.
For more chances to break out of your comfort zone and get the flexibility you need to do so, jump into one of our flexibility classes.
Or, if you want to get flexible quicker or avoid pain and injuries, try a 1-1 by booking a free session here.
 
Felix
Flexibility Instructor, Crossfit London, Bethnal Green E2

Does harder faster stronger mean better flexibility?


Keen to get flexible? Really keen? Then listen close.
All the time I people stretching and making one simple mistake. They want it TOO BAD.
Now enthusiasm isn’t a bad thing, nor is intensity. They’re both great. They just need to be used in the right way.
Intensity is something you have to be very careful with. When doing a stretch it’s important not to go too far too soon. Muscles, much like a rubber band, will tear and break of taken beyond their limit too quickly.

As you may have picked up from earlier articles, the key is to relax. Focus your INTENSITY on relaxing as much as you can. Once you do that, apply the following things:
1. Listen. If it hurts in a sharp stabbing sensation, back off slightly. Your body is the greatest teacher.
2. When stretching with a partner, keep talking. They can’t feel your pain so speak up if they’re applying too much pressure. Stubbornness won’t help when you get hurt.
3. Go slow into and slow out of a stretch.
4. Be patient. Great results come but only by allowing your flexibility to take the time it needs to.

Remember that all good things take time, and only with that time will they really be amazing- flexibility is certainly one of them. Not only will you make gains in your range of movement and cut out the injuries but you’ll also then grow your patience – double win!
Enjoy the beauty of watching your flexibility gains grow over time in one of our flexibility classes.
Or if you keen to get results quicker and with less mistakes try 1-1 training- book your free 1-1 kickstart session at
https://10to8.com/book/qwzphv-free/191921/
Felix Leech
Stuntman and Flexibility Instructor
Crossfit London / Crossfit SE11

I'm too inflexible to try Yoga or a flexibility class!


“I’m too inflexible to try Yoga / a flexibility class.”
It sounds backwards doesn’t it. Surely that’s why you need to come to a class?
But I get this statement a lot.
And yes, with good reason. If you can’t touch your toes isn’t a splits class going to be out of your depth? Or a bridge class knowing your tight shoulders?
Fortunately not. This is where scaling bears it’s fruit.
Crossfitters reading this will know scaling well. You do a workout with 100 pullups but know that with your max 4 reps completing in several minutes is an impossibility.
So you scale. Make it easier so it’s something you CAN do.
Those who are willing, will find a way.
Luckily fhe same works in flexibility.
Lets take the bridge as an example. A mean fear when your shoulders force nothing less than a 90 degree bend in your elbows. While your hear practically sweeps the dust off the floor.
So we scale:
1. Firstly you will need a partner. For sole traders out there, a chair can work depending on the shape, but a breathing obstacle works better and can be recruited with a suitable dose of chocolate.

2. Warm up suitably and do some preparatory stretches of your shoulders (find some examples in our flexibility class)


3. Start your bridge position lying on the floor, heels tucked to your backside withe feet on the floor
 
4. Your partner stands facing you with feet at your shoulders either side of your head
5. They then walk out at a 45 degree angle from your shoulders, starting 1 foot away
6. You grab hold of their ankles, elbows pointing up

7. Your partner supports underneath your shoulders, while you push off your hands and feet into a bridge
8. If unable to lock out your arms, bring your head to your chest and lower down, have your partner walk out a bit more from your shoulders then try again

9. Stretch out your back after you finish
10. Scaling like this you can hold and work on a proper locked out bridge, and work towards doing it solo
 
Come to the flexibility class for a full breakdown of this and more shoulder stretches.
Or  if you’re keen to get flexible quicker or prevent pains and injuries, try a 1-1 by booking a free session here:

https://10to8.com/book/qwzphv-free/191921/

What if it's not possible for you to get flexible?

 
What if it’s not possible for you to get flexible because of your bad genes?
This quick article is about how to beat the impossible.

Possibility is largely a mindset.
What happens in January in the gym world? Hundreds of people swarm into each gym for the first time, with the aim to change their health and fitness for good.
A week later, they quit.
Why?
Because they don’t believe it’s possible to change. Their thoughts are, I’m out of shape, I’ll never be fit, I’ll never lose this weight.
Guess what? They don’t. Because they don’t believe they ever will.
The first step in achieving anything is you have to BELIEVE it’s possible. When you do, you’ve won half the battle.

Then you have to get creative.
A wise man once said – whose name I forget –
“Those who are commmitted will find a way. Those who are not will find an excuse.”
If you look for a way, it will show itself.
Let’s take the straddle as an example:

Hips too tight so you can’t hold yourself upright?
Just by putting a block underneath you it raises your hips up to let gravity hold you forward. Thus making what might seem an impossible move, possible to work on.
There’s always a way to work around something if you look for one.
Try this process not just in your stretching, but all your training,  and you’ll be surprised how far it will take you.
– Felix Leech
Flexibility Coach, Crossfit London
Join a flexibility class to see how far you can go by finding a way.
Or if you want to get flexible even faster, avoid injuries or get less pain from your workouts, book a free 1-1 taster session with Felix here.

License to Watch TV Over Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!
This is going to be a short article to help you get the most out of your holidays.
By no means am I dampening anyone’s fun – as they say, train hard, party harder! This little tip will help make your Crossfit and gymnastics better while out of the gym, and set you up for an amazing month in January.
I’m telling you to watch TV.
Confused? OK I’ll explain. See, in the holidays you can take some time off from training and your strength and fitness will be fine for a week. Sadly not so for flexibility – even a few days off stretching can set you back a lot.
The fix? Get your stretching in while getting your fix of Xmas movies and TV catchups.
Choose a stretch you can do for a long period with your eyes on the box. I chose the straddle stretch as an example as it ticks all the boxes:
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1. Sit down on the floor
2. Have your legs out in front, knees locked
3. Open your legs as wide as they will go
4. Now kean forward while keeping your chest and head up
5. If it’s hard to balance like this you can sit on a small cushion to raise your hips
6. If you like you can also have a foot stool in front to hold and pull yourself gently forward – though make sure it doesn’t block your eyes from the screen!
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So that’s it! Eat, drink and be merry, AND catch up on the flexibility you know you need while catching up on Breaking Bad. And if anyone asks – you’re being productive!
Happy holidays!

Get Flexible Faster by Trusting Your Gut

– by Felix Leech 
Trust your gut.
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There’s one thing computers don’t have that enables top chess players to beat even the most advanced of machines.
Intuition.
If you’re feeling stiff and sore after a hard workout and think you should stretch, you’re probably right. Your gut is the best guide, and if something is sore, give it a bit of a recovery boost.
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This is why communication is key when stretching with a partner, because your friend can’t feel your gut instinct. If you think you’re going to far, tell them. No need to be macho when you’re lying in hospital with a torn hamstring.
So next time you think you should stretch, ask:
1. Does my body feel sore?
2. If yes, what feels most sore? If you don’t know where to start this is a pretty good guide.
3. What will I get from stretching, and what will be the benefit of that result? What about if I don’t?
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To do anything you need motivation, and this is the difference between doing what you know you have to do and not.
Listening to your body feels off at first, but only because everyone else doesn’t do it – not necessarily because it’s wrong. As soon as you do, you won’t want to do anything else.
 
Join a flexibility class to get flexible quicker with less of the pain, or go even faster with a 1-1 by contacting Felix on:
07504142211
felix@superflexcoaching.com