All Posts By

Joe Martin

CrossFit Hacks

10 Life-Hacks for the CrossFit Addict


If you’re reading this blog, odds are you’re already neck-deep in the CrossFit Kool-Aid, so I won’t waste your time explaining the whole ‘CrossFit’ thing to you. But that means you’re all too aware that life can be a struggle for the CrossFitter about town. Tearing your hands. Having to explain what CrossFit is every time you mention it (which is frequently). Getting out of bed after Annie. Walking up stairs after Cindy. Having to turn down an invitation to thirsty Thursday  because it’s Fran tomorrow and you need to beat your PR.

Life is tough.

Here are 10 life-hacks to make your day, inside and outside of the gym, a little bit easier. These aren’t wishy-washy ‘eat clean’, ‘trust the process’, ‘take a rest day’, ‘work on your weaknesses’ type hacks. We all know them, and we know we ignore them. These are real-life, genuinely applicable hacks to make your CrossFit lives easier.


#1 Accessory Successory

More accessories means better CrossFit. You perform better with knee sleeves, wrist wraps and headbands on. You just do. You’re sure of it because of that one winter when your knee hurt a bit and now you need knee sleeves for every WOD. Unfortunately, CrossFit makes you sweat. Sweat breeds bacteria. Bacteria smells like ass. Ergo, your accessories smell like ass.

The solution: don’t put on a special cold-wash cycle for these little things. Take off your knee sleeves, wrist-wraps and other fabric accoutrements in the shower, pour some shower gel on them and give ’em a stomp. They’ll be dry and smelling sweet by the next day ready to wear again.


#2 On your knees

Speaking of knee sleeves, they have another purpose other than smelling like death and protecting from imaginary injuries.

Got a lunging WOD coming up? While the rest of the class bumbles around getting a mat – which they will then repeatedly trip on throughout the workout – slip on a pair of thick, cheap sleeves and your knees will be nice and protected wherever you may lunge.

Rocktape currently has a sale on their KneeCaps (true as at 26th Aug 2018) and are selling them for £12.99 per pair (not per sleeve as is often the case).


#3 Fail to prepare (your nutrition), prepare to fail!

(Get ready! Shameless self-promotion coming up)

Most of us do CrossFit because we want to look good naked. Unfortunately the hard part isn’t the WOD, it’s the other 23 hours of the day. If you’re not fuelling properly, you’re not going to get the results you want.

If only there was some sort of shop, cafe or ‘refuelling bar’ right in the gym. Oh wait, there is!

You can get NOCCO, coffee and various protein-infused treats at SE11 and CFL, or in the Shake It bar at CFL you can pre-order your shakes before the workout and pick them up on your way out (after you’ve taken your knee-sleeves for a shower).

Even if you don’t buy something from the gym, eat something. Anything.


#4 Don’t hang your WOD from the end of your rope

Have you ever been mid-way through a WOD only for the fastener to come off your skipping rope and ruin what was bound to be a white-board-topping time? If not, odds are you’ve seen it happen to someone else and watched them scrabble around on the floor trying to find their little rope screw fastener thingy.

Are you planning on growing any taller? No? Then you don’t need your rope to be adjustable anymore. Superglue down the plastic nubbins at end of your rope and you’ll never have to worry about it coming apart again.


#5 Peeing clearly

We workout, we sweat, we lose fluids, we drink more. But even before you did CrossFit, odds are you weren’t drinking enough water. Now that you are, the likelihood is that your water deficit is even greater.

While you’re at work, have a 2 litre bottle of water sitting on your desk as a constant reminder to drink. That two litre bottle needs to be empty by the end of the day. When it is, fill it back up, pop it in the fridge, and it’ll be ready for tomorrow.

Or better yet, buy our exclusive CFLDN water bottle and be the envy of your friends and super-hydrated at the same time.


#6 Hipster Hair Hack

A few years ago this hack would have been aimed almost exclusively at the ladies, but with the rise of the man-bun, this is no longer the case.

If you have long hair, you’ve likely had your ponytail come loose during a WOD, or got it caught under a bar bringing it down onto your back, or even been stupid enough to trap yourself under a foam roller. Don’t be that guy (or gal).

Leave a few spare hairbands around your water bottle, so that you’re never caught short during your next hair-related emergency.

Man-bun don’t look so silly no more, do it?


#7 You call that a knife? This is a knife!

Thick, hard calluses tear.

Thin, soft ones don’t.

Torn hands = no CrossFit.

You do the maths.

‘Corn and callus knife’ available at Boots to shave down those thick bits o’ nasty skin.

Make sure to replace the blade frequently and don’t be too aggressive with it! It’s still a knife.


#8 Double deadlift hack

I heard once that more injuries in the gym come from loading and unloading bars with careless form, than they do from the actual lift. That may or may not be true, but the next time you load a bar consider what your spine looks like vs how it looks when you perform the deadlift.

Love them or hate them, at some point you’re going to have to pick up a heavy thing at the gym. Whenever deadlifts roll around, first thing you should do is pick a spot by the plate stack. Save yourself time shlepping plates back and forth by loading up right next to the stacks.

Next hack: loading and unloading. You only have two hands to lift the bar off the floor and slide new plates on at the same time, which gets tricky as things get heavier. Don’t bother buying a deadlift jack; save yourself some time and money and grab a 0.5kg plate. Roll your loaded bar onto that plate and it will raise the bar a few millimetres off the floor, and enough that a plate will slide on or off with ease.


#9 Get a grip

Are you using a hook grip yet? No? You’re an idiot.

You know those CrossFit fail videos where someone wrenches a bar off the floor, only for their hands to slip and then they fall on their ass? Odds are they weren’t using a hook grip. There’s not an elite-level CrossFitter or Olympic Lifter in the world who doesn’t use this grip. You should be using it too.

If you’re not using it yet, here’s how to start:

Every time you pick up an empty bar and the class starts doing drills, do it with a hook-grip (see picture). Then go back to your normal grip when you add weight. It will hurt, but it won’t hurt forever. Do this for a few weeks and eventually the hook-grip will feel like second nature and your regular grip will feel weird.

But it won’t happen until you do it. Start light. Stick with it.


#10 He ain’t heavy, I do CrossFit

I’m sorry to tell you, you’ve been doing partner-carries all wrong. Forget piggy-backing. Piggy-backs are for babies and pigs (presumably).

Check out this video which explains the Fireman’s carry.

(Recognise the gym? That’s what Malcolm Place looked like in 2011!)


 

Programming overview w/c 29 January 2018

WEEK 5/16
Programming for Crossfit London in Bethnal Green, E2 w/c 29th January 2018
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
Registration for the 2018 CrossFit Open is LIVE! More information coming soon.
 
NEW CLASSES & SCHEDULE CHANGES
 
N/A.
 
CROSSFIT WOD
 
Programming photo attached.
 
OLYMPIC LIFTING
 
Monday:
Snatch.
 
Wednesday:
Clean.
 
Sunday:
Jerk.
 
POWERLIFTING
 
Monday:
Deadlift.
 
Wednesday:
Bench.
 
Sunday:
Squat.
 
COMPETITION
 
Tuesday:
TBD.
 
Thursday:
TBD.
 
Saturday:
TBD.
 
HEAVY METAL CLUB
 
Monday:
Clean & Jerk and squat.
 
Friday:
Snatch and squat.
 
CROSSFIT GYMNASTICS
 
Thursday:
Ring MU, TTB, push-up.
 
Saturday:
Pullups, bar MU, midline.
 
BARBELL STRENGTH
 
Saturday:
Deadlift & bench.
 
FLEXIBILITY
 
Monday:
Shoulders/bridge/glutes.
 
Wednesday:
Front & side splits.
 
Saturday:
Chest/bridge/hip flexors.
 
ADULT GYMNASTICS STRENGTH
 
Monday:
Level 1 – midline, inversions.
Level 2 – handstand hold/press, levers.
 
Wednesday:
Level 1 – midline, handstands, pullups.
Level 2 – handstand hold/press, flag.

Programming overview w/c 22 January 2018

WEEK 4/16
Programming w/c 22nd January 2018
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
Registration for the 2018 CrossFit Open is LIVE! More information coming soon.
 
NEW CLASSES & SCHEDULE CHANGES
 
N/A.
 
CROSSFIT WOD
 
Programming photo attached.
 
OLYMPIC LIFTING
 
Monday:
Clean.
 
Wednesday:
Jerk.
 
Sunday:
Clean & Jerk.
 
POWERLIFTING
 
Monday:
Bench.
 
Wednesday:
Squat.
 
Sunday:
Deadlift.
 
COMPETITION
 
Tuesday:
A. T2B; B. Thrusters; C. 18.Zero (DB snatch/burpees; bike/DUs/lunges.
 
Thursday:
A. Ring MUs; B. Clean complex; C. DB snatch, wallballs, row, HSPUs.
 
Saturday:
A. HSPUs, burpees, DUs; B. Snatch; C. Open 17.3.
 
HEAVY METAL CLUB
 
Monday:
Clean & Jerk and squat.
 
Friday:
Snatch and squat.
 
CROSSFIT GYMNASTICS
 
Thursday:
Pull-up, ring dips, midline.
 
Saturday:
Ring muscle-ups, HSPUs, static holds.
 
BARBELL STRENGTH
 
Saturday:
Squat and press.
 
FLEXIBILITY
 
Monday:
Front & side splits.
 
Wednesday:
Chest, bridge & triceps (for front rack).
 
Saturday:
Front & side splits.
 
ADULT GYMNASTICS STRENGTH
 
Monday:
Level 1 – midline, handstands, pull-ups.
Level 2 – aerial conditioning, handstand hold.
 
Wednesday:
Level 1 – midline, inversions.
Level 2 – aerial conditioning, handstand hold.

Programming overview w/c 15 January 2018

WEEK 3/16
Programming w/c 15th January 2018
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
Registration for the 2018 CrossFit Open is LIVE! More information coming soon.
 
NEW CLASSES & SCHEDULE CHANGES
 
N/A.
 
CROSSFIT WOD
 
Programming photo attached.
 
OLYMPIC LIFTING
 
Monday:
Jerk.
 
Wednesday:
Clean & Jerk.
 
Sunday:
Snatch.
 
POWERLIFTING
 
Monday:
Deadlift.
 
Wednesday:
Bench.
 
Sunday:
Squat.
 
COMPETITION
 
Tuesday:
TBD.
 
Thursday:
TBD.
 
Saturday:
TBD.
 
HEAVY METAL CLUB
 
Monday:
Clean & Jerk and squat.
 
Friday:
Snatch and squat.
 
CROSSFIT GYMNASTICS
 
Thursday:
Pull-up, HSPUs, ring rows.
 
Saturday:
Rop conditioning, push-ups, GWOD.
 
BARBELL STRENGTH
 
Saturday:
Deadlift and Bench.
 
FLEXIBILITY
 
Monday:
Chest, bridge & straddle.
 
Wednesday:
Front & side splits.
 
Saturday:
Shoulders, bridge & back-bend strength.
 
ADULT GYMNASTICS STRENGTH
 
Monday:
Level 1 – mid, inversions.
Level 2 – HSW, HSPU, flag.
 
Wednesday:
Level 1 – mid, HS, push-ups.
Level 2 – HSW, HSPU, levers.
 

Programming overview w/c 8 January 2018


WEEK 2/16
Programming w/c 8th January 2018
ANNOUNCEMENTS
If you didn’t see Luke’s post last week, you’ll be seeing the face of Mike Lee around the gym a lot over the coming year. He’s the new CEO of CFLDN and will be running the businesses at CrossFit London and CrossFit SE11, seeing us through the move to the new gym and beyond. He’ll be taking Wednesday mornings at 10 MP for the time being; come say hello.
NEW CLASSES & SCHEDULE CHANGES
N/A
CROSSFIT WOD
Programming photo attached.
OLYMPIC LIFTING
Monday:
Clean and Jerk.
Wednesday:
Snatch.
Sunday:
Clean.
POWERLIFTING
Monday:
Squat.
Wednesday:
Deadlift.
Sunday:
Bench.

COMPETITION
Tuesday:
A. T2B; B. STOH cycling; C. DUs, power snatches.
 
Thursday:
A. BMU; B. Squat snatch; C. Run/bike, DUs, squat snatch.
 
Saturday:
A. HS walks; B. Deadlifts; C. Open 14.4.

HEAVY METAL CLUB
Monday:
Clean & Jerk and squat.
Friday:
Snatch and squat.
BARBELL STRENGTH
Saturday:
Squat and press.
CROSSFIT GYMNASTICS
Thursday:
Pull-up, push-up, midline.
Saturday:
Ring pull-ups, TTB, HSPUs.
FLEXIBILITY
Monday:
Front & side splits.
Wednesday:
Shoulders & bridge.
Saturday:
Front & side splits.

Programming overview w/c 1 January 2018

WEEK 1/16
Programming w/c 1st January 2018
 
ANNOUCNEMENTS
 
Happy New Year!
 
If you haven’t already see, check the latest blog post for the update on the new gym.
 
NEW CLASSES & SCHEDULE CHANGES
 
New year and while the schedule is largely the same, there are some key changes.
 
Yoga: unfortunately Christine is no longer able to offer her Tuesday Yoga class in the New Year. When circumstance change we hope to add it back, but you could always try Felix‘s Flexibility class in the interim.
 
Engine: new Engine class with Kyle on Friday’s at 6:30am. Rowing, running, skipping and the neeeeew assault bikes.
 
Fundamentals: the Level 1s have been redesigned as the CrossFit Fundamentals for 2018. They start Saturday 6th January. Email support@crossfitlondonuk.com for more information, or check out the website.
 
CrossFit WOD: “Level 2” is no more. The “Level 1s” are now called “Fundamentals”, the Level 3s have been subsumed in higher level classes and it’s been years since anyone called Competition Focus “Level 4”. As such, the Level 2 name doesn’t make a lot of sense anymore. From 2018, Level 2, is now “CrossFit WOD” on the schedule. Change in name only, not in format.
 
Olympic Lifting: there will now be RX and Sc options in every class. The main lifts will be the same but you can scale up the difficultly if you feel ready: e.g. Rx: 3 position squat snatch – 1RM, Sc: hang power snatch – 5×3. The Wednesday class is now at 18:30 in 10MP with Carolyn.
 
Powerlifting: A brand new cycle starts this week, with a back-to-basics linear progression programme. 16 weeks, testing in week 17.
 
CROSSFIT WOD
 
Programming photo attached.
 
OLYMPIC LIFTING
 
Monday:
Snatch.
 
Wednesday:
Clean.
 
Sunday:
Jerk.
 
POWERLIFTING
 
Monday:
Bench press.
 
Wednesday:
Squat.
 
Sunday:
Deadlift.
 
COMPETITION
 
Tuesday:
HSPUs/pistols/L sit, squat cleans, Open 16.2 (T2b, Dus, Sq clean)
 
Thursday:
C2B, snatch cycling, row/DB snatch/ring dips.
 
Saturday:
Ring muscle ups, power clean cycling, Cindy/hang p snatch, bike.
 
HEAVY METAL CLUB
 
Monday:
Snatch.
 
Friday:
TBD.
 
BARBELL STRENGTH
 
Saturday:
Deadlift & bench press.
 
CROSSFIT GYMNASTICS
 
Thursday:
Pull-ups, HSPUs, rope climbs – testing.
 
Saturday:
TTB, ring dips, muscle ups – testing.
 
FLEXIBILITY
 
Monday:
Shoulders & bridge.
 
Wednesday:
Front & side splits.
 
Saturday:
Chest, bridge & hamstrings

CrossFit London's New Location: Update (4)

This is the one you’ve been waiting for! Those of you who attended the Christmas party will have already had a heads-up, but we have actual, tangible, genuine progress with the new gym.
It took 18 months’ of negotiations, but the new lease has finally been signed and works are underway at Cudworth on the renovations of our new location. If all goes well (no more squatters, leaks, interference from Network Rail, etc.) we should be all ready to move in by May!
I’ll post more updates as and when I have them, but for now I’ll let the pictures below speak for themselves.
Stage one: clear out all the junk.
Stage two: sandblasting all the brick. Nomore rusty cladding.

Gymnastics archway

CrossFit space 1

Weightlifting archway (imagine fewer bricks)


 
 

CrossFit London's New Location: Update (3)

cudworthIt’s been a year since my last post on this issue, and I can only apologise for the severe absence of information since then.
Over the last year we have been in negotiations with Network Rail over our new lease and progress has been glacial (though not for a lack of trying on our part). At the time, it didn’t seem relevant or necessary to tell our members that “no progress has been made because of *insert tedious and seemingly insignificant construction detail* .” In retrospect, however, bad news would have been better than no news, so apologies for not having updated you sooner.
But, the upside of this all is that progress has at last been made! In principal, all the terms of our new lease have been agreed (this is what the last year’s worth of negotiations have been about) and we are just waiting for confirmation and then to take possession of the arches. We expect this to happen before Christmas.
On the new site, works are underway to restore power to the arches so that building can start. This means digging new trenches from the mains to the archways, which will take a few weeks. Additionally, Health & Safety and Construction Design and Management Regulators have been instructed to start their surveys, Architect plans have been finalised, and the Project Manager has been given build deadlines.
In short, assuming we can take possession of the new premises in the next 2-3 weeks, the first phase of the works (which is sandblasting the brick walls of the new arches) can start shortly thereafter, and we would expect to be operational by May!
At the moment it’s all fingers and toes crossed, as I said something astonishingly similar this time last year and here we are, still in Malcolm Place.
As soon as I have more information to pass on, I will do, and in the meantime please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about the move.

Open Gym at CrossFit London

Self Training (the old):
For those of you who can remember that far back, it was around this time last year that we changed the way that Self Training is booked and used at CrossFit London and CrossFit SE11. This was in order to address certain problems we were having with access to the space and managing who used it.
While we fixed the problems which we faced at the time, the changes came with their own set of issues, primarily that the new process was too complicated and difficult to access. Currently you can access Self Training if you buy a 5x weekly membership, buy a monthly add on on the condition that you have a minimum 10 class carnet, or buy a single day pass on the day, none of which are ‘bookable’ in the way classes are. Instead of booking in, you train at any time when the gym is open at whatever space happens to be free. I’m certain a lot of you didn’t know how Self Training was accessed or even that it existed.
The usage of the current system is incredibly poor and we know there are a lot of members who would take advantage of being able to train alone. Therefore…
Open Gym (the new):
Moving forward things we’re going to keep it simple: from December 1st 2017 “Self Training” will become “Open Gym.”
(You will still be able to use your purchases of the old Self Training system until they expire at whatever time in December.)
Here’s how the new system will work.
When and where:
Open Gym will make use of the 9 & 10 Main rooms whenever they are free. For example, every weekday lunchtime 10MP is empty, so there will be an hour slot there.
The back room of 10MP will become a dedicated PT space, where coaches can work with members on a 1-2-1 basis. It will no longer be an Open Gym space.
How to book:
The Open Gym spots will follow exactly the same rules and booking procedures as regular classes. You will be signed in and turfed out at the beginning and end of the hour slots. If you want to cancel a session you will need to do so more than 12 hours in advance (although you’ll probably be fine to book in as you walk to the gym).
Who can book:
There will be no restrictions on who can use the Open Gym spots. Whether you buy a single session or have the 5x weekly membership, they will all work exactly the same. So, if your friend wants to train with you, they just need to open an account, buy a single session pass and book in.
At your own risk:
There will always be a coach and first aider in the Box (and you may get helpful tidbits of advice from them), but otherwise Open Gym is unsupervised and at your own risk like any regular gym.
The current Self Training rules still apply.
When will it start?:
Today (November 30th) will be the last day you can buy the current Self Training options (apologies for the short notice; any problems let me know).
Those who have already purchased the current Self Training access can use the current system until their purchase expires.
From Friday 1st December the 5x membership will be reduced back to its original price of £145 and the other Self Training options removed. From Friday 1st you will also start to see Open Gym slots on the schedule.
Why the change?:
Our hope is to make Open Gym easier to access, less exclusive and give you more opportunity to work areas of weakness outside of class times. It will also make it easier to do qualifiers, or to use up any remaining classes you might have.
For example, with this week’s CrossFit Lift Off competition, anyone wanting to give it a go in their own time should be able to do so with greater ease; just book an Open Gym spot.
 
If there are any immediate concerns or queries, please contact me at joe@crossfitlondonuk.com, although my hope is that the above shouldn’t need much explanation.

Member of the Week: 27 October 2017

This week’s Member of the Week goes to

Matthew Perry

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Matt started CrossFitting at CFL at the beginning of this year, and has been coming consistently ever since. Spotted most often in MetCons, he has a terrific engine, but suffers with a lack of mobility which holds back his lifting. Over the last couple of months I have seen him make a concerted effort to improve him ROM (sometimes more willingly that others), whether I’m making him squat onto a med ball or spending that little extra time mobilising.
You won’t ever see him slack off in a WOD, he never complains, is always ready to listen and is always a pleasure to have in class.