All Posts By

Nicolas Denby

The Importance of Mobility in Fitness

The fitness industry is flooded with promises of fast results. The gimmicks, the shakeweights, the instachicks, the slendertones and kale dupe us into thinking that we’re going to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club after doing a few sit-ups. We want the least determining factor of fitness, the six-pack, without getting the foundations, namely our basic body mechanics or mobility right, first. Unfortunately, these foundations for many of us take years to achieve rather than days.

After working in the City for almost 8 years, I have been in a constant battle with the ills of sitting in an office for 10 hours a day. High stress, kyphosis, vending machines, hip stiffness, poor sleep, and holiday chocolates are a few of the words that come to mind when I think about my time at the bank. Add a sporting life that hardly ever included stretching and a horrible list of injuries and surgeries, you get the immovable block that is my body.

So why is mobility important? Everything we do in the gym is driven by the definition of fitness: increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. The foundation of increasing our work capacity starts with the efficiency of our movement. Better movement mechanics equals less energy expended per repetition, which in turn translates to our capacity to complete more reps. The three benefits of efficient movement or mobility are better performance, injury prevention and virtuosity (also known as looking like a badass). As CrossFitters, these are all things we should be striving for.

Many of us become mesmerized with metabolic conditioning when we first start CrossFit, usually to the detriment of our mobility and movement efficiency. Instead of working on the air squat, we kill ourselves doing burpees. Instead of hanging from a bar and trying to reverse our kyphosis, we spend our time doing double unders. Not that these aren’t important, but if we spend our time working on our muscle-up when our squat does not break below parallel and our chest is parallel to the floor, I’m sorry to say that our priorities are all wrong. Fast forward several years, and our inefficiency in the air squat has translated to an inefficient snatch, clean, wall-ball, front squat, back squat, thruster, and pistol. That’s a lot of movements to do poorly.

The beauty of the air squat lies equally in its simplicity and complexity. The humble squat is one of the human race’s basic movements, and it’s how we both sat and pooped before chairs and toilets. Nevertheless, the triple flexion of the hips, knees and ankles proves exceptionally hard for the modern homo sapien. It’s also the foundational movement in CrossFit. So put down the barbell and drop that skipping rope and get into your air squat. If you can’t sit comfortably in your paleo chair for more than a short period, find yourself a wall to lean up against until it feels natural. Whatever movement deficiencies you have, spend time rectifying them. Remember, fitness is a journey that you will be on for your whole life and mobility is your passport. Don’t sabotage your journey before it even begins by forgetting your passport at home.

How to Juggle Your Hand Modelling Career With CrossFit

Admit it, you’ve Instagrammed a picture of one of your bloody hands after doing a WOD and felt pretty chuffed about it. Apart from making you look hard in front of your friends, ripped hands are not only painful and sore but can bring your training to a halt. They are a terrible plight on any aspiring hand model and also the anti-gainz for all us regular folk. In this blog, I’ll answer questions about hand management ranging from prevention, treatment, and which grips are best.

Rip Prevention

Calluses are your best friend and greatest foe. Rip prevention is about maintaining an even coverage of calluses around the palms of your hands. If you’re new to CrossFit and your hands are only used to typing on a computer, you will need to gradually build up some calluses by handling bars, dumbbells, and swinging about on the rig. Once you start to build up some coverage, you will need to monitor how much you build up. If your hands start to get bumpy with varying thickness of calluses, this is when you will need to start shaving your hands. You rip when one of these raised, rough calluses begin to pull away from the surrounding skin. To prevent this, you will need to buy yourself a callus shaver and a pumice stone or nail file to even out some of the hard to get areas.

I recommend the following:

Shave your hands after a hot shower when they are at their most supple. Be careful not to go to town so make sure you leave some coverage on there. If there are some bumpy areas that you can’t get with the callus remover, smooth them out with a pumice stone or nail file. Doing this the night before a rig based WOD can make ALL the difference. You should try to shave your hands once a week to prevent ripping.

It doesn’t go well with the hard image some of us like to give off but moisturising everyday is key! It has become my ritual to apply cream to my hands every night before bed. Chalk, cold weather and the wear and tear of gym life really gives our hands a battering. It doesn’t matter which brand you use, just make sure you keep those hands moisturised!

Treatment

London life is hectic and you won’t always remember to keep your hands supple and smooth. Eventually, at some point, you will rip. What you do next is key to maximise recovery. Firstly, wash your hands of dirt, chalk, and blood. It’s important to keep the wound clean no matter how much it stings. It will also be important to cut away any overhanging flaps of skin and calluses. DO NOT PULL THEM AWAY!

Once that’s done, you will need to dress your wound and cover it up with a bandage. It’s incredibly important to keep the wound moist and covered as this has been proven to accelerate healing. You can do this with any of the following products:

Keep changing the plaster or bandage with your product of choice at least twice daily. This serves two functions: to ward off infection and promote collagen synthesis. Moist wound healing promotes production of collagen by the fibroblasts. Since collagen is the basis of the new tissue that will heal the wound, this increased production helps the body lay down the matrix for new tissue more quickly so that the cells necessary for healing are attracted.

Hand Grips

Buying yourself a pair of hand grips will also go a long way to preventing rips and keeping your hands from getting too sore. There are several types of guards you can wear ranging from tape, neoprene grips, fabric grips, leather gymnastic grips, and even gloves. My two favourite are the fabric grips and leather gymnastic grips.

Tugasox False Grip

Fabric grips are fantastic because they provide minimal interference but good coverage and protection. The fabric moulds and stretches to your hands so it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing anything at all. I have found that some fabric grips, such as Jaw Grips, tear and rip quite easily. We have been using False Grips at CFLDN for a few years and they are fantastic. So much so that we sell them in the shop!

Hand management should be just as integral to your daily routine as stretching, nutrition, or sleeping. You want to be able to train at your best and perform the programmed movements without painful hands. When you do rip, be prepared and minimise the amount of time your hands are out of action. If you don’t have a pair of grips yet, make your way to the shop and we’ll measure out a pair for you.

If you have any questions, email me.

Coach Nick

Member of the Week: 20 May 2018

This week’s  Crossfit London Member of the Week goes to:

Iringo Demeter.

Iringo is a relatively new joiner who has discovered a love/hate relationship with CrossFit. I’ve had numerous conversations with Iringo during her lunchtime sessions and her evolution is heart warming to say the least. Iringo started from zero and when I say zero, I mean zero! Going from no exercise to speak of to high intensity CrossFit workouts is daunting to say the least. However, we always scaled workouts and intensity to her level and Iringo instantly fell in love with that post workout feeling. An enduring memory of mine from a few weeks back was when she exclaimed after a workout: “THAT WAS TERRIBLE BUT IT WAS FU£!&*~ AMAZING!!”. Iringo’s lifting, movement, and base conditioning have improved exponentially over the past few months and although we have only started this journey, I’m excited to see where it leads.
Well done Iringo!
 

Member of the Week: 13 May 2018

This week’s  Crossfit London Member of the Week goes to:

 

Dominic Yau.

Dom is all about the technical side of CrossFit. I don’t think he’d mind me saying that he’s a bit of a geek in this respect. He always has informed questions and comments to make in my classes that helps other athletes learn. Currently, Dom is battling a knee injury preventing him from squatting below parallel. This doesn’t stop him from training around the injury and diligently working on his rehab. You’ll either find him in classes or in Open gym, working hard, learning and rehabbing!
Well done Dom!
 

Meet Your New Coaches!

You might have noticed a couple of new names on the schedule. Without further ado, let me introduce you to our new CrossFit coach Steve and powerlifting & body composition coach Alex!

Steve Hennessy

Steve found CrossFit in 2013 and started coaching in 2014. Being in the fitness industry for some time, Steve found his true passion with CrossFit, and it affirmed his place in the industry. His highlight so far is getting the chance to teach CrossFit to asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea. During this time Steve discovered the true benefit that CrossFit can have, seeing the positives from people in the most trying circumstances.
Believing in a holistic approach to health, Steve has gone about studying various disciplines to become a better coach. He’s graduated as a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, where he’s learnt to identify root causes of disease through hormone and gut testing, and is currently studying his Masters of Chiropractic. Steve uses this holistic approach to work with clients to find balance in nutrition, fitness and lifestyle.

If you have any questions for Steve or want to book him in for a consultation email him at steve.hennessy@crossfitlondonuk.com

Alex Miller

Alex has been coaching strength and power sports for the last 10 years. Before coaching, Alex was as a multi-sport athlete where he competed at both age group and senior levels and as a result has an almost unique understanding of the athlete mindset and what is needed to succeed.  At one point Alex had the number one fitness podcast in the world for rugby players and coaches. The repertoire of athletes he has coached is impressive to say the least and includes U.K. BJJ champs, professional K1 fighters, and world championship tri-athletes.
As something of a geek, Alex loves to apply scientific principles to his training methodology and is currently researching how you can use velocity, RPE, and neural programming to build a better athlete. Alex is now focused on applying his vast experience and knowledge to help the members at CrossFit London become as strong as possible!
If you have any questions or want to book Alex in for a consultation his email is: alex@crossfitlondonuk.com

Member of the Week: 06 May 2018

This week’s  Crossfit London Member of the Week goes to:

Ken Haynes.

Ken is one of those annoying people that gets up incredibly early and gets a ton of work done. He’s a regular in my Monday morning 6:30AM MetCons and runs around with abandon. He’s really upped his training in the last year and it’s showing. He moves better, faster, and is shifting more tin! The guy is ripped to shreds too so that is always something to aspire to.
Well done Ken!

Member of the Week: 29 April 2018

This week’s  Crossfit London Member of the Week goes to:

Penelope Fevola

It was a milestone week for Penny who got her first pull-up! I vividly remember having Penny in one of my very first classes in Gales Gardens. She spent the whole WOD cursing and blinding with her mate Katie! It was a funny moment but it shows how far she has come in a a year. Penny is a diligent and consistent athlete, taking on cues and hungry to learn. Penny also forms part of my Wednesday Gales Gardens crew and MetCon Sweaturday. Lastly, we just found out that we’re neighbours!
Well done Penny!
 

Member of the Week: 22 April 2018

This week’s  Crossfit London Member of the Week goes to:

Chirag Dureja

Chirag was just a regular dude who had never done any sort of competitive sport before going CFL. To say that CrossFit is challenging when you have no athletic background is an understatement. However, the drive and determination this guy has shown is perhaps unparalleled. When Chirag first joined, he would go home and practice double-unders and spend time perfecting his squat in the mirror. It’s been an absolute pleasure to coach Chirag who has been so eager listen and learn. Not only that, he’s a humble and funny guy! I know that everyone who forms part of the morning crew will be thrilled to see him win this week.
Well done Chirag!
 

Member of the Week: 15 April 2018

This week’s  Crossfit London Member of the Week goes to

Bryan

Bryan, aka Gandalf the White, Gandalf the Grey, or ‘Murica is the bane of Danny Steadman’s CrossFit career. Every Monday these two pit it out and invariably it’s the White Wizard who comes out on top. His squat is a sight to behold and it’s no surprise he can wall-ball for days! Bryan is also a very unassuming athlete, usually wearing baggy clothes with an inside out hoody. Most newbies thinking they’re going to beat him usually end up licking their wounds. Bryan is also a big part of the community, befriending many members and coaches through his love and knowledge of video games, fantasy, beer drinking, movies, and country music.
Well done Gandalf!
 

Member of the Week: 08 April 2018

This week’s  Crossfit London Member of the Week goes to

Jo Kok

It’s a travesty that Jo hasn’t been named MOTW yet! The word that best describes Jo is work. WORK WORK WORK. This guy doesn’t stop working and the results have been unsurprising. He outlifts most guys double his size, he butterfly pull-ups like a ninja, and knows how to go to that dark place. There’s a rumour going around that he psyched out a poor suspecting soul in his heat during The Open. It went something like this:
Jo Kok: Oh, you think darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark; I was born in it, moulded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but BLINDING!
Well done Jo!