There are several tricky gymnastic based moves in Crossfit that you need to get:
Handstand push ups
Kipping and Toes to bar
There is a fantastic opportunity, this Saturday, at Crossfit London in Bethnal Green E2, to have some expert tuition from some of Crossfit London’s top coaches. They will either help you nail these skills, or help you lay the foundations for those drills and practices that will mean you’ll be “kipping and Stuff” in the near future.
We’re one team at CFLDN but the folks below have particular roles and responsibilities on top of coaching.
Luke Brumer takes up the role of General Manager leading the management team and taking charge of
making the box a roaring success, something he takes literally by regularly pretending to be a lion. Luke’s
background is in business set-up and turn-around in South Africa’s bar and restaurant sector. As if being a
beast of an athlete (i) wasn’t enough, he’s also had some success as a model (though we try not to hold it
against him). His BBQ (or ‘braai’, for the culturally sensitive) skills are not too shabby either. Famously
friendly, it’s likely he’ll have already greeted you, and he should be your first port of call for help or giving
feedback on how we’re doing. He’s here to make sure being at CFLDN is the best part of your day.
Steve Hennessey is promoted to Head Coach. Steve brings immense experience as a trainer (ii) backed up
by a solid academic background in Chiropractic and Functional Nutrition. Steve leads the coaching team
and is responsible for our programme, teaching standards and athlete membership. As 9th oldest box in
the world, we’ve seen a lot of CrossFit programming at CFLDN, and this man’s output is world-class,
optimising efficacy and sustainability. We’re proud to have him. Steve also runs our nutrition courses and
is available for personal training. Steve is happy to handle any training or membership queries and can
arrange individual consultations with his team for those who want to appraise their progress or take it to
the next level.
Catarina Sa-Dantas is our Customer Service Manager and Luke’s deputy. Hailing from Portugal, Cat
studied Hospitality Management at University. You’re likely to have met her in person or by email if you’ve
contacted support. An administrative ninja, Cat keeps communication flowing, can always find an answer
and has even managed to tame the temperamental booking-system-we-do-not-name. Her duties include
keeping the box’s finances in order and coordinating meetings. In an example of nominative determinism,
she’s also very good with cats, and is often to be found in the company of our magnificent ginger tom (not
you, Harrison!), Box-cat Bob. Contact Cat if you need any help with practical matters, advice on who to
speak to and for bookings of all kinds.
Carolyn Logan, a veteran coach from our early days takes on further duties as a Senior Coach. In
additional to her successful CrossFit and MetCon classes, she presides over the festival of sweat, tears
and heroism that is Friday Night Lights and takes the lead organising social and community events.
Having achieved an early ambition of amassing the finest key-ring collection in all South Yorkshire,
Carolyn became a professional dancer before discovering CrossFit and retraining as a Sports Therapist. In
the latter capacity, she manages our treatment room, so contact her if you need fixing or if you’re
interested in hiring the space yourself.
Alex Miller is another Senior Coach our and Head of Strength. Legendary for his powerlifting classes, Alex
is our undisputed expert in all matters Strength and Conditioning and a popular PT, with encyclopaedic
knowledge and teaching skill we all aspire to. Alex’s background includes high level sport including Judo
and Rugby. Talk to him about any training matter, it’s likely he’ll have the answer.
Rhys Morgan joins as our Senior Gymnastics Coach. An experienced trainer but relative latecomer to the
sport, Rhys knows about the challenges faced by adult learners but is living proof of the standard
obtainable. Rhys focusses on the coaching our Gymnastics Strength classes and will be happy to help you
obtain a range of skills, be that to improve your CrossFit or just for the love of being able to do
Behind the scenes
Keeping a small business alive in London is a tough challenge without compromising community. Behind
the scenes, these guys offer their skills, experience and financial backing to keep the show on the road.
Andrew Stemler, is our Founder and the first CrossFit affiliate holder outside the USA, bringing CrossFit to
Europe in 2005. A CrossFit legend, he is a tireless lifelong learner in a bewildering array of disciplines.
Andrew’s extensive teaching experience has helped hundreds of clients transform their lives. He is
renowned for his inventiveness and client focus and can find drills and progressions to help anyone,
regardless of age, ability or challenges, move towards their goals. His eclectic background includes
property management and 3 years as an East End doorman. Andrew is our lead on Health and Safety and
is an accredited first aid trainer. He coaches across the full range of our classes and is a sought-after PT.
Kate Pankhurst is an early client of CFLDN and a long-time coach, now a Director. Kate works with Luke
and Cat in administering the business, in particular keeping us on the right side of regulation, but her
background as an artist means she takes the lead on much of the design work around the box and the
look and feel of our social media. Originally trained at the Central School of Art & Design, she more
recently studied at the Royal School of Needlework – check out her astounding work at https://www.artofstitch.com
Like Andrew, Kate is also a talented and experienced massage therapist.
The Co-Chairmen are Naim Rahman and Luke Webster. Both long standing clients, they joined the board
in 2016 and helped invest in and deliver the move to the new premises. They ultimately control the
business and are always happy to hear your views, in the box or over a drink.
Naim is a lawyer when not at the gym and focusses on Olympic Lifting (don’t tell him, but pound for
pound, he’s probably one of our best [iii]). His tireless efforts behind the scenes are responsible for much of
the progress of the project to develop the new box. A young family means that he’s generally to be found
training during the day, but he joins our socials whenever he can.
Originally a mathematician and wine merchant, Luke (iv) accidentally moved into finance and somehow now
holds a range of senior positions in both the private and public sector. He tries to make himself interesting
again by learning and coaching gymnastics, and when time permits, can be found in the kitchen or running
the bar at socials as our resident licensee. He has extremely dubious taste in neckwear.
i Luke B’s imposing physique actually stems from high-level competition in the demanding sport of tiddly winks. Such was his early renown, he was presented with the coveted ‘Silver Wink’ by Prince Phillip in 2001. Interestingly, this is not the Prince Consort’s only connection with CFLDN. In 2017 (our only Royal visit to date) he attended a Fundamentals class, allegedly in consequence of drunken bet, but left discretely on finding that his off-colour remarks failed to scandalise an audience already reeling from Andrew’s unique analogies.
ii Steve is also a pretty nifty athlete, renowned for the beauty of his form. But don’t be fooled by this wiry antipodean grace: his childhood sport was Emu wrestling and he is not to be trifled with.
iii Naim is, in his own estimation at least, also our best dancer, although rarely demonstrates for fear of making the rest of us look bad. What is less well-known is that his skills derive from membership of a banned, underground Morris Dancing Side in Bridgend, Wales, infamous for their solvent abuse and unorthodox handkerchief technique.
iv Duplicate names can cause confusion, but the reader should note carefully that the use of differentiators such as ‘tall’ or ‘fit’ to indicate which one is being talked about may have unexpected and drastic consequences. The last offender was found strangled with a bowtie… just saying.
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.
Crossfit london: The pursuit of physical excellence within a supportive community
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.
CFLDN directors, at minimum, hold a CF-L1 cert, solid skills with a hand-drill and the grit and ability to unblock a loo. We also like them to have some extra tricks up their sleeves:
About Luke Webster
A former wine merchant and current Senior Judge at the International Wine Challenge, Luke is our resident drinks expert and a specialist in wine education. His experience covers everything from lectures on wine chemistry at the University of Cambridge’s science festival, to social tastings for hen-nights (those bills don’t pay themselves, after all).
The fundamentals of wine
Join us in the newly refurbished HQ Arch at CFLDN CrossFit London to learn about the art and science of appreciating wine. Its history and how it’s made, the roles of sight, touch, taste and smell, and the amazing variety of things that can be made from fermented grapes. This fundamentals session will cover an introduction to systematic tasting through a wide variety of wine styles, providing an insight into the impact of grape, climate, production methods and aging.
Tickets are £25 bookable at Eventbee to cover a tasting of 8 wines and light refreshments.
Programming plays an important role in your health and fitness. A program that’s built on sound principles of strength and conditioning can help guide you a lifetime of fitness. Neglecting these principles can lead to plateau, injury and a decrease in performance. Whatever is programmed should always be explained with the “why” behind it. There’s always a purpose to training, and the answer is always more than just intensity. Thus the purpose of these articles is to explain this “why”, so that you can get a better of idea of how to structure your WODs.
At CFLDN, our programming is guided by three ideas:
Scientific principles of strength and conditioning.
The GPP methods that Crossfit is founded on.
The philosophy and vision of CFLDN.
The scientific principles of strength and conditioning:
It’s said that “methods are plenty but principles are few.” This can easily be seen in the fitness market where we’re flooded with different methods to get to the same goal. Some methods are highly effective and are backed by research, while others are new and shiny but not necessarily effective. At CFLDN, we choose methods that have proven to be effective, and are backed by established principles of strength and conditioning.
The GPP principles that Crossfit is founded on.
In Crossfit, the goal is General Physical Preparedness, or GPP. GPP aims to prepare you to tackle a wide range of physical tasks, and be fit across a series of modalities. Founder of Crossfit, Greg Glassman reflects this in his definition of Increased Work Capacity Across Broad Time and Modal Domains. This is a fancy way of saying, get more, different stuff done.
The philosophy and vision of CFLDN.
At CFLDN, we want to make you fit for life. We want to teach you not just how to sweat, but how to move, and to draw the lessons you learn in the gym to make you a better person outside of the gym. And, taken from our mission statement: CFLDN is held up by our powerful pillar of individuals that unite over a common goal for higher order health.
We believe that this approach works, and makes you better, fitter human…. Want to run 5km? Easy. Can you help me move this couch? Absolutely. Can you keep up with your kids? Sure, can they keep up with me? Can you keep your cool in traffic? Well I just did that WOD so this is easy. We believe that this style of training is the most effective for all round fitness, and it creates a greater way of life.
Adding to the Intensity Paradigm…
At CFLDN, we have our own spin on Crossfits original ideas set in the mid 2000’s. While we believe in Glassman’s mantra of Constantly Varied Functional Movement performed at High Intensity, we acknowledge the pitfalls that constantly working at high intensity can bring. We emphasise the need for planning, periodisation and prioritisation within the programming to ensure sustainable improvement.
Likewise, training should vary in terms of intensity – gone are the days of going as hard and as fast as possible, all the time. Training, like life, should incur cycles of intensity, from low, medium and high. Want to run be a bull in a china shop every day? Have fun with that. Want to unleash the bull sometimes when you’re really ready for it? That’s a game worth playing.
High, Low and Reload Days:
Though high intensity training has its merits, we need to create space for intensity to flourish. This being so, an effective program should include re-load days and weeks to let the body recover, grow stronger, and be ready for the next workout. Many fitness programs neglect this fundamental biological principle in an effort to GO HARD ALL OF THE TIME, but we know from years of experience and research, that reload days and weeks are critical for lifelong health.
Reload days will look like gymnastics EMOM’s or longer aerobic workouts. These days aim to achieve a few things… refine motor patterns, promote blood flow through staying in the aerobic zone (avoiding lactic threshold), nourish the nervous system, enhance recovery from training and life stressors. You should feel GOOD after these sessions. You should leave energised, sleep well, and be ready to hit the next day.
Why we move the way we do…
Crossfit is not defined by a repertoire of movements, rather, it uses a variety of exercises to get better at a wider range of activities.
This being said, we do follow the key functional patterns of:
A typical week will involve an a mixture of these primal patterns, as we look to achieve balance in the body.
We use these exercises as this how how you move your body in the real world. Eg. If you need to pick something up, you’re not going to perform a bicep curl, you’re much likely to perform something that resembles a deadlift (bending).
Focussing on functional movements has been proven to help build lean muscle mass and promote fat loss. This is due to the metabolic stress, muscle tension and damage that takes place when you do these movements. Everyone knows the feeling after lifting a heavy deadlift…. There is substantially more work being done that doing bicep curls.
Variation is critical to keeping the body and mind growing, it truly is the “spice of life!” Crossfit makes use of this idea and ensures that every day you’re facing a new physical challenge. Not only does this keep things interesting and engaging, it ensure that you’re given access to a wide range of movements that leads to a well balanced body and General Physical Preparedness.
Variation is not gospel! We still acknowledge the need to have planning, periodisation and prioritisation within the programming (we’re not drawing workouts out of a hat). So every workout has a purpose or a “why” that’s supported by the overall goal at that time.
Stay tuned for part 2 of the Art and Science of Programming!
Steve Hennessy-Maia is a Senior Coach at CFLDN. You can find him working the floor at Crossfit London, and helping clients with their fitness and nutrition through his company, Barefoot Health.
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!)
For regular attendees at CrossFit London and CrossFit SE11, it has been common knowledge for some time that the prices across the business will be going up. The last increase was made in 2013 and since then we have seen enormous increases in rent and business rates, although we have done all we can to avoid passing those costs onto our valued members. However, the simple fact is that the gyms, at present, do not generate enough income to meet the required level of renewals, much less allow us to keep coaches’ earnings in line with inflation or repay any investors capital. As such, the prices need to go up.
We are conscious that you want to see your money well spent on improving the service that we offer. At SE11 this reinvestment has been more apparent with the brand new rig and new shop going up over the last year. At CFL, the build for our new premises is well underway and, in spite of a delay caused by the snow, we very much hope to be moving in in May.
Below is the outline for the new pricing structure. For some of you it will be a welcome change with the introduction of Unlimited packages. For others, it may mean that you aren’t able to attend as frequently as you currently are. We have aimed to stay as competitive as possible (and if you check the nearest alternative CF facilities, you will find we are still cheaper in general), but as I said above, prices need to go up or we can no longer run a viable business.
The focus of the new prices is on the monthly memberships; they will work out much cheaper than the class packs (previously ‘carnets’) and the monthly packages are where we would hope our members choose to invest their money. The 10 and 50 class packs are still available in the new pricing structure as we are aware there are a lot of members who are less flexible with their time and can’t commit to monthly packages. When
Price change will come into effect from May 1st 2018. At this time all the new prices and discount restrictions will come into effect. The 50 session carnet at the old price is no longer available to purchase, but all the other carnets and memberships will be available at their current price throughout April.
There is also an Earlybird Unlimited discount for anyone who signs up for a 6 month Unlimited contract in April (details below). Class packs
Single session: £20 (valid for 30 days)
10 session pack: £140 (£14 p/class for 10 weeks)
50 session pack: £600 (£12 p/class for 50 weeks) Monthly memberships (month-by-month)
Monthly 3x sessions p/w (13x sessions): £150 (£11.54 p/class)
Monthly Unlimited: £185 (Earlybird offer: £175 sign up for a 6 month contract in April 2018)
Monthly Unlimited bolt-on PT session: £40 (£225 total) Fundamentals
4 sessions: £120
8x Fundamentals PT session: £440 (£55 per session) Discounts
All NHS/Student/Emergency Service/Armed Forces discounts will be set at 10% and only applicable to the 10/50 class packs (discounts previously set at 15% will be reduced to 10%). They will not apply to singles sessions, monthly packages, Fundamentals, Contracts or PT sessions. Earlybird Discounted Contract
The Earlybird Unlimited memberships constitutes a contracts with CFLDN UK. The contracts last for 6 months, during which time your contract price is guaranteed to stay at £175.
The contracts are paid on the sale date of each month. If you wish to cancel out, you must notify us at least one month in advance by email before the date you would like to be the final payment (e.g. if your payment date is the 15th, you must notify us on or before the 14th).
You can buy into the contract in April and May by going to the online store > contracts. The initial purchase date will be the date your 5 other payments will come out. The unlimited classes will start on the same day as the purchase and last for 6 months. You cannot defer the contract start date beyond May.
If you choose to cancel out, you will be subject to any price rises that have occurred in the interim.
Terms and conditions apply. (This offer has been extended to run through May) Moving forward
We understand that price increases are never a welcome change, but as mentioned above, the prices need to go up, or we close down. We have endeavoured to be as fair and reasonable as possible with these increases, and wanted to make sure that every member was warned well in advance.
Please keep a close eye on the Facebook groups and blogs for updates on the new gym in Bethnal Green and the ongoing renovations at SE11 to see where your money is being spent.
If you have any problems, questions or concerns please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
Kind regards and happy training, Your CrossFit London & CrossFit SE11 Team