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Mobility

The Sun Salutation – How is it going to benefit your training?

If you’ve done yoga before, you will have practiced it, and if you haven’t, you may well have heard of it – the sun salutation, or surya namaskar, by its Sanskrit name. The sun salutation is a foundational sequence of roughly a dozen asanas (yoga postures), performed in the same order and usually at the beginning of a yoga practice. There are different variations, e.g. the classical sun salutation, surya namaskar A & B – you’ll be coming across them all in my classes. Now, let’s look at why you should integrate them into your programme to complement your training at the gym.

  1. No equipment needed

The sun salutation is a type of bodyweight exercise and you can do it anywhere. I like to take my practice outside whenever possible, making the most of London’s many green spaces. You’ll have the choreography down in no time, meaning you’ll bust out those downward facing dogs and baby cobras without even thinking about what comes when before you know it.

Downward-facing dog

Downward-facing Dog

  1. It makes for a great warm-up, cool-down or a full-on workout in its own right

It all depends on how you pace it, and how many rounds you complete. In vinyasa flow yoga, the style in which I teach, it’s the rhythm of your breath that leads you from one posture to the next, meaning you – or on occasion I, if you practice with me in class – set the pace. It’s a great way to warm up before a workout, and to bring that heart rate down when you’re hanging out of your arse after a savage metcon.

  1. It mobilises the spine

The practice of yoga asana aims to move the spine in all directions by means of forward folds, backbends and twists. The sun salutation incorporates a number of poses that repeatedly flex and extend the spine, particularly the lumbar. This promotes spinal disc health as the biochemical process controlling disc hydration is stimulated through on and off pressure. The spinal discs already have very poor blood supply – now add to that gravity from walking upright, general lack of movement due to a sedentary lifestyle for many of us, natural degeneration through ageing, as well as compression under load from weightlifting and you have…less than ideal conditions for your discs to stay happy and healthy!

Bhujangasana - Cobra

Bhujangasana – Cobra

  1. It makes for happy hammies

Struggling to keep a neutral spine when deadlifting? Tight hamstrings are a common plight, and not only among athletes. There’s three of these muscles – they originate at the sitting bone, and the back of the femur (that’s your thigh bone) respectively. Tightness in this area may cause the pelvis to tuck under, and therefore compromise the integrity of the spine in CrossFit movements such as the deadlift. As with everything, consistency is key, and I guarantee you that you will be able to touch your toes no matter how impossible that may seem at this point in time – incidentally it’s one of the most frequent reasons I hear people give for not coming to class. No more excuses now, get yourself on the mat or the gym floor and start stretching!

Uttanasana - Forward fold

Uttanasana – Standing Forward Fold

  1. It helps you get to that next ninja level

The sun salutation engages approximately 140 muscles in the body, using nothing but your own bodyweight. How’s that for a well-rounded workout? Mindful movement helps cultivate proprioception, i.e. the awareness of whereabouts in space your various body parts are, and controlling that – aka ninja skills. If you’re struggling with certain movements such as the push-up, try a chaturanga dandasana variation I’ll be teaching you, whereby you’ll learn how to gradually lower yourself down towards the ground from plank, eventually hovering a couple inches above the floor.
I’m running a weekly yoga class on Tuesday mornings, 7-8am at Gales Gardens, starting Tuesday Oct 10th. Suitable for all levels, complete beginners most welcome! Click here to book in, and feel free to email me at christine[at]crossfitlondonuk.com if you have any questions.
Click here if you missed last week’s post on who I am, and what you can expect from my classes.
 

New weekly Yoga for Crossfitters class

Hey team,
Your Crossfit coaches help you get swole, now it’s time to get flexy! Come and join me on the mat for an hour on Tuesday mornings at 7am, starting Oct 10th. I’m stoked to meet you guys & gals!
Who am I?
I was brought up in Bavaria in the Southeast of Germany and have been living in the Big Smoke for the past 12 years. When I’m not working in my job as a quality manager in construction, I try and spend as much time outside as possible. Hiking, riding my bike, my skateboard, climbing, running the occasional obstacle course or endurance race – I’ll take anything over sitting on my arse in front of the telly! Crossfit helps me get into shape for my endeavours, while a regular yoga practice helps me stay supple…and keep a level head!
Christine_MvL
How did I get into CF?
I was looking for a type of training to help me get stronger and level out a few board sports-induced strength imbalances. So initially I started doing CF to help my skateboarding. Needless to say, I’ve never looked back and am now increasingly gravitating towards putting that fitness to good use outside of the gym and testing out that general physical preparedness!
Christine_KnK
Random fact?
In January I rowed the full marathon distance of 42.195m on an erg unbroken in 3:30:08, for no reason other than that I wanted to, after racking up nearly 240.000m prior. Hit me up at christine[at]crossfitlondonuk.com for tips on distance rowing or if you’re keen to find out more on how to prepare for, and get through this kinda thing.
Christine_Row
Why yoga?
Um, why not?! I could write a novel on the many physical and mental benefits and why I think everyone should be doing it!
Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming posts on how a regular yoga practice will positively impact on your performance at the gym. Meanwhile, you can also head over to my website at www.yogishapes.com to find out more about me and my philosophy.
Falka_Plank
I’m just not down with this new age hippy shiz…and how do you even ‘radiate from the heart space’?!
Oh good, cos neither am I! My classes are primarily built around specific muscle groups with a strong emphasis on alignment and anatomy. I do believe in mindfulness as an extremely powerful tool to improve performance, especially if you’re competing or generally enjoy pushing your limits. The word yoga means to yoke, or to unite, and through the practice of asana, the physical postures, as well as pranayama, a variety of breathing techniques, we aim to establish, and strengthen that mind-body connection. However you won’t find any flowery language, chanting or incense in my classes. What can you expect then?
A friendly space where every body is welcome – my yoga classes are suitable for all levels, so don’t worry about not being flexible enough! Just as in Crossfit, modifications are available for the postures and I will offer hands-on adjustments to help you get the most out of your practice. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!
bhujapidasana
Favourite workout?
Small:
3 RFT – 1k row, 50 burpees, 50 box jumps @ 24″, 800m run
Favourite dessert?
Banoffee pie!!!
My weekly class will run at Gales Gardens on Tuesday mornings from 7-8am, starting Oct 10th. Book in here to get your stretch on!
Christine_Leake_St
 
 

Crossfit Beginner Fun

Another batch of noble beginners,  decided to kick their training up to another level by starting their level 1 classes, where, uniquely in a group format, Crossfit London teaches you all those “difficult moves” that leisure centres avoid, using a step by step method mixed with lots of kindness .
Often, difficult to master ground based moves, are limited not by flexibility but by balance. In our classes we get our clients to start working on the balance problems with safe, effective, supportive drills , that work. In 1.1  we look at the air squat, the front squat and overhead squat, along with a bit of hanging work such as basket hangs  and  toes to bar . Along the way we start to  discuss some of  our abbreviations like  WOD ( Work Out of the Day) and AMRAP ( As Many Rounds as Possible)  and start introducing you to moving around the gym  ( actually called a Box) safely.
Here is a useful drill  that fixes your squat

 
Most sessions end with a mini WOD, but its not  set to be challenging, merely a light rehearsal of newly learned principles. In our sessions we focus on teaching skill, so whilst a flexibility drill may feature we don’t waste 15 minutes of your time on aerobic warm ups and endless stretching . We use the skill progression to warm you up for the  full range of motion skill you are about to do. Jogging around is a great warm up if you intend to run. Squat drills are the best warm up for squatting. Long term , for those serious about flexibility, we have some fantastic flexibility classes that really push your range of motion along.
So get some serious skills and join our beginner  classes now

Drills for the back handspring

At Crossfit London in Bethnal Green E2, our gymnastic programmes teach both adults and kids how to back handspring.
As our clients are recreational gymnasts ( doing it for fun and excitement)  dancers and cheerleaders, we need to make sure our trainers have a comprehensive range of progressive drills and skills to help you master the full move. Some of the moves we use are featured in this useful video.
Many people learn through a mix of methods. The approach is often called VARK ( visual, audial, reading and kinesthetic) by publishing video’s  with the skill break down, it helps our learners learn. You will get most of the moves we teach  by hard work and patience, but we will make sure you have the drills and pathways to  achieve your goals.
Some of our clients achievements are on this facebook group.
We offer adult and kids gymnastic  classes and PT sessions in  our gym in Bethnal green, London E2. In the meantime, check out this great video and start the learning process
 

What Shoulder Pain Exercises to Do For Crossfit

3 Tips For Shoulder Pain Exercises to Do For Crossfit

Do you get pain in your shoulders before or during lifting? Maybe some moves like snatches or overhead squats are impossible because of it?

Here are three tips to help relieve your shoulder pain to make it easier easier to lift and prevent further discomfort.

1. Diagnose

First step is to work out: how bad it is? Shoulders are complicated and serious injuries must be treated ASAP.

Ideally ask a physio or doctor friend who can give you a free once over. If it’s anything ligament- or tendon-related you are best to see a registered physiotherapist and do everything they say before moving on to step two. If the pain is just in the muscles, crack on:

2. Relieve

What exerciees can you do to relieve shoulder pain? Chances are pain will be from overuse or tight muscles so anything you can do to relax the muscle will help.

Start by doing some shoulder stretches after every Crossfit or weights session. This will ease out the scar tissue.  – you’ll learn some great examples in our flexibility classes.

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Adding in some foam roller work as well will help. Whatever you do:

  • Go light, especially while the shoulders are still sore
  • Get support. Seek the advice of someone who knows what they are doing as well as a partner to stretch with. Having someone else will ensure you don’t push yourself too far and can focus on easing your pain as fast as possible

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3. Prevent

Shoulder pain during and after sessions often comes from incomplete recovery. Make sure you stretch after every session as this is the biggest mistake people make – and you don’t want to be one of them.
Second thing you need to do is even out any imbalances, as chances are if you’re experiencing pain it’s from tight shoulders. Work on improving your shoulder flexibility consistently the bridge is ideal for this and looks cool as well!
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Anyone can get more flexible in the shoulders, no matter how tight you feel now, and once you do it will open up new possibilities and help you feel amazing in your sport and life.
So why not give it a try:
Come along to a flexibility class or if your serious about FAST results book a ‘Less Pains, More Gains’ get-flexible 1-1 on:
07504 142211
felix@superflexcoaching.com
 
Felix

Crossfit london homework. The L sit ( Part 3)

Well, it’s part 3 of our “how to L sit”  series. If this is the 1st you have heard of this, obviously refer back to
Part 1 and
Part 2
Today, it’s really the same as yesterday. Just stick the other leg out!
Obviously, this should be a super detailed description, but sometimes spoon feeding as a coaching method needs to stop and you simply need to hear ” Dude, push yourself up on straight arms and stick your leg out”.
So do that.
Life is like that. That’s why it sucks so much.
Anyway:  learn more about life, how to get great abs, and how to learn and master a tonne of effective training methods at Crossfit London in their amazing Bethnal Green E2 gym.
Thanks to    www.ATHLETTIS.com for the sketch.

Listen and Your Gains Speak For Themselves

Listen to your body.

It’s the one thing we athletes hate to hear.

“What do you mean I have to take a week off training?”

“Training too hard? But otherwise I’ll never make the comp next week!”

But there are some times when listening to your body, and with the partner you work with, will send your results sky flying.

 Calm

Getting flexible is a perfect example. You’ll remember in a previous post we talked about how ego is your worst enemy in flexibility. If you want to get flexible, you need to ignore that voice in your head saying, “just push a little further, we’re almost there.”

That’s where listening to your body is a great help. Here’s what you do:

  1. Go into your stretch, hopeful, optimistic, expecting to go further than before – but not worrying if you don’t. Not being ATTACHED to a result.
  2. Keep calm. Carry on. If your body wants to move, let it move. If not, just go with it, relax, wait until you get that signal.
  3. If you’re going into a deeper stretch and your body tells you to stop, listen. Slow down, ease off, stop, come out if you have to. Remember it’s not just doing things that make us flexible but not doing things that make us inflexible.

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Same goes if you’re the partner stretching someone else. Your partner might look calm, in control, making good progress. You want them to go further, for their sake as much as anything.
This is where communication is key. You as the partner doesn’t know how they are feeling. Get them to talk with you, give you feedback. If they reach their max, go with it. Calling quits saves injuries, pulled muscles and leaves you both fighting for another day.
Flexibility comes bit by bit

So remember:

  • Flexibility, or any gains in training, come bit by bit. Millimetres in a stretch add up
  • Go with the flow. Listen to your body. If your body wants to move, that’s great, if not, that’s OK too.
  • Communicate with your partner. If it hurts, tell them. If they’re going too fast, tell them. Sometimes it’s what you DON’T do that get’s you furthest ahead

Clean up your back act. For free!

It’s been a hard back week at CrossFit London. Most of you use your backs well, moderate your loads and maintain a tight core when lifting, meaning deadlifting isn’t an issue.
If deadlifting is an issue, it’s normally traced down to a lack of what Stuart McGill calls ” back hygiene”.  Poor back hygiene means you use your back when lifting, all the time! You also abuse your back every day, by slumping and slouching ( or overextending). I t could also mean you are ok, but you cannot control yourself in a WOD. You’ll pile through in a workout no matter what your body is telling you ( it’s ok, I did this too, but,  it’s tough being an asshole isn’t it!)
I’m an expert in this area because, for years, this is what I did.  Zero back hygiene. My back took everything I  threw at it. Until it broke.
If you have back pain, there are 5 key mistakes you probably make. I made them all
1) Having a slumping place. That’s the place where you mold furniture to the worst position for your back, and you slump there for hours.
for the record, here is my slumping place
2) I went searching for physio’s,  therapists and experts to fix my back. The reality is that they all fixed it.  I just went right on home and screwed it up again
3) I failed to take responsibility: I blamed CrossFit for setting the deadlift, furniture manufacturers for making soft sofa’s, girlfriends for buying soft sofa’s, the door of our flat being wide enough to allow a soft sofa into my life. I also loaded stress, poor diet and worry into the mix, to get top quality pain, I certainly didn’t moderate my exercise: anger drove my deadlift up to levels that would guarantee to destroy it.
4) A refusal to do the “guaranteed to work” boring therapy exercises
5) A refusal to realise that I was a “backaholic”. That I loved slumping and  I liked that sickly sweet pain that comes with 8 hours of hanging in your back. I think I also liked the sympathy I got, but that’s awful to confess (in fact, I’m going to edit that confession out).
The good news is this: unless you have back plague, or a demon has possessed your spine,  you can fix your back. Back plague, demonic possession otherwise known as  Red Flags are here: if you have these symptoms, you do have a medical condition (or a demon)  and you need help fast.
But, unless you are in the tiny minority who has something really wrong with their back , your pain is down to you, and you can fix it if you want or can be bothered to.
If any of our members are remotely interested, we will  go through the skills and drills  you need to fix your back on Sunday 16th July at 10.30am in the back room at 9 Malcolm Place E2, for free. The class “back hygeine” is on the booking schedule. You should be able to book in and the system won’t charge you!
Don’t worry about me!  If no one shows, I’ll drink coffee! After all, I’ve decided to manage my back. I’m so over needing it to hurt
 
 

Is Stretching Supposed to be That Painful?

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Pain. It’s the big thing that draws people to getting flexible but one of the main things that keeps us away from stretching. 

So is pain in stretching a good thing, and if so how do I get around it?

Number one is to understand there are two kinds of pain. ‘Burning’ pain you feel while stretching is good. Think of it like going to the gym or doing a Crossfit WoD – you hurt the day after, right? It’s a sign of your muscles rebuilding stronger – or longer in the case of stretching – after they’ve worked hard.

Stabbing pain you want to avoid. If you’ve broken a bone, twisted something or dropped a plate on your foot you know what I mean.

How do you keep it to the good pain then, and make even that as comfortable as possible?

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1. Breathing. The deeper you breathe, the more you relax, and relaxed muscles get more flexible with less burning pain – think of it as giving your muscles what they want. Less fight = good news.
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2. Distraction. Have a conversation with your stretching partner, watch TV, it helps focus away from the pain, and reducing focus on pain tends to reduce the pain itself. Plus any excuse to catch up on Netflix I could go for.
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3. Listen. To your body. Go slow, if your body wants to open up today, it will. Pushing to far too fast turns stretching pain into stabbing pain = ton muscles = major setback to your flexibility. 
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4. Position. Stretch in a way that doesn’t damage joints, experiment or ask an expert for advice.  

Stay smart & stay safe. Felix