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deadlift - CrossFit London

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!)


 

Excellent saturday workout

If you were worried about your physical work rate and mental resolve, today’s workout at CrossFit London would have developed your capacity beautifully.
This session looked to develop your double under skills and your brute back squat strength. We tweaked and nudged your squat form towards excellence. We looked at lower back stability, neutral neck, and low bar position today. Some amazing back and neck saving improvements.
You can always tell you are a  CrossFit London session.  Our teachers watch you like hawks and are always feeding back to you and the group. about improvements.
It’s our hall mark!
Todays WOD in our Bethnal Geen Gym was  quite a taxing and relentless one
50 air squats
50 double unders
then 3 rounds  of 14 deadlifts and 20 bar hops
followed by 50 air squats.
then another 3 rounds of
14 deadlifts and  20 bar hops.
then onto the finishing sprint of 50 squats and 50 double unders.
With a bit of rest, the right supplements and a great diet,  that should set you up for Tuesdays Benchmark Cindy test.
Today was “no shoulder day” as we are possibly the only affiliate to balance our training regime. Bearing in mind you only really improve when you recover, it’s essential that you give your shoulders ( and squat)  a regular rest day, especially if you want to workout every day.
Well, the spirit in the class was excellent: everyone started nailing some awesome back squats, and the way the class attacked the   WOD was an inspiration.
Thanks for being there!

Back Squat Regime August to October.

Those of you who keep your ears to the ground will know that  I’ve  been taking various soundings from some trainers, therapists, physio’s, and clients about our forth coming back squat regime.
Everyone recognises the value of the back squat, even though it isn’t one of the CrossFit fundamental moves.
I originally thought of  a squat phase  in terms of  promoting our Olympic weightlifting work, having debated the issue with an Olympic weightlifting coach who suggested a  snatch/back squat relationship (snatch =60% of 1 rep max) but it is obviously part of the puzzle as far as the front squat, wall ball, thrusters, cleans etc goes.
Obviously, we all know correlation does not prove causation.
What we do know is that strength , if combined with Crossfit WOD capacity, is a winning formula
The issue, as far as I see,  is about the sets and reps over the next few weeks. I have spoken to some of our long standing members, especially those who lift regularly and who counsel staying in the 5 -2 range or 70%-95%. I’ve also spoken to some trainers about their experience of using %  in class which has been, in level 2,  overwhelmingly negative. Never the less some love percentages and everyone should learn about them
So in outline,  we will be doing  this:
On the No shoulder sessions, normally meaning twice a week, for the next 2 months (or so) we will set the back squat as a regular feature. Obviously with an amazing Wod to follow.
The coaches will have:
A)  the opportunity of designing hip activating warm ups and rest fillers, using whatever their views are: They may use stretching,  hip thrusts, 1 leg work, kettlebell swings: as they feel appropriate.
I’ve seen science and therapy reports justifying every approach. Even visualizing helps!
B)  the gift of setting sets between  8 and 3  sets. It will be their choice. I’d personally go 5 to 3 sets of 5’s   5 sets of 3, and 6 sets of 2, but the coaches can expand or contract the session as they feel appropriate.
c) The opportunity to educate the members on % and use % if they feel it’s useful for the clients in front of them.  In general, it’s useful making the %/ rep connection,
To make it clear, whatever you use ( a 5 or an 80% 0r 85%) you’ll be encouraged to sneak on a bit extra, or a “thin mint” if you, can on that day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJZPzQESq_0

 Equally, you’ll be allowed to drift down if that day isn’t working for you and you feel you’ll explode if you add any more
d)  the freedom to  add pauses if  the coach feels the clients in front of them  would benefit from  this
so.
Starting next week, it will look like this
week 1
Back squat 3’s ( I would start at 5’s but we have had quite a lot of that  recently)
Week 2
Back squat 2’s.  On the second day, after the 2’s you’ll strip weight down  to 70% and do one set of the 20 rep protocol
week 3
Back squat 5’s
repeat
We may repeat this 3 times then retest the total.
As an aside, Deadlifts will appear in the WoD, Ideally once a week.
(NB: Dedicated regimes, where people “buy in and buy out” normally have a de-load week. I’d suggest most clients randomly take weeks off anyway,  but we will be advising a self-administered week off or  “lite” week every 10 weeks or )