I know you want to lift more! So....................

Efficiency, Speed and Lateral Foot Movement: The Big Debate

By Elysha Oliver

In recent days, I have heard a lot of chatter about foot movement during barbell cycling being “too slow” and inefficient. So I’m here to tell you, you do NOT need to move your feet when cycling the barbell…

I know – everyone is gasping. BUT, let me be VERY clear. There is a very big difference between lifting to ingrain technique and barbell cycling. At no point should cycling the barbell override learning and executing good technique.

For the majority of Crossfit Insight members, we are always striving to get better, and more efficient, in our lifts. So let’s look at two scenarios:

  1. I know the lifts, but I still catch forward, my elbows don’t move as fast as they could, I’m not stable in my catch position, etc.

This is 95% of the lifters in our gym, including me some days. We all have something in our lifts that can be improved – until you get to a point that those improvements never impact your ability to be consistent in your technique and make the majority of your lifts, you still fall into this category.

  1. I show consistent technique in every lift no matter the weight and I can make the majority of my lifts.

These are the lifters in our gym who can complete their lifts with good form and the technique they use is the same for each rep and each weight. These athletes are great at barbell cycling because they have the base technical skills.

For those who fall into scenario 1, I will always recommend that you continue to focus on building great technique, and the speed and efficiency will follow. Don’t put the cart before the horse and end up cycling crappy reps. So, in the case of lateral foot movement – learn to move your feet to catch the weight (even in power clean and snatches and no matter the weight!) so that you ingrain good pulling and receiving technique. Once your body understands the movement, you can advance to scenario 2.

In scenario 2, athletes are likely to be able to build muscle memory for both barbell cycling and single lifts, and have a slightly different approach. For Olympic lifting, these athletes are going to be very technical and ensure that they start with the proper pulling position, and end in the appropriate squat stance. For barbell cycling, however, they may be more inclined to start closer to, if not in, their squat stance for all of the reps, IF the weight is relatively light in comparison to their 1 RM. This can increase speed for cycling and help achieve the desired stimulus for that WOD.

BUT… there should not be a sacrifice in the remainder of your technique by removing the lateral foot movement.

Just remember – technique first, then efficiency, then speed.

What the heck is a Thruster?

Thrusters: The lift we love to hate

By Wes Vissor

When you hear the word “Thruster” what is the first thought that comes to mind? Chances are it is probably a four letter word that wouldn’t be appropriate to say in front of your grandmother. Thrusters are one of the most dreaded yet effective movements in all of CrossFit.

When you break it down, a thruster is a simple movement; the combination of a front squat and a push press. The weight that is typically prescribed is usually light to moderate, compared to your push press one rep max and well below your heaviest front squat (more on this later). So if a thruster is just two basic lifts, combined into one fluid movement, at relatively light weight, then what is the big deal with thrusters? Why do they cause a sense of panic and a sudden urge to cherry pick and take a rest day?

Chances are you can attribute your dislike of Thrusters to one of these common errors/mistakes:

Breathing – It may sound crazy, but you wouldn’t believe how often we as coaches see members forgetting to breathe during movements. When you are fully extended and locked out at the top of the thruster this is a great place to inhale. When we exhort force, from the bottom of the squat right through our push press, this is the ideal place to exhale.

Mobility - If you are tight through the thoracic spine or shoulders you may have difficulty getting in the proper front rack position, leading to rapid muscular fatigue by not allowing the bar to rest on the “shelf” and requiring your arms to be under tension throughout the entire movement. If you are tight through the hips then you may have trouble reaching proper depth on your squat and you may struggle to keep your knees wide. Finally, if you have trouble keeping weight on your heels throughout a squat, there is a good chance that you need to work on your ankle mobility.

Rhythm/Tempo - This was a game changer for me. As mentioned above, the weight that is usually prescribed for a Thruster is usually relatively light. This is a good thing, right? It doesn’t take long into your CrossFit journey to realize that lighter weights aren’t necessarily easier. Depending on the desired stimulus, choosing the correct weight can change a workout drastically. If the weight on the bar feels light then you can cycle the movement faster. Some athletes may even find themselves pulling the bar back down just as fast as they are pushing to make up more time. Combine this with the desire of speed and power as you open your hips (that the coach is always reminding you about) and you can cycle through thrusters at a ridiculously fast rhythm/tempo….until your heart rate catches up. You all know exactly what I’m talking about because you’ve been there too, and that means you also understand when your heart rate is redlined how difficult it is to pick the barbell back up.

Next time thrusters are in the wod try and slow down your cadence. You don’t even need to slow it down much to see a drastic change in keeping your heart rate under control. It’s also vital that you don’t lose any speed out of your squat and into your press, as your hips open. Remember to breathe. Focus on your breathing throughout the movement. And finally, always continue work on your mobility. If you would like a drill or movement to work on one of the above or another problem area don’t hesitate to ask any one of the knowledgeable coaches at CrossFit Insight.  

When I first started CrossFit Thrusters were one of my least favorite movements. Through lots of trial and error, I have found that these tips have helped me. I know that Thrusters are a movement that we all love to hate, but like me, I hope you will learn to love to hate them a little less.  

    


 

HEY COACH! Do I have to squat it?

Power vs. Squat

Eylsha Oliver

So you walk into the box and see that the strength for the day is a snatch 5x3. The first

question most people ask is “Is it a power or full snatch?”

For almost every weightlifter, the answer to that question is the same – we always

squat. This isn’t to say that there is no benefit from power snatches and cleans,

however, many crossfitters prefer the power for a number of reasons, and in many

cases, complain that they can power as much as they can squat.

In the world of weightlifting, it is well known that you should not be able to power the

same amount of weight as you can squat – no exceptions. So I want to discuss a

number of reasons that crossfitters may be more willing to power than squat.

1. I don’t like to squat…

It is common knowledge that powering is easier than squatting – especially when you

have a WOD right after the strength. We tend to take the easy road and it can be

detrimental to our ability to squat clean and snatch. Powers are a great way to work the

pull and learn efficient bar path, however, most lifters have the ability to pull the bar high

enough to squat under – actually, most of us pull the bar higher than we need to.

So, if your power clean is the same as your squat clean and you want to lift more

weight, next time the board says “clean” with no specifics, assume you are squatting.

More squats, bigger numbers. If you are still unsure about receiving the bar (see #4),

then power clean or snatch, but ride the squat down and finish it. If you find yourself

moving upwards as soon as you catch the power, add a squat to your lift before you

finish.

2. Instability or discomfort in the receiving position

I know it is far more comfortable to think about catching a heavy barbell in a power

position instead of having to squat, however, if you want heavy numbers, discomfort

and a bit of fear is part of the package. The saying that “if you aren’t a little bit scared,

you aren’t lifting heavy enough” is applicable here. We all know how it feels to stand up

a really heavy front squat or overhead squat, but the benefits in your lifts are

overwhelming.

If your front squat or overhead squat are just a few kilos from your one rep power clean

and snatch, you won’t be able to squat clean or squat snatch more than you can power

– you need to squat more.

Squat strength is vital for a heavy clean and snatch, but not the only factor you need to

consider. In a clean, you need to have strong stability and be able to maintain a strong

upright posture in order to catch the bar – you can squat whatever you want, but if you

collapse when you catch the bar because you don’t have a stable core or an upright

position, you will miss that lift all day. This is why during my programming, I emphasize

core accessory work to ensure that when you need to lift heavy, your body is stable

enough through your core to catch the weight.

Same goes for overhead position in snatches – you can be “strong overhead” but if you

don’t have the stability to maintain that weight overhead, you won’t be making that lift.

Start with a heavy overhead squat that you can hold at the bottom for 3-5 seconds

without wanting to topple over. Once you have that strength, work in some snatch

balances to teach your body to catch that weight while in motion and find your stable

overhead position.

This may also come back to mobility and your position in the bottom of your squat –

more time spent in the bottom equals more mobility. Make sure this is a priority for your

lifting program.

3. Fear of pulling under the bar

For a lot of crossfitters that I talk to, this can be one of the hardest ideas to get past –

and I know from experience. There was a time where my best snatch wouldn’t budge,

all because I was afraid to pull myself under the bar.

There are a variety of training exercises that can help you overcome all of the possible

weaknesses that cause your body to believe that getting under the bar might just leave

you crippled (I promise it won’t – especially with good coaching!). You may have a

weak second pull (i.e. you aren’t pulling the bar high enough or finishing your

extension), or an inability to pull yourself under the bar for fear or another reason.

Regardless of the issue, talk to a coach who can help design a program to reduce your

fear of pulling under the bar and build your confidence in receiving your clean or snatch

– it really will make all the difference.

 

Exercise or Nutrition?

The answer is always yes!

Hey! Did you know that I’ve finished up my Precision Nutrition course, and we’re starting a Nutrition Program at CrossFit Insight?

This has been a long time coming, and, quite frankly, long overdue. As much as we believe in CrossFit and the positive changes that it can make in your life, the key to better health starts with nutrition. Like they say, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. I’m so pleased that we’ll be able to help our clients look, feel, and move better.

Precision Nutrition is all about building healthy habits, and giving our clients the accountability that they sometimes need to stick to those habits. I’ll look over your typical diet and help you identify some red flags, and give you some suggestions on how to make your diet healthier. I’ll give you some healthy meal suggestions, and, with our 4 and 6 week programs, we’ll get you weighed and measured (don’t worry, it’ll all be confidential!), and calculate your body fat percentage. During your program, we’ll re-test your numbers to make sure we’re on the right track. Also with the 6 week program, you’ll get weekly check-ins, to help with your motivation to stay the course.

Not ready to sign up for a Nutrition Program, but want some of the benefits of one? Stay tuned for details for our upcoming Insight Nutritional Challenge! It’s super-motivating, and, if I do say so myself, it’s pretty fun, and there’s plenty of opportunity for trash-talking, lol.

So, whether it’s just an initial consultation, our 4 or 6 week program, ongoing nutrition coaching, or the Nutritional Challenge, I know that we have the right option for you!

Brenda Anderson

CrossFit L1

Precision Nutrition L1

Client Stories: A 40 minute PR

 I was talked into trying CrossFit by my friend Brenda.  We did a trial together.  It was six months later when I decided to join up for OnRamp. I was interested in cross training to help improve my running and biking. At First, I didn’t think CrossFit will make much of a difference.  I thought I was pretty fit.  Until I had to do the push up, air squat, sit up, (pull up I think) for time.  I suddenly realized how weak I was, in my upper body and overall strength.  

 My impression of CrossFit has changed dramatically. I realize the benefit and importance of strength training, with regards to athletics and aging. I injured my knee and lower back 3 years ago, from running (not listening to my body, running through injury, and lack of proper off season training)  I was unable to participate in activity for about 3 months.  Once I felt somewhat better, I found that, I could slowly start working at building overall strength, by a committed regular regime of attending crossfit classes.  I scaled weights and movements for a long time, until I started feeling stronger.  My personality is move fast and strive to be competitive, so I have to work hard at making sure I am not forsaking proper form for speed.  

It’s been over the 3.5 years.  I have met some great people, and look forward to meeting many more.  The idea of other members cheering me on during class workouts, and being very supportive is encouraging. The coaching is basically one on one and I have learned so much. I appreciate the coaches supportive push to keep up the good work, and at the same time the corrective feedback if my form starts to suffer.

   Another bright spot is completing my first RX WOD, my first pull up, it took me 2.5 years (still working at it though, a long way to go) and stringing together Double Unders. I have come to realize change takes patience, and comes slow.  You almost don't realize you are becoming stronger.  Stronger overall, not just isolated.  Lower, upper, core and endurance.  It seems as if day to day you are taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back, but accumulated overtime, you do become stronger.  Every year (except when I was injured) I run a 25km trail race (called Pick your Poison).  Tough run with many big climbs.  Last year my time was 3:46:07.  This year it was 3:06:15.  A 40 minute difference, and I felt pretty good at the end.  I am really seeing the benefit of CrossFit.

My goal this year for CrossFit, is to continue to work on my weaknesses.  Being able to lift a little more weight during WODS (but keeping form) as well as becoming proficient at wall balls (blue ball).  I would also like to be able to complete a chest to bar, and link toe to bars and pull ups.  Most important is maintain fitness and continue improving on strength, as it helps to stay injury free.  I may try to participate in a competition down the road.

Coming to the gym day after day and being able to work out with familiar faces as well as meet new members is refreshing. (No matter what time of the day I come) I like that everyday is different in terms of the workout.  It's like a new challenge everyday.  I enjoy the element of competition if I choose to push myself that day.  

Lee-ann Dungate

Scrap Your Resolutions, There's A Better Way.

 We’re now beginning the 5th month of a New Year and I bet someone, somewhere, is working on their New Year’s resolution. That’s a great, it means that you’ve realized you might not be where you want to be and you’re willing to work to fix it. The problem with making resolutions is nine times out of ten no one actually sticks to them long term. I can admit that I’ve never fully committed to my resolutions either.  But maybe instead of making New Year’s resolutions, we need to be making New Year’s goals. What’s the difference between a resolution and a goal you may ask? A resolution is usually very general and half-hearted while a goal, on the other hand, is usually specific and thoughtfully planned out.

Tips for setting goals

  1. Be specific

One of the main problems with following through on goals is being too general. For example, your goal may be to run a half-marathon this year. While that’s a great goal, you should be more specific, add a time you

want to complete the marathon in or choose which specific marathon you want to run. Studies show that specific goals are more effective than vague/general goals.

  1. Use short-term goals to achieve long-term goals (Bright-spots)

Short term goals can be the building blocks for long term goals. If you start your journey to achieving your big goal by setting and accomplishing small goals, the journey won’t seem so overwhelming or impossible. Going back to the goal of a half-marathon, make a goal for every week of your training program. In doing so, you are able to see progress and small results toward your big goal giving you more motivation to reach that big goal.

  1. Make your goals challenging but realistic

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t make the goals so they’re easier to achieve, make them so you have to work harder to achieve them. It has been shown that difficult goals produce better performance. You improve so much more by working harder than you do by completing a goal that doesn’t take you much effort. That doesn’t mean to set goals that are out of a feasible range for you. For instance, setting a goal to run a 5 minute mile when you’ve never run less than an 8 minute mile is probably not a good idea. It may take you longer to reach that challenging goal but it will definitely be more worth it in the end.

So if you’re planning to begin an exercise program or are in one now, set goals, watch your progress, and be patient. With your hard work, those results will come!

 Every journey at CrossFit Insight now starts with a conversation about you and your goals. It only makes sense. 

You’ll Never Have Time

    There are probably a lot of people in Barrie right now that are interested in CrossFit, but claim they just don’t have time. And I get it. You're busy; so am I. There simply aren't enough hours in the day. Between your career, your kids, all the social events, and finding time for eating and sleeping, there isn’t a lot of free time left over to indulge in taking care of your own health and fitness.

But maybe with your health on the line, you can learn to rearrange that busy schedule and make room for some ME time. You can't wait for your schedule to open up, because it never will. You have to make the time. And one of your top priorities should now and forever be your health and fitness.

   Your ability to function day to day is what makes all that hustle and bustle possible. I can list a ton of reasons why you should workout. Looking good tops the list for a large portion of us, but what it really comes down to is your body’s ability to slow down the aging process. As we age, we slowly break down. Excess weight, poor nutritional choices, lack of mobility...they all contribute to speeding up that process. Choosing to do nothing with regards to your health is choosing to give up years off your life. Lets stay out of the old age home for as long as possible. Who's with me?

    CrossFit may not be the answer for everybody, but exploring avenues of fitness is. For most of us, the most popular solution is an inexpensive globo-gym membership. For some of us self-motivated individuals, this is a great and economical option. Having said that, the vast majority of people seeking fitness will have a hard time finding it there, primarily because of the lack of direction or structure. There’s a big reason why personal training and CrossFit group fitness classes help get the best results for it’s participants. You have a full time coach that teaches you, holds you accountable and holds you to a routine. You schedule accordingly. It gives many people the additional push they need to make time for their health. 

Finding ways to develop your strength, endurance, and regain the ability to perform functional movements expands an individual’s capacity for daily living. We are all busier than ever these days, so it’s even more important that we find ways that our health remain a top priority for us. When it comes to CrossFit, you gain so much more than just general physical preparedness (GPP). With a 1 hour class, 3-4 days per week, you can regain your confidence, as well as build a new and inspiring network of amazing people. Then you can rest easy, knowing you’re doing your part to contribute to your longevity. You may never HAVE time, so you need to MAKE time.

Wayne Legault

Owner/Head Trainer at CrossFit Insight

If you can relate to any of this then maybe it's time you schedule a No Sweat Into. Come in and lets have a chat about your goals and how we can help you.




 

 

Better Than Yesterday!

   I first entered the doors of CrossFit Insight on January 25, 2016. There was a number of events that brought me to needing a positive change in my life. Before starting CrossFit I felt out of shape, mentally weak, and self conscious. CrossFit has helped me develop all of this so I now view my overall health in a positive aspect. I checked CrossFit insight out on the internet several times but I was too intimidated to try it on my own. It wasn't until I overheard my friend Leyna talking about going that I decided to join her. From that moment, little did I know, my life would improve ten fold from that day.

   My first impression of CrossFit was that the coaches were welcoming, helpful, and motivating. Everyone introduced themselves - it was a very welcoming atmosphere.  During my first WOD I honestly remember thinking that I was going to die(but I didn't!) It was hard work but something within me and about CrossFit left me wanting to go back.  It hasn't changed, it's become better. I have made new friends and continue to meet inspiring and encouraging people. The coaches continue to motivate and encourage you to push yourself beyond your comfort level. Plus, I have seen amazing physical results over the last year and a half, which is a bonus!!

   With exercising regularly, watching my macros and clean eating, I now understand my body better and this has brought me to losing 25lbs and 17inches. I have become stronger both physically and mentally. My flexibility and endurance have also improved. I now know what I am able to accomplish when I believe in myself- thanks to the support from CrossFit Insight.

   There is so much that I am still working on. Physical and mental strength, flexibility, my overall health and, personal confidence. I go into each WOD with the thought of improving something. As they says Insight #betterthanyesterday. My favorite memory was the 17.4 open - (55)deadlift 155lbs.. I psyched myself up all day. 155lb was my one rep max... but if I could just get through 5 or 10... I would be OK... I finished the 55, I couldn't stop, and I didn't want to stop! With the encouragement and support of the CrossFit Insight family, I did it!!! Thank you!! 

Thanks for the opportunity and the journey! Jodes

Want to have the BEST snatch in town?

Now that we have your attention!

The best way to finish, is to start with the start in mind.

A Successful Snatch: It’s all in the pull

Everyone has a different focus when learning to snatch – some are worried about

getting enough vertical acceleration of the bar (second pull), some are worried about

pulling their body under the bar (third pull), but many tend to lack focus on the starting

position and first pull.

The first pull, and your ability to set up correctly, is a vital component of a successful lift.

Given that much of the starting position and first pull rely on the flexibility and body

positioning of the lifter, there is much room for variances that may influence the rest of

the lift.

So for those of you who aren’t familiar with the technical jargon of Olympic weightlifting,

I will explain the first, second and third pull.

First pull: From your starting position, this pull begins when the bar is lifted from the

floor and ends at the second pull initiation which typically starts around mid-thigh.

Second pull: The upward extension of the body to accelerate the barbell, which starts

approximately at mid-thigh and ends at the fully extended position of the body. This is

where the speed and power are generated to accelerate the barbell upwards.

Third pull: The active movement of the “pulling” yourself under the barbell and into a

position to receive the weight. Typically during warm ups (such as the Burgener warm

up) we practice pulling the elbows “high and outside”. This is a great drill to learn bar

path, however, we often confuse the pull of the elbows with the breaking of the elbows

as the lifter actively descends under the bar into a receiving position.

So why is the first pull so important to the success of the lift?

Many common errors in lifting, such as horizontal movement of the bar (rainbowing),

jumping forward to receive, bailing the bar in front, etc., are a result of incorrect or

inefficient set up and first pull. The first pull should create a position that will transfer into

the second and third pull and allow for optimal bar acceleration and bar path (which

should be vertical!).

So what does proper movement look like in the first pull of the snatch?

Your starting position should include the following:

  1.  Weight balanced over the entire foot
  2.  Feet are in “pulling stance” which is under the hips
  3.  Shins should be inclined forward
  4.  Shoulders slightly in front of the bar
  5.  Back remains flat

Your first pull should include the following:

  1.  Angle of the back remains the same
  2.  Legs engage in raising the bar to the knees
  3.  Shins will pull backwards to allow the bar path to remain vertical
  4.  Shoulders remain slightly in front of the bar

There are many errors that can occur during the first phase that may impact your ability

to execute a successful lift. It is vital to understand how these errors can be corrected

through feedback from a coach who is capable of identifying areas of improvement.

A great coach can recognize those areas of improvement, and help you build a program

to correct, strengthen, and create muscle memory that will help you become a better

lifter and transfer into efficient barbell cycling in wods.

Post by "Elysha Oliver"

Beginner or advanced you can always benefit from more work on the basics. Greg Classman, the man himself said that once you think you've mastered the basics you should go back and start again.

Elysha will hosting our fist snatch specific clinic on May 6th. If you know Elysha then you know that this lady is passionate about lifting and she is super excited to be able to share her knowledge with you.

3 CrossFit Workouts You Can Do Anywhere

Don't let family gatherings or holiday travel get in the way of getting or saying fit. Here is our luck 3 quick, intense CrossFit workouts you can do anywhere, anytime.

We all know by now that maintaining an active lifestyle should be one of our top priorities in life. Only by taking care of ourselves do we stand a chance of being the kind of person we strive to be on the job, at home with our loved ones and in our communities. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Work, in particular, can get in the way of working out — in fact, there is a big paradox going on, and it becomes more obvious the more challenging (and exciting!) a job gets: On one hand, we struggle to find time to work out; on the other, we can’t afford to not exercise because it is integral to sustained success.

So we if you know its important but can't make it to the gym give these a try and see how it goes.

#1 Two rounds for time:

10 Push ups

10 Sit ups

10 squats

#2 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps for time of:

Burpees

Sit ups

#3 Three rounds for time:

800 meter run

50 squats

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Who is CrossFit for?

According to the CrossFit site, this program “is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.”

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What that means is that every day there is a particular workout prescribed (you’ll often see this written as Rx’ed) for everybody that comes to CrossFit.  Rather than having one workout for older women and another for hardcore athletes – there’s ONE workout each day that is completely scalable based on your skill.  For example, if the workout calls for squats with 135 pounds but you can only do squats with the bar (45 pounds), then that’s where you’ll start. If you’re injured and can’t do squats at all, a similar movement will be substituted, and if the number of reps is too many for your current ability, that will be reduced. As you get stronger and more experienced you’ll work your way towards eventually doing the workouts as prescribed.

Now, although CrossFit can be for everybody, it certainly ISN’T for everybody.  In this blogger’s humble opinion, CrossFit is perfect for a few types of people:

  • Beginners to weight training – If you have NEVER weight trained before (or trained only on machines), CrossFit is a great place for you to start (provided you have a great coach, which I’ll cover shortly).  You’ll learn how to do all of the important lifts in a super supportive and nonjudgmental environment.  You might even find that…GASP…you love strength training!
  • People looking for support and community – This is the appeal to CrossFit for me…every CrossFit gym has a really tight knit community feel to it.  You’re not just a membership payment to them…you’re a person that needs help.  When Nerd Fitness gyms start popping up (don’t think it won’t happen!), I’ll be drawing a lot of inspiration from CF as to how members are so supportive and inclusive of each other.
  • Fitness fanatics – You know those people that love to work out every day and feel like something is missing if they don’t?  The way CrossFit is structured, you are working out with regular consistency.  The general protocol is 3 days on, 1 day off…but many CrossFitters (cough Staci cough) end up at the gym every day, or sometimes even twice a day.  It’s addicting.
  • Masochists – and I mean that in the nicest way possible.  CrossFit rewards people for finishing workouts in the least amount of time possible.  This means that you’ll often be in situations where you are using 100% of your effort to finish a workout, exhausting yourself, and forcing yourself through incredible amounts of pain.
  • Former athletes – CrossFit has built-in teamwork, camaraderie, and competition.  Almost all workouts have a time component to them, where you either have to finish a certain number of repetitions of exercises in a certain amount of time, or the time is fixed and you need to see how many repetitions you can do of an exercise.  You get to compete with people in your class, and go online to see how you did against the world’s elite CrossFit athletes.  There are even nationwide competitions for those that become truly dedicated.

There are a few people for whom I don’t think CrossFit would be as beneficial, but this doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy it:

  • Specialists.  CrossFit prides itself on not specializing, which means that anybody who is looking to specialize (like, let’s say a powerlifter) will not get the best results following the standard CrossFit workout schedule.  If you want to be good at a specific activity, that’s where your focus should be.
  • Solo trainers – Some people, myself included, love to work out alone.  Crossfit is group training, which means you won’t have that opportunity to get your stuff done on your own.

Whats a CrossFit class like anyway?

What’s a CrossFit class like?

Let’s say you’re interested in joining a CrossFit class…but you don’t know what you’re getting into!

Practically every CrossFit gym around the world will let you come in and try out a class for free, so contact your local gyms and find out what dates and time they’re having newbie sessions.  This is how the classes are usually structured:

Introduction class – For people who have never tried CrossFit before. Usually there’s a quick overview, and then a basic body weight movement workout, and then they talk to you about joining.  These are usually free.

On ramp/Elements/Challenge – If you’re interested in joining the regular CrossFit workout, you’ll most likely be required to go through the On ramp/Elements course. The purpose of these is to teach you the nine foundational movements of CrossFit and all about proper form.  No matter how experienced you are, these are valuable and worth the time and money.  Even if you think you have perfect form on your squats, deadlifts and/or overhead presses, it’s amazing what can be fixed when you have a trained set of eyes watching you do them.

Regular classes:  This is what you’re probably used to seeing or hearing about.  A regular CrossFit class takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Everybody starts at the same time, there are instructors walking around helping out and keeping track, and everybody is supporting each other and probably swearing a lot.

Most CrossFit gyms will split their classes into three or four sections:

  1. Dynamic warm up – not jogging on a treadmill for 5 minutes, but jumps, jumping jacks, jump rope, squats, push ups, lunges, pull ups.  Functional movements, stretches, and mobility work that compliment the movements you’ll be doing in the workout that day. 
  2. Skill/Strength work: If it’s a strength day, then you’ll work on a pure strength movement (like squats or deadlifts).  If it’s not a strength day, then you’ll work on a skill and try to improve, like one-legged squats or muscle ups.
  3. WOD: the workout of the day.   This is where you’ll be told to do a certain number of reps of particular exercises as quickly as possible, or you’ll have a set time limit to do as many of a certain exercise as possible.
  4. Cool down and stretching.  Either as a group, or you’re allowed to stretch out on your own.  This would also be the time for people who pushed too hard to go puke in a trash can and stretch their stomach muscles

6 Mistakes For Beginners To Avoid

 

Mistake #1: Quitting

You must commit. Don’t commit to becoming an elite all-star, achieving a perfect physique or lifting a million pounds. The only thing CrossFit asks of you daily is that you finish. Bad day or good day, modified or not, unless an injury or condition comes into play, most athletes have the ability to finish every workout in one way or another. It’s imperative that athletes exercise their habit of not giving up to make strides in their fitness and fortitude. And when that habit is established, most will find it crosses over into everyday life in the most amazing ways. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself quit.

Mistake #2: Too Much Too Fast

Many people imagine themselves to be fit and strong walking into CrossFit. Perhaps you ran a marathon or like to lift weights. That’s fantastic and I commend you. But when it comes to CrossFit, there’s something to be said for easing into it.

 

Lifting too much weight too fast can hinder your experience in a number a ways. First, if you’re unable to put focus on technique, your movements and progress will suffer greatly. Second, if your body isn’t prepared for the high intensity paired with weight, you’re asking for injury. Any good gym will work you through some fundamentals and assist you in establishing a starting point, but it’s up to you to take that to heart and put your effort into skill work before you worry about tons of weight.

Mistake #3: Guessing

There is a ton of information thrown your way in the beginning stages of CrossFit. Although making it comprehensive is the responsibility of your gym and its On Ramp program, some movements aren’t repeated for weeks. If you aren’t certain about something, it’s important that you ask. And don’t ask the guy standing next to you. Ask your coach; that’s what they are there for. Everybody has a moment of question in CrossFit, so voice your confusion and get help rather than guess.

Mistake #4: Not Enough Rest

Many people find the CrossFit community experience so positive that they have a hard time stepping away. But in the early stages of your CrossFit experience, it’s really important to let your body acclimate to your workout regimen. The intensity can overwhelm your muscles if you don’t give them some time to recover. If you’re having a hard time sitting still, make it an active rest day with a walk or swim. And be sure to spend some time on those sore muscles with a roller or some stretching.

Mistake #5: Exercising With an Ego

Walking in the door, you won’t be the best. Period. I don’t know what background you came from. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and your performance in comparison to others will vary day to day. One of the cool things about CrossFit is that there isn’t time or energy for exercising with an ego. If you walk in with an ego ready to defend, you will likely be broken like a wild horse, so go in focused on giving it all you have and walk away knowing that’s always enough.

 

Mistake #6: Refusal to Break Bad Habits

If you’re a smoker, quit. If you eat mostly processed crap, stop. If you’re inconsistent, change. Most people begin CrossFit with a vision of change in their lives. But CrossFit doesn’t offer that without asking for something in return. The demands on your body seem basic, but poor health choices or lack of accountability will hinder your hopes for a better future. So don’t depend on bad habits to magically go away; own your ability to consciously make good choices, and do it.

Like anything, CrossFit has a learning curve and a person has every right to make mistakes along the way. Having said that, there are some that beginners should avoid for safety, sanity and a super kick-ass experience. Exercise your instinct to ease into the experience and you’ll make the most of what might just be a life-changing journey.

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Struggle with Toes-to-Bar

Oh the frustration of toes-to-bar. It seems like a straightforward movement that any fit human should be able to accomplish without much thought. However it is typically one of the last movements CrossFitters are able to achieve. Most look to lack of midline strength as the primary cause, and although it might be, I suggest there are at least three other places to look before determining that is your (only) issue. If you’re struggling with your toes-to-bar even though it seems like you should be able to do them, then read on for some solutions to help you improve.

1) Weak lower abdominal muscles is usually the first place we look for the problem and while they can be a culprit, especially in the untrained population, chances are this is actually only a small piece of the puzzle for most folks. If you have trouble with most or all abdominal/midline exercises, this is where you should first focus some attention. Test to see if this is you by hanging from a bar and performing mini-crunches. Bring your knees to waist height without touching the floor between reps. Repeat this for AMRAP in 30 seconds. You should be able to get at least 15 reps in 30 seconds. If you cannot, you might consider putting in some extra time on your abs with any or all of these exercises to strengthen your midline.

2) Weak shoulder girdle and/or lats are the other common culprits when it comes to strength deficiency for completing toes-to-bar. Guess what? The shoulders aren’t just responsible for connecting our arms to our bodies, they are the first thing to activate in the toes-to-bar (and pull-up) and should continue to be active and strong throughout the entire movement not only to protect our shoulder joints but to also provide assistance in the kipping movement on the backswing and to lessen the distance our toes have to travel to touch the bar. That first bit of shoulder activation when we hang from the bar is called a scapular pull-up and you should be able to hold that position for 30 seconds and you should also be

able to do at least 10 unbroken reps of the movement. The backswing and the toe-distance lessening are mostly controlled by strong lat muscles which allow you to push down on the bar to create a bigger, stronger kip. The stronger this portion of the swing, the higher the body travels and the shorter the distance your toes have to travel to touch the bar. But if you’re struggling to maintain the hollow position, You should also work more pulling exercises and static holds into your routine. Ideas for pulling: pull-ups with varying hand grips, ring rows, DB rows, landmine rows, barbell rows, CrossOver Symmetry, hand-over-hand sled pulls, heck, you could even try swimming. Ideas for static holds: straight-arm hangs with scapular retraction, chin-over-bar holds, chest-to-bar holds, or get your lower abs and scaps at the same time with L-hangs.

3) Lack of thoracic mobility is where I believe many people’s problems lie with toes-to-bar, pull-ups and life in general. A lot of times people mistakenly think they lack shoulder mobility (which could be the case) when it is actually thoracic mobility that is the problem. In my opinion, this is the number one killer of desk jockeys because the problem can exacerbate so quickly into much larger problems – like injury or Upper Cross Syndrome – if left untreated. But how do you know if this is your issue? The front swing (Superman or bow position) on kip requires a great deal of thoracic mobility to be able to push your head and chest through so if you struggle with this portion of the toes-to-bar (or pull-up). If you can’t, you shouldn’t be going overhead movements with weight nor should you be kipping (jamming yourself) into a position you cannot safely achieve. So just to be absolutely clear, if you can’t perform these you also cannot perform a safe overhead position or a safe kip so don’t get too hung up on going Rx in workouts on kipping movements until you can Rx your wall slide.

4) Tight hamstrings are the final place to look, especially if you are good to go in the three areas listed above. If your kip timing is on point and you are able to get your knees to your armpits consistently, then you should be able to do toes-to-bar. Once your knees are in your armpits, all it takes is a quick knee-extending kick to touch those toes to the bar. So if you struggle with high-kicks in the warm-up or you can’t touch your toes, lack of hamstring flexibility is likely your demise in toes-to-bar, deadlifts, the second position in Olympic lifting and tying your shoes for time. More hamstring mashing, flossing, inch worming and high-kicking for you. Chances are, you might need a little extra help from a body worker or yoga. Don’t forget that we are always shooting for the ultimate balance in life and athletics. So if you spend five hours per week contracting your muscles by lifting weights in the gym, you should also spend five hours stretching those muscles as well. I wonder how many of our Yins and Yangs are balanced? Just something to consider.

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BOX RULES

Rule #1: Be Nice:   One of CrossFit’s most enticing selling points is the sense of community and camaraderie inherent in the type of work being done in your local box. By fostering competition, cooperation and a network of support within a gym, CrossFit adherents believe they’ve found a recipe for improving athletes beyond typical means. They’ve also created an incredibly fun place to work out.

Of course, no gym — CrossFit or otherwise — is completely free of idiots, muscleheads or giant egos, but by following a simple set of rules we’ve culled from affiliates across the country, you’ll ensure you won’t be one of them:

 

Keep it clean: CrossFit gyms are often big, open, Spartan areas, but they’re also very clean. Help keep them that way. Sweat, blood, gear and chalk may fly around the gym during a given WOD. If it’s coming from you, be sure to clean up after yourself and return equipment you were using to the racks. Bumper plates (rubber weights put on barbells) are admittedly fun to drop, but don’t make a habit of it because they won’t last forever and drops can still damage the expensive barbell.

 

Check your ego at the door: No matter what kind of shape you’re in, with its high intensity, complex movements and heavy loads, CrossFit will be difficult. Don’t get angry if the soccer mom or 16-year-old in your class posts a better time or heavier weight because the competition is also against yourself. Remember what you did and then smile while congratulating others on their spectacular performance. You might “win” next time.

 

Push yourself: You can only get stronger, faster and healthier if you continually add weight to your lifts and speed to your movements. Don’t compromise safety, but if you can perform a lift correctly, you can make that lift heavier. This can inspire others to push themselves, as well. Listen to your coaches, who will watch the form on your lifts and make corrections where necessary. If you’ve missed a rep because of bad form, repeat it.

 

Show support: Group classes create competition, but they shouldn’t create rivalries. Those in your class are struggling against the same weights and movements you are, so they’ll need as much help as you to get through the WOD. If you finish before someone, cheer him or her on or run a final leg with that person. Gather around if someone is going for a heavy personal record because the extra cheer can be the difference between making a lift or dropping the weight.

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Learn the Lingo

CrossFit is full of its own lingo, and none is more important than or as simple as the “WOD” (Workout of the Day). Scribbled on whiteboards in CrossFit boxes across the country every morning, the WOD is likely the first thing you’ll look for when you walk into your new gym, and it’s what your body will remember on your way out. That workout will involve “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement” — the theory underpinning CrossFit that makes athletes better, faster and stronger— and will be the focus of your training that day.

Other CrossFit words to live by:

The Girls: a series of iconic WODs, each given a girl’s name. When asked the reason, CrossFit founder Greg Glassman reportedly said: “Any workout that leaves you flat on your back, staring up at the sky, wondering what the hell happened deserves a girl’s name.”

Paleo: the favored diet of CrossFitters.; entails eating the way our cave-man ancestors did, so lots of meat and vegetables; no dairy, legumes or grains

Kipping: a small but powerful full-body movement originating in the hips; used to create momentum particularly as part of a pull-up

AMRAP: acronym for as many rounds (or reps) as possible; a common directive in WODs

Rx’d: prescribed; means that a workout was completed exactly as written
 

Mobility: distinct from flexibility; training to improve motor control and movement of the joints, enabling the body to reach full range of motion on all exercises.

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Up the Intensity

Chase Intensity

Athletes new to CrossFit might be initially alarmed at the intensity level box members bring to workouts. As many WODs are a race against the clock and other members — it is the “sport of fitness,” after all — you’ll be asked to perform them at a high rate of speed and a high heart rate. Fostering this friendly competition between gym members will have you performing at a higher level than you thought possible.

But keep in mind, however, CrossFit is almost infinitely scalable, so that WOD designed for some of the top performers in your gym can and should be altered to fit your needs and current abilities.

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Don't Overestimate What Everyone Else is Doing

A mistake I think a lot of newer lifters make, thanks to their access to so many training videos of elite lifters without any context, is overestimating the average intensity of these lifters' training.

There are two basic factors that go into this: First, they lift big weights. That is, when you're watching someone throw around 200kg, it's easy to forget that 200kg may actually not be that heavy for him; it may be 70%. It's easy to forget when we see weights we can't lift or struggle to lift that they're not necessary heavy for someone else.

Second, lifters don't post videos of light training days - no one wants to show the world 60% lifts. This means we get an inaccurate picture of these lifters' training - all we ever see are relatively heavy lifts, so it's easy to assume these lifters are always training heavy. It's hard to remember that posted videos represent a small portion of their training.

Ultimately, you need to train in the way that's most effective for you, regardless of what anyone else is doing. Discover that by experimenting and working with coaches who are experienced with working with people similar to you - not by making assumptions based on elite lifters.

Credit goes to http://www.catalystathletics.com/

Is Your Diet "Undoing" Your Training?

You can't out-cardio countless grams of crappy carbs. I know that vegetables, fruits, and quality protein are more expensive than wheat and corn products, but cows get fat by grazing on the grain. Don't be like the cow.

There are 168 hours in a week. If you train during five of them, that leaves 163 hours to possibly undo anything you achieved in the gym, so how about giving at least a passing nod to eating right? I suggest that learning the basics of cooking – as simple as learning to use a knife, a slow cooker, and a grill, along with some proactive shopping – will do as much for you as the next great "secret" training protocol.

Dan John