02 Jun 2014
“The greatest adaptation in CrossFit is of the mind.” -Greg Glassman
CrossFit is so physical. We push our bodies to the limit. Everyday we ask more of ourselves. We hit the WOD, some strength before or after, practice some skills, then mobilize and feed our bodies so we can come back in and do it all over again. This is what CrossFit is between 3-6 days per week.
Read that quote again by CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman. How powerful and true it is. He first made that statement while he was still running the CrossFit Level 1 Seminars around 2004. He and Greg Amundson (CrossFit Amundson, CrossFit Goal Setting, and Santa Cruz Original Firebreather) were observing seminar participants attempt muscle ups. Two males went up for the first attempt ever. Male 1 nailed it. He came down and his buddies were all congratulating him. He responded with humility I knew that I could do it. Meanwhile, Male 2 failed and as his buddies came to offer condolences, he stated that it was ok and that he knew he wouldn’t do it.
You see, you will achieve what you believe. Of course you need to have the appropriate skills and strength. That being a given, your mind will determine the rest.
20 May 2014
The Back Extension (Much too often confused with Hip Extension)
We have programmed the back extension quite frequently as of late due to the arising need to increase the strength of the erectors for each athlete. This movement is often confused with hip extension. Here is a breakdown:
- Set up so that the pelvis is trapped on the pads.
- Without any movement in the hip, extend and flex at the trunk only.
- Range of motion will differ between athletes based on mobility of spine.
The hamstrings and glute muscles are working to isometrically stabilize the pelvis. When you are under a load while trying to lift heavy or to complete as fast as possible, not being able to maintain stability of the midline will result in inefficient movement at best and injury at worst.
If we are trying to isometrically hold the spine then why train a movement that emphasizes trunk flexion and extension? Building up the muscles while developing the “hardware” of the CNS to activate those muscles are going to enhance your ability to keep the spine neutral while under load.
If you are in the gym on a day that there are not back extensions programmed, then hit 2-3 sets in your warm up before class. Try to build up to 25 super strict and slow reps. Before long, your lower back muscles will look and feel like steel cables and be bombproof!
16 May 2014
Boom! It’s another PR Friday and it is time to FIRE IT UP! FIRE IT UP!
Get after the deadlift today and rip that sh*t off of the floor. BEAST MODE. WARRIOR MODE. Be sure to post your results to comments here. This blog is going to become the de facto whiteboard for everyone so you can see each other results.
What Are You Training For?
Speaking of posting results…If you have not been getting into Pocket Coach and tracking your daily training then you are not really training. You’re just working out. That is ok if you have nothing to train for but if you are here for one of the following: improve performance, lose weight, gain muscle and strength, or for any other purpose beyond get a sweat; then you have no idea how to follow what is going on if you are not journaling the process on Pocket Coach. Get in there, play around with it and become comfortable with it. Don’t use excuses, hold yourself accountable. Your coach will then check in periodically to provide feedback and guidance.
What’s On Tap
1. Dumbbell Thrusters from 10″ box
15 – 12 – 9 reps AHAP
2. AMRAP 10
Glute-ham raise 7
1. Back Squat – 6, 4, 2
With a partner perform three rounds each for time
Front Rack Hold, 140#/95#
1. For time.
Row 1000 meters @ a 2:00(2:20)/500 meter pace or greater
Sumo deadlift/high pull @ 1/2 body weight X 21 reps
Row 500 meters @ a 1:45(2:05)/500 meter pace or greater
Powerclean (from ground) @1/2 body weight X 21 reps
Row 250 meters @ a 1:30(1:50)/500 meter pace or greater
Front Squat, 1/2 body weight X 21 reps
1. Run 6 minutes out/6 minutes back @ your chosen pace (no measure)
2. 3 RFT
Dips, max reps
Lunge 20 Steps
Push-press max reps @ 1/3 bodyweight
Lunge 20 Steps
HS Push-ups max reps
Lunge 20 Steps
Score is time and post reps for dips/PP/hspu to comments.
1. Run 1 mile
2. Perform 5 rounds, rest as little as possible.
15 Back extensions
15 Knee to elbows
3. For time as heavy as possible:
50 Unbroken Thrusters from 10″ box with dumbbells.
Don’t stop or pause; pump them out.
1. Snatch – 6, 4, 2, 2
2. For time (rest only during transition for the weights, have all weights out already)
15 Squat clean and jerk @ 50% BW
Deadlift @ BW, max reps
15 Squat clean and jerk @ 50% BW
Back squat @ BW max reps
15 Squat clean and jerk @ 50% BW
1. Bench press – 5, 3, 1
perform 30 band pull aparts in between each round.
2. Lunge 50 alternating steps with DB’s @ 1/4, 1/3, or 1/2 bodyweight and no stopping.
3. Push Press – 5,3, 1
perform 30 band pull aparts in between each round.
4. Glute Ham raise – 15, 12, 9
13 May 2014
We have addressed this topic in the past but now may be a great time to address it again.
In CrossFit we perform a great deal of volume with barbells, pull up bars, rings, and kettlebells. It is important to establish a plan on how to prevent rips and tears as well as how to care for them if they do occur.
First, allow me to say this, a hand tear is an injury. It is not a badge of honor of how BAD ASS you are. If you tear your hand, you may be derailing your ability to train for the next few days. Oh, your significant other is not going to allow you to put your hands on him/her either so now you are really out of luck!
Prevention is Key
First, go to your local pharmacy and pick up either a pumice stone or a callus shaver in the foot care section. I personally prefer the callus shaver as it slices those babies down really quick and easy. You may prefer both to smooth over any edges left by the callus shaver. Take the shaver or stone and cut down any built up calluses as needed. Once per week does the trick for me. Others need heavier maintenance.
Beyond, keeping the calluses down you can also be sure to apply lotion to your hands to ensure that your skin does not become too dry with cracks. This will lead to rips and tears as well. I am not a big lotion guy. In fact the only time I use lotion is when I am rubbing some on my wife’s feet and legs. But hey, maybe you like the stuff!
Friction is The Enemy
The reason the calluses build up and ultimately tear is due to friction. If your skin is constantly being rubbed along a surface it is going to be build to protect itself until it finally tears because it is too big. How can we minimize this? The first is obvious with using chalk.
There is such a thing as TOO MUCH CHALK. The substance is not supposed to be caked on your hands. If you are an excessive sweater then you need to have a towel to dry off your hands and forearms before applying additional small dosages of chalk to your hands. Don’t be a chalk whore. I have also heard of applying body glide to your hands and then a little chalk on your hands before hitting the pull up bar or barbell. I have not personally tried this yet but it makes sense. Marathoners and distance events use body glide all the time to prevent chafing brought on by friction.
Gloves are another option. Wait, gloves? That is being a sissy right? Set aside your macho ego. If you tear and tear regularly, get a pair of gloves. Buy the smallest size of batting gloves you fit into, they will stretch, and practice your grip. It will be different and you may have to make some small adjustments.
Build up your grip strength. This is a huge reason for rips and tears. Though we don’t want to have a death grip on the pull up bar when we need to finish 100 pull ups, we also don’t want our forearms and grip to crap the bed after 15-20 reps. Look for another post coming soon to address grip strength and programs to follow that can easily be applied 2-3 times per week at the end of your workouts.
In the Heat of the Battle
While you begin following the guidance written above, what about today? Tomorrow? Here is one basic rule I follow. Don’t go to failure on any set of pull ups, high volume snatches, or cleans. Once your grip begins to fail, you WILL rip your hand. Work smaller doses of sub maximal effort. Though it may seem counter intuitive, you will actually be able to finish your WOD faster due to less no reps and needing to take extra time for the muscles to recover. As you apply the grip strength work and continue training the number of reps you can complete will increase.
One last thing. If the WOD calls for 100 pull-ups and you know that the volume is too much for you, don’t “suck it up” and go after it. Build up your capacity over time. Scale it down. Know your limits, work to the very fringe of them to keep pushing further, but be smart. Then you will be able to continue training and improving your fitness instead of sitting on the sideline and having to go to sleep with latex gloves and moisturizer.
That’s right, it’s finally warm and nice outside and we’re doing an all out 1k row in the gym! So, what are you going to do in preparation and during the 1k to get through it and back outside? Here is a solid warmup and 3 skills to get you ready and give you something to focus on when that voice inside your head tries to tell you to stop.
Renegade Rowing Club Warmup:
1min – 1/2 Legs Only
1min – Full Legs Only
1min – Legs and Body Only
1min – Full Strokes
1min – Pause @1/2 Slide Every Stroke
5min – 10 Strokes On/ 10 Strokes Off, 15 On/15 Off, 20 On/20 Off
Performing an appropriate warmup for the workout that is set out each day can make or break a performance. Above is the warmup we use fairly consistently in classes at CrossFit Boston and at the Renegade Rowing Club. It’s a good 10min warmup to focus on posture, control, and connection. Checkout how slow the Renegade Rowing Club approaches the catch in the beginning. Executing this drill with control will allow you to really focus on putting technique changes into effect and hitting that catch with good timing and connection.
Please share what you do for a warmup when rowing is involved in the workout. What is your focus?
Posture, Control, Connection … Get Some!
- Posture – When dealing with posture we’re looking for the torso to be stacked and strong at all times, whether you’re in the lay back or swinging forward to prepare for the next catch.
- Control – When talking about control we are looking at the smoothness of the recovery and how the seat moves toward the catch. Does it rush forward for the next stroke? Is there control in the last few inches of the slide to change direction without pushing the boat backwards? I like to think of control as an ability to stop at any point in time and be in a strong position.
- Connection – Last and most important, connection! Is the seat and handle connected and moving together into and out of the catch as if connected by a strap? If you can focus on keeping your hips and hands connected as you apply pressure to the footboards you’ll be able to find suspension and become weightless on your seat. If you want to save some energy and be more efficient during your rowing wods, connection is where it’s at.
If you have any questions or are looking for some more tips checkout renegaderowing.com.
Also, be sure to sign up for the CFB Yoga Launch on Sunday, May 18th at 8:30am! – Sign Up Here (link to CFB Google Form)
FIRE IT UP! FIRE IT UP!
This is the final week of the 2104 CrossFit Games Open 14.5. What a great workout to finish it off with. Two low skill movements that just require you to have an engine! I love it! I mean I hate it because I am 6’3″ 240 pounds and that is A LOT of mass to move up and down for 84 reps, but hey it is what it is!
Here is some tips and strategy from Barbell Shrugged:
2014 REEBOK CROSSFIT GAMES REGIONALS
It’s still a little early but our very own Carla B is sitting nicely in 34th for the Northeast Region. She has been busting her butt all year and it is paying off for her. This workout plays to her strengths as she can go and go and go! If you see her in the gym today or over the weekend let her know that you are rooting for her to kill it!
We will be setting up a tent at Regionals for members that wish to head down and cheer. We will keep you posted as the date draws near.
This Saturday, tomorrow, beginning at 6pm is our Spring Fling at Daedalus in Harvard Square. The 2014 Transformation Challenge winner will be announced and it will be an opportunity to kick back, celebrate the end of the Open season, and welcome Spring into Boston. Be sure to come on by!
Strength work continues in our programming along with a continued emphasis on strengthening the midline as well. You will notice in this weeks programming there is AB work to be completed on your own outside of the class. Don’t skip it. It is important and it will help you in the WOD and the rest of your training.
PR Friday is back! Each Friday there will either be a benchmark WOD or we will attempt to PR a lift. Get excited and set your hair on fire!
Saturday – 3/29
1. Run 400m x 5
rest 2:00 between efforts
2. 15-12-9 reps for time
Front squat, 185/125
3. Abs – Post class – 3 x 1 minute plank holds with a load on the back
Sunday – 3/30
1. Partner WOD
10 Handstand push ups
20 Pull ups
60 Double Unders
Both Partners must complete the workout in its entirety. Only one person working at a time and you may alternate in any fashion you wish. Neither partner can move on the next movement until both have completed the preceding movement.
2. Post Class ABS – 20 Ball ups (STRICT)
Monday – 3/31
1. Heaving Snatch Balance – work up to a heavy single, then drop to 90% of that weight and perform 6 more sets at that weight.
2. EMOM 12
1 Snatch, 165#/115#
3. POST CLASS ABS – 15 STRICT BACK EXTENSIONS (3-1-3) TEMPO
Tuesday – 4/1
1. Shoulder Press – 3 x 3 – work up to a heavy 3 and perform a total of 3 sets at this weight. Do not drop
2. AMRAP 15
Row 30 calories
20 Push Press, 75/55
20 OH swings, 32kg/24kg
20 Box Jumps, 24″/20″
3. POST CLASS ABS – 3X10 GHD SIT UPS
Wednesday – 4/2
1. “FRAN” – TEST DAY
21-15-9 reps for time of
2a. 100 Hollow Rocks
2b. Dip supports (top & bottom)
Thursday – 4/3
1. Clean – work up to a max double for the day (18 minutes)
2. Handbalancing – 5 minutes to practice walking on your hands
3. 30-20-10 reps for time
Knee to elbows
PR Friday – 4/4
1. Back Squat – 4 x 2, work up to a heavy double (attempt a PR if you have it) and then drop down to 90% of that weight and perform 4 sets of 2 reps at that weight.
2. For time
100 Alternating DB Snatch, 60/40
50 Mountain Climbers
25 AbMat sit ups
19 Mar 2014
Accuracy is one of the 10 General Physical Skills in fitness. It is defined as the ability to control a movement in a given direction or at a given intensity. Rowing is a great example of how to practice accuracy and today’s WOD is the perfect time to apply what you learn.
Coach Pat, does an excellent job of working with our members discussing what is going on with the rower. He will instruct you to aim for a target Stroke Per Minute (SPM). He will then instruct the group to decrease the split time on the erg while MAINTAINING the same SPM. Here he is training you on how to become more accurate with the efficiency of each pull on the chain. He is also teaching how to increase your power for each stroke. Increased power means more work can be done in the same or less time, thus you are improving your fitness.
If you still feel lost when there is a rowing WOD programmed, you should set up a private session with Pat so that he can sit down with you and take you through all of the steps. Rowing can be a powerful tool in building up more fitness. You want to be sure that it fits into your wheelhouse.
Here’s a video of the 6am class this morning.
11 Mar 2014
To go as Rx or not to go Rx? That is the question. Almost daily we as coaches receive this question from members at least 10 times when we bring the class in front of the whiteboard. Here is a quick and dirty guide when it comes to the Workout of the Day (WOD).
1. Fast Is Better
Metabolic conditioning is meant to be fast. (Once proper mechanics have been learned of course!) Speed is one of the 10 General Physical Skills outlined in CrossFit’s definition of fitness. CrossFit works so well because we train at HIGH INTENSITY. INTENSITY = POWER. Power is also one of the 10 general physical skills necessary in a well rounded fitness program. We can measure POWER as work (force x distance)/time. The faster a WOD is completed the greater the POWER and therefore the greater INTENSITY.
Greg Everett even has a webpage that allows you to compute your POWER output for some of the movements in CrossFit. You can check it out here. One Friday evening, the attendees and I played with this calculator. We inputted different weights, times, etc for the same individual to calculate the POWER output of the WOD “FRAN”. It was quite revealing to learn that performing FRAN with 65# and finishing 30-60 seconds faster than performing it as Rx and grinding through it created a much higher POWER output.
2. Strength During Strength WOD’s
We program strength separately than the WOD because it needs to be trained as such. Yes, CrossFit does improve your strength within the WOD. But it does so primarily through repetitions and increased movement efficiency. The more efficient you are at moving the greater loads you will be able to handle. I am not saying this is exclusive, I am saying that it is primarily what is occurring.
The days strength is programmed in the gym or if you are on an additional strength cycle outside of class time, that is when you should be loading the heavy weights. Our current programming has less strength programmed due to the Open season. That begin said, you should be on a supplemental strength cycle outside of class if strength is one of YOUR main issues in being able to perform better.
Back to the main point of this tip, adding too much weight in the WOD is going to slow you down considerably. Thus, decreasing your POWER, AND increase your potential of injury. Add weight to the WOD very slowly as your fitness and strength improves.
The WOD written on the board is programmed for the most advanced athletes in the gym, think Carla B and Dave Y. They have a ton of training time and ridiculously huge base of fitness. The majority of our members are not at this level. They are working to get there. So, it is important to look at the volume of training each and every day.
I will use yesterdays WOD, 21-15-9 Pull-ups and deadlifts, as the example. Lets assume I just got my pull-ups and can now perform between 2-4 pull-ups unbroken regularly. 45 pull-ups would be a disaster for my training if I attempted to complete the volume as Rx. What would be more appropriate is for me to scale the WOD down to 10-6-4. This would provide an appropriate dosage so that I could improve my pull-ups without risk of causing damage or injury.
Over time while practicing my pull-ups outside of class time, I would increase the amount of pull-ups that I would perform in a WOD inching closer to Carla and Dave all while drastically improving my fitness.
I hope this guide helps. It is by no means exhaustive and it is not meant to be taken as law. There are many exceptions to the rule. We all are each individuals and respond to training much differently. That is what makes our job as Coaches both exciting and challenging. If you have any questions on this topic any of our staff can help you. Just come up and ask!
It’s finally here. The 2014 sporting season has officially began and…14.1 is a repeat of 11.1, which we just performed as a gym not more than 21 days ago. Familiarity breeds success they say and Many in the gym performed very well in this workout. It will be fun to see how it is attacked seeing this time around.
Reebok CrossFit Games Open 14.1 – Logistics and more…
30 Double Unders
15 Power Snatch, 75/55
We will be performing The Opens each and every Friday in classes. You may “redo” the WOD over the course of the weekend, YOU WILL NEED TO ORGANIZE A PARTNER TO JUDGE AND SCORE YOU. All scores must be submitted so that I can validate them by Monday 8pm EST. If you think you have a chance to qualify for regionals, your judge must have passed the CrossFit Online Judges Course AND you MUST videotape your efforts.
I am a fan of James Fitzgerald, OPT, and believe he has a lot of great information on proper training for CrossFit both as a fitness program and a sport. Last year I began taking the OPT courses and read his blog almost daily. In the article below, OPT Coach and on-site athlete Robin Lyons shares her thoughts on mentally preparing for competition. I share it because I think it has value beyond the Open.
Get Mental for the Opens Part 1
In slow motion my eyes close and then re-open back onto the barbell. There are 60sec left in the 12 min workout; I’m breathing rapidly, my thighs are burning and something inside is telling me to slow down….“rest, you can’t go yet”…. and in that split second I have a choice to either give in to that voice or trust my training. Without hesitation I notice the mental breakdown and fight back with positive self-talk and cues that laser me back into the zone: “let’s go”, “you train to be in this moment” “you can do it”. I grab the barbell, chalk and sweat fall below me and I finish knowing I gave it everything I had. This fight is what I love in our sport, and over the years as a competitive athlete I have come to understand the important role of mental preparation in my success and failures. In high-level performance sports our ability to focus rules for better or worse.
What’s On Tap
1. EMOM 15 – 2 touch and go squat clean
2. Jerk – 5×1
3. Tabata Squats
1. build up to as heavy as can be (may ascend)
2. From the racks
Complete with a partner for time
100 pull ups
100 push ups
100 sit ups
The workload must be shared equally and alternate every 10 reps.
Partner 3k row – Alternate every minute.
Time separately for both “Partner Angie” and 3k row.
1. EMOM 14
Odd – 2-4 Handstand push ups
Even – 10 Box Jumps, 24″/20″
2. AMRAP4 – Burpees to a 45# plate
1. HSPU are strict/box jumps games standard
1. For time
30 Power Snatches, 95/65
20 Overhead squats, 95/65
10 GHD Sit ups
2. Accumulate 5 minutes of L-sit hold
1. Back Squat – 5×2 – work up to a challenging double and then hold for 4 more sets.
2. Pull up Ladder
3 3 rounds of following cycle:
7 pull ups
Rotate with a partner or a few to allow rest between sets
rest 5 minutes
Accumulate 15 minutes in an unsupported handstand hold
rest 5 minutes
Score time for each 1k row
2014 CrossFit Games Open 14.2 – TBA
25 Feb 2014
I know, Monday was yesterday. Better late than never. In case you have never read the CF Journal, it is packed with a ton of great information and resources. Better yet, IT’S FREE NOW!
This video came up last fall and it is a great motivational piece. Take a moment and watch the video (W&F safe). You won’t be disappointed. I love the dedication to virtuosity. She can’t “see” how the movement looks but she can feel it and know exactly how to correct herself and others. It’s a process and it can transform you.
Bettina Dolinsek was born blind, but she never asked to be treated differently. That same attitude carries over into her CrossFit training, and she doesn’t shy away from movements—even box jumps.
Watch the video here.
Tomrrow’s WOD features: burpees, power cleans, and chest to bar pull ups. The first two we practice and train so frequently that it is not necessary to say much about them. The chest to bar pull up on the other hand…
Go and get ‘em!