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!
It’s Winter in Boston and a mess outside. Without many opportunities to run, you’ve probably noticed that the amount of Rowing in your daily life has increased. Lately you’ve seen rowing in your warmups, workouts, and especially in the Transformation Challenge WOD. I wanted to take a moment to draw your attention to the Concept2 Ergometer and how you can make your time on the erg more enjoyable and more consistent.
1. Checkout the C2 description of the damper setting.
2. Checkout the C2 description of the drag factor.
3. Every time you row, check the drag factor.
4. If you have a solid rowing workout that you feel good about in terms of form, efficiency, power, and consistency, remember the drag factor you used and set the erg to that drag factor from now on.
5. Notice that when you set the drag factor on another erg the damper setting may be different.
6. Keep tabs on your drag factor and how you feel as you train during the next 5 weeks. Find a drag factor that will get you the most bang for your buck come the end of the Transformation Challenge.
Have Fun and Keep Working Hard!
06 Jan 2014
Now that the New Year is behind us AND winter storm “Hercules” has come and gone, we can finally settle in and get back to a normal schedule. A positive routine and good habits are what will lead to success in your fitness goals and beyond. When you first wake up, add 5 minutes of meditation to your morning. Find a comfortable place to sit (not slouching), close your eyes, then begin focusing on your breathing. Utiliize Coach Divine’s “Box Breathing” techniques from the SealFit Academy and the Unbeatable Mind Academy. Try to build up to 10-15 minutes a day and you will learn a new peacefulness and a renewed energy to tackle the day.
What’s On Tap
DB Squat cleans, 55/35
2a. Dips – 4×6 AHAP
2b. Bent over rows – 4×6 AHAP
3. Overhead tricep extensions – 2 x submax AHAP
“submax” means just shy of failure or that you could probably complete 1 or 2 more reps with good form
1. AMRAP 15
15 SDHP, 75#/55#
15 Box jumps, 24″/20″
15 GHD sit ups
2. Practice Handstand to forward rolls for 15 minutes
headstand to rolls
1. Jerk or Push Jerk – 15 minutes to work up to a max for the day
2. For time
10 Double unders
10 Back squat, 155#/105#
20 Double unders
10 Back squat, 155#/105#
30 Double unders
10 Back squat, 155#/105#
40 Double unders
10 Back squat, 155#/105#
1. 3 rounds for time
20 Alternating DB Snatch, 60#/40#
10 Pistols (5 each leg)
5 Handstand push ups
2a. Bench press – 5×3
2b. Hanging leg raises – 5×10
3. BB bicep curls – 3 x max reps with moderate weight
1. EMOM 20
2 TnGo Snatch (AHAP)
AbMat sit ups
18 Dec 2013
Performing an appropriate warmup for the workout that is set out each day can make or break a performance. Below 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 control, connection, and recovering to strength. 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?
Renegade Rowing Club Warmup:
1min – 1/2 Legs Only
1min – Full Legs Only
1min – Legs and Body Only
1min – Full Stroke
1min – Pause @1/2 Slide Every Stroke
5min – 10 Strokes On/ 10 Strokes Off, 15 On/15 Off, 20 On/20 Off
11 Dec 2013
From time to time it can be beneficial to look at yourself on camera. No we don’t care about the aesthetics or the fashion. We’re looking to gain feedback and a mental picture. We’re looking for just one or two cues that might give us a smoother, more powerful stroke. What’s going right? What’s going wrong? What can we do better?
You should be asking yourself, “What do I look like now? How do I move now? What could use some extra focus and improvement next time?” Don’t dwell on to many things at a time, just find one or two things that might make your life on the erg or in the boat a little better. Go work on them. Then reassess in a couple of weeks.
The Renegade Rowing Club has agreed to help everyone by taking a look at their strokes. If you’d like feedback similar to this, post a 20 second clip of you rowing to YouTube and share it with us in the comments of this post. I’ll do my best to give you a couple of things to work on!
For each of the following videos I’ll be ranking each rower on their posture, control, and connection. I’ll use a five point scale where 1 = poor and 5 = perfect. When dealing with posture we’re looking for the torso to be stacked and strong at all times. 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? Last and most important, connection, are the seat and handle connected and moving together into and out of the catch as if connected by a belt.
Take a look and share what you might focus on next time you row!
Posture: 3, Control: 3, Connection: 2 – video
Feedback: Nice job getting the body over. Don’t let the seat stop at the catch. Be ready to push with the legs the second you hit the catch and keep the seat and hands connected.
Posture: 3, Control: 3, Connection: 4 – video
Feedback: Nice horizontal hands. Don’t let the handle pause at the finish. Focus on quicker hands away as if there were opposing magnets on the handle and your chest trying to push those hands away out of the finish.
Posture: 4, Control: 3, Connection: 3 – video
Feedback: Great posture and nice job getting the body over. Try not to be so rigid and don’t break the elbows as you initiate the drive. Relax a little on the recovery and make everything smooth.
Posture: 3, Control: 2, Connection: 3 – video
Feedback: Nice job getting the arms extended and ready for the catch. Try to not be so robotic and rigid at the finish. Focus on quick and smooth hands away. The handle should always be moving.
Posture: 4, Control: 3, Connection: 2 – video
Feedback: Good posture and nice horizontal hands. Don’t let the shoulders and torso reach for more at the catch. Focus on staying connected as you approach the catch. See if you can get the body over and find that reach earlier in the recovery, before you get to half slide.
Posture: 3, Control: 4, Connection: 2 – video
Feedback: Great work getting your body over on the recovery and getting prepared by half slide. Don’t let your posture go as you approach the catch. Focus on bringing the handle with you as you push the knees down. The first inch or two of the drive you are shooting the slide, so keep a big chest and solid abs/back as you push.
Posture: 3, Control: 3, Connection: 2 – video
Nice power and push on the drive. Try to keep your hands on one level plain and don’t let them drop coming into the catch. Focus on pointing the toes as you finish and then getting the proper sequence of arms away first, bodies over, and then knees come up during the recovery. Everything blends, but that’s the order of firing in terms of sequence.
14 Nov 2013
I was reading an article online about the quality standards of CrossFit gyms. Luckily, I feel we at CFB fall into most, if not all, categories of what makes a good “box.” Anyway, I read one portion in particular and it was almost as if I had written the article. Not only is it solid advice, but I think I may have said something like this a few times before. Anyway, here it is. Take it to heart. This doesn’t just apply to pull-ups btw…
“Quality of Movement Stressed Over Type of Movement
Do you get annoyed by your coach chattering on about technique? Do you zone them out when they suggest strict pull-ups with a band instead of kipping pull-ups? “By golly I’m not getting a band! I can kip the crap out of 2-3 pull-ups!” Face palm. Suck it up buttercup, no one cares if you need a band. We’ve all been there and the only person you’re holding back is yourself. If you have an annoying coach that chooses kinder words than mine to express the same idea, hug him or her the next time you see them. You are blessed.”
13 Nov 2013
How do you Master Skills?
As Winter starts to set in and you start working toward your goals, be aware of how you recover and master skills. One goal you’ll probably set for the Winter is to master a new skill, like double unders, hand stand push-ups, or muscle ups. I want to draw your attention to how you attack these skills and actually master them.
To master a skill is to know and have full control over every piece of a skill, both physically and mentally, when your fresh and your fatigued. Lately we’ve been pushing the intensity in the gym and many people have found themselves sore and out of it for a few days. One example would be Coach Tito and Carla of CrossFit Boston competing at the Southie Throwdown this past weekend. They literally were crushed from back to back competition days. What would you do on the Monday following a weekend like that?
The days following a hard training day are perfect for mastering a new skill through active recovery. Rather than going back for a second or third hard training day and not performing at full intensity, commit to an active recovery day focused on mastery of the skills you’d like to develop. Carla did just that on Monday.
Rather than join in on the 7am class at CFB, she took 1 hour out of her day to actively recover, instead of sitting around and feeling sore. She set the erg for 2,000m of work and 10min of rest. She rowed an easy 2k and then spent 10 minutes working on her goats, handstand push ups, pull ups, and Toes to Bar. Three sets of this active recovery interval scheme gave her confidence with her skills and prepared her for a hard training day on Tuesday.
The erg is a great tool to use as active recovery. A few hard training days back to back will leave your body depleted and full of metabolic waste. In order to replenish your energy and clear out the metabolic waste it helps to eat well, move, and keep the blood flowing. The erg provides a stable platform and is low impact, perfect for recovery at a sub-maximal effort. Next time you’re feeling sore or a workout absolutely crushes you, go sit down on the erg and row for 10 minutes. It doesn’t have to be hard. Enjoy it! Row at about 40% effort, just hard enough to breath a little bit. You should be able to maintain sentences and tell your training partner what you’ll be doing to master your next skill!
If you have any fun methods to master skills please share in the comments!