WOD 31 July: Burpee Hell!

31 Jul

WOD 31.07.2010

So the morning started with a playful warm up of press ups sit ups and squats. We used the clock method. Form a circle for the press ups hold the front support position and each individual performs the set number of reps one at a time until every one has completed their turn. Of course the faster you go the less time you spend in the front support position. We repeated this for sit ups, holding a variation of the dish, and then squats holding the bottom of the squat. Its a playful team orientated way to warm up.  We then put in some excellent practice of kipping and muscle ups.  There was some excellent work by Warren and Temi was looking very strong.  But big improvements all round.

The WOD was a Burpee Ladder. With a running clock perform one burpee in the first minute, two in the second, three in third and so on to failure.  We experienced the classic “J” effort curve here.  And for a lot of people this was their first experience of a ladder. It basically just hits you hard all of a sudden and then you just want it to stop!  Any thing over 10 minutes is good and anything over 15 minutes is excellent.  Ladders are a great way to build strength in a weak movement.  I use them for getting stronger at thrusters in particular.  Ten minutes of 40kg thrusters is 55 reps.  Soon puts Fran into perspective.

We finished with an After Party of box jumps.

On a side note I like to run a monthly challenge at TSG4.  Usually a challenge that will help you improve or learn a new skill.  I went to see the Cirque d’Soleil last night, simply amazing. So in honour of them this months challenge is rope climbing. For the whole of August. In the first week perform two rope climbs every day, if you miss a day you need to make them up.  In the second week perform 4 every day, the third week 6 and the last week 8 climbs every day.  If you don’t rope climb experiment with scaling option, such as pulling yourself up from the seated position.  Enjoy.

WOD 30 July: The Filthy Fifty

30 Jul

The filthy 50

  • 50 Box jump, 24 inch box
  • 50 Jumping pull-ups
  • 50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
  • Walking Lunge, 50 steps
  • 50 Knees to elbows
  • 50 Push press, 45 pounds
  • 50 Back extensions
  • 50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
  • 50 Burpees
  • 50 Double unders

Fabulous. check here to see how other crossfitters did.

if this is too much for you, it can always be the dirty thirty, or the terrible twenty, or the truculent ten

The Biggest problem? Keeping count!

Dont forget to keep count

WOD 29 July: Swinger’s Delight

29 Jul

Burgnener was our starting point, breaking it down piece by piece and getting friendly with our base!

Since we have a new toy (dumbells) to play with I thought a short blast of Fran would warm the cockles!

Dumbell mini Fran.
Dumbell mini Fran.

We then finished off with some hectic swinging and snatches in the form of:

60 Swings

40 Snatches (over each arm)

20 Burpees

10 Knees to Elbow

We took the time taken for this workout, halved it and used that as the base for our rest period and then did the whole show again. Whoop Whoop Well Done boys and girls.

Farewell, Rita!

26 Jul

It is with a heavy heart that CrossFit London’s favourite Philadelphian, Rita is leaving us to return to that strange place on the other side of the Atlantic.

Rita has been with us for seven glorious months, and has been an inspiration and a joy to have around the Blackboard Gym. Whether it is her incredible ability to chat through even the toughest workouts, or her capacity to crank out kipping pull-ups, it’s never a dull moment with her around!

She’s off for a brief trip to Australia before returning for a couple of workouts at the end of August, and then…away.

Rita during Friday's Fight Gone Bad
Rita during Friday's Fight Gone Bad

Farewell, Rita! Come visit again!

WOD 26th July -Upper body battering!

26 Jul

We began today working our shoulder flexibility in prep for some overhead squats.

Our strength workout was a healthy dose of OHS in the form of pyramids.  10,8,6,4,2 …..and then back up again.

Splitting the group into those who would rather practice technique and light loading and those who wanted to go for it.

Phil going for it.
Phil going for it.
Practice makes perfect.
Practice makes perfect.

After a stabilizing our upper bodies with all those overhead squats we continued our session with the help of ‘JT’


Handstand push ups – Ring dips – Push ups

All Pushed out!
All Pushed out!

Fun had by all! Whoop Whoop

Vibram Five Fingers: The almost barefoot truth

25 Jul

The fact that I have for some time worn Vibram Five Fingers occasionally, and that I’m one of the few genuine barefoot runners in London means, apparently, that I ought to have  a “position” on Vibrams.

For what they are worth, here are my personal Vibrams views.

They are not universally cool (yet) and as Graham discovered it’s quite possible to parade up and down in front of your girlfriend and be greeted by the words “gawd, I can taste sick in my mouth.”

There is a little way to go before be-gloved toes gain public acceptance.

Apparantly, according to Ken, if the police pull you over while driving and notice you are wearing them, they’ll caution you. I’ll have to check this. But I’ve trained with Ken for a while and I’m sure he would not lie to me about something so trivial. So don’t wear them to drive. My most recent pair of  Vibrams still have a cycle incident tear in them’  from when I caught my foot between the pavement edge and the pedal. Steven managed to break three toes while doing a gymnastic-ey bar thing while wearing them: so we should caution against driving, cycling and gymnastic-ey things while wearing them.

But we can , of’course, recommend them for going barefoot.

Urm, no not really.

Most people heel strike, with their foot out in front of them. Sure barefoot and Vibrams quickly stop you doing that, but most people convert to a ball of the foot “in front of you” strike that will screw your calf muscles very quickly. So I have to recommend that you learn a natural way of running be it POSE or Crossfit Endurance first (actually a plug opportunity: I’m qualified in both of those things) before you start running in Vibrams.

If you fancy strollling about in them as an alternative to flip flops,  oh why not. You can get in on all that “back to nature” stuff… you will feel the Chi flowing

They are easy to clean (bung them in the washing machine) which is just as well, as they quickly stink (it’s that rubber sweat combo).

It’s a pain getting the right size. Vibrams are mainly an internet phenominan so you need to know your own shoe size, and check up with the supplying company what their return  terms are. I own two pairs of Vibrams. Both are too small. Couldn’t  be bothered to return them (What? Repack them, queue  up in the post office, wait  in for couriers….but some people love this sort of thing).

There is much sizing advise around that includes one size less then your “normal” shoe size,  foot diagrams  and charts…do a mix and guess.

If you intend to lift in them, you had better have excellent ankle flexibility.

The biggest draw back is this: unless they fit perfectly, the chances are they will tug on your big toe. Not too awful you may say. But, if you go to our adult gymnastic classes (gosh, another plug) Amelia will,  if she see you struggling with an arabesque, tell you to lift your big toe up. This makes you supinate, which means, among other stuff, you get more stability. The problem is that most natural running styles rely on you harvesting  ground reaction forces (among other stuff). If your feet are forced to supinate because your big toe is being pulled in/up,  the opportunity to get ground reaction is very diminished. This is a bad thing.

So are they the best thing since sliced bread, No. Will you probably buy a pair? Probably yes, especially as prices are coming down, and alternatives are appearing.

WOD 25 July: No photos, please. We’re British.

25 Jul

So…we kicked off with heavy thrusters (five sets of three) before I threw in a the curve-ball of a heavy set of 10! Perhaps I was the only one who enjoyed that?

We had a brief dalliance with box jumping, especially the question of “how high can you jump”. T’was impressive.

Finally a cheeky little kettlebell WOD to finish:

  • 1x Kettlebell swing (16kg/12kg)
  • 1x Goblet squat (16kg/12kg)

On the minute, increase by +1 with each successive minute. Continue until pooped. We started at 3x on account of me being impatient.

No pictures today.

Is An Ability To Violently Open Your Hips Necessary For Sporting Excellence

24 Jul

I recently attended the Highland Games at Inveraray, Scotland. A fantastic day full of tradition bringing together the local community celebrating their culture.  Originally believed to have started back in the 16th century it died off only to be brought back and formalised in the 19th Century.  It has become an event attended by international strength athletes.  The title of world Caber Tossing Champion is highly coveted.

There are other sports in the program including running and cycling! Watching cycles race on a wet grass running track with fixed gears was interesting to say the least, no mean feat.   The races are handicapped so all sexes ages and abilities compete in the same race this further adds to the community spirit.  The strength athletes compete in not only the Caber, but the Hammer and the Weight among others. It was when watching these I noticed how necessary it was to have a violent opening of the hips.  It soon became very apparent those not achieving an aggressive full extension were soon left behind.

Crossfit continually works our core but the hip extension and mastering it is incredibly vital to improving our Olympic lifts and cycle rates for movements such as box jumps, burpees, broad jumps and wall balls, to name but a few.

Some examples of closed and open hips:

So next time you see box jumps or the hang cleans in a WOD give it some thought that mastering a controlled violent opening of your hips can only add to your quest to continually achieve PB’s.

WOD 24 July: Never judge a book by its cover

24 Jul

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover

How many times have you looked at a WOD and thought “What’s the problem here?”

Well that was what today was all about.

Five rounds for time of:

  • 5 x Deadlift (80% 1RM)
  • 10 x Ring Dips

I did this on Friday to make sure I was happy with the WOD and 6:47 later and I was understanding what the problem was. The heavy deadlifts pool all your blood into your lower half and then you have to go make use of your upper body.  A simple couplet that manages to create a terrific load on the system.

There were some great efforts and my time only just survived with a morning best of 6′ 50″.

Just to make sure we were hitting the right weights we started with some heavy deadlifts to confirm/discover our 1RM.

Some great improvements here.

And we finished with a great little Afterparty of tabbata hand stand holds and/or planks.

Mark deadlifting
Mark deadlifting
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