WOD 30th September PAIN Day!

30 Sep

Feeling a bit militant today I decided on a circuit warm up. It consisted of 8 exercises – overhead squat (pvc), overhead lunge, hamstring walkouts, Kb swings, Kb snatches, Extended plank, Kb deadlifts,  wall balls. Not in that particular order.

Nice to see you Ruairi!
Nice to see you Ruairi!

The aim of the game was to push out as many reps as possible in 1 minute, and as I have a tendency of getting bored every now and then I shouted 5 burpees to the crowds delight! The warm up lasted 8 minutes leaving us time to attack, properly every ones favourite WOD of the wk…lol

Here’s how is goes…..

100 pull ups

200 push ups

300 sit ups

RULES – As few sets as possible!

Stretching between all those push ups.. ouch!
Stretching between all those push ups.. ouch!

A mention to Ruairi back from injury! Whoop.

Well done peeps, a tough slog but we got there!

WOD 29 September: Sing for your supper

29 Sep

well, why not start off a Crossfit London session with a game distilled from musical chairs, combined with Sally’s interrogation techniques, with an extra penalty of singing when you are out… sounds awful: well it was.  We jogged, crawled  caterpillered and duck walked around an ever diminishing selection of chairs, to the singing supplied by those whom were out ( while the others adopted a  recognised stress position) . Well I enjoyed it anyway.

It was almost a shame to set about the power cleans and heavy squats. Mind you the wod of

  • 5  ring dips
  • Right hand
  • 5 kettlebell snatch
  • 5 Kettlebell push presses
  • Left Hand
  • 5 kettlebell snatches
  • 5 kettlebell push presses

was quite nasty. Thank god it was only for 12 minutes

WOD 28th September: Tuesday Triage

29 Sep


7 Rounds for time: 15 min Cut off. (14:53)
7 push ups
7 thrusters (Fran Weight)
7 knees to elbows
7 pull ups
Contrary to what most of the regulars of the Tuesday class would have you believe, I do not make it a point to systematically destroy everyone who sets foot in the gym.
It tends to just happen naturally.
Today’s WOD was particularly brutal. The combination of knees to elbows and pull ups was “pleasant”. I gave bonus points to anyone who could transition from one to the next without letting go of the bar. Which became a serious issue after round 4 because most people (myself included) lost the ability to keep my grip. The time limit of 15 mins meant that to finish, you had about 2 mins per round, which wouldn’t have been an issue, except that the thrusters were brutal enough to slow everyone down.
On top of all that, we tested a few games tonight. The first of which was from Phil and felt like a very sadistic version of “Simon”. Mine was much more entertaining, (at least for me.) and involved making people cuddle kettlebells while holding the invisible chair. While their teammates had to run suicides. Losing team has to do burpees.
Doesn’t that sound like fun?
In addition the physical trauma I subjugated everyone to, I made matters worse by forcing them to listen to loud annoying rap music (I was feeling a little nostaligic.) that, with it’s very liberal use of swear words and base line, made for a very brutal WOD. Both physically and mentally.
To avoid writing War and Peace and naming all your individual accomplishments, I give you:
The (completely arbitary) Award wall:
  • Phil gets the “it’s offically on.” award for not only finishing before me, but doing it with more weight as well.
  • Kirsty and Stephanie get the “Anything you can do we can do better.” award for setting the best times outs all night
  • Special mention goes out to Efe for “Most chalk usage during a WOD EVER.” award. He made the floor look like a bad night in Vegas.
Vegas baby!
Vegas baby!
Total tally:
3 torn calluses. 23% completion rate. 95% of members passing out on the floor post WOD rate.
See everyone next week.

WOD 27th September: All fun and games!

27 Sep

After running through today’s WOD with Phil watching over I nearly fell into a heap on the floor. I was then swiftly informed by Phil that I look scary while training… apparently good scary.

Having an extra coach hanging around tonight meant that we could do good cop bad cop, not sure who was playing the good cop though lol.

Todays warm up I was reliably inform by Ben was soooo not a warm up! You tell me???

25 air squats followed by sumo deadlift high pulls then ring dips. We set it out as a team event. The first team member begins with 25 air squats and as they move on to the next exercise the following team mate can’t move on ’till their mate has completed the next 25. So the poor guys stuck at the back did a few more reps. But hey it’s crossfit: it’s meant to burn!!!

Right on to the WOD

Push Press Ladder 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 with a 200m dash between each set. As darkness fell we sub-ed with 20 Kb swings (16kg)

GO Ben!
GO Ben!

With time to spare good cop bad cop felt it was a good opportunity to test run a few games we had up our sleeves.

Game 1 The invisible chair

Split in to teams again each holds a 12kg Kb. The first contender is at the starting line while the rest of the crew adopt the invisible chair position (or as Amilia informed us, an MOD stress position). At the starting line you begin with 12 swings then dashing to the half way line, tapping down and back then run back to the finish line and then back again to relief their team mate and get them self into the “stress position” as so the game continues ’till everyone is crying!!!


Game 2 unfortunately camera battery died and so no pic. Will try to explain the best way I can.

Teams again! Using one side of the gym as an arena the first contenders adopts an extended plank pose. On the count of 3 they rush toward the opponent (keeping their bum low, again prob could argue a stress position!)

As the two players meet it’s then the challenge to unbalance the opponent while keeping your own balance. Winner stays on. And so the game continues ’till everyone is knocked out! There are only a few rules: no face gauging or groin grabbing, and of course your bum stays low so no downward facing dog!

All in all a fun, fun night.

Just start defying gravity, or just jump on a box

26 Sep

A squat-tastic tale from Stephanie Bales

A few years ago I spent some time helping teach absolute beginners to snowboard. This can be like trying to herd kittens. Sometimes people get it instantly and there is an amazing ‘aha!’ moment when they are turning and suddenly having a good time. Then there are the people who slam on their butt fifty times in a morning. When it gets to lunchtime, those people just don’t want to come out and slam on the icy, hard pack snow all over again for the afternoon session.

These experiences came back to me when I hit the wall at Crossfit last week. Nothing dramatic – nothing went spectacularly wrong, I didn’t break any bones/equipment/world landspeed records. I just came out of the gym wanting to throw things because I’m still far from getting the proper squat form and depth, three months down the line.  I’d probably rather do a weighted Turkish getup than an air squat, any day.

(For those not drinking the Crossfit kool-aid, squatting is one of the most fundamental Crossfit movements.)

Psyching myself up for my return to the gym, I tried to remember some of the tricks I’d used to try and get those beginner snowboarders to come back out on the slopes on those icy days when it didn’t feel like things were ever going to get any better. I remembered pointing out to them the tiny incremental improvements they’d made already, asking them whether they’d been able to get off a lift without bailing this morning, and pointing out that now we were all making it off mostly all the time. (Yes, it totally counts if you hold on to your instructor.)

In a similar way I tried to point these little improvements out to myself this last week. I couldn’t do a pullup with a blue band a couple weeks ago, and now I’m wondering whether Mr Red Band and I might do a dance one of these days. I also distinctly remember facing off against a yellow box as if it were a mountain a couple of months ago. (Dear blue box: I’m coming for you, buddy.) This means that every time I do a squat onto a box and get my butt a little bit closer to the proper depth, I’m getting better.

Here are my top ‘get your butt back on that box’ points to remember when you hit the wall:

1) Remember, even if you don’t feel like you’re getting better – sometimes especially when you feel that way – you are. Your muscle memory is learning to get deeper in eagle pose, your body is starting to accept that, okay, we’re just going to jump on some boxes. Whatever your sport, if you’re showing up and putting in the time, you’re getting better.

2) The ball’s in your court. Yes, great teachers help a lot, and great genes would be nice, as well, but in my case I just had to accept that, as a naturally non-flexible, bendy-spined girl, I was going to have to put in some more graft to get there. That’s okay. I’ll get there.

3) It’s supposed to be fun! (unless you are an Olympian in training, and actually, I think even then it should be fun.) If you’re no longer enjoying your sport, take a step back and ask why. It could be time to take a week out. Some fellow instructors used to tell me they no longer enjoyed snowboarding on their day off because it just felt like work, and I think that’s a real shame. Take the time to remind yourself of the things you enjoy about your sport – whether it’s an amazing, crisp blue-sky morning, or the peace you can find in a perfectly-balanced dancer’s pose, or the amazing energy flowing through a Bikram studio at 6am on a Monday morning.

4) If all else fails, pump the tunes. For me it’s bad 80s rock all the way.

Hit the wall? Sure, that’s fine. Now start climbing!

Dog House WODs, and catching up apology

26 Sep

Oops! A bit behind and in the dog house for not posting my Wednesday and Friday WODs up.

Wednesday was a beautiful grinder of 15 knees to elbow, block run followed by 15 ring dips, amrap in 20 minutes, which was a bit harsh considering everyone had to do their 3 sets of 5 back squats first.

Friday was a main page WOD of 30 snatches for time,after which, you guessed it, back squats again.

All this was preceded by one of this week’s highlights as Kate tested her Crossfit London Coaching Academy presentation task: design and implement a fun warm up game. Welcome “Commando”!


Private Benjamin or GI Jane?

26 Sep

So there was this programme on BBC3 called Are you fitter than a Pensioner? Long story short, the results were deeply uninspiring. But, the teens involved went through some fitness tests before and after their challenge. It got me to thinking about how improving fitness can be measured other than a better Fran time (to be generous to myself, it’s incremental) What sort of straightforward fitness testing can I do on myself?

“I broke a nail!” Private Benjamin’s guide to the
US Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT)

1) Push-ups: max reps in 2 mins
2) Sit-ups: max reps in 2 mins
3) Run 2 miles (3.2km) for time.

Now the rules are very strict on how the moves are performed, so read this first so you know you’re not cheating. That link also shows the basic scoring system grouped by age, and their pass or fail marks. If you want your exact score, check the tables here.

A pass score is 180, with a minimum of 60 in each of the 3 categories. A perfect APFT score is 300.

So this fine morning I dug out my stopwatch, took a deep breath, harnessed my inner Private Benjamin, and set off to find out if I was good enough to be in the US Military.

On the push ups, I was off to a flying start. I did 41 in the 2 mins, giving myself a glorious 81 points in the process. Huzzah! All those rounds of Cindy have done me proud.

Next, I hooked my toes under the sofa and got on with the sit-ups. Way harder – my thighs had seized up in no time, and wanted to cry because you can only rest at the top of the sit-up, not lie flat making sweat angels. So I got 32 sit-ups in the time, earning 62 points. Another pass, but only just.

Have I mentioned how much I hate running? I’d worked out a 2 mile route around Stratford using Google Maps, and set off in a sulk. I managed to take a wrong turn back and got a bit lost – and a bit off my stride. Still, I just about made the time and passed with 60 points.

So my total score is 203 out of 300. The cool thing about this is that you don’t need any equipment, and can retake the test any time and see any measureable improvement. I’ve decided I’ll do the test again at Christmas, and see how much better I’ve got. Even Private Benjamin got better, right?

If your scores are high from the start, you can try competing in a younger age group. Girls can do the same, and/or use the guys figures!

If you think the APFT is for wusses – then why not give this a go:

“Suck my d**ck!” * GI Jane’s guide to the
US Marine Corps Psysical Fitness Test (MPFT)

Pull-ups: Men earn 5 points for every strict pull-up to a max of 20 reps. Women don’t do pull-ups, but are timed on a flexed arm hang to a max of 70 secs (I only managed 21 secs – maybe I need to shave my head)

There are also protocols for running and sit-ups. Read through the rules and scoring system here.

So next time you’re having a boring weekend (or need an activity on holiday) have some fun testing yourself out the way the military do. Have a go and post your scores below.

And the next time you turn up at the gym, if it says “Private Benjamen” of “GI Jane” on the blackboard, you’ll know what you’re in for!

*I’ve only included this very rude word at Andrew’s insistence. I hope the ** lessen the offense somewhat.

WOD 26 September: Didn’t you get the memo?

26 Sep


Message received.

0900 on Sunday morning is too early.

Got it.

Of course, if you stayed in bed this morning you missed out on:

  • A warm up that involved (amongst other things) walking around like a duck for while (quacking optional)
  • Divining the fine art of the split jerk, during our clean and jerk skills session
  • A WOD that seemed to have been designed by someone who really doesn’t care much for your (poor) shoulders…

“My poor shoulders. What have you done to them?”

AMRAP 16 minutes

  • 10 Dumbbell overhead squats (5x right/5x left)
  • 15 Kettlebell swings
  • 20 Dumbbell push press
Anna overhead squats
Anna overhead squats
Kirsty and Joy push press
Kirsty and Joy push press

You also missed out on meeting visiting CrossFitter, Bryant who came to us from America via Germany. Feel free to say hello to his image in the visiting CrossFitters gallery.

Still, there’s always next week!

On a side note: The dress code for Sunday mornings is strictly all black, with optional pink highlights on the shoes/socks. Luckily these ladies got the memo…

Anna, Kirsty and Joy got the memo
Anna, Kirsty and Joy got the memo

WOD 25 September: Barbaric Barbara

25 Sep

Saturday 25th September 2010

Autumn has definitely arrived with bright morning sunshine and a fresh northerly wind.  Personally I love this time of year there’s something about getting up early feeling the chill and at the end of a great WOD letting the fresh air cool you down.  It was Barbara today, or Babs, as I like to call her.  An extremely deceptive WOD and a little complex too.  Five rounds for time of 20 Pull Ups, 30 Press Ups, 40 Sit Ups and 50 Squats.  At the end of each round you note your time and rest as required. That’s the complicated bit.  Usually two to three minutes is plenty. You definitely want to avoid cooling off too much.  This WOD will make you strong.  It is not really a massive load on the heart and lungs, which allows you to really concentrate on your form and getting a good range of motion.  If you want to get stronger at any or all of these movements Babs will do it for you.  At the end of this WOD you add up all your times for a total time.  That’s your score to beat.  If you are getting close to three minutes each round you are doing fantastically well.  But anything close to five minutes is really good.

Some great efforts on the kipping by Kirsty, Rosie and JD.  This is where you can really make your time up here. There will be more kipping practice in the future along with pull up conditioning.  Joy excellent press ups today.

How do you decide to rest in this WOD ? Well as mentioned before ensure you don’t cool off.  But you need to recover from the massive pump you will feel. Forearms and shoulders and chest can get massively pumped in this circuit. Rosie had the right idea lying down can help reduce the heart rate quicker and curling up with a blanket can let you catch up some sleep time too!  A fantastic effort all round for this massive WOD.

For the future you should know I will be requiring your fingerprints and a sample of your DNA this is so I can identify the usual suspects responsible for the below:

The Usual Suspects

Seriously take your sh!t home or bin it!

Any way enough moaning.  How do you tell if you are dead lifting the bar close enough to your body? Well just ask Kate, one my beginners today;

Crossfit medals, we love them.

Colins Challenge-October

Lastly I want to issue a monthly challenge starting in October. But October will have started before I probably post again so I will explain now.  I have been running this for a while where I work and it seems to work pretty well.  Each challenge will last one month and will look to improve or strengthen a skill.  They are all scalable and can be done away from the gym.  This months is the handstand!  If you have a handstand hold then you are off and running and we are going to make you stronger.  In week one you are to hold a handstand against a wall or something suitable, for 20 seconds. Then rest 20 seconds. Repeat this for a total of four times and your are done.  But you must do this every day! If you miss a day you have to make it up.  Week two will be 30 seconds on 30 seconds off, week three 40 seconds, week four, 50 seconds on 50 seconds off.  If you complete the challenge you will have been upside down for a total of 1 hour 5 minutes and 20 seconds.

Scaling. If you can’t do a handstand hold you could decide this is the month you are going to learn to do it.  Grab me or one of the other coaches and we can teach you how.  Or you can try one of the scaled versions such as the piked position off a box or sturdy chair looking to get your back vertical and your bum as high as possible.  If you cannot get 20 seconds to start with then reduce by 5 seconds and keep doing so until you find your level.  Then look to add 5 to 10 seconds per week.  Have a look at these:

In particular Nicoles piked position on a box a great way to start getting strong at being upside down.  Remember these are static holds so don’t forget to breathe! I want you to send me pictures of the craziest places you have practiced your handstand holds. Colin@CrossfitLondonUk .com  The best picture will win one of my chocolate cakes! I love the dog licking moment!


A Crossfit Londoner in Gambia

24 Sep

The Gambian Experience

By Ms Kirsty Roberts, Crossfitter of this parish

Kirsty, back from The Gambia

With my love for Crossfit, food and all things London, you can imagine my reaction when I was told I would have to go to The Gambia for a week on business. Not only would I be going on my own, but the luxury 5* hotel I was staying in didn’t even have a gym! Despite all this I packed my gym kit and a skipping rope and decided that if I could not go to the gym, I would make some space in my hotel room and crack on with some body weight exercises.

After the first few days of harassment and marriage proposals from the local Gambian men, I was happy to retreat to my hotel room, pop on my gym kit and spend some time with the women of Crossfit world: Cindy, Angie and some new ladies Annie, Barbara and Chelsea.

However, day three of working, eating, sleeping and constant rain started to drive my crazy. The monsoon weather meant that I could not walk outside without being submerged in a few feet of water, let alone train. So I decided there was nothing left to do but pop on some wellingtons and a rain coat and walk the streets of Africa looking for a gym. Yes, I was aware that this was not a sensible thing for a young woman to do: but with my iPod flashing “connect to power”, my Blackberry telling me I could only make SOS calls, and the only magazine telling the tales of John James and Josie in the Big Brother house, I decided to take my chances.

Luckily for me I didn’t have to walk too far from the hotel, and with a hotel security man happy to hold my umbrella and carry my bag, how could I complain? ‘Explosive Strength, Power and Stamina’ was the name of the gym. Surely I was onto a winner!

However, my excitement was short lived. The gym looked a little like something from Back to the Future: a few manually-powered bikes, running machines and a small selection of dumbbells. I was ready to give up and head back to the hotel. However, in the corner of the room I spotted a bar and a few weights. Perfect. I could pretend for a few hours of my day that I was at Crossfit London UK (minus of course the atmosphere, the people, the cool trainer’s and lovely dull UK weather).
The little tiny Gambian gym kept me sane for the rest of the trip.  I was a source of entertainment for the local people who gathered in force to watch me try and obtain my personal best in back squats, front squats, power cleans and push press. Andrew most certainly would not approve of me using some of the weights without being spotted by someone, but I had been bitten by far too many mosquitoes to worry about causing myself more harm.

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