i-course 31 October 2010

31 Oct

We had another fantastically successful i-course day, introducing a mixed group of fitness professionals and “normal people” to a fascinating range of Crossfit skills. You can check out the photos here

A lovely helping team included, Amelia and her (soon to be a Crossfit affiliate in the West Country) boyfriend Andrew, and Peter Walker, all of whom were glad to stick their fingers in peoples hips and prod and poke and encourage. Good Job!

The core material was delivered by Crossfit London’s very own Steven, Colin, Chris and Kate . Marvellous!.

This course seems to go from strength to strength, mainly because of the attitude of the attendees who come to learn, and in many cases, knowingly step out of their comfort zone to improve. In return, we don’t beast people, merely take them through a supportive, structured day of learning, that involves only a bit of good natured pain.

Debbie on her way to thrashing the boys in the basket sit hold competition

WOD 30 October: Blackjack

30 Oct

Lots to talk about today.  We started class a little differently by warming up looking at our back squat.  We talked about the low bar squat and and the convential bar position. We warmed up working on our form and depth of squat. It so important to get a full range of motion and be strong in the very bottom of our squat. This has a direct translation to heavy Olympic lifts where we catch the bar in a very deep squat.  If we cannot drive out from here the lift is incomplete.  So we worked towards a set of 30 reps of our bodyweight.  Without rest, but you can pause in the standing position but do not rack the bar.  This is a massive load after about 20 reps’ and you soon find yourself gritting teeth and screaming as you push out the squats.  Some people may not get to their bodyweight straight away and some find they are so strong they can lift a little more.  Well done to Joy with a new 1 rep max PR!

After all this it was on to our WOD.  Blackjack everything adds up to 21.  Our two playing card suits were Press Ups and Sit Ups. Start with 20 PrU followed by 1 SU then 19 and 2, 18 and 3 so on till 1 PrU and 20 SU. All done for time.  You need to really resist the urge to rest. Sit ups should be tackled unbroken and only stop your press ups when you hit failure a brief pause and then start pushing out sets of 2 and 3.  You start wishing to do more sit ups for a rest and then it reverses at the other end.  We had a cut off time of 21 minutes, seemed appropriate.  Well done to Yuri for a fantastic effort in the back squats and for completing the whole WOD.

Our After Party was to sing happy birthday to our Brie. Many felicitations to you.

Novembers Challenge

Now last month I posted a monthly challenge I started with the handstand challenge, a month long progression to improve and get you stronger at being on your hands.  This month it is the press up.  If you follow this for a month you will see about a 10% increase in performance.   Day 1 count your number of press ups in a minute, do not cheat but really go for it, make a note of your number. Two days later you are going to do a Tabata set of press ups. This is 8 sets of 20 seconds work followed by 10 seconds rest.  However there is a difference.  If you got 50 press ups in a minute you just double the the first digit, so 2×5=10 (If you scored 30-39 then 2×3=6).   You will do 10 press ups in each 20 second set. You will find you finish with plenty of extra time to rest, but towards set 8 you may struggle.  Two days later you will do another Tabata session but this time go for maximum numbers in each set and record your total score.  That’s week 1 done.  Week 2, add 1 rep for the first Tabata session, so if I was on 10 it will now be 11 for every set, again you may achieve this, you may not.  A couple of days later do a normal Tabata set and count your total reps.   Week 3 add another 1 rep for each set so for me it would be 12 and again do a normal Tabata session at the end, record your total score.  The last week you add another 1 rep so I would be on 13 each set now. This should be a real struggle.  A couple of days rest then do another Tabata session for total reps. Then after 2 days rest lets re test the max reps for one minute, you should see  about a 10% increase.  This can all be done as scaled versions but look to stick to the same type of press up throughout your programme.  Enjoy!

Guys another reminder check our Facebook group: CrossfitLondonUK

And do not forget to buy you CrossfitLondon UK Christmas Party Tickets

It’s a balancing act: security for sharks

30 Oct

( By Phil “SD” , the Crossfit London Self Defence Expert)

Wise Woman: Very well, then there are three solutions, three cures for thy ailment. The first is simple: Kill Bob!

Blackadder: Never!

Wise Woman: Then try the second: kill yourself!

Blackadder: And the third?

Wise Woman: The third is to ensure that no one else ever knows.

Blackadder: Ah, that sounds more like it! How?


Why am I quoting Blackadder?  Apart from the fact that it’s always funny?  Well, this article is about the act of balancing security (that ISN’T a dirty word) and the trade-offs that invariably come with it.  The Wise Woman (two things should you know about her!)  proposes a number of security measures to counteract  the risk to Edmund’s security of people discovering that he’s in love with his manservant (no, an actual manservant).  All of them go some way towards mitigating the risk, but all come with a certain cost, whether it be heartbreak, injury or a lot of effort.  And this applies to all the decisions we make about security – and in fact just about all decisions full stop.

Trawling the internet, you will come across acres of advice and prescription regarding how to improve your personal security, much of it contradictory.  You can easily come away feeling inadequate because you don’t walk everywhere backwards and employ a food taster, or worried you’re paranoid because you shred your mail.  What’s a person to do?

The answer lies in making a rational cost-benefit analysis.  Ask yourself:

What risk am I trying to mitigate? A risk is the probability of a threat (having your purse stolen, dying from cholera) occurring combined with the severity of its consequences.  Terrorist attacks on planes are very rare, but the consequences are generally catastrophic; car crashes are far more common, but are less likely to result in fatalities.  Some research can help at this stage. When choosing how to stay cool on your tropical island, it might be instructive to know that the odds of being killed by a shark are put at 300,000,000/1, whereas there’s a 250,000,000/1 chance of being felled by a falling coconut.  Unfortunately, no one seems to have calculated the odds of a shark being killed by a coconut, which is probably why you never see sharks wearing hard hats.

How much does the security measure mitigate the risk? This can be hard to assess, but is an important part of the overall equation.  Often, security measures can give the illusion of being effective, without really addressing the actual risk.  One of the responses to the 9/11 attacks was to insist that all internal flights required photo ID.  Virtually all the attackers had valid passports, driving licences etc, so that particular measure would not have prevented them from carrying out their attack.  The security measure does not mitigate the risk.

What are the costs of the measure? There is almost always a cost of some sort to implementing a security measure.  Passwords can be forgotten, holding up your attempts to book a holiday online; bulletproof vests are expensive and uncomfortable; vaccinations hurt and can make you ill.  Some costs occur at a remove from the implementation of the measure: making bike helmets compulsory deters some people from cycling, removing the one bit of exercise they would otherwise do, and obesity and cardiovascular disease increase as a consequence.

Is the trade-off worth it? This is – in the context of self protection –  a very personal calculation. Only you can decide if not going out after dark to avoid the small risk of being mugged is a worthwhile trade-off; or driving huge distances is preferable to being in an air crash.  The latter example also highlights another issue about the cost implication above: sometimes we exchange one risk for another, and sometimes the new risk is actually greater than the original one!  Why this occurs is a matter for another day, but has to do with the nature of fear and a malfunction in people’s intuitive risk analysis when it is taken out of the relatively straightforward environment in which we evolved and put to work in a very complex modern world.

Applying the above steps will allow you to understand your security choices and rationalise why they might differ from others’ approaches.  You’ll be able to sleep more soundly at night, secure in the knowledge that your life is in balance, and sharks can’t climb stairs; and if they can, the coconut tree you’ve placed in your bedroom should sort them out.

The first Crossfit London  UK “self defence” seminar is on 7th  November. Get your ticket by clicking here

WOD 28th October Tag-Tastic

28 Oct

So today after all the beasting I took @ Gym Jones I am taking all that knowledge and pain and throwing it full tilt in your direction!

With full classes it was a tag team effort. Warming up with some challenging wall squats I threw a four tier circuit your way. Each team began at a different station.

1. burpees and plank  (15 for girls & 18 for boys)

Joe says go faster Adnan!
Joe says go faster Adnan!

2. 150m row and kb stress position (Gym Jones tail piping twist)

Trev and Ruairi make a good team
Trev and Ruairi make a good team

3. wall balls and ring holds (20 for girls & 25 for boys)

Work it boys.
Work it boys.

4. swings and wall squat (20 for girl @ 16kg 25 for boys @16/24)

Oh Joy of Joys
Oh Joy of Joys

We did two cycles of this just in case you didn’t enjoy it the first time!

So on to the WOD

Still in our teams (similar heights and ability)

1. B Squat – Box jump 5-10-15  (50-60%)

Teamwork was the word of the day
Teamwork was the word of the day

2. Push press – OH Squat with Kb  5-10-15 (light/pvc (narrow) -they are damn hard!)

If the Kb's were too much we used a PVC but had a narrow grip! - still tough
If the Kb's were too much we used a PVC but had a narrow grip! - still tough

3. Clean – Ring dips 5-10-15  (50-60%)

Make it look hard Trev!
Make it look hard Trev!

4. 400m Row – 40 swings (16kg/24kg)

Ooops I didn’t get a shot of this but I think you get the idea.

The aim was to go full tilt for each mini wod with a 3 minute interval to recover/move on/re-adjust weight if needed. Because of the timing it meant the teams needed to work together to ensure that they all finished at the same time to ensure the full 3 minute rest was awarded.

This looks easier then it sounds but believe me it wasn’t nice!!!! Bring it on! Whoop.

WOD 27 October: Deadlift Box Jump combo

27 Oct

An interesting evening.

Work up to your max Deadlift ( well done Helen for smashing her previous Deadlift),

Then, for fun, load 115% of your body weight onto the bar, get a 24inch box. Then Deadlift the bar 10 times, and jump on the box 25 times.

Do it 3 times

Phil battles (ripples) through round 2

As always, loads more photos on flicker. Sorry about the quality but my new i-phone is a bit rubbish for action pics

WOD 26 October: More Burpees? Really?

27 Oct
More Burpees. Really.
More Burpees. Really.

WOD: 26 October

Tuesday:  More Burpees. Really.
First, let me be clear: Crossfit trainers aren’t evil, and we don’t plot the downfall and destruction of our athletes.
Except when we do.
Monday night’s class had a fun time with burpees and strict presses. It would be considered mean and somewhat cruel and unusual if the next workout also included pressing and burpees. So obviously I did, with push press and burpee tuck jumps. I do have a nasty habit of setting high standards for simple movements, so for the Burpee I required a full range push up with chest to the floor, and then a very high tuck jump on the way up. Tuck jumps are fun. Burpees are fun. Burpee tuck jumps are the logical follow up.
The WOD didn’t look bad on paper. Everyone had to use the same weight, people who could press 20KG easily had to maintain a high power output throughout, and anyone who couldn’t had to lift 20KG.
Either way, it was a lot of fun.
10 rounds for time
5 Strict Pull ups
5 20KG Thrusters
5 Burpee Tuck Jumps
15 min cut off.
The after party was 20 wall bags and muscle up practice.
Now. If I were a betting man (which I’m not.), and I had a somewhat sadistic trainer (which I’m not either. No matter what anyone says.) who made me practice wall bags regularly. I would start to think that MAYBE there might be a reason.
Even More Wall Bags
Even More Wall Bags
But that’s just me.
See you all next week.
Arbitrary Award:
“Amateur Surgeon”: To Kirsty for trying to take off her nose with a barbell during the thrusters.
“Nick of Time”: To Matthew for finishing the WOD in 14:59.
“Quality not Quantity”: To the 7:30 class for lifting the most weight per
“Dissident”: To Amelia for trying to incite rebellion.
“Human Torch”: To Edd for generating steam post WOD.
“6 Sigma”: To Daniel for maintaining a high standard for every rep during the WOD
“Red Shirt”:  To Katarina for volunteering, risky at the best of times.

WOD 25 October: What are Burpee Box Jumps?

26 Oct

Well I thought it was quite self-explanatory but I unleashed burpee box jumps on the unsuspecting Monday evening class this week while Sally was away learning all things Gym Jones.

The workout was a shoulder mobilising warm-up followed by strict shoulder press (5-5-5-3-3-3) and then the met con: 10 burpee box jumps and 1 knees to elbows, 9 burpee box jumps and 2 knees to elbows… straight through to the end which looked like 1 burpee box jump and 10 knees to elbows. Finishing off with a last-man-standing plank competition (Lara you were so so close to clinching a win for the girls) and some shoulder stretching.

The session showed some strong technique in the overhead press and some nice big numbers and some smaller but still very impressive, despite Rosie and Temi unconvinced by my praise (and unconvinced by my chicken impression, that was meant as a help but seemed to end up a hindrance).

Alex presses
Alex presses

Mid-Week Strength Sessions

25 Oct

There is a new workout slot in town and it’s Tuesday and Thursday mornings. We’ve decided to experiment a little with the schedule and add in some other early mid-week sessions. I will be getting up early (though not as early as Steven on Mon/Wed/Fri) and offering two new time slots: 7-8am and 8-9am.

Strength Coaching

These sessions will have a greater strength focus. Hitting technique hard across the CrossFit Total lifts: squat, deadlift and press using various techniques to polish these movements and nudge your PRs up and up.

Perfect for those of you who feel that you need to take a little more time improving your strength across the big three, but also weighted pull-ups, weighted dips and so on.

This will take up the bulk of the sessions and be followed by other CrossFit appropriate skill work and some short, heavy met con workouts to finish you off before you wobble on to work.

I’m looking to see how these new time-slots suit our CrossFitters and am open to input on making these as accessible and convenient as possible.

WOD 24 October: Erin

24 Oct

WOD Sunday 24th October 2010

Well today is United Nations Day I am sure you will all join me in wishing the UN a very happy birthday!

A Hero WOD today I always describe these as Crossfit times ten. I chose Erin as it has a slightly unusual movement the Dumbell Split Clean.  So after a fun and games warm up we took time to look at the components of this movement.  We practiced lunges both and forward and those oddly awkward ones going back wards.  We then progressed to ski jumps a plyometric version of alternating lunges with emphasis on really high jumps.  With this in mind we then translated this into our Dumbell Split Cleans.  I was impressed at how quickly you picked up the movements.  With this all done it was on to the WOD


Canadian Army Master Corporal Erin Doyle, 32, was killed in a firefight August 11th, 2008 in the Panjwaii District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. He is survived by his wife Nicole and his daughter Zarine.

Five rounds of:  Dumbbells split clean, 15 reps 21 Pull-ups.  All done for time.

Our AFTER PARTY was a cuddly little triplet of 44 press ups 44 sit ups 44 squats. A big thank you to Kate for the Oreo’s, delicious and yes, they have already gone! PS. Enjoy your squash buttocks everyone.

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