WOD 31 Jan: Pistols at dawn (well, mid-morning…)

31 Dec

A few brave souls pitched up at the gym to celebrate the end of 2010 with one last WOD.

To warm-up, we had fun* with this wee triplet of joy:

3 rounds

  • 10 Dumbbell clean box jumps
  • 10 Renegade rows
  • 10 Dumbell “yays”**
Renegade Rows
Renegade Rows: less fun than you'd think

Ok, yes. Perhaps slightly more of a workout than a warm-up. But at least everyone was warm afterwards. Which is something.

We then moved on to the WOD proper:

  • 3 rounds of Mary
  • 10 Dumbell clean & jerks
  • 3 rounds of Mary
  • 10 Dumbbell clean & jerks
  • 3 rounds of Mary

(Mary: 5 HSPU, 10 Pistols, 15 Pull-ups)

Cian pistols
Cian pistols on to the bench

* Not to be confused with actual fun

** Actually thrusters, but “yays” sounded more festive

Tonights delight

29 Dec

as the end of the year slithers away at Crossfit London UK we kicked off the last Wednesday wod with some snatching

3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, to be precise.

we then  strolled on to a nasty little 12 minute AMRAP of

7 Dumbbell thrusters

7 Sumo deadlift high pulls

7 pull ups

Once everyone had scooped themselves off the floor, it was down to  “Team Death” a nasty shuttle based finishing workout.

Great fun. Happy new year!!

Take those resolutions and stick them…

29 Dec

Oh how I loathe new years resolutions. The concept (goals) is sound, but the reality (wooly, ill-conceived aspirations) is disheartening.

(Note: this is normally the part where I talk about smarter goal setting, but there are plenty of articles about that already…in fact, Andrew just wrote about it, too)

So enough of that.

Here’s what I think you should focus on for the next 12 months…(‘cos my opinion matters!)

Start recording what you do in the gym (and out of it)

Go and buy a notebook and pencil. Go on. I’ll wait.

Recording your own personal data is a cornerstone of Crossfit. From simply being able remember the last amount of weight that you lifted, to charting your progress the data doesn’t lie. Those of you who deal with so-call ‘management information’ at work will be familiar with the phrase “what gets measured gets managed“.

Same goes for your progress in the gym: want to get stronger but don’t know your best last lift? ‘Aint gonna happen.

Want to change your body composition but don’t know your starting numbers (body fat percentage, waist circumference, etc.) it’s going to be hard.

And if you are already recording your gym work, then try expanding it to include your food and even your sleep. You will be surprised what you find in the data.

If nothing else, it’s harder to eat that second donut when you know you have to account for it in your log!

Get some equipment for home

Still struggling with strict pull-ups? Double-unders getting you down? Muscle-up just not there yet?

We only have a limited amount of time in the gym to focus on your personal weaknesses. Between the various classes and instructors you could go a number of sessions without addressing your own ‘goat(s)’.

So why not practice at home? A door frame pull-up bar costs around £30, rings are around the same, and a jump rope needn’t cost more than £10. You could even get a kettlebell!

Ditch the trainers (the shoes, not your coaches!)

I am sure that the latest air cushioned, torsion controlled, ankle protecting, lightweight running shoes are marvels of modern technology.

They are still RUNNING shoes, though. Not weightlifting shoes. Or even cross training shoes. And in this coach’s opinion they are hindering more than helping.

So much of what we do with a barbell requires you to be connected to the ground in a concrete (pun intended) fashion. Running shoes put a huge slab of (very expensive) foam between you and ground. This messes with your balance – especially in the squat – and confuses your muscle memory.

Try going barefoot, or pick up a pair of Vibrams, Innov8s or even Converse All-stars. You could even go the whole hog and buy some Olympic weightlifting shoes!

Learn a cool physical move that makes your friends go “wow!”

What’s the point of all this blood, sweat and tears if you can’t show off every now and again (or indeed, all the time)? Rather than setting the boring old “lose weight”-type goals, why not set yourself the challenge of learning to do something physically amazing this year?

Some ideas

Get 8 hours of sleep per night

No less. No excuses.

Your target for 2011

29 Dec

I sort of hate New Year’s resolutions as they are often so insincere, or just badly thought out (whilst drunk at 11.57pm on New Year’s Eve. This blog gives you the opportunity to publicly lay out some (fitness) plans for the forthcoming year.

I’m sure you are all aware of the immature and puerile concept of SMART goals. For the uninitiated, this is the idea that every goal must be:





Time based,

In fact every personal trainer in the world (not to mention cohorts of life coaches) demand that you break your goals down in this way. The problem is that unless you know your subject very well, its often difficult to set effective targets.

So feel free to have a general goal now and fill in the specifics later. This blog will be there, after all.

The important thing is to identify what it is you can do, and not judge outcomes. So for example, that old bugbear weight loss: it’s best not to decide to “lose 14lbs in a month”, or ” 1lb a week”, as you have no control over that. Instead you can decide to follow the Zone strictly for 4 weeks. Equally you should not decide to add 10kg to your deadlift, but you can commit to doing an extra deadlift session every week to help that goal along.

You goal is about what you can do, not what you hope for. There is a fine line between aspirational thought and misguided fantasy. Steven has posted some great ideas today too

Happy New Year by the way, and remember that we love you!

WOD 28 December: My welcome back present.

28 Dec

WOD 28 December: My welcome back present.

It had been about 8 days since I had last trained anyone. Technically it had been 14 days since I had made anyone run a WOD, since no one showed up to my Sunday morning class after the Christmas party.

A series of questions plagued me. (Not really, but some creative license must be taken to build suspense.) Had I gotten soft? Was I still funny? Did I remember how to get to the gym?

Tuesday was a little colder so after working on a few baseline skills, including the dreaded overhead squat, we moved on to the WOD:
Before we could actually get started, we had a mini arts and crafts demonstration where I made two sets of temporary gymnastics wraps with duct tape to avoid any tears during the pull ups. I’ll post a picture next time I make them. They are very “Fancy looking” apparently.

The WOD:
3 Rounds for time.
25 Tuck Jumps
25 Pull ups

The easiest part of this workout was the SDHP, they practically qualify as rest when compared to the Tuck jumps and Pull ups. The tuck jumps are very good at raising the heart rate very quickly, which makes it more difficult to focus during the pull ups. Except that if you don’t use your hips during the SDHP, the pull ups get really hard. Right. And it’s high rep.

Considering how everyone looked during and Post WOD, I think the above break down is quite accurate. Therefore, my Chirstmas present to myself was making everyone suffer horribly (and very vocally at that.) my first class back. Any nagging questions were resolved as well. I’m apparently just as funny now as I was before vacation.

Arbitrary Awards:

“Most Stylish” To April and Sophie. For proudly wearing the Macguvyer inspired duct tape gymnastic grips.

“Zombieland” To Efe. For looking like one of the walking dead after the WOD but still managing to push press very well.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

24 Dec

Saturday 18th was the annual Crossfit London Christmas event, and this year it was held at Iznik in Islington.

It was a great night accompanied by some amazing food and good company. Thanks to everyone who could make it and an even bigger thanks to Colin and Joy for organising it and to Andrew, Steven and the rest of the coaches for being there and making it all possible.

Enjoy the pictures and have a great Christmas. See you early next year!







WOD 23 December: Christmas Kipping

23 Dec

There was nothing especially Christmasy about the kipping we did today. Or the deadlift speed work. Or the rope climbs. Or, in fact, the kettlebell swing finisher. But I felt a need to shoehorn a Christmas reference in there just to stay festive.

My last session before the big day and just in case you want more detail, looked like this:

Speed work on the deadlift - Jennie and Alex blurring it up

Mobility warm up.

Deadlift – dynamic effort – (50% 1RM): 2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2 (that’s 14 btw) – 45-60 second rest

Kipping technique and practice

Rope climb technique and practice

Finisher of 3 mins maximum Russian kettlebell swings

The strength component was speed work today, improve sticking points and force production. The skills was all about giving the class some kipping practice – a popular choice since most people either want to clean up or finally attain a pull up. This was followed by more hand misery in the form of rope climbs and progressions.

This was all finished off with a quick kettlebell competition of max work in 3 mins. Congratulations to Jennie who emerged champion with over a 100 swings with the 16kg and a close second of Alex with 100 with the 32kg!

So a final note on my music policy in the classes. I tend to select a number of different funky house podcasts to entertain my early risers with. It is NOT my fault if the podcast happens to have a remix of the latest Cher song on there! Thanks to Ruairi for pointing this out, after this and you making fun of my (manly) ear muffs some weeks ago I feel the need to spend the festive period getting tattoos and swearing a lot. I shall return with my head held high. Go TEAM.

Fight Gone Bad

22 Dec

Fight Gone Bad, One of those fantastic bench mark Wods

Three rounds of:

  • Wall-ball, 20 pound ball, 10 ft target (Reps)
  • Sumo deadlift high-pull, 75 pounds (Reps)
  • Box Jump, 20? box (Reps)
  • Push-press, 75 pounds (Reps)
  • Row (Calories)

In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute. The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. On call of “rotate”, the athletes must move to next station immediately for best score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point. (Greg Glassman)

Tonight at Crossfit London UK we had some great participation efforts, with people slowly rising through the ranks with various substitutions. Well done Brie, Ronnie and Cindy. Clap Clap.

We also the opportunity of watching Efe pick up a 303, with a 297 tie between “stretch” and Josh.

Great work and some work in progress guys. Welcome to Liam with a respectable 245 1st time score: and sorry to the others whose scores I forgot!! Doah!

For an in-depth discussion of some of the  fight gone bad aspects, click here

WOD 21 December: Picture Book Post

22 Dec

Late post and a busy week so just enough time to let you know what we did and bombard you with photos.

Tuesday morning class workout was some hip mobility drills followed by a back squat strength component of 3-3-2-2-1-1. And finished up with hard and fast met con of 3 rounds: 15 pull ups and 10 hang power cleans. Go TEAM. On to the photos…



A big dose of Muscular Endurance

21 Dec

Tuesday 21st December 2010

So once we warmed up we looked at Pistols or one legged squats and all their crazy balance challenging progressions.

Then on to the WOD

5 minutes squats

4 minutes box jumps

3 minutes lunges

2 minutes pistols

1 minute jumping squats

You count the total reps.

Yuri practices his levitation skills

After 3 minutes rest we did it all again but this time;

5 minutes press ups

4 minutes pull ups

3 minutes burpees

2 minutes ring dips

1 minute hand stand press ups

Ok so it’s the Christmas holidays. I know you are going to be surrounded by badness and temptation. Don’t panic we work hard so we can play hard and rest easy every now and then. Enjoy everything in moderation.  Some of you will be away from the gym and looking for some gym free WODS.  Those of you with an Android phone you can down load and App called Offsite Wod, check it out. Or you can visit here;


Click on the gymnastic choice and you get random bodyweight WODS to suit.

Or if conditions permit get a couple of 5k’s in try for under 25 minutes. Or try this;


Merry Christmas all!

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