Handstand night

30 Nov

As promised, Filip, with some great demos by (non-gymnast) Melissa ( to show they were do-able drills) treated Crossfit Londoners to a range of useful progressive practices to develop their handstand, handstand walk and 1st handstand hold on the rings.

Look at the  photographs of  the early drills with some useful performance hints.

Then  check out  the poorly made video: great drill though .

Level 2&3 29-Nov-2012 (PM)

30 Nov

Level 2

Squat clean drills followed by 5×2 heavier squat cleans

5x max strict pull ups

Well done Ivan for 23…


4 rounds of

2min AMRAP

5 deadlifts (75% 1RM)

10 jumping squats/10 jumping lunges (alternating rounds)

30s rest

Score: amount of reps


Level 3

HSPUs: strict, kipping, banded

Squat snatch 6×3 (75% 1RM) 60s rest


4 rounds of

3mins AMRAP

5 deadlifts (75% 1RM)

15 jumping squats/15 jumping lunges (alternating rounds)

45s rest

Score: amount of reps


Well done all and see you next week!

Avoid “Deadlift Neck”

29 Nov

Lots of things can go wrong with the deadlift, so its as well to start off every lift as well set up as possible.

Frequently, better coaches will emphasise a “tight Core” (“brace those abs”) and use your legs  ( hamstrings/Glutes) to lift.

A head  cranked back undermines both of these effective lifting strategies. For a few years, I wasnt that bothered about clients having a neutral spine: I thought it was therapist “toss”. One therapist told me that ” you wouldnt walk with your neck back like that, so why lift like that ? ” Er, because its totally different!!!”

I’d trained with some “big” deadlifters who all cranked their necks up, and who spoke well of it.  Why change my view.

Well, all was going well, until I had “that client” the one who would not brace his  abs and maintain his lumbar curve. Try as I did, all my demands of “tight” “tighten up” “brace” fell on deaf ears. He assured me, though, that he was responding to all my cues: he was getting tighter and tighter. In fact he was so tight, it was giving him  a headache:

A What?

How does  getting a  “tight”  core give you a headache?  Then it dawned on me. By cranking his neck back, he felt a”tight” feedback (in his neck). The more I cued, the harder he tried to get a tension..in his neck.


I got his head neutral and we had that “light bulb” moment “Oh, you mean tight in my tummy”……….(Doah!!)

The second big reason was my realisation that cranking their neck back, were setting  up an artificial pre-lift pattern. Most people who crank their neck back, mentally lift with the neck, rather than focus on engaging their glutes.

Im sure there  are other reasons for not cranking your head back, but these are the 2 that mean most to me.

May I commend them to you


Fat Girls should dance, deadlift, weld and fight

28 Nov

If you need weight loss advice, there are no end of skinny people just dying to give the overweight “invaluable tips”.

One of the best ones i heard, from a skinny abusive Weight loss expert, who was in charge of educating fitness instructors to help clients loose weight, went like this

Q) what do i do if my client says that they are simply dying for a bar of chocolate?

A) Tell them to eat a lovely crunchy apple instead! HMMMMMMmmmmm.Yum

Wow, who knew, Obesity sorted! Now on to world peace.

Actually, there is only one weight loss expert I know who I trust. Obviously thats Kate Pankhurst .

One of her many pearls of “been there , done that” weight loss wisdom includes the need to change as part of a weight loss programme.

If you exercise more and eat less, it will still be the same you. Hungrier, maybe (temporarily) a bit smaller, but still you.

One of the essental things you need to to if you want to change is to learn something new.

You need to find physical based challenges that you can learn and mistress (I mean Master, but I’m trying to be cool and trendy). So, the first of Kates rules is this: ” learn something new” . She chose swimming, but later, on went on to learn ball room dancing, she boxed a bit, now is driven mad by deadlifting and snatching, obsessing about double unders and adding to her pull ups……

Part of the utter failure of the Fitness industry to deliver effective lasting weight loss has been its error in attempting to ring fence fitness as some esoteric “thing”, evaluated by VO2 max or heart rate.

Sure the body likes activity, being sedentary is now the bigest death sentence going!  But to insist that clients plod on a tread mill for hours is wrong. Your body loves learning new challenges. Thats why Crossfit is divided between stuff that can be improved by conditioning and stuff that can be improved only by practice.

There is something about “stuff you have to practice” that has a miraculous effect on body composition and mental attitude. Sure your body burns more calories, But there is an extra “X factor” in learning how to dance, or swim or build chairs or lay bricks.

So, one of kates recommended 1st ports of call is any adult education centre and sign up for a basic fun course: carpentry, metal work, car mechanics, plastering, swimming or deadlift, fight or even, dance….

But to end on a cautionary note, we mean learn how to do these things! Dont opt for the “ercise” version. If you want to box, learn how to Box: dont go to a boxercise class. To learn how to weld, its welding classes. Not “Metal workercise”.

This is of course only one tiny bit of the puzzle: but if it doesn’t work, and you took basic plumbing…at least you can fix that leak.

Level 2 27-Nov-2012 (PM)

27 Nov

10mins to work on whatever skill you need to work on

then 5×3 overhead squats followed by some handstand and HSPU practice


10mins AMRAP

7 push press

14 lateral box jump


Well done all especially Mikko, Douglas and Katie for surviving their first Level 2 class.
See you all next week!

Double under hints

27 Nov

I think some people dread our obsession with  Double Unders. Unfortunately you cannot condition or strengthen your way out of it.

Its a function of practice!  Here are some practice concepts from Bryant Powers

1)   nothing changes from single to double under

2)   maybe a bit higher jump

3)   stay on balls of the feet

4)   don’t pike or  donkey kick

5)   circle from the wrist

6)  practice jumping from the same spot


and some ideas from an old geezer called Andrew Stemler

Higher jump, big chest, try taking your shoes off!

We will make the ultimate Double Under Video soon, but for now, I hope these will help you improve your practice.You have to buy your own rope and “own it”!



MHF & overhead terror: level 2 wod 27 nov

27 Nov

We had an interesting lunchtime as we experimented with life threatening overhead squats, working up to  one rep max’s for those who wanted to.

Well done Vaida on her 60kg PB , with more to come I think

We had a bit of handstand /handstand  push up playing,  then moved on to a workout guaranteed to provoke  Muted Hip Dysfunction.

5 rounds

12 push presses 42.5/30kg)

24 lateral box jumps ( with normal jumps  as substitutes for the nervous)


Muted Hip Function

27 Nov

I first came across Greg Glassmans concept of “Muted hip Function” in 2005 just after I’d finished my 1st Crossfit certification in Santa Cruz. The concept of muted hip is founded on the , in my opinion, correct  observation that the most powerful forces that humans can generate , are initiated, dominated and controlled by the hip ( Crossfit Journal 2003, page 5). Muted hip function, or more correctly dysfunction creates postures and  mechanics that reduce power and stability and are generally unsound. This photo pretty much outlines all the major faults that occur

According to Greg Glassman “we see this best in the drive and dip of a bad push press where the knees jut forward while the pelvis rolls back pushing the belly forward. In fact the push press is the best way to conjure up this fault even in people who otherwise may have a beautiful squat and seem immune to this curse.” Greg Glassman.

Strive to engage your glutes and transmit force through a tight core, get your hamstrings in on the act, get more weight towards the back of the foot and, as we say, stick your bum back.

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