Wednesday Night Level 4

28 Feb

Warm up

Shoulder Complex – Skin the Cat

Prison Lunges – Hip Mobility

Hollow Rocks – Superman Rocks

Kipping Levers (Bar to hips)

Leg Lifts


Oly Skill

7 sets 1 rep  1 rep=2 squat cleans, 1 Push jerk

Build the weight up over the sets. Sets 1-4 focus on the skill, Sets 5-7 Get heavy!

In between sets work some pistols. a few each leg.

Collectively the group has see an improvement in their pistols from working the leg lifts.



Front Squats 3rm


WOD -Short and Sweet

2 min max burpees

1 min rest

2 min max air squat

1 min rest

2 min max toes 2 bar



Hot Tips from The Boxing Class: Guard Up:

28 Feb

“Guard up”. 

Yes I know – its easier said than done. 
Especially when your arms get tired – right? No matter how many times you are reminded to keep your hands UP they always creep DOWN. 
Usually the only way to cure this is with some hard sparring! No-one particularly enjoys being punched in the face – (ok I actually like  sparring, but I’m weird.). Usually being caught with a decent hook will get the hands up! 
Your hands should sit on your cheek bones. When you send out the jab the other fist stays put – acting as a shield to block the counter punch – and there will be a counter punch. Drop the hand and you will know about it. Ouch! 
In general your upper body should be fairly relaxed – the more relaxed you are the easier it is to generate speed. Speed = power. Elbows tucked in to protect your ribs. 
Dropping your hands also encourages you to swing and slap your punches, meaning you aren’t using your body weight or bio mechanics to generate power. You are only using brute force, this results in lack of balance and potential injuries. 
After a certain amount of discipline and focus regarding your hands – they will stay up. Muscle memory will kick in and they will know where their home is. 
I think Andrew Stemler was lucky enough to have a really caring coach who punched him in the head every time his guard dropped. 
I can be caring too!
See you Mondays

Naomi Gibson
The Crossfit London 
 Boxing Coach

Twenty and counting: Games update

27 Feb

Hi All,

We will be posting a daily count of those Crossfit London members who are taking part in the open.

We expect the rest of  you to  help us smash the 50  target we have set.

To keep up to date, check out who has signed up Here.

If your name isn’t here, you ought to be asking yourself,  “why not”.

Its simply another WOD.  Its $20 for 7 weeks of  “fun” ( this is less than Kate Pankurst spends on coffee and cake  in one Nero visit)

Of course no one is obliged to join in (seriously) and our Gym isn’t going to turn into an early episode of “Glee” where the team  slushy the “glee kids”, but, perhaps  you  too fancy getting the improvements that Tim, Cian, Tom, the Alex’s, and Kate  ( etc etc) are reporting.

We do not care where you come because its about the improvements you make

Tuesday (pm) Level 3 26/2/13

26 Feb

Tonight, the stars aligned, Tom met Ellie! Our new untamed unicorn and what room with have to play with! Great to have you step up to Level 3 Ellie, great job in your first class!

Not forgetting the regulars!
In the 5:30 class it was really cool to see the likes of Heather banging out kipping pull ups after some drills ‘n’ skills. Rich looking smooth on the power cleans and understanding how low you can go without it turning into a squat clean!

6:30pm outstanding achievers included Kat for her epic pull ups, Andreus for he’s epic athleticism on the power cleans and Paul for he’s efforts on the special gift I gave the CFL competitors tonight!

7:30pm we taught our new comer John, from the states, how to actually use he’s hips during a power clean. Sarah stopped jumping like a ballerina to get 50kg up to her shoulders, keep those bloody heels down! Adnan showed great determination to master the skill behind an effortless heavy powerclean. And finally, Tommy and Alex, kudos!

So here’s what we did:

Weighted Pull Ups 5-5-5-5-5
Kipping Pull Up tekkers

Power Clean 2-2-2-2-2

21,15,9 reps for time:
Overhead walking lunges (25/20kg)
Knees 2 Elbows
Push Ups

Scores on the doors:


WOD 26 Feb 2013

26 Feb

Level 2: 7am & 8am

Pull up 5-5-5-5-5

Power clean 2-2-2-2-2

21-15-9 for time:
Overhead walking lunges (15/10kg)
Knees to elbows
Push ups


Women and pull ups.

Be smart about your rest. Mark’s Daily Apple suggests 12 healthy ways to end the day.

Our ancestors had much better teeth than we do.

Video: Ray Williams squats 410.5kg.

The extraordinary science of junk food.

Competitive exercise – is it for you? ( By Tim lawrence)

25 Feb

Competitive exercise – is it for you?

(By Tim Lawrence)


The idea of ‘competitive exercise’ or the ‘sport of fitness’ is a controversial subject, for some, even an anathema.  For many, the purpose of CrossFit is to be fit for life, or for other pursuits.  And, certainly, to reach the top in the CrossFit Games, or anywhere near to it for that matter, requires a specialisation and periodization that is outside of CrossFit’s ‘our specialisation is not specialising’ philosophy.  Others who are interested in the sport of fitness, face a harsh reality:  their physical performance is simply not good enough to allow them to feature near the top of the leaderboard in competition.  Others, still, may be curious about the whole idea but unsure whether and how to make a start.  So, the question is, if you fall into one of these groups, if you’re not a firebreathing clone of  Rich Froning Jr or Iceland Annie, is competition for you?


My own first taste of competition was in last year’s CrossFit Open, just a few months after I’d started CrossFit.  Frankly, I had no idea what it was all about, but a number of people were talking about it, so I thought ‘why not’?  I followed my experience of the online Open by participating in a ‘real’ event – Raising the Bar event, a CrossFit competition for masters (aka over 40’s!!) in April.  This was a real eye-opener, in terms of the high standards by the top competitors, and great fun at the same time.


Based on my own experience, I’d say that there are a number of benefits to be had for we ‘ordinary CrossFitters’ from entering a competition, whether it’s an online event such as the Open, or a ‘live’ event, even for those who are not really interested in being a competitive CrossFitter.


Movement standards.  Excellent though the coaches at CFL are, it’s impossible for them to monitor every movement by every athlete during a WOD in a class of, maybe, 10 people. We’re probably all guilty, when  under intensity and fatigued, of letting our standards slip and don’t always hit the full range of motion on every single rep.  In competition, with a judge for each competitor, standards are strictly enforced, so every squat must be to full depth, every kettlebell swing must be perfectly vertical overhead and so on.  This is a valuable lesson!


A focus for your training.  One of the huge attractions of CrossFit for many of us is its constant variety.  I find, though, that doing classes week after week, month after month becomes a little bit, well…humdrum.  Entering Raising the Bar and facing the prospect of competition and, especially, ‘performing’ in public, definitely gave my training an added bite.  I pushed myself harder, more often and ate better in the run up to the event.


You’ll learn about your strengths and weaknesses.  Comparing your performance against your peers is likely to highlight your strengths and weaknesses and, in the process, you’ll learn some valuable lessons.  For instance, I’d believed that my relative strength lay in lighter, faster-paced WODs…turned out that this was the area that I preformed relatively poorly (making me realise that I needed to work on this area) and I scored relatively well in the strength/Oly lifting test  (which gave me confidence to push the weight in training).


Competition can produce superior performance…and you may surprise yourself. Greg Glassman, CrossFit’s founder, has observed that “We’ve learned that harnessing the natural camaraderie, competition, and fun of sport or game yields an intensity that cannot be matched by other means. The late Col. Jeff Cooper observed that “the fear of sporting failure is worse than the fear of death.” It is our observation that men will die for points.”  Which may be stretching the point somewhat, but it’s amazing what can be achieved when out on the floor, in the final heat, with an enthusiastic crowd cheering you on!  It helped me to  a 10kg PB test to establish a 1RM clean.


It’s a lot of fun.  Best of all, I think, it’s something a bit different, it’s fun.  You’ll have others cheering you, you’ll cheer others, you’ll find yourself inspired by the astonishing performance of the top athletes and you’ll take satisfaction from your own victories, however you measure them.


If you want to dip your toe into the water, the Open is an ideal place to start.  This involves a workout each week for five weeks, starting on 6 March, all preformed under judged conditions.  Details of how this will work at CFL will be announced shortly.  If you’re feeling more ambitious, look out for one of the increasing number of competitions which take place around the country.



Monday (am) 25/2/13

25 Feb

Great class this morning at CrossFit London, I actually shut the door and cycled off smiling!

We got warmed up this morning with some Turkish Get Ups by numbers, a new skill for some of the class members and my self titled “skill of the week”. This usually ends up with someone trying to TGU the smallest person in the gym by the end of the week!

We got our Deadlift on for some simple strength, nothing too mental for a monday morning! Focussing on immaculate form for 5 reps at a time, pausing at the bottom for a count of 1, going as heavy as form would allow!

After setting up for the WOD, we had took some time to look at how to cycle reps efficiently during the push press, keeping the shoulder back over the heels during the first dip then pulling the head back and the bar to the collar bone on the way down, making sure the bar passage remains perfectly straight before the bar makes contact with the shoulder and returning into the dip for the next rep. Everyone said it felt weird, in my mind that’s mission accomplished!

5 rounds for time:
10 deadlifts @ 50/35kg (lvl 2) 80/55kg (lvl 3)
5 ring dips

A nice fast workout for a monday morning with no one taking longer than 10 mins, good to see people running between movements once they realised the intensity of the workout. Ben and Tom stepped up to the level 3 weight and handled it well! Douglas said afterwards that in hindsight he probably should have done level 3 weight, that’s what’s all about!

We finished with a 5 min alternating Turkish Get Up AMRAP to fire up everyone’s midline after a potentially midline threatening workout, something we see a lot of in our training!

Good work guys, have a great monday!


Coaching excellence: Are you sure that your coach is actually coaching you?

25 Feb

Back in the 1970’s Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard developed a theory of leadership and development that they called Situational Leadership (later Situational Leadership II). In it, they presented a theory that leadership styles are situation specific and should be matched to the development needs of their followers.

Their view was that leaders have two main resources available to them: giving direction and providing support. These resources can be deployed in four different styles as follows:

  • S1: High direction, low support: Telling
  • S2: High direction, high support: Coaching
  • S3: Low direction, high support: Motivating/supporting
  • S4: Low direction, low support: Delegating/abdicating

Furthermore, their followers exhibit two further qualities – skill (capability/resources) and will (motivation/need) – which also have four configurations (maturity levels)

  • M1: Low skill, high will
  • M2: Low skill, low will
  • M3 High skill, low will
  • M4: High skill, high will

What was most interesting – as I’m sure you have already guessed – is that each of the maturity levels requires a different leadership style. And a mismatch between style and need leads to a very ineffective outcome.

Example of a mismatch? Imagine you are dangling by a rope off the edge of a building. You don’t want to be there (high motivation to escape) but you don’t know how to get out of the situation (low skill) i.e., M1. Do you really want someone shouting “good job” and offering high fives (S3) coming to help you?

Let’s put all this into the context of coaching in the gym.

When clients first enter the gym they are for the most part in the M1 grouping: full of enthusiasm and keen to get started, but generally low skill in terms of technique. So we in turn utilise the S1 style – we instruct! We get you to follow a series of progressions almost by rote to efficiently develop the skills necessary.

We also keep things very simple at this stage: clear, standard progressions that don’t require much conscious thought to complete. Mid-WOD we’ll generally tell you what to do in order to get your technique up to scratch (“knees out!”)

But – oh no – this is kind of hard for most people. If you have any sort of ego, being told or indeed realising that you are not as good at something as you thought is demoralising (M2). Which is why the coach will then switch to a coaching style (S2). This is a delicate balance of motivational support and direction. We are working hard to to ensure that you “get” the drills and skills, while maintaining a level of enthusiasm for the task.

This style is also marked by having you figure more stuff out for yourselves e.g. rather than showing and telling you how to move through “kittens” in the snatch, we might ask you to “keep the bar close to your chest”. We can afford to introduce more more complicated concepts at this stage.

Perhaps after a few months the skills levels come up (S3). Yay! But now the coaches are asking you to do more (heavier weights!) or go faster. You have the skill, but motivation may still be in danger, especially mid-WOD. This is where we turn cheerleader and do our best to keep you going!

We will also expect you – with your improved skill levels – to be able to self-diagnose and fix your own movement patterns. Mid-WOD we should just need to remind you to “hit your depth” in squats, or get your chin over the bar in pull-ups without having to explain how. Of course mid-WOD you might just need to be told what to do again (S1).

(The M4 configuration – in our context – refers more to those who self-train. Its associated leadership style (S4) is based on an earned trust that the individual in question is capable of keeping their movement standards up, while still push as hard as they need to. In the context of CrossFit style training this is a big ask , which is why we generally train in groups!)

Depending on technique in question we will switch between S1, S2 and S3 many times during a session and over your training career with us, although most of the time will be spent in S2.


The sign of a good coach is their ability to recognise the maturity level of their clients and switch between the appropriate leadership style as the situation dictates.

Put another way, if your coach is mainly cheerleading (S3) they are not coaching. Sadly many CrossFit coaches that I have met fall into this trap. The other characteristic of this style is introducing advanced concepts before the basics have been embedded.

If you coach is mainly telling you what to do without any sort of two-way dialogue (S1), they are not coaching. This is quite common in coaches without much experience, or those with deep experience but in a narrow arena (when you’ve got a hammer, everything looks like a nail)

And – God forbid – if all they do is write the WOD on the whiteboard, shout “3-2-1 go” and go and drink coffee, THEY ARE NOT COACHING (S4).


CrossFit Games Open 2013 re-post

24 Feb

OK everyone, here’s the deal!

The CrossFit Games Open 2013 is just around the corner! For those of you that don’t know anything about the CrossFit Games or the nature of the Open, I suggest you take a “butcher’s hook” at this!

Now, we have the chance to make this a real community event but you have to help me out! The Crossfit Games Open is a great opportunity to get involved in the global CrossFit community, you will compete against thousands of people all over the world that you don’t know but as the weeks go on and the workouts change you will be able to see how you fair against your buddies at the gym, other CrossFitters in the UK, Europe Region and ultimately the best guys and gals in the World! It’s a real eye opener!

It’s a good chance to see where all that hard training you have put in over the past has gone too! I always think of the CrossFit Games Open as an annual test, although the workouts will no doubt be different to last year, I can look at the scores afterwards and go “you know what, I couldn’t even lift that last year” or “i felt better doing that movement than I did last year” or “I couldn’t even do one of those last year!”

You don’t have to be a CrossFit Games competitor to enjoy the open! The togetherness that you feel during these workouts, in a competitively judged environment is amazing, everyone working towards a common goal, to sit as high up on the leaderboard as they can! It’s great fun, like our own mini CrossFit Games! As I said before, although you have never met Joe Bloggs from Washington, because you have seen he’s name above you on the leader board, you hope the next workout is in your favour!

What I need from you guys, is a show of interest, you need to let me know if you want to be a part of this great annual community event! Only when I receive enough positive feedback can I make this happen! So spread the word and let’s put CrossFit London UK on the map!

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