The new Crossfit London HQ 

and training venue is

Unit 9 malcolm Place
Bethnal Green,
E2 0EU

for more details


At the core of your training, you should be focusing on 9 major moves: Crossfit call them Fundamental moves


Front squat

Overhead squat


Sumo deadlift high pull


Push press

Push jerk

the (medicine ball) Clean.


The squat is not an exercise forged in the furnace of an aerobic dance studio or weightlifting gym. There was never a time when we did not squat, and if you cannot squat, it's not that you have decided to avoid exercise, it's because you are ill. You can decide not to tricep extend or crunch with little ill effect; the squat is non-negotiable. Squatting is the way human beings sit down, be it to doze, duck, or defecate. It is also our initial move when lifting things from the floor, be it ourselves (otherwise known as standing up) bags of shopping, luggage, or loved ones. Practicing the proper form of squatting means we can use our muscles effectively, and is a substantial contributor to normal and elite fitness.

Here are some valuable pointers to a sound squat based on Greg Glassman's work view in the Crossfit Journals Start with your feet about shoulder width apart and slightly toed out
1. Keep your chin parallel with the floor
2. Ensure a lumber curve
3. Suck your belly button towards your spine
4. Keep your midsection very tight
5. Send your bottom back and down (imagine you are pushing a car door closed with your bum)
6. Your knees track over the line of your foot
7. Don't let your knees roll inside your foot
8. Keep as much pressure on your heels as possible
9. Stay off your toes
10. Keep your chest high
11. In profile, your ear should not move forward during the squat, it travels straight down
12. Pull yourself down with your hip flexors
13. Maintain the lumbar curve as you settle in to the bottom
14. Stop when the fold of your hip is below your knee - break parallel with the thigh
15. Squeeze your bottom and hamstrings and rise without any leaning forward or shift of balance
16. Return on the exact same path as you descended
17. Use every bit of musculature you can; there is no part of your body uninvolved
18. On rising, without moving your feet, exert pressure to the outside of your feet as though you were trying to separate the ground beneath you

19. At the top stand as tall as you possibly can




1. Weak glute/hamstring. The glutes and hams are responsible for powerful hip extension, which is the key to the athletic performance universe.


2. Poor engagement, weak control, and no awareness of glute and hamstring. The road to powerful, effective hip extension is a three to five year odyssey for most athletes


3. Resulting attempt to squat with quads. Leg extension dominance over hip extension is a leading obstacle to elite performance in athletes.


4. Inflexibility. With super tight hamstrings you're screwed. This is a powerful contributor to slipping out of lumbar extension and into lumbar flexion - the worst fault of all.


5. Sloppy work, poor focus. This is not going to come out right by accident. It takes incredible effort.


6. Poor Balance


7. Poor lifestyle posture






POLE Squats


Grab an upright  grab  it with a vend in your elbows, close enough to kiss it, but not quite, then settle into perfect bottom with chest, head, hands, arms, shoulders, and back higher than usual. Find balance, let go, repeat closer and higher, etc. Lift  the head, chest, shoulders, and torso with more load on heels and glute/hams. This immediately forces a solid bottom posture from which you have the opportunity to feel the forces required to balance in good posture. This is a reasonable shoulder stretch but not as good as the overhead squat. See below.




Squat to a pile of mats, and overtime, take a mat away.  Rest at the bottom without altering posture, then squeeze and rise without rocking forward. Keep perfect posture at the bottom. This is a classic bit of technology perfected at the Westside Barbell Club.




Stay at the bottom and come up to full extension and quickly return to bottom spending much more time at bottom than top. . You want to get down there, stay down there, and learn to like it.




Hold a broom stick at snatch grip width, directly overhead, arms locked. Triangle formed by arms and stick must stay perfectly perpendicular as you squat. Good shoulder stretch and lifts squat. With weight, this exercise demands good balance and posture or loads become wildly unmanageable. The overhead squat is a quick punisher of sloppy technique. If shoulders are too tight this movement will give an instant diagnosis. You can move into a doorway and find where the arms fall and cause the stick to bang into doorway. Lift the arms, head, chest, back, and hip enough to travel up and down without hitting the doorway. Work to move feet closer and closer to doorway without hitting. The broomstick foundation is critical to learning the Snatch - the world's fastest lift.




Hang something on a string, like a tennis ball , at max reach, and touch it at every rep. Alternate hands touching.




with your arms above you, or out to the side, slide down a wall facing the wall. makes sure there is  a spotter to stop you as you fall backwards





Fault:                          Going to parallel (not deep enough)

Cause:                       Weak hip extensors, laziness, quad dominance

THERAPIES: Bottom to bottoms, Bar Holds, Box Squatting


Fault:                          Rolling knees inside feet

Cause:                       Weak adductors, cheat to quads

THERAPIES:              Push feet to outside of shoe, deliberately adduct (attempt to stretch floor apart beneath feet.)


Fault:                          Dropping head

Cause:                       Lack of focus, weak upper back, lack of upper back control

THERAPIES:  Bar Holds, Overhead squats


Fault:                          Losing lumbar extension

Cause:                       Lack of focus, tight hamstrings, cheat for balance due to weak glute/hams

THERAPIES: Pole Holds, Overhead squats


Fault:                          Dropping shoulders

Cause:                       Lack of focus, weak upper back, lack of upper back control, tight shoulders

THERAPIES: Bar Holds, Overhead squats



Fault:                          Heels off ground

Cause:                       Cheat for balance due to weak glute/hams

THERAPIES: Focus on Bar Holds


Fault:                          Incomplete hip extension

Cause:                       Cheating, sets wrong neurological pattern avoiding most important part of squat

THERAPIES: String Touch





When has the squat been mastered?

1) When the above points are mastered
2) When multiple fast reps can be performed. A standard for fast multiple reps could be the Tabata Squat (20 seconds on /10 seconds off, repeated 8 times) with the weakest of eight intervals being between 18-20 reps. 18-20 perfect squats in twenty seconds, rest for ten and repeat seven more times for a total of eight intervals.

This is a useful target to aim for. The most common faults to look for are surrendering of the lumbar curve at the bottom, knees rolling in, not breaking the parallel plane with the thighs, slouching in the chest and shoulders, looking down and lifting heels.


Tabata Interval 

The term "Tabata Interval" originated from a study performed by Dr. Izumi Tabata (and colleagues) at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan in 1997.

Dr. Izumi Tabata experimented with intervals and published in the journal Medicine in Sports and Exercise the results of an experiment in which he produced excellent improvements in anaerobic and aerobic conditioning in a group of accomplished athletes with a four minute (3:50) protocol of 20 seconds of all out work followed by 10 seconds of rest repeated 8 times.

Significantly, Dr. Tabata's 4 minute high intensity group got better V02 max improvement than the control group, which followed a 60 minute moderate intensity regimen

Tabata Applications

Dr. Tabata's research subjects exercised on stationery bikes; we decided to test other applications.

Our favorite and most effective application has been the "Tabata" squat - a 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off repeated 8 times squatting effort scored by the lowest number of reps performed in any of the eight intervals. This single drill tests for and develops elite athletic capacities.

Rankings for this drill accurately predict ranking performance on a wide variety of fundamental athletic skills and performance.  Another of our crew's favored applications is to use the Tabata interval in a workout where an athlete moves from the Concept II Rower to squats then pull-ups, sit-ups, and push-ups. Each exercise is performed like the Tabata squat - 20 on/10 off X 8.

Adding the weakest link from each exercise tabulates a final score. The rowing is scored in "calories" and the other events by reps. We allow a minute's break between exercises. Both of these simple workouts are very demanding and surprisingly potent. Trying either will convince you of their potency. Our experience is that improvements in scores for both Tabata workouts suggest strongly that an athlete is likely to show substantial improvements wherever we test them. 



Here are some pointers for the deadlift. Obviously this comes from one of our training courses where we teach trainers to train properly, but its an interesting format

client instructions

intended outcome

trainer cues

feet under your hips/try jumping up and down

find a possible best feet position ( may change with years of experience

jump up and down 3 times then freeze... thats your foot spacing for now

pick up pvc bar hands outside your thighs, place it on your shins, now stick your chest through your arms, and give  me a nice lumbar curve

1st attempt at a proper starting deadlift position
bar on shines, long arms, head neutral

imagine you are an angry gorilla

imagine the bar is a little lamb and its raining, use your chest as its umbrella

making sure the clients shoulders are "over the bar"

protect the little  lamb: keep that wool dry

make sure your shoulders are higher than your bottom: dont forget that lumbar curve

right  relationship of being over the bar

chest higher than your bum

stand up, driving through your heels

getting maximum stability

stand tall, heels down

 Extend legs while hips and shoulders rise at the same rate


Once the bar passes the knees, the hip opens all the way up

getting the order right

dont stick your bum up.

lower the bar; keep it close, from the hang to your knees the hips do most of the work, form the knees down, the knees do most of it. ( but both joints work together)

dont remain upright! you must get your shoulders back over the bar

getting the proper order of lowering and maintainig a lumbar curve all the way down

push your hips back, delay your knees a fraction, get your shoulders back  over the bar

fine tunning

grips, even and/or alternating

when using weights, take the tension out of the bar

keep your body tight

possibly take a deep breath ( watch out for hypertensives)

offering variety and preparing for a heavy lift

Tension out of bar, bring the bar to the top of the bumper plates hole

body tight to transmit energy

practise the grip

tension, when you pull, you pull against weight, 

"tight, tight, tight"

 Practise with actual bar and weights

Note the set up position! if client cannot get into the position, raise the height of the bar

an initial safew lifting position

the weight doesnt matter, your back does










Below are some other moves and programming ideas 


Handstand push-ups are very much identified with elite systems like Crossfit, if only because very few people can be bothered to master them. A modest starter drill is the assisted handstand push-up with your feet on a chair, getting your bum over your head


Sometimes having some friends to help takes the fear factor away, and gets you variable support. Make your supporters only give you that extra bit of help, not just pull you up and down


A folded towel under your head can help too

Seb, Sally, Brian (Masterclass June 2007)



Sit ups are back.

Forget those silly crunches: the Sit Up is back


Jack demonstrates the use of bricks as a modest start to an incline push up

Crossfit London push up

Also, use them as inexpensive paralletes to get more depth to your push up

Crossfit London Push up

Thrusters with bricks
Saves you the cost of buying even a set of dumbbells
and is ideal if you work on a building site, or are a passionate DIYer.

Jack demos the Brick Thruster

Rock Bottom Squat: Bricks Racked
Crossioft London thruster

Explode upwards.......extend your hips and arms...
Crossfit London Thruster

To full extension
Crossfit London Thruster

And then repeat.....a lot.



No one will take you seriously if you do not incorporate rings into your training. They are one of the better training tools around ( and have been for many years) 


We were delighted to discover that James Bond Star Daniel Craig has incorporated ring training into his training schedule and is close to mastering the Crucifix.

The rings were also used by the cast of  "300".

Rings are used By Crossfit trainers like Andrew Stemler to build fantastic upper body strength

But, if you like buying stuff direct from America and waiting ages for it to arrive, click on the link below


The Elite Gymnastic Rings are portable and lightweight



It is increasingly popular to discuss and advocate methods of programming training, in particular periodisation (sometimes spelled periodization)

According to Fleck (1999) a periodised strength training programme is one which varies on a regular basis in order to bring about optimal short and long term gains.

The variables that can be manipulated are number of sets, number of reps, number of exercises performed rest periods, resistance used, type of muscle action (concentric eccentric, isometric).

Intensity and volume are two  frequently used terms. Intensity refers to the weight lifted: a 1 rep max is the highest intensity. The training volume  refers to the amount of reps achieved. The reality is that as volume goes up, the intensity goes down, and vice versa.

But a few general points: the fact that a protocol works in strength sports does not prove its success elsewhere. Periodised programmes will tend to have multiple sets, so will always have more volume than single set protocols. Many studies use untrained individuals who experience rapid improvement in strength gains.

Willoughby (1993) only noted superior strength gains in the periodised group in week 8 (of 16) when the training volume was significantly reduced compared to two control groups which had a  5 x10 and 6 x8 protocol

However, Fleck concludes that periodised programs can result in greater strength gains than non-periodised, multi-set and single set programmes: manipulation of training volume was identified as a contributing factor. Few studies have evaluated motor performance, body composition and short term endurance. Due to the trainability of novices, periodised programmes may not be needed in the earlier stages.



The variability of training regimes within a periodised plan seems to be the key to avoiding overtraining (Garhammer & Takano 2002). It is frequently claimed that a periodised plan is a way of combating overtraining and fatigue.

Overload and specifity are frequently promoted as the dominant principles of training: so a few heavy reps with some assistance exercises should be the key to success.

Experience shows that such a regime fails.

This failure can be attributed to  a mix of loss of motivation, and neural and hormonal changes. Hakkinen and colleagues established that performance enhancements  correlated with enhanced  electromyogram activity (neural activation levels) and serum testosterone levels and anabolic/catabolic hormone ratios (or endocrine balance). They noted that intense exercise can provoke, then decrease neural and postive endocrine reactions (fatigue) but that one days rest could restore the balance.

This suggests that a variable programme  can reduce the possibility of overtraining.

However, we need to remember that Ivan Abadhievs Bulgarian training model flew in the face of periodization theory (click here for an interview with Abadhiev)

Abadhiev's (also known as the Butcher) system contradicted the accepted principles of periodisation in almost every way.

Constantly stress the body and force it into a stress response state; so high volume and high intensity training with  frequent competitions. His system aimed  to activate stress-response proteins (found in starving-recovery and exhausted animals) ie the organism survives at an accelerated state to survive

It appears that exercise is capable of provoking a stress response is activated and Stress Proteins (SP) can  accumulate in certain tissues. Nonetheless, the exact significance of increased SPs, not to mention the mechanism(s) by which exercise induces Stress Proteins and confers protection at the cellular level, has not been determined

Exercise and Stress Response: The Role of Stress Proteins Marius Locke and Earl G. Noble, eds. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2002 US

Fast contracting muscles in young and old animals are capable of increasing HSP expression in response to high intensity contractile stress.

Murlasits Z, Cutlip RG, Geronilla KB, Rao KM, Wonderlin WF, Alway SE.
Exp Gerontol. 2006 Apr;41(4):398-406. Epub 2006 Mar 9.

for another view about the subject, click here and check out Verhoshanskys controversial  views about Matveyevs theory



Fleck Steven,1999  Periodized Strength Training: a Critical Review. Journal of Strength and conditioning Research  13(1) 82-89

Baker, D., G. Wilson, and R. Carlyon. Periodization: The effect on strength of manipulating volume and intensity. J. Strength Cond. Res. 8:235-242. 1994.

Hakkinen, K., A. Pakarinen, P.V. Komi, T. Ryushi, and H. Kaukanen. Neuromuscular adaptations and hormone balance in strength athletes, physically active males and females during intensive strength training. In. Proceedings of the XII International Congress of Biomechanics. R.J. Gregor, R.F. Zernicke, W. Whiting, eds. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 1989. pp. 889-894.

Fleck Steven,1999  Periodized Strength Training: a Critical Review. Journal of Strength and conditioning Research  13(1) 82-89

Garhammer and Tanako 2002 training for weightlifting chap 25. in Strength and Power in Sport, ed PV Komi vol 3 page 502-535

Kraemer, W.J. A series of studies-The physiological basis for strength training in American football: Fact over philosophy. J. Strength Cond. Res. 11:131-142. 1997.

McGee, D., T.C. Jessee, M.H. Stone, and D. Blessing. Leg and hip endurance adaptations to three weight-training programs. J. Appl. Sport Sci. Res. 6:92-95. 1992.

O'Bryant, H.S., R. Byrd, and M.H. Stone. Cycle ergometer performance and maximum leg and hip strength adaptations to two different methods of weight-training. J. Appl. Sport Sci. Res. 2:27-30. 1988.

Sale, D.G. Neural adaptations to strength training. In. Strength and Power in Sport. P.V. Komi, ed. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific. 1992. pp. 249-265.

Stone, M.H., H. O'Bryant, and J. Garhammer. A hypothetical model for strength training. J. Sports Med. 21:342-351. 1981.

Stowers, T., J. McMillian, D. Scala, V. Davis, D. Wilson, and M. Stone. The short-term effects of three different strength-power training methods. Natl. Strength Cond. Assoc. J. 5:24-27. 1983.

Willoughby, D.S. A comparison of three selected weight training programs on the upper and lower body strength of trained males. Ann. J. Appl. Res. Coaching Athletics. March:124-146. 1992.

Willoughby, D.S. The effects of meso-cycle-length weight training programs involving periodization and partially equated volumes on upper and lower body strength. J. Strength Cond. Res. 7:2-8. 1993.





I was reviewing some workouts and realised that to qualify for the Crossfit Games, you really ought to be ok with  the following skills.


This is from an analysis of 3 months of Crossfit workouts

  Pull ups : kipping appears as 21, 15, 9, and sets of 30, 50 and 100. L sit pull ups in 10's
Dips 21
Muscle ups 30 for time
Handstand push ups 21
Push ups 50 an d 200
Runs 400m
1k with 10kg

Thrusters 42.5  21. 15,9


thrusters 50k 15 12 9

Air squat, tabata 20. 50, 100

overhead squat

Front squat
Deadlift 100kg 21, 15, 9
Push press,
Push jerk
Wall ball (10kg wall to 10ft target) 20, 30, 50 150
Box jumps 50, 20 x 3
Row 250, 500, 1000 2k
Snatch 60kg x 30
Clean 70kg
one leg squat
GDH sit ups 50
GDH back extentions 50 x 3
Hang power clean 155kg x9 reps
Walking lunges 400m, 15 reps
knees to elbows 40
Rope climb 15ft x3
Double unders 50
Body weight bench press max
Burpees 40, 30, 20, 10
16kg 50 swings
25kg 21 swings x 3

32 kgs 8 swings x 15



 What should you do now

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If you want to learn how to olympic lift, ring train, deadlift, squat, loose weight, get faster, improve your blood pressure, change your body composition,  learn proper dietary principles, master cool gymnastics moves and earn yourself a fit and healthy future