The new Crossfit London HQ
and training venue is
Unit 9 malcolm Place
for more details
At the core of your training, you should be focusing on 9 major moves: Crossfit call them Fundamental moves
Sumo deadlift high pull
the (medicine ball) Clean.
You can learn the 9 Fundamental moves by getting
THE ELITE FITNESS MANUAL. £12.99
you want to learn how to clean and jerk, snatch and master the Crossfit
nine fundamental moves? Do you fancy mastering the muscle-up,
kettlebell skills and the handstand push up? Are you hunting for the
nastiest abdominal training and methods that will blast your pull up,
dip and push up numbers through the roof? If so, this is the e-book
for you. 85 pages of progressive drills and explanation are supported
by 330 colour photos.
Well worth £12.99
The Elite fitness manual is the supporting text book for the i-course.
THE SQUAT: AN OVERVIEW
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.
HOW TO SQUAT
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
CAUSES OF A BAD SQUAT
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
THERAPIES FOR COMMON FAULTS
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.
BOTTOM TO BOTTOMS:
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
MATCHING THE FAULTS THE CAUSES AND THE THERAPIES
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
DO YOU HAVE A SQUAT?
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.
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
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.
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
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
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)
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
offering variety and preparing for a heavy lift
practise the grip
Practise with actual bar and weights
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
BRICK & ROCKS
Jack demonstrates the use of bricks as a modest start to an incline push up
Also, use them as inexpensive paralletes to get more depth to your 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
Explode upwards.......extend your hips and arms...
To full extension
And then repeat.....a lot.
BUY SOME RINGS
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)
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
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.
OVERTRAINING & FATIGUE.
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.
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.
MINIMUM SKILL BASE
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
Muscle ups 30 for time
Handstand push ups 21
Push ups 50 an d 200
1k with 10kg
Thrusters 42.5 21. 15,9
thrusters 50k 15 12 9
Air squat, tabata 20. 50, 100
Deadlift 100kg 21, 15, 9
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
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