All posts by Phil Morton

Upcoming events – “Murph” & Run, Swim, Run

We have lot’s coming up during the Summer months, mainly involving fitness and sunshine!

Take a look at what we have in store (more to be announced once we confirm some bookings!)…

Murph – Monday 28th May

Join us on the 28th May (Bank Holiday Monday) for your yearly dose of Murph! The gym will be running weekend hours with classes at 10am and 11am.

After the last class we will be having a BBQ, hopefully in the Sun!

Run, Swim, Run @ Hyde Park Lido – 23rd June, 10:00am

Time for some outdoor fitness!

Come and join us in the summer sunshine for a taste of the CrossFit Games event “run, swim, run” (1.5 mile run, 800m swim, 1.5 mile run). All you need to bring is your usual training gear, your swimming costume, a towel and £1 coin for the lockers.

Don’t worry if your swimming is not up to scratch, the lido has a shallow lane so you can plant your feet on the floor whenever you need!


What events would you like to see? Email james@crossfitthames.com with any ideas you have!

All about yokes!


The use of yokes as a training tool is often associated with Strongmen like Eddie Hall and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, it’s not too often the everyday fitness enthusiast gets to play “Strongman”, however we see these as invaluable training tools.

If you are unfamiliar with a yoke it is a large metal frame with a adjustable crossbar. Each of the four corners of the frame can be loaded with weight, often with several times your own bodyweight.

The most common way to use a yoke is to pick it up and carry it, however it can pushed and pulled and held too (depending on the make you have).

The great thing about using yokes is it allows you to move weights that would be impossible if loaded onto a barbell for a squat or deadlift. For example….

…Yes, that is a little excessive for us mere mortals, sure is impressive though!

Benefits of yoke carries (and pushes and pulls)

There are many full body weighted movements (squats, presses, deadlifts to name a few), however none of these compare to the head to toe muscle recruitment found when carrying a yoke. This is simply through the fact that you’re putting your body under a much heavier load than it is used to. Everything from your upper back, posterior chain, trunk/core, hips and legs will benefit from yoke training.

For lifters with minimal strongman and/or athletic movement background, strongman training like the use of yokes may help to increase neural drive, increase motor neuron recruitment, and develop a well-rounded strength and power athlete.

…basically it will make you more balanced, stronger and generally more awesome.

How to carry a yoke

Brace (stay ‘tight’): Now that you have that tension, it’s your main job to keep it. Do not underestimate the importance of this, both for safety and effectiveness.

Play around with yoke height: Having the cross bar set a little higher can be useful for that little extra ground clearance. However with the weight sitting little higher you may find the yoke swings more. Find what works for you.

Stance: This should be around shoulder to hip width

Take small, fast steps: This will help you with the previous two points. Large, slow (or stop, start) steps not only make hip/midline stabilisation harder but also introduced more momentum to the yoke causing it to pendulum back and forth.

Create a platform: Find a hand position on the yoke that allows you to create a shelf for the crossbar to sit on.

“Bend: the bar: Not literally, but create tension by trying to wrap the bar around your back and keep it there securely.

Focus on a spot: Keep your eyes ahead (not down to the floor or skywards) and focus on your target.

You don’t have to be a Strongman to use a yoke, but if you want to get strong it’s one of the best tools to have in your toolbox!

Take it for a ride in today’s workout!

Your workouts for this week! – But Coach! Why the tempo work?

“Why all the tempo work?”

Tempo training is a variable we can manipulate (like load, volume, frequency, intensity) in the search for progress. Varying tempo in your training can lead to greater strength, size and athlete performance.

“So what are the benefits?”

There are many reasons to use tempo training. Here’s just a brief list:

– Improved body awareness
– Improved control of lifts
– Development of connective tissue strength
– Improved positional strength
– Improved stability
– Focus on muscular elements versus tendinous elements (a slow, controlled motion is going to place more stress on the muscles, whereas a bouncy or ballistic motion will place more stress on the tendons).
– Reduce risk of injury

“Will I get stronger?”

We know this is the key question many of you care about most! So rather than take our word for it, check what C.J Martin (Owner of CrossFit Invictus and Coach to many CrossFit Games Athletes) has to say on tempo training…

Proper tempo prescriptions can lead to vastly improved strength gains. First, different tempo prescriptions permit for greater training variety and stimulus. This means fewer plateaus and more adaptation.

Second, they allow us to shore up weak links by overloading certain areas of movements. For example, how many of you feel more comfortable with your second and third deadlift reps than your first? I am guessing a lot, and it’s because you are using the benefit of either or both the elastic “bounce” of your stretch-shortening cycle or your rubber plates hitting the hard floor. But if your tempo prescription called for a slow descent and a longer pause at the bottom, you might actually have to get stronger through your weak points.

Third, slowing down movements with tempo prescriptions can allow for greater amount of time under tension with less overall stress on an athlete’s central nervous system. This create a way to continue training and making an athlete stronger without overtaxing his or her system.

Fourth, isometric pauses at the top and/or bottom of lifts force you to recruit more muscle fiber, and more muscle fiber recruitment (particularly more fast-twitch fibers) equals greater strength gains. I know that sounds like coach’s geek-speak, but here’s how you will know you’re recruiting more muscle fiber – it will be really hard.”

So that is why this training cycle includes tempo training, and if it’s not your back then you only have 3 weeks of this cycle left! So make the most of it!

…The conditoning pain gain train is coming….


Workout of the Day – Monday

CrossFit

A) Back squat: 5 x 1+1 @ tempo 30X0
*Rest 15 seconds between singles with the bar in the rack
*Rest 3 minutes between sets

B) Superset work

4 Rounds:
4-6 per leg of dumbbell reverse lunges @ tempo 30X1 (go heavier this week / add a deficit)
6-10 Strict toes to rings/bar @ tempo 2110
30-60 second hollow body hold
*Rest 90 seconds

C) Extra credit work
3 Rounds of:
6-10 Ring face pull @ tempo 21X0
*Rest 60 seconds
30-45 Second ring plank (elevate your feet on a box) 3


Workout of the Day – Tuesday

CrossFit

A) Segmented power clean: 3-3-3-2-2 @ tempo 3131
*Rest 2-3 minutess between sets
*Build load from last week
*Ensure that with the heavier weights you are still focused on holding the right positions

B) 5 Sets with increasing effort
8 Power cleans (unbroken seps)
20 Second right side star plank
20 Second left side star plank
6 Box jump overs (Choose a tough height for you)
60 Second row/assault bike
*Increase the number of calories you get on the bike each set
*Rest 90 seconds

MetCon Class

3 Rounds for time:
400m run with med ball 9/6kg
40 Wall balls 9/6kg
10 Strict HSPU


Workout of the Day – Wednesday

CrossFit

A) Yay Yoke Day
Build to a heavy single length of a yoke carry

B) 4 sets of:
6-8 Dumbbell bench press @ 30X0
*Rest 90 seconds
6-8 Dumbbell bench press @ 30X0
*Rest 90 seconds

Extra Credit: 4 sets, not for time:
60 Second wall sit
12 Ring push ups @ tempo 20X1
6-8 Single arm dumbbell muscle snatch
*Rest as needed between sets
*Attempt to achieve all of these sets unbroken

Weightlifting Club

Technique bias

A) Snatch: 5 x 3 @ 70-80%
B) Snatch pulls: 4 x 2 @ 95%
C) Back squats: 4 x 1 @ 82.5%
D) Bent over barbell rows: 3 x 8 @ by feel

Strength bias

A) Back squat
1 x 4@75%
1 x 4@77.5%
1 x 4@80%
1 x 4@82.5%

B) Snatch: 4 x 2 @ 75-80%
C) Snatch RDLs: 3 x 8 @ RPE 8-9
D) Pull ups (weighted): 3 x 5


Workout of the Day – Thursday

CrossFit

A) Back squat: 4-4-4-3-3 @ tempo 32X1
*Rest 2-3 minutes
*Strict tempo, building from last week’s loads

B) Superset Work
3 sets:
5 reps per leg of Bulgarian split squat @ tempo 30X1
*Rest 60 seconds
3-4 Lean away strict ring pull-up @ tempo 21X2
*Rest 60 seconds

Extra Credit: Midline work 3-4 Rounds
10 Banded cycles
10 Hollow Rocks
30 Sec Hollow Hold
30 Flutter Kicks
* Stay unbroken throughout !
*Add weight as needed to make it challenging 🙂

MetCon Class

3 Sprint sets. Each set consists of 2 rounds of:
400m Run
15 Burpees
15 Dumbbell thrusters
*2 minute rest between sets


Workout of the Day – Friday

CrossFit

A) Deadlift: 3-3-3-2

B) 4 Rounds:
60 Sec Row
5 Dumbbell strict press
5 Dumbbell push press
50m 2-arm kettlebell overhead carry
45 Second forearm plank
*Rest 60 seconds between sets
*Choose loads that allow you to feel confident, move well, and complete at least the first set unbroken.
*You can increase loads with each set
* As ever , increase the distance on the row each round.


Workout of the Day – Saturday

CrossFit

A) Dumbbell Z Press: 5-5-4-4-3
*Rest 2mins
*Building loads from previous two weeks

B) Superset work
3 Rounds of:
6-10 Weighted push up @ tempo 20X1
6-8 Barbell row @ 21X1
*Rest 90 seconds

C) 5 minute AMRAP:
100m Run
20 Kettlebell swings 32/24kg
7 Strict pull-ups
*3 minute rest


Workout of the Day – Sunday, Weightlifting Club

Technique bias

A) Clean + Hang clean: 6 x 1+1 @ 75-80%
B) Front squats: 5 x 1 @ 82.5%
C) Jerk dip + Split jerk: 5 x 2+2 @ light load (70-75%)

Strength bias

A) Front squat
1 x 3 @ 75%
1 x 3 @ 77.5%
1 x 3 @ 80%
1 x 3 @ 82.5%

B) Cleans: 4 x 2 @ 75-80%
C) Clean deadlifts: 4 x 2 @ 110% of clean
D) Split jerk: 3 x 3 @ 75-80%

Upcoming Events & Weekend Workouts!

Murph – Monday 28th May

Join us on the 28th May (Bank Holiday Monday) for your yearly dose of Murph! The gym will be running weekend hours with classes at 10am and 11am

After the last class we will be having a BBQ, hopefully in the Sun!

Run, Swim, Run @ Hyde Park Lido – 23rd June, 10:00am

Time for some outdoor fitness!

Come and join us in the summer sunshine for a taste of the CrossFit Games event “run, swim, run” (1.5 mile run, 800m swim, 1.5 mile run). All you need to bring is your usual training gear, your swimming costume, a towel and £1 coin for the lockers.

Don’t worry if your swimming is not up to scratch, the lido has a shallow lane so you can plant your feet on the floor whenever you need!


Workout of the Day for Friday – CrossFit

A) Back squat: 2-2-2-2-2 @ tempo 30X0
*Build from last weeks loads
*Finish above where you were last week if possible.
*Your last set again should feel like a 90% hard effort, not a max effort.

B) Superset work 4 rounds of:
Reverse lunges with dumbbells at sides @ tempo 20X0
*Do 6-8 reps per leg on sets 1&2, then 4-6 reps per leg on sets 3&4
*Rest 60 seconds
4-10 Strict pull ups @ tempo 2121

C) Extra credit midline work

4 Rounds:
10 GHD sit up or Weighted sit ups
*Rest 60 seconds
20-30 seconds Tuck L-sit on paralettes
*Rest 90sec

Workout of the Day for Saturday – CrossFit

A) Snatch Tekkers
5×3

B) Dumbbell Z Press: 7-6-5-4-4
*Rest 2 minutes

C) 3 Supersets:
Incline dumbbell bench press with semi supinated grip @ tempo 30X0;
*Do 6-8 reps in set 1, do 5-6 reps in sets 2&3
*Rest 45sec
6-10 Paralette push ups @ tempo 2121
*Rest 45 seconds
6-8 Dumbbell row @ tempo 31X1
*Rest 90 seconds

Workout of the Day for Sunday – Weightlifting Club

A) 3 position snatch pull: 5 sets @ 60-70%

B) Snatch: 5 x 3

C) Front squats: 4 x 2 @ 80%

D) Good mornings: 3 x 5 @ light load
*RPE: 6-7

Workout of the day for Thurs 12th April – Heavy deadlifts!


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Deadlift
3-3-3-3
* Rest 2-3 minutes

B) 5 sets – increase effort each set
10 Hang power cleans (unbroken reps – choose an appropriate weight)
30sec Hollow rocks
8 Box jumps step down (build height with each set)
Row 300m/250m (increase the pace of your row each set)
*Rest 90 seconds between rounds
*Record your exact row times to ensure you are increasing your pace

Workout of the Day – MetCon Class

For time:
400m Run
20 Dumbbell hang power cleans 26/20kg
20 Wall ball sit ups
10 Burpees
5 Strict handstand push ups / Heavy strict presses
10 Burpees
20 Wall ball sit ups
20 Dumbbell hang power cleans 26/20kg
400m Run

Workout of the day for Weds 11th April – CrossFit & Weightlifting Club


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) 3 Rounds of:
6-10 Supinated grip ring row @ tempo 21X1
* Rest 60 seconds
45 Second forearm plank (add load to your back if easy)
* Rest 60 seconds

B) 4 Sets, not for time
40 second wall sit (20/20 single leg)
12 Diamond push ups @ tempo 2111
45 Double Unders
*Rest as needed between sets

C) Skill Work Of Choice

Workout of the Day – Weightlifting Club

A) 3 position clean pull: 5 sets @ 60-70%

B) Clean: 5 x 3 @ 75-80%

C) Squats: 4 x 1 @ 80%

D) Jerk dip + Split jerk: 5 x 1+1 @ light load

Workout of the day for Tues 10th April – CrossFit & MetCon Class


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Back squat @ tempo 32X1
5-5-4-4-3
*Rest 2-3 minutes
*Keep a strict tempo – build slightly from last week’s loads

B) Superset accessory work
5-6 per leg, Bulgarian split squat (dumbbell’s helds at sides) @ tempo 20X1
*Rest 60 seconds
3-5 Strict pull-up @ tempo 31X2
*Rest 60 seconds
6-8 per arm, seated single arm dumbbell press @ tempo 31X1

C) Extra credit work

10min AMRAP, for quality:
30m Reverse sled drag
8 Ring rows (hold 1 second at the top of each rep)
4 Strict toes to rings
6 Kipping toes to rings
2 Hollow body wall walks

*The goal is not to get the max number of reps in 10min that you can. The goal is to perform all of these movements with great positions, attention to quality and too keep moving continuously for the whole time. Breaks are expected in order to complete some of the strict movements.

Workout of the Day – MetCon Class

15 Minute AMRAP:

1 Sandbag clean
1 Sandbag squat
1 Burpee over the sandbag
2 Sandbag clean
2 Sandbag squat
2 Burpee over the sandbag
3 Sandbag clean
3 Sandbag squat
3 Burpee over the sandbag

Keep adding one rep until time runs out 🙂

Workout of the day for Mon 9th April – Power cleans!


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Power clean @ tempo 3131
4-4-3-3-2 r
*Rest 2-3 minutes between sets

B) 4 Sets
Row 300m/250m
10 Overhand grip deadlifts 100/80kg
5 Strict Kettlebell press
5 Kettlebell push press
20 Hollow rocks
*Rest 2 minutes between sets

*Choose loads that allow you to feel confident, move well and complete at least the first set unbroken. You can increase loads with each set.

Workout of the day for Fri 6th, Sat 7th and Sun 8th April & Yoga for Athletes

Yoga for Athletes, Saturday 12.30-1.30pm

Every 4 weeks, the yoga class here at Thames will be of a restorative nature and include a form of guided relaxation. The practice won’t be as vigorous, you’ll move through the postures a little more slowly and hold them for longer, to prime the body for the relaxation part of the class. This week your teacher

Christine will take you through a Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) designed to elicit the body’s relaxation response. For further information on the purpose and the benefits of PMR, please click here.


Workout of the Day, Friday – CrossFit

A) Dumbbell z-press: 8-7-6-5
*Rest 2minutes between sets

B) 3 sets of:
6-8 Incline dumbbell bench press @ tempo 31X1
Rest 60 seconds
4-6 Strict dips @ tempo 21X1
Rest 60 seconds
6-8 Single arm dumbbell row, per side @ tempo 2112
Rest 60 seconds

Extra Credit Work
Max rep ring row @ tempo 2020
Rest 60 seconds
30-60 second ring plank
Rest 60 seconds

Workout of the Day, Saturday – CrossFit

A) Power clean: 5-5-4-4-3 @ tempo 3131
*Rest 2-3 minutess between sets

B) 4 Rounds
60 second airdyne/row @ tough pace. Aim to increase or maintain the pace over the minute (but don’t decrease!)
10 Dumbbell deadlifts (heavy for you)
30 Hollow rocks
50 Double unders
Rest 2 minutess between rounds

Workout of the Day, Sunday – Weightlifting Club

A) Cleans: Build to a heavy single for the day

B) Front squats: 5 x 1@80-82.5%

C) Push Press: 4 x 2 @ 80-85%

D) Pull ups: 3 x 5 (Weighted if needed)

Workout of the day for Thurs 5th April – That tempo life!


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Back squat: 3-3-3-3-3 @ tempo 32X0
*Add load with each set and finish at a hard (not max) effort

B) 3 Sets of:
6-8 Reverse dumbbell lunges, per leg @ tempo 20X1
60 seconds rest
6-8 Strict toes to bar @ tempo 3110
60 seconds rest

C) Tuck / L-sit on parallettes: Accumulate 2 minutes in this position

Workout of the Day – MetCon

3 x 5 minute AMRAP : 3 minute rest
100m Run
20 Kettlebell swing 24/16kg
10 Renegade rows