Tag Archives: crossfit uk

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!

Workout of the day for Tues 20th March – Bench press and Sprint sets!


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) 5 Rounds of:
6-8 Bench press
60 seconds rest
6-8 Bent over barbell row
60 seconds rest

B) 12 Sprint sets:
8 Shoulder to Overhead 50/35kg
6 Chest to bar pull-up
4 Burpees over the bar
30 seconds rest

Workout of the Day – MetCon

A) 4 Rounds:
20/15 Calorie airdyne
10/7 Strict HSPU

– 5 minute rest –

B) 4 Rounds:
20/15 Calorie airdyne
8 Muscle-ups

– 5 minute rest –

C) For time: 50/40 Calorie airdyne

Workout of the day for Tues 6th Feb – Interval Weight Training


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Interval Weight Training (IWT)

*This is your last IWT before the CrossFit Open begins, give it your all!

A1) 3 Rounds, with a 2 minute between rounds:
8-12 Dumbbell thruster
2 minutes ALL OUT max distance row

– 5 Minute Rest –

A2) 3 Rounds, with a 2 minute between rounds:
12 Dumbbell push press
1 minute for max burpees over the rower
1 minute row for max distance

B) Skill Work Under fatigue

Workout of the Day – Metcon Class

For time:
8 Rope climb
20 Push ups
30 Goblet squat 24/16kg
600m Kettlebell carry (switch hands at 300m) 24/16kg
30 Goblet squat 24/16kg
20 Push Ups
8 Rope climb

Workout of the day for Weds 31st Jan – Gymnastics Skills


Workout of the Day – CrossFit


Part of today’s gymnastics skill work is handstand walking.

Many of us struggle to walk in a straight line (especially after a long week) nevermind walking on our hands, so what options do we have if we are still working on our handstand walking skills?…

Check out these progressions and try them in today’s session!…


A) Gymnastic Skills

A1) Every minute for 12 minutes, alternate between:
Minute 1: 4 Muscle-ups + 2 Strict ring dips
Minute 2: 20 Hollow rocks

A2) Every minute for 12 minutes, alternate between:
Minute 1: 3-5 Bar muscle-ups
Minute 2: 10 Toes to bar

A3) Every minute for 12 minutes, alternate between:
Minute 1: 1 Length handstand walk
Minute 2: 2 Lengths heavy farmers carry

Workout of the Day – Weightlifting Club

A) Clean doubles: 6 x 1+1 @ 80-85%
B) Strict press: 3 x 3 @ 80-85%
C) Push press: 3 x 2 @ 80-85%
D) RDL’s: 4 x 6 @ by feel

Upcoming Events & Weekends workouts

Beyond the Workout – This Friday!

Once a month we will be holding a special evening called ‘Beyond the Workout‘ which aims to get us all together and have you guys, our members, take the reigns.

Join us today for the following schedule…

Beyond the Workout

1730 to 1815 – Train the Trainer
1830 to 1945 – Skill Training
1945 to 2015 – Team WOD
2015 onwards – Q/A session, complete with some food and drinks.

17:30 to 18:15 – Train the Trainer

This is a chance for the coaching team to get together and share and expand their knowledge with the rest of the team. The gym will be open as normal for Open Gym and for anyone wanting to come down and warm-up ready for what is coming up.

1830 to 1945 – Skill Training

During this session we invite you to come and spend 75 minutes dedicated to working on a range of skills. Each month we will select 3 different movements, from rope climbs and double unders, to snatches and muscle-ups, with the coaches split into small teams to work with the groups. You can rotate through the groups as the evening progresses or spend the whole time working on that one movement.

All our coaches on hand to give you help and advice!

1945 to 2015 – Team WOD

We will round of the skills session with a fun team workout! Fist bumps, high fives and sweaty hugs are mandatory!

2015 Onwards – Q/A session, food & drinks

After the sweat has dried Coach Hannah will give a short talk on how she prepares (both mentally and physically) for competitions. Pizza and beer will also be on hand!

Docklands Throwdown – Next Saturday 3rd Feb, 9am to 12pm

Reebok CrossFit Thames V Royal Docks CrossFit V CrossFit 1864 in a pairs Throwdown.

Join us and our neighbours as we decend on Royal Docks CrossFit for a friendly throwdown. The event kicks off at 9am and runs to 12pm with food and drinks afterwards.

The throwdown is a same sex pairs events with both a RX and a Scaled divisions, so there is something for all levels.

Find a team mate and sign-up via the poster on the whiteboard at the gym.


Yoga for Athletes, Saturday 12.30-1.30pm

The main purpose of our weekly yoga class is to help you recover better from your training at the gym, and to align the practice, it is now following a cyclic pattern, similar in principle to a CrossFit programming cycle.

The first 8 week cycle started last Saturday, and is laid out as follows:
Week 1 – Legs & lower body
Week 2 – Shoulders & upper body
Week 3 – Midline
Week 4 – Relaxation
Week 5 – Legs & lower body
Week 6 – Shoulders & upper body
Week 7 – Midline
Week 8 – Relaxation

As with everything, consistency is key, and the more regularly you attend, the more benefit you'll get from the practice. While there will be an element of repetition to provide continuity, i.e. they will build upon one another, they are sequenced as individual classes, so don't worry if you have to miss one because life gets in the way.

This Saturday marks week 2, and as such we'll be focussing on the upper body, releasing the neck and shoulders to help with posture and overhead mobility.


Workout of the Day – Friday

A) 3 Rounds for focus:
12 Pistols
30-60 Double unders

B) 3 Rounds for quality:
3 Rope climbs
60 Second plank

C) Inversion Progressions and Play Time

*Remember we have Beyond the Workout tonight! Come and join us!

Workout of the Day – Saturday

A) In Teams of 3:
5 Rounds:
30 Strict pull-ups
30 Thrusters 40/30kg

– Rest for 3 Minutes –

3 Rounds
30 Handstand Push Ups
75 Double unders

– Rest for 3 Minutes –

100 Snatches 40/30kg
*10 Rep minimum unbroken or 10 burpees for all team members

Weightlifting Club – Sunday

A) Clean doubles: 6 x 1+1 @ 75-80%
B) Strict press: 3 x 4 @ 75-80%
C) Push press: 3 x 2 @ 75-80%
D) RDL’s: 4 x 6 @ by feel

Workout for Thurs 25th Jan – Interval Weight Training

Don’t forget that tomorrow we have our super duper ‘Beyond the Workout‘ session, you can read all about it here.

Tomorrow you will get chance to work on any skill (or all three if you want) from rope climbs, pistols and inversions (headstands, handstands etc).

Following our epic skills session we will have a team workout chased down with pizza and beer while listening to a short talk from Coach Hannah on how she prepares herself for competitions both physically and mentally. Whether your want to be more competitive in your chosen sport outside of the box or just trying to beat your super beast friend at this years Open, this is chance to get some knowledge bombs.

It’s going to be great fun!


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Interval Weight Training (IWT)

A1) 3 Rounds, with a 2 minute rest between rounds
6-10 Squat snatch @ 50-60% of 1RM
2 minutes ALL OUT max distance row

– 5 Minute Rest –

A2) 3 Rounds, with a 2 minute rest between rounds
10 Push press @ same weight as above
2 minutes max burpee pull ups

B) 5 Minutes of skill work under fatigue
Choose something complex for you and practice whilst tired. HSPU , Muscle Ups, Barbell cycling (Keep it light etc)

Workout of the Day – MetCon Class

For time:
1km Row
50 Dumbbell hang power cleans 22/16kg
30 Box jumps 30/24″
10 Handstand Push Ups

Workout of the day for Weds 24th January – Strongman Fun


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Yoke Carries Building to a heavy single length

B) For time:
10 Down To 1 Bench press (Building to a heavy set of 10 and maintaining)
Between each interval – 200m Row & 10 Wall ball sit ups

Workout of the Day – Weightlifting Club

A) Snatch + Hang snatch doubles: 6 x 1+1 @ 75-80%
B) Overhead Squat: 3 x 3 @ 85% of snatch
C) Front squat: 3 x 3 @ 75-80%
D) Bent over row: 3 x 6 @ by feel

Workout of the day for Tues 23rd Jan – Sprint Intervals


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) 4 SPRINT Sets:
250m Row
10 Thrusters 40/30kg
10 Chest to bar pull-ups
10 Over the box jumps 24/20″
– Rest for 2 Minutes –

Rest 5-10 Minutes

B) 6 Rounds for time:
10 Kettlebell Swings
10 Push-ups
10 Push press
10 Burpees

Workout of the Day – MetCon

1 to 10, back to 1 reps of:
Sandbag squats
Perform a 1 length carry between sets

Are you tracking your progress? – Jonny Landels, Nutrition Coach

Progress Tracking

The metric that most people forget about when embarking on their journey to lose weight, get stronger, gain muscle, and improve their health.

However, it is by far the most important.

If you’re not tracking your progress, then how do you know if you’re improving or regressing?

Most people’s attempt at tracking is poor, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Some will start a ‘diet’ or exercise routine, and weigh themselves just a few days later, see no difference, and decide to do something else as it’s clearly ‘not working’.

Others will stick with it for a while, but will use the scale only to track, and after one bad weigh in on a random day decide to pack it all in or make some dramatic change.

It’s inconsistent tracking and unreliable data that causes us to make rash decisions when attempting to improve our physique or health in anyway.

If this sounds like you, this article is for you.

Here are the measures I use when tracking my client’s progress:

Weight

Unavoidably, weight on the scale is a metric we need to track when trying to lose/gain weight.

I sometimes wish it could be done without it as people can be very emotionally attached with this number, however, when combined with the other data, it can be a good indicator of fat loss/muscle gain.

But not always.

Weight gain doesn’t necessarily mean that fat has been gained, and a lack of change doesn’t always mean that fat hasn’t been lost.

Weight fluctuates on a daily basis due to water levels, muscle glycogen levels, and gut residue.

So I get my clients to weigh themselves every day and record the weekly average.

It sounds like overkill, but this will allow you to see past the day-day fluctuations, and notice actual weight change week to week, and month to month.

Do this first thing in the morning, naked, and after your morning trip to the bathroom.

Body Circumference Measurements

For accuracy, I love the 9 site measurement data that Andy Morgan from rippedbody.jp suggests on his article on tracking progress.

These 9 sites are:

– Chest
– Right arm
– Left arm
– 2″ above navel
– Navel
– 2″ below navel
– Hips (widest point)
– Right thigh
– Left thigh

Of course this takes time, so if you’re rushed, neck, waist, and hips will do.

These can be hard to do by yourself so I recommend buying an Orbitape measure so that you can comfortably get it done without relying on anyone else.

Do these once a week and note to the nearest 0.1cm for accuracy.

A guide to using this tape measure can be found here.

These body circumference sites when used in correlation to the scale weight will show you if body fat is being lost or muscle being gained.

Subjective measures

Everything affects everything…

I get my clients to record how they’re sleeping, what their stress levels are like, how their appetite is, and how they’re feeling during their workouts.

All of these measures will affect each other as well as your training and weight progress.

So if you feel your progress in the gym or on your diet is poor, think whether you have the above dialled in or not.

Progress Photos

I get my clients to take progress photos from the front and side every 4 weeks.

There is no need for them to be more frequent than this, and these can be just for you to notice differences in physical appearance.

These can be great to keep you motivated and accountable to the process.

Dietary adherence, Training adherence, and Progression
For my clients I also ask them to rate their adherence to their nutrition and training plans, as well as notes about their progression in performance.

This can be useful for you to note also before you make drastic changes.

If the scale weight and measurements didn’t change but you’ve not been to the gym and you had more treats than you would’ve liked then that’s probably the cause of the issue rather than the exercise or diet not working.

Take a training log of your exercise so you can see your frequency and performance levels, and be honest about whether you’re following your nutrition habits as well as you should be.

The training log will help you see if you’re progressing with your weights or not, and also what weights you should be using session to session.

If you find you aren’t recovering or progressing, and your subjective measures are bang on, this will show that a change to your dietary intake could help.

Staying objective about your data

All of the data together will help provide you a picture of progress when trying to lose weight, gain muscle, get stronger, or just improve your health.

If your weight increases but your stomach measurements decrease, this indicates fat loss and muscle gain at the same time.

Muscle growth can hide fat loss so don’t just rely on the scale.

If your weight suddenly increases (which it will sometimes) then don’t get disheartened, this won’t mean fat gain. Check your stomach measurements for change, if there isn’t any, then you’re fine.

This weight increase will be down to an increase in glycogen, maybe from extra carbohydrate or some salty food.

For women, your weight will fluctuate with your menstrual cycle due to water retention, so make sure you’re comparing data at the same time in your cycle not to be discouraged.

I see weight fluctuations much more in women, so measuring the body and progress photos become even more important.

In terms of gym performance, a strength increase is always a good way to measure progress – are you lifting more than the week prior.

However, if you are losing weight, then maintaining strength levels is also a great sign of progress. This shows that your fat loss isn’t affecting your muscle strength as you’re moving more load in comparison to your new bodyweight.

I hope this article helps you stay objective with your progress when trying to make a change, as always, questions welcome in comments or on the Thames Facebook Group.

To find out more about nutrition programming with Jonny, check out this post!


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Barbell Cycling – Snatch

21-15-12-9-6-3

Increase weight from week 1 and start over.

B) Midline and Stability Work

3-5 Rounds:
5/5 Banded cycles
10 Hollow rocks
30 Second hollow hold
15/15 Flutter kicks

Upcoming Events & Weekend Workouts

Open Weekend – Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st January

Are you friends always asking you about CrossFit but yet to try it? Or are you tired of being the only one in your group to talk about ‘the gains’ and take pride in barbell bruises?…Well now is your chance to get a friend involved.

On Saturday (08:30 and 13:30) and Sunday (13:30) we are holding some free taster sessions for those wanting to give CrossFit a shot.

You can register your friends here.

Docklands Throwdown – Saturday 3rd February

We are joining up with our neighbouring CrossFitter’s for a Throwdown.

The Throwdown is a same sex pairs event and athletes of all abilities are welcome, and there will be both RX and scaled divisions.

To sign-up just find a team-mate and add your name to the list on the whiteboard at gym!

Yoga for Athletes, Saturday 12.30-1.30pm

Please note the new start time for this class, it has now been brought forward from 1pm to 12:30

If you haven’t checked out the weekly yoga class we are now offering to round off your training at CrossFit Thames, perhaps now is the time! Not that you necessarily need to wait for a certain date in the calendar to form new habits, however psychologically it might help strengthen your resolve to stick with it if you set a specific start date.

So, if are making New Year’s resolutions, upping your mobility and general recovery game should definitely be on the list!

What does a yoga class at Thames look like?

Just like our CrossFit classes, the weekly yoga practice is one hour in length. You’ll spend the first few minutes tuning into your breath, practising pranayama (breathing exercises).

You’ll then be taken through a short warm-up, before moving through a series of sun salutation flows to mobilise the spine and wake up your joints. It’s a nice way to generate a little bit of heat in the body, especially at this time of the year!

The postures in the main part of the class will often focus on a particular muscle group or body part, for example shoulders, hip flexors or midline, with Christine making sure you understand the purpose of these exercises, and how they relate to your training in the gym.

The recovery element is a key principle of the class, so you’ll always find a few restorative poses towards the end of the practice in preparation for your final relaxation. Sometimes, this will even be its main focus, in which case you basically get to snooze for the best part of the class – and wake up feeling all nice and relaxed.

Christine deliberately refrains from playing music in her classes so as to minimise any external distractions. This allows you to really focus in on yourself, and your breath especially – you may be surprised by how quiet the gym can be without the hustle and bustle of the workouts going on, and it makes for a nice break from the general sensory overload of London life.

This class is open to non-members of Thames, so why not come down with a friend? Non-members are welcome to drop in at a cost of £10, to be paid on the day – as with our other classes, there is no need to sign up in advance, and all levels are welcome.


Box Notices

*Thursday 11th Jan – No Open Gym due to a photoshoot

*Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th Jan – Gym Closed for CrossFit Seminar (No more LV1 seminars until July!)

Workout of the Day – Friday

A) Find a Heavy single front Squat

B) 3 Rounds for time:
1 Length front rack walking lunge kb 24/20kg
15 Shoulder to overhead
10 Chest to bar pull ups

C) 3 rounds for quality:
45 second right side plank
45 second left side plank
10 Full GHD or Nordic curls
60 seconds rest

Workout of the Day – Saturday

A) “Angie”

For time:
100 Pull-ups
100 Push-ups
100 Sit-ups
100 Air squats