All posts by Jay

The 10 Skills to Master your Fitness! – Part 1 of 4

10 physical skills

There are but 10 General Physical Skills and if we master these 10 skills we can be the ultimate bad ass!

CrossFit has 4 models used in it’s definition of Fitness, the first one is ‘The 10 General Physical Skills‘. We discussed this in our classes today during our Whiteboard Huddles, but if you missed it, or for you knowledge hungry folks here is some more information.

The 10 General Physical Skills

Coaches Jim Cawley and Bruce Evans of Dynamax are the original sources for the ten general physical skills required of optimal physical competence:

1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance – the ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen
2. Stamina – the ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
3. Strength – the ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units to apply force.
4. Flexibility – the ability to maximise the range of motion at a given joint.
5. Power – the ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
6. Speed – the ability to minimise the time cycle of a repeated movement.
7. Coordination – the ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movements.
8. Agility – the ability to minimise transition time from one movement pattern to another.
9. Balance – the ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base.
10. Accuracy – the ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.

As an individual you are as fit as you are competent in each of these skills. A fitness program like CrossFit will seek to develop fitness to the extent that it improves each of these ten skills, thus making you a well rounded and balanced athlete.

Specialised athletes will be super strong in certain areas but lacking in others. For example a power lifter will have high levels of strength and power, but will probably be very poor where endurance and agility are concerned. Likewise a marathon runner will have great levels of endurance and stamina, but poor strength and power etc.

These 10 skills can be broken down into groups based on how to develop the specific areas.


Improvements in endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility come about through training. Training refers to activity that improves performance through a measurable organic change in the body.

By contrast improvements in coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy come about through practice. Practice refers to activity that improves performance through changes in the nervous system, this takes time and repetition.

Power and speed are adaptations of both training and practice.

As a beginner or novice to training you will likely see fast gains across the board when you start a CrossFit training program. This will happen almost regardless of what you are doing in your training, provided you are training. This is often what lures newbies into the world of CrossFit, it’s almost instant, measurable results.

As we become more advanced or have trained for years, you will see progress in these areas come’s much slower and you have to work a lot harder for it. Sorry folks, that’t the way it is. However I find this makes the gains all the more rewarding as the hard work, sweat and occasional tantrums and tears WILL pay dividends, you just have to be consistent and dedicated to improving.

In some cases we may need to prioritise certain areas over others, particularly if we are training for a special event. We discussed this in a previous blog post that detailed our Speciality Courses which are designed to help address precisely these issues. Take a read!

So, how many of the 10 General Physical Skills can you name?…..

Workout of the Day:

A) Strength – Push Press

A1) In 15 minutes build to a heavy set of 3 reps
A2) EMOM x 5: 3 reps at 85% of A1

B) Gymnastics Conditioning

For quality:
200m run
3 Rounds “Cindy” Or “Mary”
200m run
3 Rounds “Cindy” Or “Mary”
200m run

(Time cap: 12 minutes)

5 Pull-ups + 10 Push-ups + 15 Air squats

5 Handstand Push-ups + 10 Pistols + 15 Pull-ups

Staying in control of stress – Coach Phil

You’re not at your best when you’re stressed. In fact, your brain has evolved over millennia to release cortisol in stressful situations, inhibiting rational, logical thinking but potentially helping you survive, say, being attacked by a lion. Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin thinks there’s a way to avoid making critical mistakes in stressful situations, when your thinking becomes clouded — the pre-mortem. “We all are going to fail now and then,” he says. “The idea is to think ahead to what those failures might be.”

Have a watch of this great TED Talk – Do you think you can apply any of this to your personal and professional life? What about your workout strategies or when setting goals?

Workout of the Day:

A) Death by 10m

Minute 1: Run 10m
Minute 2: Run 20m (10m out, 10m back)
Minute 3: Run 30m (10m out, 10m back, 10m out)
…Continue until you cannot complete the distance within the minute

After your last round, rest 1 minute, then go for a 800m recovery jog

B) Work with a partner

Practice freestanding headstands, handstands or handstand walking


A) Back squat
A1) In 10 minutes build to a daily max in triples.
These must be technically solid and remain fast on the way up. As soon as technique and/or speed starts to go then move to A2
A2) Drop down to 90% and do three additional triples.
A3) Drop down to 80% and do three additional triples of 1,5 back squats.
A4) Drop down to 70% and do three additional triples of paused back squats. 3-5 seconds in the bottom position.

B) Hang power snatch + Hang snatch
B1) In 10 minutes build to a heavy 1+1
B2) Drop to 90% and do three additional sets of 1+1
B2) Drop to 80% and do three additional sets of 1+2
B3) Drop to 70% and do three additional sets of 1+2,
Twist 1: In B2 and B3, if you lose balance by stepping forward or back the lift is a no-rep.
Twist 2: In B3, perform each hang snatch with a 3 second pause in the catch

12 Days of CrossFit!

12days logo

We are into November, so naturally Christmas is being rammed into out Scrooge like faces with shops selling Christmas decorations and the festive songs coming across shopping centre speakers…the joys!

At CrossFit Thames, we understand when Christmas REALLY begins and that is with our special event The 12 Days of CrossFit!

This is one of our biggest challenges on the calendar and only a handful of people every make it through the whole 12 days.

12 days of crossfit whiteboard

So what is the 12 Days of CrossFit about?

We challenge you to 12 back-to-back benchmark days of CrossFit from Monday 30th November to Friday 11th of December.

Work is already underway selecting the workouts. Whilst previous years have been about seeing how nasty we can be, this year we will have a different approach.

Week 1 will be ‘The Girl’s’, a mixture of CrossFit’s classic benchmark workouts. There are many to choose from, so for now you will just have to speculate as to who you might see.

Week 2 will be ‘The Hero’s’. These workouts are in remembrance to those who lost their lives defending our values and freedoms in various conflicts around the world. Christmas is about spending time with friends, family and loved ones but we should also take time to remember those who will not be with us during the festive period.

How does it all work?
Regardless of what membership you have we invite you to attend class every day from the 30th November to the 11th December. This challenge is open to absolutely everyone, all you need to do is turn up to a class and be ready to train! The coaches will get everyones name on the whiteboard to keep a log of the whole challenge.

What if I can’t RX the WODs?
Don’t worry, we will provide you with scaling for the workouts as its required. However we encourage everyone to try their hardest and push your limits, this is a great time to test yourself! It’s not often we’re able to programme in so many benchmark WODs so its a good time to hit some PBs and ring that bell!

What if I can’t make it one day?
Don’t worry if work or family commitments gets in the way, that’s life! Just complete as many workouts as you can. We do not recommend double day WODs to make up for a missed day, this challenge is tough enough as it is!

What happens on the last day, day 12?
Day 12 is the grand finale! As such, this year we will be having a Christmas Fancy Dress! So find your best winter warmers and crazy Christmas Costumes! We also have our second ever Thames Christmas Panto, with this year being Sleeping Beauty , directed by Coach Jonny. If you would like to be part of the Panto just get in touch with Jonny.

Workout of the Day:

A) Conditioning Test : Cardio-Respiratory Power

Last week we tested your Cardio-Respiratory Power ENDURANCE (your ability to maintain a high power output over a longer time domain) with a 2000m row. Today is different in that we are testing you max power. It also ties in nicely to set a standard for this months focus, running!

For time: Run 400m

Men should aim for 1 minute 02 seconds
Females should aim for 1 minute 16 seconds

– This is not an easy, but use your time to set a marker for future development

B) Against a 3 minute running clock perform:

B1) 400m run
Max rep push-ups

– Rest 1 minute –

B2) 400m run
Max rep pull-ups

– Rest 1 minute –

B3) 400m run
Max rep dumbell thrusters

– Rest 1 minute –

Once you have done B3, go back to B1 and repeat for a second rotation through!

Outcome Based Training


There is no secret routine, no magical number of set and reps. What there is, is confidence, belief, hard work on a consistent basis, and a desire to succeed

This past month we have spent time each week devoted to working on your GOATS (weaknesses). In just one session per week of dedicated weakness training we have seen many of you get your first muscle-ups, chin-ups, ring dips and handstand holds!

So how should you carry this momentum forward?

Outcome-based training

We can define success as the ”ability to perform a task‘. This task can be anything, from being able to back squat 150kg, to doing 5 pull-ups or running a sub 2 hour half marathon. Perhaps you need to get an extra hour’s sleep every night, drink that extra litre of water everday or cut back on that mid afternoon biscuit binge?

When deciding what areas to focus on, you first need to do two things:
1) Identify the task: Basically what is your weakness or area that needs most development.
2) Define success: What will success look like, what numbers will you need to hit to know you have succeed in progressing your weakness. What is the exact task you would like the ability to perform and what is the measure of success.

Extra training should be focused around training the areas you suck at, not doing something which has no purpose or outcome.

To be successful you have to understand your objective and what are the likely contributing factors to setting you on your way. Do you need to be stronger, faster, more agile, more mobile, lose weight? etc

Last week we showed how Games Champ Rich Froning liked to work on his weaknesses. Here are some great resources you can use if you want to continue working on your GOATS

Volume Training for Goats: This is what we have spent the past few weeks exploring with our GOAT EMOM’s, its a great method to increase volume and also work your technique.

Weakness Bias Training: You are only as strong as your weakest link! So make sure you strengthen those weak links.

If you have any questions just post them to the comments section!

Workout of the Day:

A) Gymnastics – Final Week of October GOAT Training

It’s time to put your GOAT into a short workout and see how you get on while a little fatigued

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
Run 200m
Max rep [Insert GOAT}
– Every time you break go for another 200m run

B) Conditioning

Partner workout – Complete 3 rounds each for time:
Row 400m
21 Kettlebell swings 24/16kg
12 *Chest to bar pull-ups

This works on a “I go, you go format”
Partner 1 completes round 1, followed by partner 2
Partner 1 completes round 2, followed by partner two…etc
*If you performed pull-ups as your goat, switch this for another gymnastics movement (Ring dips, toes to bar, HSPU, push-ups etc)

Are you Motivated for success or failure? A Competition Class Review


Our second trial Competition Class was a great success, with members of all levels and abilities coming in to workout together. We also learnt a little something about our motivation.

Motivated for success or avoiding failure?

Researchers have theorised that there may be two opposing personality traits when it comes to athletics, competition or event social scenarios; Those who are Motivated to Avoid Failure (MAF) and those who are Motivated to Achieve Success (MAS)

Be aware, neither of these labels are black and white and neither is either good or bad – It’s just different. The key is to understand where you fit and then use the right tools to motivate yourself and others to achieve success.

“The motivational discussion was an extra element that really made me think about my own motivation and it helps you evaluate the whole training process and refocus” – Leigh Hawkins

Motivated to Avoid Failure (MAF)

This relates to the desire to protect ones ego or self esteem, whether internally (in your head) to externally (to your peers).

MAF athletes are more comfortable in scenario’s where success for them is highly probably or when success is highly improbable (i.e they are not expected to win). If these athletes are in a situation where the goal is challenging or they stand to suffer a self-esteem/ego blow for not ‘winning’ then MAF athletes often have a decrease in motivation and performance.

Motivated to Achieve Success (MAS)

These individuals have a very simple motivation, the desire to win. They are excited and pumped by uncertain stations or ones that give them only a small chance of success. In contrast to MAF individuals, MAS folks thrive in the face of adversity or a big challenge.

Sporting Examples

In the world of sports most Champions or those competing at the top of their game are MAS athletes (though not all of them!).

You see examples of this time and time again especially when Champions come from behind to win, there is a quote that has always stuck with me – “Winners start by losing

I am sure you can all think of some examples, what about Roger Federer’s many famous comebacks?! From being down 2 sets to 0 and with a very small change of winning the match, he stages what seems like impossible comebacks, a great example of a MAF athlete.

You can also see this with sports teams. I remember a football match between Man Utd and Tottenham. Utd were they away team, and after a abysmal first half they were losing 3-0 and it looked like Tottenham would steam roller Utd for the rest of the game. Alex Ferguson (the Utd Manager) issued his team a challenge at half time, to score 1 goal early on and transform the game. His team came out and were incredible, they scored their first goal within 1 minute of the re-start and went onto win 5-3. An example of a manager challenging his team to perform what seemed impossible and his team rising to the challenge.

“The general feeling of the class was great, you can see that everyone that’s there is hungry for it – so it fosters a very motivational environment” – Hannah Rogers

Motivating MAF and MAS Individuals

MAS athletes are easily motivated, just point them in the direction of the challenge, wind them up and watch then go.

MAF athletes need something different, in order to preserve self esteem these athletes need to focus on themselves and not on everyone else.

They need to look at how they can maximise their own performance in any given workout and by focusing on themselves they can formulate a strategy that allows them to perform to the best of their abilities. Ideas include:

  • Deciding how they are going to break up the work – “Im going to do 10 reps, then rest, 10 more reps, the rest, then finish the last 5 reps
  • Decide on set rest periods – “I’m going to rest 10 seconds between my sets then go back in
  • Decide on pacing strategy – “I will aim to run the first 400m in 1 min 10 seconds, the second round in 1 minute 20 seconds, and the third in less that 1 minute 30 seconds

Because they are focusing on their own performance and not in comparison to anyone else, their motivation remains high as their achievements remain firmly within their control, and with that comes a high chance of success.

During the Competition Class this past weekend we spent time discussing this pre and post workout. I bit the bullet first and explained to the class that I feel I am definitely a MAF athlete.

Our workout involved 60/40kg snatches, thrusters, cleans and lots of running. For that particular workout I explained to the class went through my head when I saw this….

1) I could not lose to a member of the class

Notice the language – It was not one of I am going to win this workout, it was I do not want to lose, a definite example of self preservation of my own ego and self-esteem. Not there is anything wrong with ‘losing’ to a member (you guys are smashing it!), but for my self-esteem that was my thought process.

2) This workout is going to suck because of the 60kg snatches and thrusters

I also looked at workout and immediately focused on what is going to be difficult for me – I didn’t look at the 1 mile, 800m, and 400m runs which I knew I would smash.

Internally I tell myself this workout will suck and I am already justifying a possible bad performance which is protecting my self-esteem. Because of this I more likely to drop the pace and become de-motivated when the hard parts arrive.

However, I acknowledged this and decided to motivate myself accordingly as a MAF individual. I decided how much rest I was going to take between sets/reps on the snatches, cleans & thrusters, and I would focus on maximising my strengths (the runs). At the end of the workout, if I was successful in my strategy I knew I would shake out somewhere near the top of the pile, and I could do this without worrying about what anyone else was doing.

These MAF attributes can be identified in athletes who are constantly comparing themselves and their results to others and who becoming frustrated or de-motivated if they are under-performing against somebody they feel they should be beating.

Identifying yourself as a MAF or MAS athlete is the hardest part. As I mentioned, neither is better or worse than the other, its just different. Once you have identified your motivators and de-motivators your performance and confidence can skyrocket.

“I found the talk about motivation very interesting and working out with the advanced athletes was great, it made me re-think my approach to training and competing.” – David Yu

Mastering your Motivation

Here are some steps you can use to help gain control of your motivation:

  • Make a list of what motivates you when you see a workout, and during the workout itself
  • Make a list of those things that de-motivate you
  • Based on that list, decide if you are MAS or MAF tendencies

If you are Motivated to Achieve Success:

  • In each workout, you are their to win / post the best time or score
  • Choose somebody in the class that you want to chase during the workout
  • Set yourself a challenging target; A certain time to complete a workout, a score to achieve etc. Better yet, ask the coach to set that target for you!

If you are Motivated to Avoid Failure:

  • Forget about everybody else, what they do is something you have no control over, so why worry about it
  • Focus on the strategies that will make your workout as successful as possible for you

What next for Competition Class?

Our two trial sessions are over, and they have been a great success. We have had athletes of all abilities and experiences coming to these sessions.

The focus of this 90 minute class is on competition style CrossFit workouts (individual, partner, team WOD’s) and the skill’s that they involve. The goal is create an environment similar to that experienced in competitions as well as help prepare the athletes for the mental and physical obstacles they may face. As with any CrossFit workout, these can be scaled up or down as appropriate – So there is not reason not to come and train!

We plan to start with a regular once per week session on Saturdays 12:00 to 13:30.

If demand continues to grow for this class we would be keen to expand the schedule. So if you like the session and what to see more, just keep showing up and kickin’ ass!


Workout of the Day:
A) Strength
A1) Back squats: 25 minutes to establish a new 1 rep max
A2) Perform 1 set max rep set @ 70% of your heaviest single from A1

B) “Sgt. Slaughter”
3 rounds of:
1 minute to complete: 90m sprint (45m out and back)
2 minutes to complete: 180m sprint (90m out and back)
3 minutes to complete: 270m sprint

At 3.2.1 Go!… Run 45m and back as fast as possible.
At the 1 minute mark, sprint 90m and back.
At the 3 minute mark sprint to the 45m and back, then the 90m and back. That is one round.
At the 6 minute mark begin round 2.
Record times for all 9 intervals.
These should be all-out efforts.


A) Front squat complex & Clean warm-up

B) Cleans
B1) 15 minutes to build to a max double for the day
B2) Do three additional singles on the weight of the heaviest double.

C) Hang cleans
C1) 15 minutes to build to a max double for the day
C2) Do three additional singles on the weight of the heaviest double.

D) Clean + hang cleans
D1) 15 minutes to build to a max 1+1 for the day
– Do one clean from the ground followed by one hang clean.
– You cannot put the bar down between lifts

Our DWF Team & the Competition Class – Coach Phil


Thames has spoken! Our team for Divided We Fall – Origins is: Hannah Rogers, Jonny Landels, Julie Torp and Markus Brunner!

These guys came out top of our community poll, the voting literally went down to the last day with only a few votes separating these guys from the rest of the nominees. We had over 80 voters, so a big ‘thank you‘ to you guys selecting your team for DWF!

No doubt these guys will do us proud!

Competition Class Review

Speaking of competitions, on Saturday we had our first Competition Class.

This is a once a week, 90 minute class which is being trialled due to the increased interest in people wishing to enter CrossFit competitions. The focus of the class is on competition style workouts (individual, partner, team WOD’s) and the skill’s that they involve. The goal is create an environment similar to that experienced in competitions as well as help prepare the athletes for the mental and physical obstacles they may face. The class is open to any and all abilities.

The level of skill work was perfect for “seasoned” crossfiters becoming more efficient at movements rather than looking to learn them. He (the coach) used techniques I’ve never been taught before which made it really educational.” – Phil Bowyer

On Saturday the classes were faced with the following workouts

7 minute AMRAP
6 Muscle-Ups
11 Thrusters 50/35kg
-3 minute rest and then…
7 minute AMRAP
18 Wall balls 9/6kg
12 Burpees

This class included elements of gymnastics skill work on the muscle-ups as well as components of barbell cycling and efficiency.

The vibe was great! Everyone was keen and encouraging and I really enjoyed throwing down with everyone“. – Hannah Rogers

A large portion of the these classes are going to focus on goal setting and workout strategies. Much time was spent around the whiteboard with Coach Jonny helping the class set themselves individual goals for the workout as well as breaking down different strategies for this kind of workout. How should this workout be approached? How does this strategy change based on your strengths and weaknesses? and what do you do if you strategy is not working?!

For someone who’s not at the level of the others here I have to admit it was great for me as well! It was awesome to do a competitive workout following the coach and more advanced guys and gals… it is a great learning experience!” – Dan Harris

Not only that, but Coach Jonny joined in the workout alongside the attendees to provide a little added motivation. Who doesn’t want to beat a coach in a workout right?!

Our other trial class is going to be this Saturday 10th at 12:00pm. So make sure you don’t miss it!


Workout of the Day:

A) Gymnastics GOAT Training – Week 1/3
EMOM x 12 : Perform 1-5 strict reps of your GOAT

– You must be able to perform at least 1 rep, strict
– Your goal is to stay consistent over the course of the EMOM e.g. 3 reps every minute
– Record your reps per minute, and the total number of reps
– Next week the goal is to increase reps per minute and the total volume of reps

Not sure what a GOAT is? Well then check Coach Alan’s blog from yesterday!

B) Conditioning

3 x 3 minutes on : 2 minutes off
Run 400m, as fast as possible
AMRAP in remaining time:
Max rep burpees to target
– The target must be a height you have to JUMP to reach.


Workout of the Day:

A) Warm-up:OHS Complex & Snatch Complex – Empty barbell

B) Hang snatch
B1) 12 minutes to establish a heavy single
B2) EMOM x 5: 1 rep at 90% of B1.

C) Snatch
C1) 12 minutes to establish a heavy double – Your hands must stay on the bar for the whole set
C2) EMOM x 5: 2 reps at 90% of C1 – Your hands must stay on the bar for each set of 2 reps
Straight into
C3) EMOM x 5: 1 rep at 90% of C1

D) Front squat
D1) 10 minutes to establish heavy set of 5
D2) Drop down to 90% of D1 and do five additional sets of 5 reps.

Learning how to compete in CrossFit & DWF Origins


  • Do you like the idea of doing a CrossFit competition but no idea where to start?
  • Not sure which competitions are right for you?
  • Are you a seasoned competitor but looking to get that extra edge?

Many of you are expressing an increasing interest in CrossFit Competitions and wanting to know which competitions are appropriate for your level. While some of you are looking to work on some of the more technical aspects of barbell and gymnastics movements.

Well, perhaps the Competition Class is for you!

What is this class? A once per week class that will focus on competition style workouts (individual, partner, team WOD’s) and the skill’s that they involve. The goal is create an environment similar to that experienced in competitions as well as help prepare the athletes for the mental and physical obstacles they may face.

Whether you looking at joining in the next Thames Throwdown, or looking at qualifying for one of the bigger UK or European competitions. This class is for you!

Who is this class for? Absolutely anyone! As Greg Glassmans says ‘our needs differ by degree, not kind‘. It doesn’t matter if you have never competed before or you are a competition veteren. We all progress faster when we learn and train together!

There is no set requirements, no certain ‘ability level’, you just need a good attitude and a willingness to work hard and support your fellow classmates!

So if you are intrigued by the idea of CrossFit competitions, come down and check the class out!

When is it? We are going to trial two classes, the first is on Saturday the 3rd October from 08:30 to 10:00am and the second is on Saturday the 10th October from 12:00 to 13:30.

From these trial sessions we will determine which time works best, and how many of you are interested in this session.


Divided We Fall (DWF) – Origins (14/15th November)

Talking of competitions, we have succeeded in securing a team spot in the upcoming DWF-Origins Competition.

DWF was my first ever competition back in 2011 and the experience and confidence it gave me was unparalleled. After a brief hiatus the competition has returned in the form of ‘DWF-Origins‘. The goal of this competition is to “strip it back to the old box comp format. Hopefully for one weekend, we can take it back to a simpler time of throwing down, board shorts and beers after…

I cannot be more excited to see not just the return of such a great competition, but it’s focus on getting back to the heart and soul of CrossFit – Just doing some workouts and having a good time!

The team is comprised of two males and two females. The coaching team and I have decided that we are going to try and hold true to the core of DWF Origins. We are NOT going to have a competition to determine the team, our team is going to be decided by…YOU! The Thames Community!

We want you to decide who is going forward to represent Thames at this great event. Who do you feel has shown the commitment, dedication and hard work that deserves this experience?!

We have a sign-up sheet on the Community Board (on the main gym door) at the gym for anyone who wishes to be considered for team, to add their name to it. The closing date for registering you name is Friday 25th September.

We will then publish the list of names and hold an anonymous vote where you guys will decide our two guys and two girls. The vote will be held between the 25th and 30th September.


Workout of the Day:

A)Threshold Method
The goal for these kinds of workouts is to push as hard as possible for the work period, and then recover during the rest. Perform each run at a ‘max effort’ and then hang on through the rest

Every 8 minutes for 4 rounds:
Run 800m, as fast as possible
12 Alternating arm dumbbell snatch 30/20kg
6 Burpee pull-ups

If the rounds start to take longer than 6 minutes scale the running distance. The 2-3 minutes rest is going to be needed if you are to hit each round as hard as possible.

Weightlifting Club

Workout of the Day:

A) Hang power snatch
A1) 15 minutes to find a 3RM for the day
A2) Do three additional triples at 90% of A1

B) Power clean + power jerk
B1) 15 minutes to find your 2RM for the day.
B2) EMOM x 15 : 1 Hang power clean & Push jerk @ 70% of B1
Twist: You have to do every single rep in B2 with a three-second pause in the catch of both the hang power clean and the power jerk. If you lose balance or have to adjust your footing after the catch – this will be a no-rep!

How to set a PB everytime you step into the gym – Coach Phil

It’s as simple as… ‘Breathe, motherfucker‘ – Wim Hof

Wim Hof, nicknamed ‘The Iceman‘, holds not just 1 world record, not just 2, but he holds over 20 world records!

His nickname comes from his bizarre ability to withstand extremely cold temperatures. He has climbed Mount Everest in nothing to protect his modesty but a pair of shorts and even went passed what is known as ‘the death zone‘ which is over 7500m high. He has completed a marathon distance run at the polar circle in a nippy −20 °C, again in nothing but shorts, and he holds the world record for the longest ice bath which sits at a staggering 1hr and 53 minutes and 12 seconds…chilling stuff! (Pun intended!)

What makes Wim Hof even more remarkable is that it’s not only cold temperatures he is adept at surviving in. It appears his body can function in an array of extreme conditions:

  • He ran a full marathon distance in the Namib Desert, without water.
  • He can run at altitude without suffering from altitude sickness.
  • He has been injected with toxins (under doctor supervision, of course) and demonstrated that he could effectively control his autonomic immune response. Whe was able to elevate his cortisol levels and decrease his blood concentrations of inflammatory mediators using nothing but meditation and prep techniques.

You may be thinking that The Iceman is one of a kind, natures miracle, genetically ‘gifted’…I like to think of him as one of the X-Men. However he has been able to teach his methods to groups of volunteers who have been able to demonstrate the same level of control over their Autonomic Nervous Systems (ANS).

The ANS is the part of the nervous system responsible for control of the bodily functions not consciously directed, such as breathing, the heartbeat, and digestive processes and a variety of muscle actions.

By teaching people to control their breathing and have some element of control over their ANS he has taught people to do more push-ups, improve muscular endurance, improve your energy levels and 02 blood saturation, detox the body and release toxins, relieve stress and tension, and strengthen their immune systems against diseases.

His method consist of 3 elements
1) Breathing practices
2) Training of mindset and concentration
3) Cold exposure

“A strong mindset is essential to achieve the required concentration and focus, so the techniques are correctly executed even in extreme situations. The breathing technique is to activate various physiological responses and will energise and strengthen the body…

Whilst you can easily read more in depth about his techniques online – His experiences go to show just what can be achieved through the power of thought and simple breathing exercises.

So next time you step into the gym, approach a barbell or are struggling through a workout perhaps you should try to utilise some of Wim Hof’s methods, it may be the key to setting PB after PB…all in nothing but a pair of shorts!


Workout of the Day:

A) Front squat: 15 minutes to establish a 2 rep max

B) Front squat ladder – At % of above 2 rep max
Perform 10 reps at 75%
Perform 2reps at 95%
Perform 15 reps at 70%
Perform 2 reps at 90%
Perform 20 reps at 65%
– Rest 2-3 minutes between sets –

C) For the remainder of the class

Work on snatch technique. The power of perfect practice cannot be understated – Aim to make each rep APAP (As Perfect As Possible)

With an empty barbell only – cycle through

5x Dip, shrug
5x Dip, shrug & high pull
5x Muscle snatch
5x Overhead squat
5x Snatch grip push press
5x Snatch balance (no dip)
5x High hang snatch
5x Hang snatch
5x Full snatch


Workout of the Day:

A) Hang clean (above knee)
4 x 2 @ 70-75% of clean
4 x 2 @ 80-85%

B) Snatch balance
3 x 3 @ 80% of snatch
3 x 2 @ 80-85%

C) Push press
6 x 2 @ 85-90% of push press

One More Reason to Get a Good Nights Sleep

Here we are again, preaching the virtues of getting a goods nights sleep.

The brain uses a quarter of the body’s entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body’s mass. So how does this unique organ receive and, perhaps more importantly, rid itself of vital nutrients? New research suggests it has to do with sleep.

Back in March I posted an in depth article on why sleep is just so important, you can read about it here.

Sleep is probably the most important aspect to living a healthy, fulfilling life. Sleep effects everything from body composition, mental health, risk of stroke, risk of diabetes to your ability to perform in the bedroom.

Sleep is more important than any nutrition or training program – Without enough (good quality sleep) we are literally sending ourselves to an early grave.

For all the hints and tip on reclaiming your lost zzzzzz’s, check out the previous blog!.


Workout of the Day:

A) Gymnastics

A1) 5 minute AMRAP:Strict chin-ups
– If you can perform in sets of 5+ then add load

A2) ) 5 minute AMRAP: Strict ring dips
– If you can perform in sets of 5+ then add load

Rest 2 minutes between A1 and A2

B) Conditioning
EMOM x 10

10 Kettlebell swings 32/24kg
10 Burpees


Workout of the Day:

A) Hang snatch (above knee)
3 x 3 @ 70-75% of snatch
2 x 2 @ 75-80%
5 singles @ by feel

B) Split jerk
3 x 3 @ 78% of jerk
3 x 3 @ 81%

C) Clean pull
5 x 3 @ 100-115% of clean

Programming Update – The New Cycle – Power Endurance

We are approaching the end of our Aerobic Cycle (you can read about phase 1 and phase 2 of this cycle here), with this week marking the final week.

Next week we will be re-testing a couple of workouts from our Thames Check-In.

Aerobic Power & Capacity
A1) Modified Coopers Test – In 12 minutes: Row for distance
Rest 1 minute
For the row record max heart rate, average heart rate and heart rate after the first 1 minutes rest

A2) Max rep push-ups
Rest 1 minute
A3) Max rep strict pull-ups
Rest 1 minute
A4) Max plank hold

OPT Repeatability Test
3 rounds, at max effort each round:
Row 250m
10 Kettlebell Swings 32/24kg
10 Burpees
10 Kettlebell Swings 32/24kg
10 Burpees
10 Kettlebell Swings 32/24kg
Row 250m
– Rest 10 minutes between rounds

The Next Cycle – Power Endurance

From the week beginning 7th September we will transition into a new cycle focusing on Power Endurance. This is the ability of your body to generate a high power output, but also to be able to maintain higher power outputs for longer. In simple terms you will be able to push harder, for longer!

Your level of aerobic conditioning will provide the foundation of your power endurance, if you have poor aerobic development you will have limited potential to develop your power endurance. Luckily we spent the past few months building that strong aerobic base!

In this next training cycle we will be working hard to develop you anaerobic threshold, and your power output at this threshold.

Training Notes

  • Developing your anaerobic power and capacity is both mentally and physically challenging
  • You will need to dig deep to push past stages of fatigue to challenge your body to improve its anaerobic abilities
  • The first stage of the cycle will focus more on the aerobic qualities, to compliment the last cycle
  • The second stage of the cycle will have you working in your anaerobic zones for high volumes
  • The coaches are really going to enjoy putting you guys through these workouts

We will also be adopting an adjusted template which you can see below (apologies for the small picture!). Before anyone asks, we have no set ‘squat’ days or ‘pressing’ days etc. It is going to be kept more open to allow us flexibility to program this cycle effectively…It also keeps you guessing 😉

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 16.42.29

Strength (Power or Oly): A strength focus on either power lifts (squats, deadlifts, presses) or Olympic Lifting focused (Snatch, Clean)
Gymnastics: This will be a mixture of gymnastic strength work or technique work
Conditioning: Otherwise know as the ‘WOD’


Workout of the Day:

A) Strength
Back squat:
20 minutes to build to a 10 rep max

B) Conditioning – Partner WOD

Complete for time:

B1) 10-20-30-40-50
Double Under

B2) 2-4-6-8-10
Thrusters 70/45kg

B3) 10-20-30-40-50
Double Under

Go straight from B1 to B2 to B3
– Parter 1 does 10 DU’s followed by partner 2
– Parter 1 does 20 DU’s followed by partner 2
– Once the DU’s are completed to the same with the thrusters, then back to the DU’s