All posts by Milo

Are You Recovering? – Head Coach Milo

You’re working out like never before to smash your next goal or to prep for you next CrossFit, Oly meet, powerlifting, triathlon or whatever event. Your program calls for you to do squats at 85% of your 1RM today but you just don’t feel like you have it in you to do it. While at times an intensive training cycle will call our mental resilience into question and we’ll be forced to train through it and push, at other times our body is giving us warning signals to prevent an oncoming injury or illness caused by being fatigued. The question is how are we able to distinguish the two?

Tracking recovery is a practice that’s becoming increasingly popular amongst professional sports teams as sports science continues to show the correlation between performance and recovery status. It’s understood that elite level performance requires intensive training. Our bodies undergo an adaptation to this training load in the cardiovascular & muscular system this is seen in increased muscle cross-sectional areas, higher levels of motor unit activation, larger glycogen stores, and a more efficient heart. For these adaptations to occur it’s crucial for our bodies to adequately recover. Improper recovery impairs our ability to adapt to the training stimulus. To elicit the benefits from training it is necessary to stress the body and force it to adapt. But when we stress the body and the level we stress it to is important.

Overtraining is a common fear for most people but outside of high-level athletes that’ll have 2-3 intense training sessions a day, under-recovery is a much more tangible threat for everyone. Under-recovery can be affected by a variety of things:

Training:
-Intensity
-Volume
-Mechanical load
-Metabolic load
-Competition frequency

Lifestyle (non-training stresses)
-Family
-School/Work
-Sleep
-Finances
-Nutrition

It’s easy to see how any combination of stressors can significantly impact your ability to recover. Tracking your response to training load is important for a variety of reasons in a program it can serve as a form of injury prevention, a signal of non-functional overreaching, and as a parameter to ensure optimal conditioning when peaking for an event.

Sports scientists have used a variety of monitoring tools ranging from blood lactate measurements, hormonal/immunological assessments, to time-motion analysis. For the purpose of this article, I want to focus on some of the most practical measurement types that require as little equipment as possible and are easy to understand for a broad range of people.

Tracking Nutrition

Nutrition goes hand in hand with performance and recovery. While people are quick to point out genetic outliers pro athletes that profess their love of pre-game candies, a common theme amongst the elite performers who continue to excel years after their peers have retired is that they stress the importance of a nutritious diet. Tracking your calories and macros is the most common method of overseeing one’s nutrition, and it’s relatively simple and very effective. Ensuring your consuming enough carbohydrates to fuel your performance, protein to repair muscle, and fat to optimize hormones will help you reach PBs a lot sooner than the person guessing away at their diet or chasing the latest fad diet.

Body Weight/Body Fat

Weight can fluctuate based on things like carbohydrate/sodium intake and hydration status but it does provide a good insight if it’s something that’s measured consistently. Body fat is an even more efficient method of recovering tracking as it can provide insight on the amount of lean body mass you have. There’s a host of chronic conditions associated with excessively high levels of body fat and likewise, extremely low levels of body fat will negatively impact your immune status and performance. Finding a lean body mass range where you feel and perform optimally at and staying near that amount will go a long way in helping you reach your goals.

Sleep Tracking

Poor sleep is associated with decreased performance, higher risks of injury, infection and impaired cognitive performance. Sleep is when tissues regenerate, growth hormone is released, and cortisol is lowered. Bad sleep schedule means you’ll never fully recover from your previous training session and you’ll head into your next training session in a weakened state. Sleep deprivation has been linked to decreased strength levels and poorer weight lifting performance… There are a variety of sleep tracking apps available for smartphones with functions ranging from measuring movement while asleep to the number of times you reach deep sleep. An even simpler method for someone that doesn’t want to use an app is to just track the total hours of sleep you got in the morning and an honest assessment of the quality, we all know the difference between a refreshing night of sleep and a bad one. A good range to aim for is 7-9 hours of sleep, anything below 6 hours has been associated with negative effects.

Resting Heart Rate

Your heart rate is a great indicator of general fitness levels and also of recovery. There are plenty of apps that’ll take your measurement for you if not being able to find your pulse and a stopwatch will suffice. Stressors like dehydration, poor sleep, or emotional stress will impact our heart rate levels. Increased sympathetic nervous activity (fight or flight system) results in a higher heart rate. Increased parasympathetic nervous activity will show a lower heart rate. It’s important to understand that both our sympathetic & parasympathetic systems can be stressed and the observed effect will be noted in abnormally elevated or decreased heart rates.

Hydration Status

Studies have shown that slight dehydration of as little as 3% can reduce contractile strength by 10%. A weaker contractile strength leads to a lower power output which is not a desirable state to be in before you grab a barbell. There are scales and other types of electronic measurements that can determine your hydration status but a simple method is a urine colour chart. Clear coloured urine indicates that you’re likely drinking too much water whereas dark coloured urine indicates dehydration. Pale yellow coloured urine is a good indicator of a proper hydration level.

Self-Assessment

Honesty is the best policy, and a self-reflection is one of the best methods of assessing your recovery levels. It’s not necessary to obsess daily over your training program or recovery status, but one must be honest with themselves that they’re doing all the necessary things to optimize their recovery. What’s your mood the all the time, while it’s unrealistic to be happy and chippy at all times if you’re feeling lethargic and unmotivated the majority of the time it could be a sign of fatigue. Constant muscle soreness is another indicator of under-recovery, some soreness after the introduction of new training stimulus or a hard session is normal but in a properly designed program well designed athletes adapt to the volumes and soreness is eventually supposed to subside.

Summary

To reach new levels in competition, intense stimulus is needed in your program to create an overreaching effect. For your body to adapt to the overreaching effect caused by hard training you must ensure you’re doing everything you can to optimize your body’s recovery to this training stimulus. Rather than going through years of trial and error to figure out the right volumes and intensities for yourself take note of the above and have an honest account of your recovery principles. If you can and want to then take advantage of some of the technology the world has to offer to make things easier for you.


Monday

A) Superset for 6 Sets of:
Bench Press – 6 Sets of 3 Reps at 80-85% of Last weeks 3 Reps
Deadlift – Build to a heavy 4 Reps!
Pull Up – Build to a heavy 5

B) 3 Rounds of:
50/35 Cals of Choice
50 DB Step Ups 1 x 22/16kg (Open Style)

Target Time: 12:00
Time Cap: 16:00

The aim is to always complete Calories in sub 2:30

Tuesday

Classic CrossFit

Teams of 3
10 Mins Amrap
Max Cal. Row

– into –
10 min Amrap

Max Cal. Ski

– into –
10 min Amrap

Max Cal. Assault Bike

MetCon

1k Run
50 wtd step ups 24/16kg KB in goblet position
30 HSPU
50 wtd lunge steps 24/16kg KB In goblet Position
1k Run

Wednesday

Classic CrossFit

A1) Back Squat , Single Reps!
Rest 90 seconds between sets.
I want you to use your 3 RM from last Tuesday for the following:

Sets 1-3 @ 80%
Sets 4-6 @ 85%
Sets 7-10 @ 90%

A2) Superset for first 3 Sets of
7 DB Standing Press

B) 10 Min AMRAP
10 Parallette/Deficit Push Ups
20 Ring Rows

Thursday

Classic CrossFit

A) 12 Mins
Build to a heavy Double Power Snatch

B) For Time!
27-21-15-9 (20-16-12-8 for ladies)
Assault Bike Cal
9-7-5-3
Muscle Up

*Muscle Ups are ideally done unbroken most of the workout
Target Time each set: 7:00
Time Cap each set: 11:00

C) 5-10 Mins of:
Bent-Over Row 15 reps
Skill Of choice for 1-5 reps
Eg. 1 Length Handstand Walk (HS Practice)

MetCon

2 Rounds of:
10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

Burpee Box Jump Over
100m Run between sets

– rest 5 mins between rounds –

Friday

Classic CrossFit

Teams of 2:

Get as far as possible in 35min.
50 Synchro Bar Facing Burpees
30 Power Clean and Jerks 60/40kg
2000m Row (200m Intervals)
30 Power Clean and Jerks 70/50kg
2000m Ski (200m Intervals)/ 2 Mile AD (Anyhow)
30 Power Clean and Jerks 80/57.5kg

Saturday

A) Superset for 5 sets:
Barbell Weighted Step Up
– 5 Reps Per Leg
Bent over row – 5 sets 8 reps @ 95% of bodyweight

B) 20-15-10
Sandbag Cleans
DB Lunges
AD Cals

What are the best variations of squat? – Head Coach Milo

As ever team, it depends! 🙂

Why?
Because it depends on what you are training for? If you still don’t have a set goal that you are chasing then seriously stop reading this and go take some time to figure it out. Even if it’s a mini goal for now like losing some weight. But I’d try and challenge you here and go be brave and ask yourself some deeper questions. Pick something that scares you and go for it! It will give you a little fear and a drive to go be better every day!

Ok, mini grasshopper speech over.

As I stated above it depends on what you are training for in what kind of squats you should do. If you are training for general fitness, powerlifting, competitive CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting or even a field sport athlete then I’d recommend different things for all of you.

CrossFit/General Health & Fintess
We can start with CF as that is our wheelhouse. If it’s for general health and moving then any and all forms of squats are going to be good for you. If for example you really struggle with a back squat and it leaves you sore then it’s not helping you with your goal of general health and fitness really is it. Now, I defo wouldn’t recommend getting rid of it entirely but address the issue of why you can’t comfortably do it and fix those reasons. That alone will make you a better and healthier human! In the meantime, if you can Front squat or can use the safety bar comfortably then do that whilst you are working away at those other key areas that are hindering you.

Competitive CrossFitter
CrossFit athletes should generally keep their squat training exclusive to the high bar back squat and front squat. This is due to the need of being proficient at the Olympic Lifts these two will have the biggest and best transferability for you to those squat patterns. A high bar back squat for example will “reinforce” certain elements that you would want to avoid when squatting during a snatch. (angles and leaning of body positions)

Another thing to consider with the training of competitive CrossFit athletes and the squat is that due to the extremely high volume and variety of skills and movements they need to be proficient in, and the fact that max squats are rarely contested, it wouldn’t make much sense devote excessive energy to pure squat development. You need to squat well to build your Olympic lifts and bolster your lower-body-dominant skills but that can be achieved with only those two previously-mentioned variations, and you do not need anything exotic to drive your squat to the necessary levels.

Weightlifting
Now although having done many courses for Olympic Lifting with a variety of coaches I don’t necessarily claim to be a weightlifting coach but I feel I can confidently tell you the only squatting variations the Olympic weightlifter needs to concern themselves with are high bar Olympic squats and front squats.

The low bar squat, causing a forward-leaning torso angle, is not for weightlifters to use. Same as with above and Competetive CrossFitters this will reinforce bad habits and bad angles for your catch position. Don’t do them.

The squat is not a competitive movement in weightlifting, so despite how important it is, its purpose is to drive the development of the competitive lifts, so perform them in a manner that will achieve this.

Powerlifting

The goal of the squat in powerlifting is simple: lift the most weight. With that in mind, whichever technique allows you to do this is the one you should use. A lot of people would argue here that the Low bar is the king of powerlifting and I would agree to a point. But it’s going to depend greatly on you and your leverages as well. As above your style, stance/foot width and positioning is going to be whatever you can do for the most weight possible. The styles that the worlds best lifters use is what they have found to be best for them – you aren’t built the same as any of them so you need to find what is best for you. Whatever you find, you will need to practice that technique and develop strength in that specific movement pattern. While your specific technique should be at the forefront of your training, other variations including high bar, front squat, close stance, wide stance, etc. all have their place in your training and will all be good variations to include to keep driving that adaptation and making your squat a monster lift 🙂

Field Sports
Now this one is the worst “It depends” than all the above! There are so many variables here that its a little silly to even try and put it in an article.

It depends on the sport, position you play, where are you in the season if you are currently playing, where is the end goal and then how do you move as an athlete.

For example, if you play rugby then yes I’d suggest back squatting to get you strong(er). But if it messes you up and then you can’t perform during practice or worse during the game day then its had a negative effect. Everything you do needs to support and supplement your performance on the field. Vice versa, you can have the prettiest/ sexiest back squat the world has ever seen and lift an amazing amount of weight but if you can’t translate that to performance on the field then it is wasted.

Closing
The squat is an extremely valuable exercise to strength athletes and field sport athletes alike but it serves different roles in different sports. Hopefully these ideas have given you a good jump on properly selecting squatting styles for you and your athletes. Know what and when and if you don’t then ask questions!

Milo – Milo@crossfitthames.com


Wednesday Oly Club

1)Snatch + Hang snatch
4 x 2@ 70-80% or RPE 7-8

2) Back squats
4 x 2@75-80%

3) Snatch pulls
3 x 2@RPE 8
1 x 1 @RPE 8

4) Pull ups
3 x 5-10

5) Side plank rotations w/db
3 x 8-12

Sunday Oly Club

1) Power clean + Hang Power clean
3 x 2@75-82.5%

2) Front squat
3 x 2@75-80%

3)Jerk dip+ Split jerk
3 x 1+1@75-80% or RPE 7-8

4) Clean Pulls
3 x 2@RPE8

5) Hamstring curls
3 x amap

6)Tricep work
3 sets

Building Up To Your Best Ever Squat – Head Coach Milo

Training Frequency

While low-frequency (1x per week) programming can work, it’s probably not the best approach for everyone. Because muscle growth takes at most several (up to 5) days to go through its full course, and because technique practice is important to strength gains, very infrequent lower body work can leave something to be desired. Beginner lifters can benefit a lot from doing lower body work 3x per week, but the research has shown that bigger, stronger people can better tolerate 2x per week work. How many working sets you do per session depends on a host of factors, mostly your personal ability to recover/adapt, but 6-8 working sets of squats or other quad work and 2-4 working sets for the posterior chain during each 2x weekly workout is probably a good start for most.

How Many Reps?

In modern periodization, there are 3 distinct goals for squatting:

Enlarging squatting musculature
– Best done with sets of 6-10 reps (getting hench!)

Making the muscle you already have stronger
– Best done with sets of 3-5 reps (building Strength!)

Teaching your body to exert itself under heavy (maximal) loads
– Best done with sets of 1-3 reps (CNS Building)

Seems pretty straightforward, but people get this stuff mixed up all the time. You’ll see people constantly trying to get bigger so lifting as much as they can for 1 rep thinking it will make them big as they lifted loads of weight. Or people looking to get Strong so doing sets of 10-20 reps! Take a look at your plan, choose your long and medium-term goals, and then train with the rep ranges you need to get there!

What About Assistance work?

Squatting strength comes from two groups of muscles:

– The pushing muscles of the legs (quads, glutes, adductors)

– The posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, erectors)

In the quest for a big squat, it’s important to fill in all the gaps and make sure ALL of your squatting musculatures is being trained to its adaptive potential. Now, the absolute best way to train the muscles of the squat is to squat! Squatting should be done as much as can be recovered from. But, since squatting hard all the time can be very taxing, other accessory type lifts come in very handy. For developing hypertrophy in the quads, front squats and or deep leg presses can be very useful. For developing both hypertrophy and strength in the quads, high bar squats, front squats, and pause squats can be used with very good effect.

For the posterior chain, one of the best assistance moves to the squat is actually the deadlift! If you can pull a lot and not round over, your posterior chain should be able to handle almost anything the squat throws its way. In addition to deadlifting, variations of stiff-legged deadlifts and good-mornings are quite helpful. If you can good-morning a ton of weight with incredible control, you simply won’t get caved over by a big squat.

Dedicated Focus at a Time

The body has limited adaptive ability. Other than for beginners (who don’t need to read this part and will get stronger doing anything anyway, win-win!), trying to improve ALL systems and abilities at once tends to offer very diminishing returns and is a bit unrealistic. That is, the best way to train for the squat seems to be to focus on one or two problem areas at a time. For example, by making your posterior chain AND your leg pushing muscles stronger, your squat will go up. So will re-tooling your technique, as will practising more low-bar work, and paused work, and getting tighter under the bar, and working on your front squats, all the way down the line. The right approach is NOT to try to do all of those things at once! The result will be a mishmash of confusion that may or may not actually improve your squat. Neither is the right approach to alter your focus once every week or several weeks. You watch some games documentary and think “man, I need to front squat more,” so you change your program to front-squat focus and abandon the previous technique work you started just a week earlier. But each method to improve your squat needs time to work, and meaningful, retainable gains usually take between one and two months of dedicated training.

The better approach is to pick two areas of focus and work on those for one or two months. Catch the improvement, and then switch your focus to another set of factors. For example, you can work on your Back Squat Strength (much like we are now in our new strength cycle!) and with set accessory work/technique work specifically for the Back Squat and then transition to maintenance work for your back squat as you work hard on your posterior chain (deadlift) and your low-bar setup over the next two months. This way, you keep your gains attained from one angle, and expand them further from other approaches, leading to long-term, steady improvements. Which brings us to the final point:

Dedication!

At the risk of sounding cliché, one of the most important variables for improving your squat is just plain old time. And I don’t mean 2 hours in the gym, I mean years. Once the basic technique of squatting is attained, there is no magic trick to putting a bunch of weight on the exercise quickly. Yeah, you can alter your bench setup and eek some weight off of that, and you can definitely work with a good coach on snatch technique and hit some massive improvements, but with the squat, it’s not quite the same. After you’ve got the technique down, there are no tricks… you just have to make your quads, glutes, hams, adductors, and back bigger, stronger, and more capable of exerting under heavy loads… that takes months and years, and means squat PBs can be expected steadily, but slowly, over time. This is important to note because you’ll hear lifters complaining about how their squats have only gone up by small increments from year to year… and my first thought is… so what?! So long as it’s a steady and continual gain, that’s a great place! I’m not sure about you guys, but I prefer slow, almost predictable gains over sporadic, magical random PB moments!

Let us know how you get on with these tips and if you want to reach out to talk about them some more or how you can implement them with us then drop us a Message anywhere you prefer. Carrier pigeon not advised.

By Head Coach Milo (Milo@crossfitthames.com)

Gym inquiries – Info@crossfitthames.com


Monday

Teams of 2
120 Cal AD/Ski
120 Abmat Sit Ups
100 Cal AD/Ski
100 HSPU
80 Cal AD/Ski
80 T2B
60 Cal AD/Ski
60 Burpee Box Jump Over 30/24″
40 Cal AD/Ski
40 Bar Muscle Ups

Tuesday

Classic CrossFit

A) Back Squat
Build to a 3 RM for the day
Then, drop to 80% for max reps

Superset: Build to a heavy 10 Z-Press Between sets of Squats

B) 12-9-6
Overhead Squat 70/50kg
Strict Pull Up

MetCon

Teams of 2
100-80-60-40-20
Cal. Assault Bike
GHD’s/V-Ups

Wednesday

Classic CrossFit

A) Hang Power Clean , 12 Mins
Build to a heavy double for the day

B) For Time!
1000m row
100 Wallball 9/6kg
1000m row

*Row is ideally kept at or under 1:50/2:00
*Go for it on wall balls! This is the last metcon of the week so let’s empty the tank! Even if it affects the row after. You can always just stay moving on the rower at a slower pace if nothing else.
*If wall balls are a struggle, they should be kept in sets of at least 20-25

Target Time: 12:00
Time Cap: 15:00

Thursday

Classic CrossFit

2 rounds
25/20 Cal Assault Bike
20 Pull Ups

– Rest 3:00 –

2 rounds
20/15 Cal Assault Bike
15 Chest to Bar

– Rest 3:00 –

2 Rounds
15/10 Cal Assault Bike
10 Bar Muscle Up (Burpee Pull Up)

7 min Time Cap (each)

MetCon

@0:00
3 rds

15/12 Cals of Choice
15 DB Thrusters 16/12kg

@10:00
3rds

15/12 Cals of Choice
15 DB Shoulder to overhead 22/16kg

@20:00
3rds

15/12 Cals of Choice
15 Front Squats 22/16kg

8 min Time Cap each set

Friday

Classic CrossFit

A) Superset of :
Back Squat
(Based on 3 Rep From Monday!) – 3 @ 80% , 3 @ 82.5% ,3 @ 85% , 3 @ 87.5% ,3 @ 90%
Bent over row – 4-5 sets 8 reps @80% of body weight

B) 12 Min Amrap:
10 DB Push Press 22/16kg
20 Wall Balls 9/6kg
30 Cals of choice (HARD PACE)

Saturday

Deads and Bench
Deads ,Build to a heavy 3 across 3 sets
Bench ,Build to a heavy 3 Across 3 sets

Superset with Bar Muscle Up Work
3 Sets of Max Reps!
Or max rep Pull Ups
Into max rep ring row

If no Pull Ups then, 60% BW Row into max rep ring row

Teams of 2 to try and finish!
2000m Ski/Row (Only if no Ski) (Female 1500m)
20 Rope Climb (Female 14)
2000m Ski/Row (Only if no Ski) (Female 1500m)

Time Cap 22 Mins

Drill and skills to help with that deadlift – Coach Misty

In Sunday’s blog I mentioned trying to find the areas in your deadlift where you need some dedication to make your deadlift boss like ☺ I.e. do you need stronger stabilising muscles in your feet? Do you battle to lockout? Does your butt pop up first? Are you super flexy and battle to create tension in those hamstrings? Below are just a few ideas on accessory work you can build on. I’ve only used a few video examples, there are sooo many options, please come chat to any of the coaches if you have questions 🙂

Areas to work on:

Feet stability: Get some Single leg KB deadlifts in your life. This will not only help with your feet but also those glutes and hammies. Move slowly with control, challenge those stabilising muscles.

Battling to lockout at the top of the deadlift:
To be comfortable in that deadlift stance and to be able to lockout nicely without a re-bend of the knee may need you to work on your hip flexors, different variations of a couch stretch can help ☺

Do You Even Stretch, Bro?


Hip thrusts and Glute Bridges
Russian KB Swings
Banded deadlifts
Rack Pulls

Bum pop/activation of hamstrings/strength in drive off the floor: You need to strengthen those hamstrings and drive off the floor, the below will all assist with that ☺

Deficit deadlifts

Nordic curls (we do these in class often ☺ )
Hamstring curls with a med ball
Russian KB swings
Banded deadlifts: these help create tension and strength throughout the movement, not just with lockout.

Grip Strength

Farmers carries
Rack Pulls (Will allow you to pull more weight than normal) (i.e. increase the starting height of your deadlift)
Pinch grip holds with plates
Accumulation of time in a relaxed hang off the rig

Bring on the strength cycle and let’s put in the work 🙂 !


Wednesday Oly Club

1) Hang Power clean
3 x 2@75-82.5%

2) Front squat
3 x 2@80-90% or RPE 8-9
1 x 1@90-95%

3)Jerk dip+ Split jerk
3 x 1+1@75-80% or RPE 7-8

4) Clean Pulls
3 x 2@RPE9
1 x 1@RPE9

5) Hamstring curls
3 x failure

Sunday Oly Club

1) Hang Pull + Hang snatch (off blocks)
4 x 2@ 70-80% or RPE 7-8

2) Back squats
2 x 2@80-85% or RPE 8-9
2 x 1@90-95% or RPE 9

3) Snatch pulls
3 x 2@RPE 9
1 x 1 @RPE 9

4) Pull ups
3 x 5-10

5) Tricep work
3 sets

Tips to make one of the coolest raw strength barbell movements EVEN better – Coach Misty

There are numerous philosophies around barbell movements on how to create a better movement pattern and what will give optimal results for strength and performance. A lot of this is followed up by principles and a lot is opinion. The below are tips that will help regardless if you follow the “Strong fit” philosophy, “Powerlifting” the “Chinese weightlifting method” etc. Please always remember too, that you as an individual have different levers to the person next to you, so a tip that helps a tiny human boss their deadlift may need to be tweaked for a much longer human ☺

The process

This is a deadlift– NOT a SQUAT: when you bend down to set your hands on the bar, bend your legs only enough to grasp the bar
Shins to touch the bar– you want that bad boy as close as possible to you
Arms to hang straight down from the shoulders ideally (this may be impacted by your height though)
Neutral spine! I.e. look at a spot on the floor about 2metres ahead of you
Get Braced! Make sure when that bar leaves the floor your abs and lats are tight, i.e. imagine what you would do if you were about to be punched in the stomach and needed to absorb the force ☺ If you are unsure how to brace your lats, next time you are in your deadlift starting position, call over a mate or me ☺ and get them to karate chop you in the lat a few times, you will defo learn how to tense them ☺
Hips and back lockout at the same time- do not let those leg lockout first as then you finish the pull with your back
At lockout stand tall, squeeze that butt and DO NOT hyperextend- no one cares about the “hips through- valid CrossFit rep mentality”
Hips initiate the decent – this is a hinge movement- NOT a SQUAT
Don’t crash the knees as you descend – keep tension in those hamstrings the whole you are tight and ready for that next rep

The start

There are different ways to start your deadlift, a “static start” which is how most of you start, where you set yourself up, fix your back, your knees, get a good firm grip, loosen your neck, tighten your back, think, focus and then drive those feet into the floor and deadlift. Many Pro’s do this start and a great bit of advice from Mark Chaillet (a deadlift champ) is “Put 100 pounds of tension on the bar before blasting off”

One could also do a “drive start”. Lamar Gant (who was the first man to do a 5x bodyweight deadlift) was a fan of getting tight standing up, then slowly fight his way against his muscle tension down to the bar, as soon as he reached the bar he would quickly set his grip and go!

There is also a “rocking start” which is a smidge more complicated, but you need to find what works best for you. If you have never tried to get tight at the top of a deadlift before going, why not give it a go with a lightweight, see if it feels better for you.

Power leakage

There are many areas in the process above where you can lose power in your deadlift, and hopefully, we can start to plug some of them ☺

Feet: You need strong stabilising muscles in your paws to not lose power as your feet start the drive of your deadlift. See Tuesday nights blog for some accessory work to help build strength in your feet, hamstrings and glutes 🙂
strong>Knees: These guys should not pop back too soon, or re-bend before finishing the pull. This would mean you stopped pushing with your feet too soon. We are required to keep tension in our quads and calves in order to help the hamstrings and glutes bring this lift home. Keep thinking that you are pressing your feet harder and harder into the ground. Yuri Vlasov (another amazing powerlifter) use to say that his feet burned from the pressure during his pulls
Hips: Don’t let that bum pop up first! This is your body switching to plan b and going with the path of least resistance and greater leverage. And although you may think this feels easier, it’s harder to lockout and also makes the back do most of the work, which we DON’T want. A tip from Louie Simmons- “In a deadlift, get tension in the hands and hamstrings /glutes. If you feel tension only in the hands, you are about to lift only with your back; if in your lower body, it means you are trying to squat the weight”
Lumbar spine: If your back starts rounding as the bar leaves the ground you are leaking strength and also about to be told off and have to drop weight by the coach.
Thoracic spine: No matter how much flexion you start with, once that bar starts moving it MAY NOT increase any more. As long as it stays the same, we are doing ok.
Scapulae: We need to take the slack out of the bar and un-shrug those shoulders. So create tension through the back, abs, lats and pull that bar into us
Fingers: GRIP is sooo important, make sure that bar is firmly in your hand and not starting in your fingertips

The above are a few of many points to remember when you deadlift and how to become more powerful. There is a lot of information out there, so please chat to your coaches before you start trying something fancy you read about or watched on youtube/Instagram ☺

If you find that your deadlift has plateaued, try the above tips, but also try to figure out where you are losing power. Although to get better at deadlifting, you need to deadlift ☺ There may be an area of weakness that you can work on that will help you get that PB you are after. Look out for Tuesday blog for some accessory work that can help improve this awesome lift 🙂

Sources: Power Athlete, Deadlift Dynamite, The CrossFit Journal


Monday

A) Back Squat
A1)
5 Sets of 5 @80% of heavy set of 5 from testing week!
I want these to have 60-90 seconds rest between sets.
A2) Superset with: 8/8 Kneeling Presses

B) 15 Min AMRAP
100m Sprint
Max Rep Strict Pull Ups

Tuesday

Classic CrossFit

A) Snatch, 10 Min EMOM
2 Power Snatch (Building)

B) Partner Workout (You do a set, I do a set)
6 sets (3 each):

50 Double Under (or 100 single under)
10 Sandbag Clean 60/40kg (Or Power Clean 70/50kg)

Target Time each set: sub 2:30
Time Cap each set: 4:00

MetCon

5 Rounds
30 Wall Balls 9/6kg
15/12 Cal Assault Bike
30 DB Bench Press 22/16kg
15/12 Cal Assault Bike
– Rest 1:00 –

Wednesday

Classic CrossFit

A) 3 sets

30/24-20/16-10/8

Cal Row

20-15-10

Deficit Push Up


Deficit increases within each set: 20s no deficit, 15s with 15/10 plate, 10s with 15+5/10+5kg


-Rest 3:00 b/t sets-

Target Time each set: sub 6:00

Time Cap each set: 9:00

B) Accessory
3×15
 Elevated Ring Row (Use moderate difficult Box height)

Thursday

Classic CrossFit

A) Superset for 3 Sets of:
Bulgarian Split Squats , 3 Sets of 8 per side
Bent Over Rows , 3 Sets of 7 @70-100% of BW

B) 15 Min Amrap:
1 Rope Climb
5 Front Squats 85/60kg
10 Toes To Bar

MetCon

For Time:
2000m Row/Ski
200 Double Unders
100 DB Thrusters 16/12kg

Friday

Classic CrossFit

A) 5 Sets of:
Deadlift 5 @80% of Last weeks 5 Rep Max
Bench Press 5 @80% of Most Recent 5 RM
-90 Seconds Rest

B) 12-9-6-3
DB Hang Power Cleans 32/22kg
Box Jumps 24/20″

Saturday

Team Vibes
Buy In:
100 Chest To Bar Pull Ups

30/24 Cal. Assault Bike
20 Power Cleans 100/70kg
30/24 Cal. Assault Bike
16 Power Cleans
30/24 Cal. Assault Bike
12 Power Cleans

Events – Movement 101 Come To Thames!

New Strength Cycle!

Hey Team!

Just a little reminder for you that our 8 Week Strength Cycle is kicking off on MONDAY! Whoop whoop!

As ever we will be focusing on the main lifts. Squat, Deadlifts and presses! We are spending a lot of time on our Pull ups too so if you are looking to improve your pull up strength then this cycle is going to be golden! Even if you don’t have them but want them then MAKE sure you come in! Don’t avoid it because you “can’t”. Wanting to be better is natural and who we are as a community. Avoiding it because I’m not as good as I want to be is silly. No silliness. 😛 Let’s get to work!

You don’t need to do anything but show up and put in the work and the rest will take care of itself. This was just a reminder to get you pumped! 🙂

Movement 101


We are hosting the ninja Brian from Movement 101 based in Ireland. These guys are full of knowledge at helping people recover range of motion and stability where most will just tell you are “tight” and to “roll” it out. Be it an athlete or desk jockey dealing with tightness and stiffness then these guys are the ones to give you the tools you need to get back to prime time movement patterns. – Head Coach Milo

Looking to train & move better?
Sick of stiff & tight muscles?
Want to enhance your sports performance?
Want to take ownership of your body?
Athletes, Gym goers, Personal Trainers, Physical therapists.
Or simply someone who wants to move better…

This workshop is for YOU.

This workshop will educate & empower you to take real ownership of your body.
Key areas such as Shoulders / Spine / Hips & Feet will be covered along with much much more.
You will leave with practical skills that you can implement into your training & lifestyle immediately. To keep you moving & feeling great for life.
You will receive instructional videos of everything covered in the workshop. A program you will have access to for life.

The course is from 1200 until 1600 on Saturday the 21st of March!
Hit the button below to sing up!
Mobility 101 Seminar!

CrossFitters & Oly Meets! – Ryan and Joe’s Oly Lifting Experience!

Two of our 6am’ers Joe and Ryan recently took part in their first Weightlifting meet over at LOWA. Weightlifting competitions test 1 rep maximums in the Snatch and Clean and Jerk and each lifter gets a maximum of 3 lifts per movement in which the heaviest of each lift are added together to create their “Total” for the competition.

As we all love a good bit of weightlifting I thought it would be cool to get a little insight into the goings-on and preparation of a Weightlifting meet.

Here are their experiences!

1. What made you sign up for a Weightlifting competition?

Ryan: I decided to give it a go for experience purpose only, often in crowds and adrenaline I find my lifts excel better & hit a much higher 1rep then I would on a normal training day, however, the main reason was for personal growth on coming out of my comfort zone of everyday training!

Joe: Ryan sent me the link via social media along with one of my goals for 2020 being to experience more competitions and this competition allowed me to test my Oly ability under pressure. Also, it would help me identify my strengths and weaknesses and then translate them into my CrossFit/Oly training.

2. How did you prepare leading up to the event? Did you alter any of your training to prepare for your event, or just put your trust in Crossfit?

Ryan: I stuck with my normal CrossFit, I had a couple of days of technique work leading up to it, but I didn’t want to get my head around changing anything or overthinking something in the lead-up.

Joe: The lead up to the event was balanced. It was my very first competition in the world of Oly/CrossFit so my main goal was to have fun and anything else was a bonus. The week leading up to the event was more relaxed in regards to effort in classes but still moving and feeling good. I did some drills throughout the week focusing on how to warm up for the Oly lifts along with working up to my opening weights per lift in my PT with Milo. So, I didn’t want to be a classic case of fail to prepare, prepare to fail but also didn’t want to stress too much about my expectations etc.

3. How did you feel going into the event?

Ryan: At first I was ok, then I realised I was needed to pee a lot, then I had butterfly’s … so I knew I wanted to do well!

Joe: Honestly, I was more relaxed than expected throughout the week and then boom Saturday morning came haha. The journey to the event consisted with me saying to Ryan I’m chill but having a mini movie in my mind of how I wanted it to go vs second guessing about something I had no control over haha.

4. You had to weigh in for your event, what did you do prior to the competition regarding nutrition and what did you weigh in at?

Ryan: I weighed in at 68.2, which was the lightest guy there!  I kept my nutrition the same as it wasn’t a focus for me and Sinead to tailor towards this meet, I just ensured I woke up and had my morning breakfast shake, as soon as I weighed in I ate all my food.

Joe: Luckily, I have the best support and approach to nutrition I could ask for via Sinead and knew I was always in safe hands even if the competition was for fun! I stuck to the usual calories throughout the week with the only change being a little less intake in regards to food/water Saturday morning until weigh-in and then indulged in some carbs and protein but most importantly stay hydrated after having little water in the morning. I weighed in at 72kg which is my usual body weight when not competing so happy days.

5. What were you opening weights and how did you choose them?

Ryan: I opened with a 77 snatch & 103C&J, I picked weights that I knew I would be able to hit & leave room for the ability to have movement up from there!

Joe: This was the tricky part with my little knowledge on approaching a Weightlifting competition. However, I had tons of support as always from Milo and Ryan which helped when finding out what I can hit without a doubt and what my end goal was by attempt 3 for each lift. Here are my numbers for each lift attempt:

Snatch – Attempt 1 – 55kg, Attempt 2 – 65kg (matched PB), Attempt 3 – 68kg (new PB)

Clean & Jerk – Attempt 1 – 85kg, Attempt 2 – 95kg (matched PB), Attempt 3 – 96kg (new PB)

6. How did you warm up for each lift?

Ryan: I focused a lot on an empty barbell, a lot of snatch high pulls, muscle snatch then snatch balance to help me shift under the bar with speed.
With the clean and jerk, I was a tad naughty and warmed up with 70KG straight from my snatch

Joe:  My warm-up consisted of the same drills when at Thames in PT’s and Oly classes. For example, empty bar high pulls, hang snatch/cleans, below the knee snatch/cleans, overhead squats, front squats, split jerks etc. Once I felt super warm with the empty bar I continued to add a little weight until I reached close to my opening attempts per lift, So, 50kg for Snatch and 80kg for Clean & Jerk.

7. How did you feel stepping on to the platform for the first time?

Ryan: Awkward actually, CrossFit is known for being loud and supportive, you can hear your team whilst you’re on the comp floor and they are at the side, however, there was minimal music, no one was talking and it was all eyes on you! It was a very different experience to the competitions I have done before!

Joe:  Full of fear…but that’s natural and I knew what it was and didn’t let it control me, I did my best to control it. My mind wanted me to look around at how other people warmed up, the weight they lifted and whether the guy just before me made his lift or not but that wouldn’t have helped me and my performance. I made sure I took my time when setting up with my foot placement, hand placement and focused on an object in the distance rather than the people sitting down in front of me. Deep breath, 3, 2, 1…go haha.

8. How did it go?

Ryan: I managed to hit an 80kg snatch & 107kg C&J, which I was pretty happy with, both so close to my highest numbers so I’m proud of myself!

Joe: It went amazingly and I’m still smiling now haha. My main goal of having fun was achieved and lots of bonuses came along too with PB’s etc. I was super happy I got 6 successful lifts but overall, I was happy with my performance under pressure because growing up in various sports or any event I would let fear take over and dwell but that’s what CrossFit and everyone at Thames has taught me over the last year. Have confidence in yourself and that you’re good enough whatever the outcome.

9. Would you do it again?

Ryan: Not anytime soon, maybe towards the end of the year to see how I’ve progressed from the start of 2020!

Joe: 100% yeah man, they do it every quarter but even if I did it annually it would be just great to continue to learn and grow.

10. What piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to do a Weightlifting competition?

Ryan: Remember it’s not CrossFit, it’s not something that’s done at 100mph, your technique matters as soon as you touch that bar & have confidence in your mind & body!

Joe: My advice to someone thinking about competing at a weightlifting competition would be to challenge yourself of just signing up and showing up. Because If we don’t face fear and decide to stay comfortable we’ll never grow in all aspects whether that’s life or training.


Wednesday Oly Club

1) Hang Pull + Hang snatch (off blocks)
4 x 2@ 70-80% or RPE 7-8

2) Back squats
2 x 2@80-85% or RPE 8-9
2 x 1@85-90% or RPE 8-9

3) Snatch pulls
3 x 2@RPE 9
1 x 1 @RPE 9

4) Pull ups
3 x 5-10

5) Tricep work
3 sets

Sunday Oly Club

1) Hang Power clean
3 x 2@75-82.5%

2) Front squat
3 x 1@80-90% or RPE 8-9

3)Jerk dip+ Split jerk
3 x 1+1@75-80% or RPE 7-8

4) Clean Pulls
3 x 2@RPE9
1 x 1@RPE9

5) Hamstring curls
3 x failure

Farewell Coach Dan…aka Mr Fitness

It makes us so sad to write this and to make it super official, but we are coming into the last two weeks with Coach Dan being here every day at Thames 🙁

Dan and Jorge are off on a great adventure first to Spain and then to the USA.
Coach Dan has been part of CrossFit Thames since just a smidge before my time, first as a rockstar member, then an intern and now as Coach Dan, aka Mr Fitness.

Fitness, thank you for being an amazing friend and teammate first, a supportive and encouraging coach next and finally a patient, dependable and amazing colleague.

I’m so excited for your next adventure but it’s hard to not be bleak at losing such an incredible soul from our community. You will always be a part of the Thames Family, and I know you will stay in touch because you are never getting rid of us 🙂

Please join us on Saturday 29 Feb at 10 am for Coach Dan’s aka Mr Fitness’s farewell WOD.

He will still be coaching up until Wednesday the 4th. Thursday the 5th, 6 am class will be his last workout. So if you can’t make Saturday, come sweat it out with him at his original training timeslot with the 6 am crew and Head Coach Milo.

We love you Mr Fitness!


Hey Team!
Also, don’t forget this week is bring a friend week for you all!

If you want to bring someone then all you need to do is send an email to Misty@crossfitthames.com with their info so we can set them up before they start the class etc and you will be good to go 🙂

Enjoy! 🙂

Monday

Partner Workout

50-40-30-20-10


Russian Kettlebell Swing 24/16kg

Burpee

Assault Bike Calorie/Ski

Target Time:Sub 30:00

Time Cap: 45:00

Tuesday

Classic CrossFit

Teams of 3
200 Cal. Assault Bike/Ski
150 Pull Ups
100 Burpee Box Jump Overs 24/20″

MetCon

For Time:
800m Run
27 Burpees
800m Run
21 Burpees
800m Run
15 Burpees
800m Run
9 Burpees

Wednesday

Classic CrossFit

Every 3 mins (6 sets)
18/14 Cals of Choice
12 Toes to bar
Max Squat Cleans 82.5/57.5kg (friend would be Max front or goblet squats 🙂 )

– Rest 1 min b/t sets –

Scored by total squat cleans

Thursday

Classic CrossFit

2 sets
1000m Ski/Row
50 Push Ups
500m Ski/Row
25 Bench Press 70/47.5kg

– rest 5 mins b/t sets-

MetCon

Every 4 minutes, for 32 minutes
(8 sets) for times:

15/10 Calories of Assault Bike
10 Burpees
15/10 Calories of Assault Bike

Friday

Classic CrossFit

Teams of 2!
3 rounds


50 Wall ball 9/6kg
50 Cal Ski/Row/AD

50 Box Step Ups 24/20 (1×22/16kg dumbbell)


-rest 5:00-


3 rounds

50 V-Up (or 30 Toes to bar)
50 cal/ski/row/ AD
50 Double Under (or 100 single under)


Saturday

Teams of 2
With a running clock:

@ 3..2..1.. go!
100/80 Cal. Row
30 Syncro Bar Facing Burpees

@ 8:00
100/80 Cal. Ski
30 Syncro BFB

@ 16:00
100/80Cal. Assault Bike
30 Syncro BFB

* 7 min Time Cap each workout, Split calories up as needed*

What’s going down?!

Hey Team!

Just a few reminders for you all in what you can get involved with at the moment with the gym!

Competition Class This Saturday!


On Saturday we are bringing back and improving on our Competition Class! We are doing this once every month going forward. Specific dates will vary from month to month based on Competitions and other goings-on 🙂

If you want to get involved with this one we have coming up then you can jump in this Saturday! It’s £15 for members for the 90Min class. Running from 0830 till 1000.

You can read more here! or sign up using the button below 🙂

Sign Up

Bring a friend Week!


Just a reminder for you all who want to bring your super best non-CrossFit Thames friend down to try out some classes then you can do! From the 24th of February till the 1st of March you can bring your friends down to any class for FREE! All we ask is that you email Misty with their details so we can get them set up. (Mist@crossfitthames.com)

If they have done CrossFit before then amazing if they haven’t then fear not! The WODs are “simple” so they won’t be facing too complex movements etc and as Coaches, as you all know, we can change anything as needed to better suit their needs for the day.

Beyond the WOD!


On Friday the 28th we have our first Beyond the workout session of the year. For those that don’t know, Beyond the WOD is our big open skill session. We get as many coaches down as we can and we have a set few skills we work on in groups with Coaches breaking it down for you to go through the progressions for you to hopefully get on the evening and if not then give you the skills to take away and work on to get it locked in!

This skill session will be Pull Based.
So we will be going over the Pull up in all its variations
Strict (improving it and or building towards it if you haven’t got one yet!)
Kipping Pull up (how-to and making it more effective)
Butterfly (Going from caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly! -This joke was brought to you by Bridget 😛 )

We will also be going over the bar Muscle Up again as it has been requested a fair bit and it will be coming up a lot in the next cycle along with a lot of Pull-ups so prep yourselves now! 🙂

If you guys want a certain skill then there will be a vote going on right now in the Facebook group! Make sure you get involved if you want to see something in particular. If we don’t get to it then we can work it into our next session!

When is it?
Friday the 28th. It will be from 1800 till 1930. Hit the button below to sign up so we know who to expect!

Please Sign Up Here!

We plan on doing a little parter WOD at the end of the session too so you can still get a little extra sweat on if you want to before leaving! Huzzah!

Lemon Raspberry Bake – Nutrition Coach Sinead

Happy stomach kinda breakfast/snack

Last Sunday I chatted on my difficulty with my Gut and shared a Feed.Fuel.Perform blog post by Dr Sinead Roberts on the importance of Gut health. The below is one of the recipes that Sinead had designed with me in mind to help fuel my day but also keep my stomach happy. It’s also her way to try sneak banana into my diet (I hate them, like hate them!)
Give it a go! It’s a great breakfast, I like to heat mine up before having it with my coffee in the morn. Also easy to have if you battle eating first thing 🙂 – Coach Misty

Macros:

Protein 11
Fat 5
Carbs 30

Lemon Raspberry Bake (serves 10)
Ingredients:

600g tinned chickpeas, drained
400g ripe banana
60g almonds or pecans, chopped
200g fresh or frozen raspberries (other berries would work too!)
80g honey
2 scoops vanilla / caramel protein powder
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking powder

Method:

Blitz the chickpeas, banana and lemon juice in a blender until smooth
Tip into a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients except the berries and stir until combined
Fold in the berries until just combined.
Pour the mixture into a lined baking tin and bake in a preheated oven at 160 celsius for 35 mins, until golden and crispy on top and still soft inside.
Turn on to a wire rack to cool, store in an airtight container in the fridge and eat within 5 days. These also freeze well, for longer storage!


Wednesday Oly Club

1) Below the knee Hang power clean
3 x 2@80% or RPE 7/8

2) Front squats
3 x 2@80-85%

3) 3 pos clean deadlift

3 x 2
4) BTN Split jerk + Split jerk
3 x 1+1@75-80%

5) Chin ups
3 x 5-10

Sunday Oly Club

1) Power snatch + BTK Hang power Snatch
3 x 2@ 70-75%

2) Snatch balance
3 x 2@RPE 8

3) Back squat
3 x 2@80-85%

4)Landmine press
3 x 6/8

5) Hamstring curls
3 x failure.