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Reflecting on The Open Season

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For most CrossFitters it is the time of year where many are left wondering “now what?”.

The CrossFit Open has been a test of your fitness, application to training and lifestyle. For some, CrossFit is their chosen sport. Apart from the top 1 percent, the season is over. However, most participants are not doing CrossFit with the goal of making it to the big stage in Carson Madison (see what I did there), or even to Regionals. We are doing CrossFit because we want to get fitter so that we can enjoy life OUTSIDE of the gym more. In case you didn’t know, the heart of CrossFit as a fitness program is achieving longevity and increasing your fitness across a variety of domains for the rest of your life.

So regardless of your goal, if your “season” is over it is time to reflect and then seek direction. The following 5 activities are a map for how you can go from thoughts to conception to action.

Reflect on your purpose: fitness for fun or performance?

More than ever I think it is important for GW CrossFit members to get clarity on CrossFit the Sport vs CrossFit the fitness program. To simplify it, here are two definitions to consider:

Competitor:  someone who is trying to win or do better than all others especially in business or sports: someone who is competing.

Health:  the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit; especially freedom from physical disease or pain.

We love informal competition within our gym and we will always support members who are intrinsically motivated to take competition seriously and wish to train for higher levels of CrossFit as a sport. However, I encourage everyone to reflect on whether being a competitor is what is truly important to them or if health is the real priority. As coaches, we want to help you with your individual approach to fitness and ensure that your training, nutrition and lifestyle is aligned with your “why”.

 

Sit quietly

I wish to encourage all members to set aside time and unplug so that they can reflect effectively. Sitting alone may not be for everyone, so try going for a hike or long walk. Doing this by yourself, without your phone, can be life changing. It will allow you to be present and deload from the emotional and physical stress from The Open and life in general.

 

Communicate & plan for the future

Once you’ve collected your thoughts share them with your coach and others. Verbalising them leads to listening to yourself and greater awareness. With your coach, you can then plan for action. Having a written plan attached to your SMART goals and the accountability of a coach is the optimal way for you to ensure progress.

 

Have fun – learn and play with new sports

The final sentence in CrossFit creator Greg Glassman’s classic “fitness in 100 words” is so often ignored. The beauty of our constantly varied functional fitness program is that you are increasing your capacity across so many areas: stronger, more skilled, more coordinated and increased stamina. Get out of the gym and play with these capabilities. You’ll be surprised at how this can be a re-investment back into your training.

 

 

A CrossFit Dictionary For Everyone

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If you’re new to CrossFit or you’re just starting to look into it then let us help you out with our unique language!

We’ve compiled a list of terms and acronyms plus their meaning so you will sound like an “OG Firebreather”.

Affiliate – owners of CrossFit gyms.

Air Squat – squat without weights. See definition of squat.

AMRAP – As Many Repetitions/Rounds As Possible. Typically in a specified timeframe.

As Rx’d – As Prescribed. The suggested parameters for a given exercise. Ex. Weight

Ass to Grass/Ground (ATG) – getting as low as possible when doing front, back, or air squats.

Back Squat – squat with barbell on you back. See definition of squat.

Beast – a complimentary term used to describe a badass athlete.

Box – Name of CrossFit gyms.

Box Jump – an exercise where you jump onto and down from an elevated platform

Burpee – Gymnastic move that you drop to the ground, do a push-up, jump into a squat and then jump.

BW – body weight

C&J – Clean and Jerk. Lifting movement of moving weight to rack position (clean) and then moving weight above head (jerk).

C2 – Concept 2 rowing machine

CFT – CrossFit Total. The combined weight of your max squat, press, deadlift.

Chalk – Helps with grip

Chipper – a workout with many reps and many movements. You chip away at it.

Clean  – Motion of moving weight from ground to rack position.

Coach – title of CrossFit trainer.

CrossFit – The Sport of Fitness

CrossFitter – any person who does CrossFit

CrossFit Games – Annual CrossFit competition championship.

CrossFit Journal – CrossFit’s internal publication featuring information on workouts, movements, stories, and news. Annual subscription allows unlimited access.

CrossFit Open – Initial round of the CrossFit Games. Open to any who completes

CrossFit Regionals – regional qualifying competitions for CrossFit Games

C2B – Chest to bar pull up. Pull body up so that chest crosses the bar.

DFL – Dead Effing Last

DNF – Did not finish

DNS – Did not start

DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Double Unders – Two turns of the jump rope per jump.

EMOM – Every Minute on the Minute

Fran Lung – name for hacking cough and lung-burning sensation one sometimes gets after a particularly hard workout.

Front Squat – squat with barbell in the “Rack position”. See definition of squat.

Firebreather – a top-notch athlete

GHD – Glute-Hamstring Developer.

GHR – Glute-Hamstring Raise

Girl Workout – Naming structure by CrossFit HQ for WOD’s

Globo Gym – Term for traditional gyms

Goat – Movement or lift that you are not good at.

Gorilla – Someone who is able to muscle through workouts

GPP – General physical preparedness

Greg Glassman – Founder of CrossFit

Hang Snatch or Clean – Olympic Lift. Barbell starts by hanging from your hips between mid-thigh and knee.

Hero WODs – Naming structure by CrossFit HQ for WOD’s honouring those who have fallen in the line of duty

HQ – Refers to CrossFit Headquarters

HSPU – Handstand Push Up

Humility – Trait every CrossFitter should possess.

K2E – Knees to Elbows. While hanging from pull up bar, raise knees up to touch your elbows.

KB – Kettlebell, a common CrossFit weighted implement

Kipping – a dynamic motion to help use momentum to complete a pull up, muscle up or HSPU

MetCon – Metabolic Conditioning

Muscle Up – A combination of pull-up and ring dip

Overhead Squat – squat with barbell held overhead. See definition of squat.

Paleo Diet – following a diet routine of only eating what paleolithic humans ate. Diet excludes any grains and processed food.

PB – Personal Best

Pull Up – Bar is held with palms facing you (supinated grip). Pull body up to where chin crosses the bar. 

Pistol – One-legged squat.

Power Clean – Olympic lift. Barbell starts on the ground and end in the rack position. See definition of clean.

Power Snatch – Olympic Lift. Barbell starts on the ground and ends up overhead. See definition of squat.

 PB – Personal Best. Highest number of reps or fastest time attained at completing a specific WOD.

Pukie the Clown –  The need to vomit after a workout.

Push Jerk – while holding barbell in rack position, slightly squat down and lift weight above head.

Push Press – while holding barbell in rack position, lift weight above head. 

Rack Position – Bar resting on you collar bone and anterior deltoids support by hands.

Rep – A repetition or instance of a given exercise.

Rest Day – a necessary component for recovery

RM – Repetition maximum. The most you can lift for a given number of repetitions.

ROM – Range of motion

RomWOD – Mobility and stretching work

Rope Climb – staple CrossFit workout.

Score – denotes number of total reps completed during workout

Set – a group of repetitions

Snatch (SN) – Olympic lift. Hang Snatch, Power Snatch, Squat Snatch

Squat – feet shoulder width apart with feet angled slightly outward. Keeping upper body rigid, bend at the knees lowering upper body in straight line.

Squat Snatch – Olympic lift. Barbell starts on the ground and ends up in the overhead squat position.  See definition of squat.

Stabilise the Midline – Controlling the muscles around the spine to make it stable and strong during exercise

Tabata – A protocol of 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. Named after Dr. Tabata.

Thrusters – Hold barbell in rack position, drop down in squat position with barbell in rack position, return to standing position in exploding motion, pushing the barbell over you head.

Toes to Bar (T2B) – while hanging from a pull up bar, bring toes up to bar.

Touch and Go (TnG) – No pausing between reps

Unbroken – UB. Perform all workouts in a row or start over at the beginning.

Wall Balls – Using a medicine ball, drop into a front squat position and stand up using the momentum to push the ball to hit a target on the wall.

WOD – “Workout of the Day.” Series of exercises or number of reps for a timed workout

A quick guide to better HSPU

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With only two events remaining in the 2017 CrossFit Open it is very likely that we will see Handstand Push Ups (HSPU) soon. For some of you this will be quite daunting. For the more experienced athlete, very efficient HSPU can be a separator.

There are two variants of the HSPU: strict and kipping. The following tips will help you establish prowess in both.

  • Establish a good base: strength & stability first

It is very important that we have strict movement in our gymnastics ability before we start adding dynamic momentum to the exercise. By having an adequate base of strength and quality movement patterns we ensures that the shoulders can handle kipping and that we are strong enough to control our movement rather than just dropping from the top of the movement.

If you do not have the strength to perform Strict HSPU yet, then various static holds and pressing drills will need to be progressively overloaded to obtain the required capacity. For example, progressively building the barbell strict press, dumbbell Z-press, hollow & arch positions plus plenty of handstand holds on the wall would form a good foundation for obtaining your first HSPU.

  • Tripod Position

Correct hand and head position at the bottom of the HSPU is often misunderstood. Your hands make the base of a triangle. Your head makes the top of the triangle. Don’t worry too much about how wide your hands are as long as you can see your hands while in the tripod position. Keep your forearms vertical, stacked on top of your wrists.

  • The Kip

Once you’ve progressed from Strict HSPU to Kipping HSPU there are a few keys that will make it fast and easier to get through higher volume of reps. First, think of the Kipping HSPU like a Push Press: you are using the moment from the hips to drive yourself up. The timing of the push from the arms needs to be synchronised with the drive (kip) of the hips. Set up about 30-35cm away from the wall in your tripod position. Bring your knees to your elbows and establish a flat back. Keep your head and eyes neutral (keep your gaze here as you complete your HSPU). Explosively drive your hips up as you simultaneously extend your arms into the handstand. While exploding your hips up, squeeze you chest through to been in a full lockout.

Start by implementing these tips and practice the progressions each time you see HSPU in a WOD. Remember, strict BEFORE kipping. We will have a follow up video with more cues on how to become more efficient with Cycling Kipping HSPU soon!

Coach Leigh

CrossFit | Strength & Conditioning | Personal Training

GW Performance

South Yarra

Mobility Monday | Ep10 | Half-kneeling rec-fem stretch

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Today’s episode will be covering one of my favourite stretches for knee, and lower back pain.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • The quads are categorised into four separate muscles; vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, rectus femoris and vastus lateralis.
  • Rec fem (rectus femoris) is critical to keep mobile as it crosses the knee and hip aiding in knee extension and hip flexion.

CUES FOR THE DRILL:

  •  As mentioned in the video, keep the glutes locked on and don’t compensate with lack of hip extension with lumber extension.
  • Keep tension through your “core” which will also help resist against excessive extension through the spine.

 

I hope this easy and effective stretch can help you to keep performing happily and healthy!

Dylan Jones

CrossFit | Strength & Conditioning | Personal Training

GW Performance

South Yarra

 

 

The Open Guide – Mindset

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There are many factors that contribute to athletes’ success. First and foremost, you must be in the right mindset to compete and achieve your full potential. If your mental game is off or if you lack planning then even an Event that has your unique strengths in it could go wrong.

Here are some tips to help you best prepare and stay focused for each event.

Warm up your mind

Whether you call it meditation, visualisation or mental priming you should set aside 10 minutes to get your head in the game. Most elite athletes promote  the use of visualisation and can endorse its help with their performance. Visualising can help athletes who struggle with self doubt, fear of failure, competition nerves, etc. It is one of the most under used tools in competitive sports. Combine this with deep diaphragmatic breathing and your nervous system will be firing on all cylinders before that call of “3-2-1-GO!”.

Focus on you and your effort.

There isn’t anything you can do to control what your opponent is doing in a competition. The only thing you can control is yourself and how you tackle an event. Be aware of your competitors, particularly in the dying moments of an event, to help you push for the final few reps. However,  satisfaction will come from the knowledge that you competed with maximum intensity and a well executed plan. Know your pace, stay in your lane and push the limits when the time is right.

Stay away from the chalk bucket and water bottle.

Too many athletes will use the chalk bucket or a drink as a reason to take a break. Trust me, you don’t need it. View going to the chalk as an opportunity for another athlete to pass you by. Prepare yourself by chalking your barbell, pull up bar or dumbbells pre-event. Have a towel to keep your arms & hands dry so there’s less need for chalk. Make sure you are hydrated well before the workout. If you truly need something then keep it close by (e.g. chalk on a J-hook under your pull up station) in order to keep transition time fast.

Positive postures

Do you like to rest with you hands on their knees, head looking down at the floor while you gasp for air? Do you like to tell the whole gym mid-workout about how hard you’re finding it? If so, think about the time that you’ve performed your best. It doesn’t even have to be fitness related. Were you whinging about something then? The moments in which we accomplish maximum potential are going to be when we are in a positive mental and physical flow state. So rather than wasting your energy on  negative drama,  when you need to take a short rest or miss a rep, practice standing tall, keeping your eyes open and taking big, calming breaths. You’re much more likely to maintain focus and get back to executing your game plan.

 

By applying just these four things, you will see a major improvement in your performance!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Open Guide.

Good luck out there. Whatever your purpose is for participating in the Open I hope it is fulfilled.

Coach Leigh

CrossFit | Strength & Conditioning | Personal Training

GW Performance

South Yarra

The Open Guide – Recovery

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So far in our guide we have talked about how to tackle training and nutrition for the 5-6 week season. The time frame is the longest competition period in CrossFit (GW Strength & Conditioning athletes are likely to be in the same boat) and those who can feel both mentally and physically fresh each event have the best chance at success.
If you want to express your fitness to your highest level then you need to pay attention to recovery.
 
Unfortunately there isn’t a magic pill to save you from the fatigue and muscle soreness that will no doubt come after you push yourself thanks to the excitement of competition and crowd support. However, there are few easy things you can do to help you recover faster and are proven to aid performance across any length of season:
Post event
  • Cool down: immediately after you crush an Open workout, spend 5-10 minutes doing steady state, low intensity cyclical work. It’s a great way to restore bloody flow to your entire body whilst providing a very low aerobic stimulus.
  • Hot/cold hydrotherapy: GW athletes, if you haven’t experienced the benefits of our ice bath then this is the time to bite the bullet. Although it can be a little uncomfortable to begin with, ice baths can reduce perceived fatigue and soreness which will make you feel better. Feeling better is BETTER.
  • Eat & hydrate! I know you read yesterday’s nutrition article so there isn’t much to add here.

During the week

  • Active recovery: Adding 1 or 2 weekly 30 – 60 minute sessions of low intensity (heart rate below 75% or so, while maintaining a rhythmic breathing pattern) activity in a relevant setting (stay within your sport during competition) is a fantastic way to speed up your recovery and to improve your conditioning.
  • Avoid movement redundancy: thankfully your coach will do this for you, but if the first Event has mega-shit-tonne of burpees in it, guess what? You don’t need to do burpees for the following week. Train smart, let the muscle groups and movement patterns that are of primary focus in one event get some rest during the following week of training.
  • Mobilise, prehab and movement training: Quality training allows you to compete well each week. Restore ROM with mobility and proper warm up drills. Complete your injury prevention work every day. Above all else, move with purpose ON PURPOSE.
 One last thing….
Whilst it is too late now to make any serious jumps in capacity, there is something you can do today and over the season to ensure peak performance:
SLEEP

As Jami Tikkanen, coach of many CrossFit Games athletes, says:

Your body recovers its neurotransmitters, repletes energy sources, repairs tissues, renews immune system, releases growth- hormone, etc. all during your sleep. Insufficient (in quality or quantity) sleep means reduced brain, physical and immune function. Not enough sleep = poor performance and reduced ability to adapt to training stimulus (never mind poor health). Quite simply, great athletes sleep well, and you should too.

You will need 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep per night. Here are some tips to help you clock up the ZZZZZZ’s:

  • Cool your room to 15-19 degrees
  • Keep your room as dark as possible – blackout blinds and no lights
  • NO ELECTRONICS – unplug yourself from the Matrix
  • Wash your sheets, covers, etc weekly

A lot of these tips will actually benefit everyone year round. Compeition is a great time to develop habits. I challenge you to make a lifestyle goal to take on one of our tips, for example sleeping 7.5 hours every night, for the length of the Open and see how it can transform your performance in and out of the gym.

Part 4 of our guide comes out tomorrow and it is centred on the most important muscle of all: the one between your ears.

Coach Leigh

CrossFit | Strength & Conditioning | Personal Training

GW Performance

South Yarra

The Open Guide – Nutrition

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We are one sleep closer to the Open. Yesterday we discussed how to focus your training and concentrate your efforts on peaking for each event attempt. Today we want to remind you that the only way you can have elite performance and health is by taking care of your nutrition.

 

In all our previous articles and messages at GW Performance we have underlined the thinking that nutrition serves as the foundation for progress. Whether your goal is to improve health, performance, body composition or all of those; you cannot out work a poor diet.

 

Now, a bit of a disclaimer. The following is not a prescription, However, we can provide you with some knowledge on how to properly adjust your nutrition to compensate for the rigours of the Open

 

 Your gut is unique

 

If you’re after a meal plan template then feel free to stop reading here. Like training, nutrition is best designed on an individual basis. Of course, there are principles that serve as an umbrella to this topic and you can read more about them here:

Simple Nutrition Advice

Health Supplements

Performance Supplements

In sum, you need:

  • Enough energy to fuel day-to-day functions and exercise
  • Adequate protein to repair/build muscle
  • Adequate carbohydrates to recover from training and competing as well as fuelling long events (if one should arise)
  • Sufficient fat and micronutrients to keep you functioning at peak health.
  • An understanding that your gut health will affect performance and wellness.

Getting more specific, a factor athletes forget is that any competition is a stressor. Positive or negative, it’s simply stress. Your adaptation and ability to overcome that stress is what the Open season is all about for 40 + days.

A variable you can control during this period of stress is food absorption and a good mental state in relation to the food you’re eating. Ask yourselves the following questions:

  • What foods make you feel light and vibrant and mentally acute?
  • What foods weigh you down and make you want to have a nap?
  • What foods make training uncomfortable if consumed within 90 mins prior to start time?
  • Are you often very thirsty within the first couple of minutes of a high intensity workout?
  • Are most of your meals solid food meals?
  • What percentage of your foods are packaged?

The purpose of these questions is to highlight the importance of proper absorption. It is under your control and easily manageable.

Tips:

  1. Plan and prepare your weekly menu.
  2. Pay attention and note foods that you don’t digest well.
  3. Pack your daily nutrition with micronutrient dense whole foods and ensure you’re eating enough to recover from the positive and negative stress of training + competing.

Game day

For most of you, Saturday will be Game Day. We compete during the morning and you should be able to complete the event around your “normal” workout time.

For CrossFitters, the average Open workout is 10-14 minutes long and will contain all aspects of fatigue. It’s a wonderful dance between creatine phosphate, lactic and aerobic output. As every athlete is different, each dose response will be different. However, because we know the average demand for each workout we can advise some simple pre and post fuelling strategies:

CrossFitter tips:

  • If you have practiced and trained in a fasted state all year, don’t change your routine now. The best thing you can do is to ensure fuelling for the 2 days prior and adequate hydration.
  • If you are going to eat pre-event then ensure you do the following: plan a meal that is easily digestible and eat it well before “go” time. A slightly fasted state is going to be better than having your body try to digest food whilst going HAM on a CrossFit test.
  • Post workout is just as critical as pre. Emotions will be running high, you may be splayed on the floor exhausted from your effort whilst your mind might be running wild with thoughts of how you could have done better. Hopefully each of you will also be excited to support the rest of the community too! We recommend that you quickly debrief with your judge and coach then begin the recovery phase (slow aerobic cool down on either the bike or rower) plus begin re-hydrating and re-fuelling. Depending on your body type and digestion, either a drink of carbohydrates and protein or small meal within 30-60 minutes of your event will be best. Continue to re-hydrate consistently throughout the day and week.

Strength & Conditioning athletes have very similar requirements, albeit on the days we test strength & power. For these events that are primarily creatine phosphate (ATP) energy system dependant – i.e. short bursts of high power output – you should consider caffeine in your pre-workout routine. The caveat with caffeine or pre-workout supplements is that competition is not a trial phase. If you haven’t been doing it before then don’t try something new now! If you’re unsure how you’ll react and/or digest such things then starting on them during competition can be risky for your performance.

 

 

Above all else, around the Open tests, please focus on lifestyle consistency, not changing much apart from maybe eating cleaner and being extra prepared. Ensure that you are doing self assessments on your energy, rhythm and confidence. This will give an idea how to balance it all to optimise your chances of success  throughout the season.

Coach Leigh

CrossFit | Strength & Conditioning | Personal Training

GW Performance

South Yarra

Mobility Monday | Ep 7 | Barbell Lower Body Soft Tissue Complex

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Today’s episode will be covering a routine that is a perfect progression from your stock standard foam rolling.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

1. Using the barbell for soft tissue work is a lot more direct compared to a foam roller so take your time and apply pressure as required.

2. Try out all positions and really focus on the most tender sights – typically the calves, ITB and Adductor Magnus/VMO are VERY delicate in the beginning.
QUES FOR THE DRILL:

1. Play around with the position of your legs and the tension if your muscles while going through each position.
I hope you can get some painful tips from this complex and stay tuned for next week!

 

Dylan Jones

 

Jerk Skills with Coach Mitch

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Coach Mitch demonstrates a complex that can be used to warm up before completing a Jerk or overhead session. This complex is designed to be completed with a barbell or at a low percentage of your Jerk or Press 1RM.

A great way to engrain the skills of the jerk and get the body primed for your session. Have a go at this complex next time you are warming up for your Jerk or overhead session.

 

Mobility Monday | Ep 5 | Thoracic Bench Mobilisation

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Today’s episode will be tying in the last two episodes by intergrading the newly found thoracic mobility into drill which gets the trunk and upper body working together.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

1. This drill will help lengthen out Triceps and lats (Latissimus dorsi), while increasing Thoracic extension and teach anterior core “stiffness”.

2. Tight/weak lats, triceps and T-spine have a huge implication on the ability to get into a front rack position and to do overhead work safely so this is a great drill to do before training or between sets.

3. Having the ability to keep the anterior core stiff and to resist against Lumber extension is critical for lower back injury prevention.
QUES FOR THE DRILL:

1. Keep your elbows at the end of the bench and as you drop your hips back sink your chest and head down between your arms while letting your scapulars to move freely around the ribs.

2. Keep your abdominals braced and make sure to resist against lumber extension while extending through the T-spine while completing each repetition through the tempo of your breath.

 

AGAIN, THANKS TO:

Eric Cressey from Cressey Sports Performance based in Hudson, Massachusetts.

I hope everyone is working off some of that Christmas joy and stay tuned for the next episode in 2017!

Dylan Jones