THE MIND OF A GYMNASTY COACH

We all walk in to the first day of Foundations, head held high, proud of ourselves for deciding to make this commitment to our health. One of the first facts we learn is that CrossFit is based on Weightlifting, Metabolic Conditioning, and GYMNASTICS…This is when the new members turn their heads and chuckle in shock. Do we really have to go upside down on that wall? Must we fold ourselves in half to reach our feet to the bar? Gymnastics in CrossFit is not as scary as it may seem! We begin our journey with wobbly push-ups and timid handstands, but with our strength gains and confidence improvements, we find the gymnast inside us all.

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3 KEYS TO SUCCESS FOR THE NEW(-ISH) CROSSFIT ATHLETE

So  you’ve been doing CrossFit for 3-4 months, you’ve done all kinds of CrossFit workouts, and you’ve met Fran and honored Murph. None were pleasant, but all left you standing tall and proud. Still, you haven’t seen a huge change in your body and aren’t hitting the PR’s you thought you would. If you’re wondering if it’s all worth it, be honest and ask yourself if you’ve been doing these three things. If you haven’t, then trust me, they will be well worth the effort

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HARNESSING FRUSTRATIONS IN THE CROSSFIT GYM

There is a fine line between frustration that defeats you and frustration that you can use as a motivating force in your CrossFit workouts. As a trainer at CrossFit Critical Mass (Columbia, MD) I’ve seen that frustration is going to be a huge part of any athlete’s career, especially CrossFit athletes. CrossFit training continuously tests limits, both physically and mentally. The biggest difference between giving up in the face of hard CrossFit exercises and breaking through your mental barriers is by harnessing your frustrations. We all began our lifetime commitments to fitness because CrossFit training brings us joy and a sense of accomplishment, but we must not let our emotions and shortcomings get in the way of our ultimate success!

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6 QUICK WAYS TO THE PERFECT PUSH UP

The push up is a tried and true CrossFit exercise that helps develop and strengthen the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. Everyone should be perfecting their push-ups because the push up is highly effective for developing strength and local muscular endurance. If done incorrectly it’s a surefire way to strain your body and possibly cause an injury. Here are the 6 ways for develop and maintain a push up that will get you stronger and healthier, while reducing your risk for injury during CrossFit workouts.

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3 CROSSFIT EXERCISES TO MASTER BEFORE TRAINING THE OLYMPIC LIFTS

CrossFit workouts are becoming more focused on heavy weightlifting as the prescribed weights for competitions on both the local and regional level are increasing each year. In order to stay competitive, all athletes need to master the Olympic lifts. These lifts, the snatch and the clean & jerk, are the most powerful lifts in the world and take a great deal of skill, time, and determination to learn. So how do you know if you’re ready to take on this CrossFit training challenge?

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6 REASONS WHY STARTING CROSSFIT SHOULD BE YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

The holiday season is coming to a close and you have probably had about all the ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, apple pie, and mother-in-law you can handle. If you are about to bust out of your pants, then you’re probably also brainstorming ideas for losing some weight and getting in shape this year. Perhaps you have Googled the new diets and some trendy celebrity workout to try. Do you really think this is going to be the year when this old routine is going to do the trick? Instead, make this the year you truly commit to healthy habits and improved new lifestyle – not the latest trend. Behold, I give you CrossFit!

These are the 6 reasons why CrossFit should be your New Year’s resolution!

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4 WAYS CROSSFIT REMINDS ME OF THE MILITARY

I’ve started noticing some distinct similarities between my experiences during my 15 years of military service and CrossFit training. Make no mistake, I’m not about to compare CrossFit Workouts to taking out a machine gun nest or trying to save a wounded comrade. Military service is unique and nothing should ever be equated with the willingness to sacrifice and commitment to service that characterizes the brave men and women who volunteer to serve our country. However, there are definitely some similarities between the two.

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3 THINGS A GOOD CROSSFIT COACH WOULD NEVER DO

1 – GROUP SCALING

 

A good CrossFit coach scales their athletes individually. They do not pre-scale the workout to some generic RX/LEVEL 2/LEVEL 3 template or something like that. You need to listen to your athletes and scale them individually because they are all different people with different situations. One person might have a wrist injury while another might take 15 minutes to run a mile. Another athlete may be able to RX any weightlifting movement but need to drastically scale basic gymnastics movements like box jumps, pull-ups, or even air squats.

The phenomenon of group scaling is a bad habit that has seeped into coaching and polluted CrossFit gyms through the local CrossFit competition circuit. In a CrossFit competition it is necessary to do this because of the need for standardization of the scaling and the large number of athletes. In contrast, individual scaling must be the standard during any normal CrossFit training day at a CrossFit gym in order to maximize safety and fitness.

The sole exception is in the case of monostructural movements such as running and rowing. The reason for this is that there are limited scaling options for these CrossFit exercises – the only ways to scale a long run/row are to either shorten the distance or give the athlete rest during the effort.

In fact, scaling is the most important part of a CrossFit coach’s job. If a coach is not individually scaling their athletes, they are either 1 – Lazy, 2 – Lacking the experience and confidence to do the scaling, or 3 – Coaching a class that is too big for them to handle.

 

2 – ALLOW YOU TO RETURN THE A BAR TO THE RACK FROM OVERHEAD

 

Putting the bar into the rack from overhead is probably the most unsafe weightlifting practice that you will see new CrossFitters try to get away with. As a CrossFit coach, you know this is coming, so head it off by explaining that you need to bring the bar back to your body before returning it to the rack. For that one person who wasn’t paying attention or thinks you were just kidding, stop them immediately and let them know that this is unsafe and unacceptable. Occasionally, you will see one of these during a press or a push press when the athlete is using an empty bar or a really light weight and decides to return the bar straight to the rack from overhead.

More often, you’ll see it after an overhead squat, when an athlete is too afraid to return the bar to their back. A good coach will teach the athlete how to safely return a bar to their back, have them practice with a light weight, and have them continue training with proper technique. If they are too scared to return the bar to their back at higher weights, they must drop the bar and then power clean it back to the rack. The extra work will encourage them to learn to return the bar to their back properly.

 

3 – LET YOU DO THIS WHILE RESTING DURING BAND PULL-UPS

 

Because bands are annoying to get in and out of during pull-ups, athletes are going try to keep their foot in the band while they rest. When attempting this, they can let the band push their foot up into hip flexion, but this will drive pressure into their hip while it is in flexion. The stronger the band, the more likely it is that the athlete will try to alleviate the pressure on their hip by using the alternate strategy (pictured above) of dropping their knee into a position of internal hip rotation with the foot up and behind them. In this position, there is a high chance of a tear to the meniscus or the ligaments of the knee. Also, the problem is compounded with a stronger band, causing an even greater chance of injury to the athlete’s knee.