In-season training

Actually, I should’ve posted this before the Opens hit the world a couple of weeks ago, but with 14.3 out it became about a thousand times more relevant overnight.

During the season (however you define that) training should always be centered around the sport itself. You should never leave the gym all beat up and feeling mashed. Prioritize your energy and make sure you’re leaving something in the tank all the time. Leave the gym feeling fresh and make sure your normal training is focused on maintaining strength and conditioning.

Furthermore, if you’re a crossfittian doing the Opens, your “sport” will change on a weekly basis, it is therefore advised to do the same in your programming.

This week for example is a ridiculous low-back smasher from hell. Does it make sense to stress the lower back a lot in your other training? NO! Does it make sense to do everything in your power to minimize the stress on the lower back throughout the week? Hell yah!

Side note: whatever happened to CF workouts where the exercises would compliment each other and work the entire body like for example Fran? Drawing up a “bottleneck”-type workout is one thing, but when that bottleneck is the shoulder girdle or the lower back you’re asking for trouble.

Especially if your competitive season is short, always go for “less” instead of “more”. You’re not gonna get weaker by taking the foot off the gas for five weeks.

Just a quick Friday reminder to keep the goal the goal and on that note, I’m gonna finish up my resume. <3

CrossFit Opens 14.1

And we’re rolling…

This year, I’m gonna be a bit more general in the breakdowns of the weekly workouts, as I simply don’t have the time I did last year. Also, you’re gonna have to figure out 14.2 by yourself since I’ll be in NYC. 🙂

14.1

First of all:

All of the workouts in the Opens will be longer cardio-based workouts. That’s just how it is. There are also specific exercises and pieces of equipment that’re more likely to pop up, and we can already cross two of those off the list. Snatches and DUs.

One of the most important aspects of a workout like this weeks is gonna be pacing. Imagine you’re doing a “run for ten minutes test”, and I’m pretty sure you’re not gonna see anyone stop to take off their shirt or stop and catch their breath. The key is finding a good rythm that you can keep up for 7-8 minutes, then turn it up a bit towards the end. Nobody cares how quickly you move for the first two minutes. It’s all about the end result. A heart rate monitor is perfect tool for this. I recommend you use one.

Second of all:

This weeks workout is a grip killer. Mashing out your forearms with a lacrosse ball or your hands a day or two before doing it is probably gonna be a good idea. Also consciously try not to tighten up too much while doing the DUs. Oh yea about those – try to maintain a good posture throughout and avoid rolling the shoulders forward. Getting too comfortable in that position will set you up for some really bad snatches.

Thrid and final point:

Test the workout out at 75-80% as soon as possible. Rest at least one full day before doing it and make sure you’ve been eating well. Your other training should be easy during the Opens if you’re serious about giving it a shot. If you’re not, then you probably wouldn’t be reading this. 🙂

Oh and remember to have fun – there are about 200.000 participants and only about 200 at the Games. That means you have to be in the top 0,1% to get to the Games. If you’re not, you can still compete against yourself and friends – but don’t take it too seriously. After all it’s supposed to be recreation. 🙂

Have a great weekend. <3

Crossfit Games 2013

The workouts are out, and the Games begin in just a few short days. Though I know there might be a couple of Games-athletes among the readers, I also know all of the participants at this stage have coaches that (hopefully) know more about CF than I do. So instead of doing a post on strategy, I decided on doing a review of all the released events.

2013WorkoutGraphics_INDIVIDUAL_monday

Event 1 – The Pool:

2013 made it clear that swimming is also a part of CF. Personally I’m not a fan, but I’m a shitty swimmer, so that might affect my judgement. This event is gonna be hell on the shoulder girdle. Apart from my personal dislike of swimming, this event looks pretty good.

Event 2&3 – Row 1&2:

While the first workout isn’t that bad, rowing 21k is absolutely ridiculous. It will be extruciatingly boring to watch and will do absolutely nothing that a 10k wouldn’t do just as well. Maybe with the exception of killing the hip flexors of the athletes completely. This kind of workout is the reason so many people are making silly jokes about CF.

Event 5 – Zigzag sprint:

From the look of it an obstacle course type of event. I like this even more than I liked the obstacle course last year. The only problem last year was that ex-military Americans had a huge advantage. This year’s obstacle course fixes that. Great event.

Event 7 – Naughty Nancy:

Running and OHS is a classic CF couplet. This one has a lot of OHS, but looks like a solid CF event. I wouldn’t want to do it myself, but within the framework of CF, this is actually a good one.

Event 8 – C&J ladder:

Ladders have become a stable at the Games because it’s hugely spectator-friendly. The clean and jerk works very well for this type of event. Considering the very limited amount of weightlifting in the other events, this wasn’t a huge surprise. I hope they make it heavy enough. This is by far the highlight for me so far. I really like that they didn’t throw something silly like DUs or burpees into the mix. Thank you Castro!

Summing up:

With the events released so far, it seems like CF is taking a step away from being “WL+gymnastics” which has been the direction for the past couple of years. Going to a less barbell-centric and more all-round movement competition format unfortunately also means that the athletes will be able to specialize even less. I like to watch specialists, because they’re so good at what they do. I know this makes CF the wrong “sport” to watch, which is probably why I rarely watch it. 🙂

For CF as a “sport” I like it – there are more hits than misses for sure. Hopefully they’re not gonna add tons and tons of barbell stuff for the TBA-workouts, though a nice complex would be good. The bootcamp style workouts appeal to me, as they’re easy to watch and understand and bypass the subjective judging. The less judging an event requires, the less room for mistake. There are also very few downright silly events. No softball throw and no medball toss from GHD. Nice.

Though I wont be able to watch much if any of the Games this year, I’ll be checking the results to see how Copenhagener Frederik Ægidius performs, but also to see how my bearded brother Lucas Parker does. Even though he hasn’t replied to my email, I still love him. <3

Have fun out there and enjoy the games.

Crossfit Regionals 2013 team events

You go to bed only to wake up to a shit ton of newly released team events and a couple of individual ones as well. Jeez HQ, how am I supposed to write a meaningful post about all this? Well luckily, some of the workouts are recycled, so this post covers the basics. I’ll focus on the teams from now on. Here are the workouts:

Teams

The first three events are pretty straight forward. Though event three does have a little twist for many teams as two out of three of each gender must be able to perform three muscle-ups to avoind disqualification. I have a feeling quite a few teams will get a score of 6 from their females. There is no tiebreak for this workout, so if you have one team member that cannot perform a muscle-up, you pretty much have all the time in the world to get the six. Ideally though, blast through the first 6 as fast as possible to set the third member up for a shot at getting just one rep. That one rep will make a HUGE difference in the standing. If you’re close to getting one, you should focus on that for the next ten days.

Event 4 was brought back into the sensible realm but apart from the lower reps it’s the same workout as for the individuals. 120 reps total per competitor. This is a sprint. Everything counts here, so make sure your transitions are crisp. This will be a hectic event for sure though a bit repetitive for the spectator.

Event 5 is pretty straight forward. Check out what I wrote here for tips. They’ve stuck to the males/females weight ratio in this workout unlike they did throughout the Opens where the ratios were a bit off on some events.

Event 6: Let’s just say I’m happy I’m not a CFer. This one is tough and I sure hope you’ve got someone on your team with superhuman shoulders. Static work to “prepare” one member for their active work active work to “prepare” the other athlete for the static holds. This obviously means you have to blast through as fast as possible to make it easier for your partner. Making a game plan so both athletes know when to rest will be a difference maker on this one. Finish off with 90ft of lunges with a heavy weight? Brutal. Not sure I like this as some people will inevitably fall on their face. The STOH after hand stand pushups and T2B will determine who wins this event. This one finishes in a bad way. Bring wrist wraps for this one.

Event 7: All team members participate in this one. Three rounds of 2 rope climbs and squat cleans. The first pair will do two cleans, next pair three and the last pair will do four cleans. What this means is you have to pair up athletes (male/female), that are similar in strength, as both will have to finish before next pair starts.

Overall: sheesh, I hope you brought the strong hands this year, as there are quite a few grip-intensive workouts. There are no cut-offs though, which means all teams will get to do all workouts.

Unlike what I was hoping for, the events aren’t particularly heavy. Events 2, 5 and 6 are good though. #1 and #4 are very light and then there are the burpee muscle-ups. I guess that’s about as many heavy workouts as you could realistically hope for.

top3

We’ll do some test runs with the team this Sunday which will be fun. For now, I’ll keep the deeper analysis and more specific tips to myself. Every little thing counts at this point as there’s heavy competition for the three top spots.

How to perform better in the Crossfit Open workout 13.4

Another workout released and tested this morning.

13.4

First of all I suggest you do a test run thursday or friday at 80-85% and do a session of weightlifting and squat with medium intensity and low-medium volume on friday. Take saturday off and go balls out on sunday. You should feel completely fresh going into the workout. During the Opens you shouldn’t go harder than 85%ish on anything. Check out the rant at the bottom of this post for more details.

13.4 is more proof that you should’ve done more weightlifting throughout the year. And it’s another semi-recycled workout. Some think this is boring, I think a little bit of predictability is a good step in making the sport more serious. Using the same exercises makes it easier to fine tune the standards and it lets the competitors prepare for something. Preparing for the Games is a fulltime job and I really think HQ is spitting in the face of the athletes when they draw up a ridiculous workout. Just like in “real sports” the athletes deserve to know what they’re competing in (at least the majority of the events) – otherwise there’ll always be speculations about the workouts as well as  luck playing a big role. Luck shouldn’t be a factor when competing for 250k USD. At least not being lucky with what you’re competing at.

On that note, it’s on to the breakdown:

Equipment: This one’s easy, weightlifting shoes, wristwraps, bandana and your favorite shorts. Notice how I didn’t mention a t-shirt? Take it off before the workout so you don’t waste time on it during. Oh yea – promising young gun Mainz had a great point last week – use liquid chalk  BEFORE the workout, so you don’t have to spend valuable time re-chalking.

You might want to consider wearing a belt once you get to 12’s+, but it costs too much time on the first sets.

Setup: Nothing revolutionary here either – keep it tight and make sure you don’t have to jump (too much) to get to the pullup bar.

On to the exercises one by one:

Clean and jerk: As with anything, efficiency is key here. The more you have to use your upper body strength for the clean and jerk, the more fatigued you’ll be when it’s time to do toes to bar. Hook grip is a must to save grip strength. Powerjerk is the go-to move for the overhead part as it’s fast and will save shoulder strength. I’d also go with powercleans here to save time. Save the triceps early on and get the legs involved. Grip the bar as wide as your wrists and elbows allow you. Keep chest high and big.

Toes to bar: Females especially need to break up the T2B as little as possible, as they often have to use a box to get to the bar which takes time. Get a good hard and agressive kip and avoid swinging too much with the legs.

Gameplan: Yet another classic, but I’ll keep saying it until everybody and their pet horse has it down… Keep it cool until you hit the 4 minute mark. The first 3 are gonna feel easy – don’t get lured into sprinting ahead.

NO MISSED REPS and to quote one of my schoolteachers “HURRY SLOWLY!” Slow and steady always wins the race – just look at Speal vs Holmberg. Last year we did a somewhat similar workout (12.5) and from what I’ve seen so far, scores on this one will be about 2/3rds of the score on 12.5 (obviosly factor in personal strengths/weaknesses). Break up the C&J earlier than you expect to and do doubles and triples instead of fx a set of 6 and 6 singles. Every drop costs time. You DO NOT want to resort to singles.

Always aim to finish the C&J’s because it’s easier to squeeze out a few extra reps on the T2B with time running down.

Mobilize this: Foamroll entire upper back and lats. Work the triceps as well on a barbell. Mash out the forearms the night before as they tend to be very tight on most people – just give yourself a good massage. Mobilize your front rack position to allow yourself to really drive the bar up with the legs.

Warmup: Forearms need to be really warm and loose. Work up a good sweat and work on the two elements of the workout. Work specifically on hitting a good motor pattern for the clean to reinforce good technique and a crisp kip for T2B.

Now go out and have fun. <3

PS: as per usual, I’ve talked some of this through with Sarah who has a lot more practical experience than I  do (who doesn’t :D). Look out for her on this one – I expect to see her at the top of the standings this week.

How to perform better in the Crossfit Open workout 13.3 (and some angry ramblings)

First of all – a post on Facebook last night hammered home a point I’ve been thinking about quite a bit, and I figured I’d relay it here: If somebody wants you to document your result on a given workout during the Opens, you should punch them in the fucking face. The rules are pretty clear and you don’t need fucking video to prove your results, so if somebody wants to whine and bitch about results and insinuate foul play, then fuck them, their high horse and the kindergarten teacher. Who gives a damn? Also, don’t be that person. Do your thing and worry about you. Bitching about what others do will set you up for a long life of misery. Unless your name is Lionel Messi, Annie Thorisdottir or Brian Scalabrine there’ll always be somebody outperforming you. Now shut up and get to work. Love. <3

With that off my chest, it’s on to the breakdown of this weeks WOD (is it actually a WOW?), starting with the exercises one by one:

Wallballs: Upper back tightness is a priority to catch the ball in a good position. Maintain upright torso and move your stance a little bit, to move some of the stress from the quads to the hips – push knees out as always. Keep elbows in and up. Try not to hyperextend the neck looking after the ball. Wear a mouthguard if you’re anything like K-Starr who broke a tooth last year catching the ball with his face.

Double unders: Your anterior chain is gonna be fried by now, so it’s imperative you keep your shoulders nice and loose in a down and back position. Don’t cramp up and get the arms out too far. Maintain a good rythm and don’t rush these – you’re not gonna win a whole lot of time here.

Muscle up: the key once you get to this point is a classic. No missed reps! Try to get as much hip involvement as possible and take your time on these. Wasting energy on failed or grinding reps is a fast way to an injury or a bad score. 🙂

Rings

Mobilize this: The 3-way squat opener, thoracic spine, banded shoulder bully.

Warmup: Start by working up a decent sweat. Nothing too bad, but you need to get your shirt sweaty. Spend 10-15 minutes working on light cleans and front squats, to really get that elbows high motor pattern going. Obviously the shoulders need to be warm, so you’re gonna do 3×10-20 of scap pushups (QUALITY – not CF-pushups! Pull yourself to the floor), band pull aparts and band dislocations. This can be done between cleans. Spend another 10ish minutes working on the tree movements in the WOD in a circuit fashion, with a decent amount of rest. 10WB, 10DU, 1MU then rest for a minute or two. Repeat a couple of times.

Strategy: First part is all about knowing your fitness level and finding a flow. Slow and steady is always better than rushing and gassing – figure out a rep scheme and stick with it. I say this pretty much every week, but it bears repeating. The WBs in particular will fuck you up in so many ways if you rush ahead on the first 50-100. Same goes for DUs, which should be done as unbroken as possible. Repeating myself here, but no missed reps once you get to the MUs and no grinders until the last minute.

Equipment: Weightlifting shoes, a pair of skins, your favorite boardshorts and a beanie. Shirtless of course. 🙂

Setup: Not much to say here either. Keep it close and tight to avoid moving around too much. You don’t need water, you don’t need to take off your shirt, but you might need to chalk up once or twice for MUs.

Tie break: Not worth shooting for – as per usual if a good tie break time will cost you even one single rep, it’s a bad deal. Obviously if you can’t get a muscle up, you better break your ass getting to them as fast as possible. There are gonna be a good bunch of people scoring 240 here. If you’re in that group, you should look at the leaderboard before going into the workout to know what you’re shooting for.

General thoughts on The Open: Seriously people what the fcuk?!? I see people going for new maxes and burning themselves to the ground during The Open – are you retarded? This is one month every fucking year – if you want to be a competitive athlete, start acting like one – at least for these five weeks. Taper down your workload and add another rest day or two during these five weeks. Always do the workout after a day of full rest and never with any soreness. Do the workout twice – once at ~80% (either intensity, time or both) to work out your strategy and once like your life depended on it. It’s a competition each and every week, this is not the time to be a hero at the gym.

On that note – I love all of you for following. <3

PS: thanks Sarah for contributing and reviewing my ramblings.