Sunday, 1 November 2009

Vires et Honestas part 2

In one of my earlier posts I explained the whole "Vires et Honestas" slogan we use at SPQR (read it here). The thoughts I put down in that post are especially clear to me today after a disappointing session with the University sports team I coach.

We have a week to go before the start of the new season which means I have (had) one final Sunday session and one Thursday session to teach the guys the new skills they would need to play and win next week. Unfortunately, only twenty or so players turned up. That's not a bad number you might say, but when I tell you the sport is American Football and I need a minimum of 18 players on the sidelines to even be allowed to play the game then my problem becomes clearer. Factor that in, then add in the fact that this is a minority sport over here (at best) and that I have had a total of just four weeks to train guys who never even touched a football before starting University how to play correctly and most importantly, safely. This is a game where catastrophic injury can and does happen, especially if you don't know what you are doing. Add in the further factor that of those guys that did show up for training, only a handful were linemen, the majority were the so-called "skill position" players and it further complicates things.

Everything in football starts with the line, be it offensive or defensive. Without either, nothing will work as expected and the training session becomes less and less useful. Sure, we can run the plays, but without the offensive line blocking, the whole timing of the play is shot. On the defensive side of the ball, with no big guys up front it's just not worth the time put in.

Why weren't the players there? No idea. Only two of the missing players had the decency to call me, e-mail me, text me or facebook me. Hey, I'm flexible, if you have a legitimate reason I can live with it, but to just not show up? That disrespects me, my coaching staff and, more egregiously in my eyes, disrespects their team mates. Vires et Honestas holds implicit the meaning of team, brotherhood, fraternity. Those guys that didn't show up have shown neither strength nor honour and the team is weaker as a whole because of it. In addition to missing a valuable training session, the fact that they weren't there today means they will not be registered in time for the game and so next week my squad will be depleted further.

Coupled with this, many of the players that did show up lacked passion and intensity of effort. They were just going through the motions which helps no one. I keep telling them, train to be mediocre and that's the best they can ever be and I mean it. It is very rare that an athlete will achieve the peak level of their training goal - more often than not the result is less than that. Give me someone that only tries to be a B student and I will show you someone with a C average, give me that same student and have them shoot for an A every time, then that C student becomes a B+. The same is true in sport, school and in life.

If the only effort you display is the effort to be average, then that is the level you will achieve ON YOUR BEST DAY - every other day you will be less so and your life will be the poorer because of it. If you believe you are average, how can you expect to beat the guy in front of you? Often, the difference between a winner and a loser is that the winner believes he will win, the loser believes he might win. The winner may not be any better than you physically, but if that belief is there he will prevail.

The same is true in the gym. When you walk in and see that workout on the board, you have to believe you will own it. Once it gets in your head that it's tough, tougher than you can handle, then you will quit - I guarantee it. Believe you can accomplish the workout and you will - I guarantee that too!

Vires et Honestas means that in everything you give your best, for yourself and your cohorts. Anything less and you are just making platitudes to the words.

Vires et Honestas!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Cookie Cutter training

Scaling the work to fit the capacity of the athlete is something too often overlooked by many personal trainers. A cookie cutter approach to exercise prescription is fundamentally flawed and will result in many clients simply quitting because the work is too hard, or not progressing as they should because it is too easy.

Pretty much anything can be scaled with some imagination, allowing each and every athlete to work at a level at which they will see great results.

Today's workout involved a combination of deadlift and handstand push-ups. Deadlifts are easy to scale - simply adjust the weight used but the scaling of a body weight exercise such as the HSPU requires a bit of thought - you can't easily chop weight off an athlete!

In the shot below, Chris is demonstrating a scaled handstand push-up. By having his legs resting on the box, a significant percentage of his body weight is supported. Because of this, Chris is getting a good workout at a level he can maintain with intensity and good form whilst at the same time building the proficiency required to move up in the progression until he can do a full handstand push-up using his whole weight.



At the other end of the spectrum, we have an athlete who has progressed through to the full HSPU, so to maintain the intensity of effort his version was completed wearing a weighted vest!


Vires et Honestas!

Monday evening

Tim came over for an evening session and learned a new movement - the sumo deadlift. This is a great accompaniment to the standard deadlift and concentrates more on the quadriceps. It's also often slightly easier for the taller athlete, like Tim.



The workout format was the same as the morning session -
3 sets of 5 sumo deadlift followed by a conditioning routine -
5 rounds for time of;
Run 250m
30 Sit-ups
30 Good mornings

The shot above is Tim after he finished the workout - the huge grin says it all! We then moved on to looking at the handstand and demonstrated some basic progressions to build confidence in the inverted position.

Vires et Honestas!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Tyres and sandbags and burpees - Oh my!

New Chris (;)) and Tim came over on Saturday for a quick workout to clear out the cobwebs - Three rounds of a Fight Gone Bad protocol of Jumping Pull-Ups, Tyre Flip, Burpee, Hammer Strikes and sand bag cleans. Unfortunately, neither of them seem to be able to count so they have no idea on their totals which is a shame. Both of them put in a good effort though and coped well with the unfamiliar movement of the hammer strikes and the sand bag cleans.

Chris has become a regular at the garage recently, putting in 4-5 days training in a week and is already seeing some good results and we will hopefully help him along the way to achieving his goal of becoming a police officer.

Tim hasn't been down in a while, but it's good to see he hasn't forgotten everything we taught him on the "Essentials" course.





One of the key things we look to foster at SPQRFitness is the enjoyment factor that comes from working out in a group - it allows you to gauge your progress against others and gives you that much needed support group to keep you going when the going gets tough. Hopefully the Saturday morning group session will become a regular occurrence and we can work on some team events to build up the camaraderie in the garage.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

SPQR latest news

Apologies for the lack of updates - get set on doing a workout of the day for friends of the site and it all goes out the window..... What? You aren't following the daily workout over at http://www.funckey.co.uk? Head on over there right away and get cracking.

Things are going from strength to strength in the garage. Thanks to Tim we now have power in there so it won't be quite so dark as the mornings and evenings draw in. Never fear though, I won't be getting a heater in there - what? You want me to make it easy for you? Heck, if it's creature comforts you want, there's a Globo right down the block. Pretty sure they could get you warm and toasty in no time. Of course you won't get in the kind of shape you will working out in the garage and with the amount of work you will be putting in with us, you'll be warm enough in no time!

The whiteboards are also up so your times will be up there for all to see. What better incentive could you need to push that little bit harder?

New toys in the garage include a couple of beer kegs kindly supplied by the local university bar. Typically, those darned students had drunk them dry before we got our mitts on them, but that means I can fill them with sand and water to make it a challenge lifting and moving them around. We also have a rowing machine which was kindly donated by a friend of the site. No, it's not a Concept2 but it does give us some more options for our workouts and will do just fine until we can afford a C2.

In other news, SPQRFitness has been named the official speed and agility source for the University of Surrey American Football team (it was an "unofficial" thing before, now we actually get recognition on their website and that of the University Student's Union). We are also in negotiation to perform the same task for the rugby teams so watch this space for news.

Anyway, keep on training and keep watching the site for news on developments as and when they happen.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Essentials

Chris and Tim have just started to work out with us at SPQR and are currently undergoing the "essential movements" classes to get them up to speed on the wide variety of functional movements they will have to perform in the gym and to introduce them to the intensity of effort required in the workouts.

Today we looked at the power clean, the kettle-bell swing and the pull-up, concentrating on dead hang, band assisted and the jumping variety. We don't worry about teaching the kip until the athlete can do at least five consecutive dead hang pull-ups so as not to impair the motor learning.

After looking at the form and working on technique, the workout was;
As many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of;
3 Jumping Pull-up
5 Power Clean (Chris @ 20Kg, Tim @ 15 Kg)
7 "American" swing (Chris with the 16 Kg KB, Tim with the 12)

Tim managed an excellent 10 full rounds. Chris managed 8 rounds (although I was his form judge and was VERY strict so he probably did an extra round in reps I didn't count!). Both really stepped up the intensity and are showing real progress with every session.



Way to go guys!

Vires et Honestas!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

State of the Union.. well, the garage at least!

The garage is really coming along now. The flooring is down and the walls have been painted.
The pictures below show what we look like now.



Left wall with the small (!) tyre.



And the right wall with the larger of the two tyres.

Remaining tasks are to rip out the shelving and cupboards on the back wall (below) to make room for the pull-up bars and to see about getting some power in there for the lights and most importantly the sounds system!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

The BWLA drop progressions

Some of our workouts call for the Burgener warm up, coupled with the BWLA drop progressions. The Burgener warm-up is easily found through a search on any of the popular search engines or by going directly to the CrossFit site, however the BWLA progressions aren't so easy to find.

The progression basically takes the form of a drop into the clean catch position from a standing start with the bar at different heights.

Step 1:
Hold the bar in an overhand grip and pull the bar up to just below the chin. From a standing start position, drop down into the catch position and bring the elbows through. You should now be in the bottom of the front squat. Stand and repeat for a total of three times

Step 2:
Lower the bar to the lower chest (just below the nipple line) and repeat the process.

Step 3:
Lower the bar to just above the navel. Everything else is the same, although you may want to start on your tip-toes.

Step 4:
Lower the bar again, this time to mid-thigh. You will have to bend at the hips and the knee to do this, so you should find yourself in the start position of the hang power clean. This time, bring the hips through and shrug the shoulders (both explosively) before dropping and receiving the bar.

The above progressions can be carried out with PVC bar or an empty Olympic bar depending on the athlete; some athletes prefer to start with the PVC then move to the empty bar as the progressions get lower, some stay with the same bar throughout. As the goal is a dynamic warm-up, all options are acceptable.

I will be posting pictures as a visual representation of the process once they have been taken ;)

Friday, 31 July 2009

At least it's a Bank Holiday month... (Saturday August 1st 2009)

Finally, the last day of L-sit progressions has arrived. Hopefully you now have, or are a good way to achieving, a stable L-sit. We will revisit these in the future, maybe building up to a stable L-sit on rings!

Buy in
L-Sit Progression

Strength
Weighted Pull-Ups 5x5

Conditioning
AMRAP 15 minutes
10 Push-press @ 50% max press
10 GHD sit-ups

If you don't have a GHD available, substitute regular sit-ups.

Cash Out
Skipping - 200 singles or 50 doubles

Post weights/times to comments or the Daily Workout forum on FuncKey.

Vires et Honestas

Thursday, 30 July 2009

To swim or not to swim... (Friday 31 July 2009)

Another choice day today: swimming, running or cycling. Try to choose something different to the last time just to keep it interesting.

Swimming can be in any stroke.

Buy In
BWLA/Burgener progression

Strength
Overhead Squat 5x3

Conditioning
Swim 1k or
Run 5k or
Cycle 10K

Cash out
L-Sit Progression

Post weights/choice and distance to comment or FK.UK

Vires et Honestas

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Pressing things... (Thursday 30th July 2009)

Lots of pressing movements today; the strength workout is the strict press and the conditioning has a couple (!) of press-ups.

As with everything we do, there is a strict form for press-ups: Hands shoulder width apart under the shoulders, back and legs in one straight line and the down position is all the way to the floor. A full rep is the chest to the floor then the arms coming back to lock out at the top in the "lean and rest" position. Anything other than that should not be counted.

Remember, the only person you cheat by doing things by halves is yourself. Give 100% effort and maintain good for throughout and the results will be self-evident.

Buy in
L-Sit progression

Strength
Press 5x3

Conditioning
10 rounds for time of;
Run 100m
10 push-ups
10 sit-ups

Cash Out
Dot Drills

As always, post weights and times to comments or join the fun on the FK.UK forums.

Vires et Honestas

Monday, 27 July 2009

Bye "L" it's a frog stand.... (Tues 28 July 2009)

So this is the last week of the current L-Sit progression work. Hopefully you have made some good progress with this skill and will be able to hold the position for L-Pullups and other exercises that involve a heavy static contraction of the core. You should also have seen the benefit from this work in all the other strength lifts as a stronger abdominal region makes lumbar support that much better.

Starting next week and through August we will be looking at the planche progressions, so to get us a quick head start today's cash-out is a frog stand hold for a cumulative 1 minute. The frog stand is an excellent beginning gymnastic movement that forms part of not only the plancheprogression but is also an excellent tool for learning a stable free hand-stand.

Buy in
L-Sit progression

Strength
Deadlift 5x3

Conditioning
20-15-10
Snatch @ 40% max
Pull-Ups

Cash Out
Frog Stand - 1 minute total on hands only

Post weights/times to the FK.UK Daily workout forum (here)

Vires et Honestas

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Ascending Vs static sets (Monday 27 July 2009)

The big question with the strength sets is whether to do ascending sets (increasing the weight each set) or to keep the weight static. Both have benefits and drawbacks. With ascending sets you can be more fatigued on the last set so your maximum effort isn't as high as it perhaps could have been, but on the other hand with static sets you run the risk of not going heavy enough and not drawing a benefit, or going too heavy and really not making the most of the sets. Static sets at a heavy weight are also seem to carry a higher toll on the Central Nervous System and can lead to symptoms of over-training in a quicker time period.

If you feel like giving static sets a go, the recommendation is to start at your 8-10 rep max range and see how it feels. If i is too light, increase the weight for the next workout until each set is taxing and the last almost (or does) lead to failure. Once you can again complete all sets without a failure, increase the weight.

Of course there is nothing wrong with sticking to the ascending sets. As with everything, your will soon let you know what works. Learn to listen to it and your training success will improve dramatically.

Buy In
Basketball free throw shots x 25
for every missed shot do 5 press-ups

Strength
Squat 5x3

Conditioning
4 rounds for time of;
15 Press @40% max
15 Wall Ball shots

Men: Use a 5 Kg ball and aim for a 10ft/3m target
Women: Use a 3 Kg Ball and aim for an 8ft/2.5m target (or use the men's settings as required)

Cash Out
L-Sit Progression

Post weights, times and comments to comments or the FK.UK forums.

Have Fun

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Rest Day Sunday 260709

Rest day

Actually, we have a few people coming down for a quick introduction to our methodologies and exercises on Sunday morning. If you feel like coming along, all are welcome. We will be looking at the basic air squat, weighted squats, deadlifts and presses with perhaps a quick intorduction to the olympic lifts. We will probably finish off with a short conditioning routine to show the concept of the intensity we look for.

Should be a fun morning so if you are interested, give me a call (details on the website).

Friday, 24 July 2009

Ouch..... (Saturday 250709)

No strength workout today, the conditioning should be enough of a gasser for you....

Buy in
BWLA/Burgener warm-up

Conditoning
4 rounds for time
Run 200m
15 Clean and Jerk @ 40% max

Cash out
L-Sit Progressions

Post times to comments or your FK.UK log

Vires et Honestas

Thursday, 23 July 2009

AMRAPs (Friday 24 July 2009)

Another AMRAP workout today. Do you "game" these or do you go all out right from the start and flag at the end? The preferred method is to go all out, that way the intensity stays up there throughout - by the end you may be tiring, but if you are still pushing for all you are worth then the benefits will come.

One trick many people use is to set the timer to beep at a set interval (every 5 minutes for example) so you can judge how you are getting on. For others, this is a distraction and actually hinders progress.

What tricks, if any, do you use to maintain intensity of effort over the timed period?

Buy in
L-Sit progressions

Strength
Squat 5x3

Conditioning
AMRAP 20 Minutes
15 double unders
15 burpee
15 box jumps (20-24 inch/50-60cm box)

Cash out
Handstand progressions

Post weight/reps to coments or your FK.UK log

Vires et Honestas

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Snatch work (Thursday 23 July 2009)

Snatch work today. As the harder of the two olympic lifts, it is essential to get a good first and second pull to get the bar overhead cleanly. The legs need to be in full extension ( the so-called triple extension, with the ankles, knees and hips all extended to the maximium position) and the shoulders shrugged to drive the bar up and over the head . Without it, the bar will be out in front of the body making it very difficult to catch.

Buy In
BWLA/Burgener progressions

Strength
Snatch 5x2

Conditioning
For time
30 Pull-up/5 Push-up
25 Pull-up/10 Push-up
20 Pull-up/15 Push-up
15 Pull-up/20 Push-up
10 Pull-up/25 Push-up
5 Pull-up/30 Push-up

Cash out
L-Sit Progressions

Post weight and times to comment or to FuncKey.

Vires et Honestas

Monday, 20 July 2009

Dots and Presses (Tuesday 21 July 2009)

You might have noticed that the strength components are moving around after having been on fairly set days the last few weeks. This is to add another component to the variations theme. It's not that your body really gets used to doing a certain lift on a certain day of the week but the mind can, and we want to get out of that mind set. It's often easier to get in the mood to deadliftor squat heavy if you know that's what you have ahead of time than it is to just go in cold, but in the real world, who know when and how you will have to lift something heavy so let's be prepared for anything.

Oh, and think yourselves lucky on the conditioning - originall it was 30 of every exercise, not a drop set. Darned near killed me so I adjusted it for you lot ;)

Buy in
Dot Drills

Strength
Deadlift 5x3

Conditioning
For time:
30 ring dips (or 60 bar dips)
200 rope jumps
20 Press @ 30% max
200 Rope jumps
10 Hand Stand Push-ups
200 Rope Jumps

Cash out
L-Sit progressions

Post weights/times/commments to the FK.DW forum.

Vires et Honestas

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Run/Bike/Run (Monday 20 July 2009)

Slightly longer conditioning routine than normal today to work on the stamina a little harder. In the recent CrossFit games, several competitors had problems with the first event - a 7.1 KM cross country run. Admittedly the terrain was very rough with some steep hills, but 7.1 KM is not that great a distance and anyone who claims to be the "Fittest Man/Woman in the world" should be able to cope with this with minimal fuss. Trouble is, many of us blow off those longer runs when posted, preferring instead to do the shorter, heavier routines. This leaves us with a large whole in our fitness arsenal and needs to be addressed.

The conditioning today involves a run, then a bike ride followed by another run. None of the distances are excessive, but you will soon find that the fatigue caused by a run is different to that caused by the bike. Many people think the skills are immediately transferable - a CV improvement through running will benefit cycling, but many studies have shown this is not the case, so by combining the disciplines we aim to get the best of both worlds.

Buy In
L-Sit Progressions

Strength
Press 5x3

Conditioning
Run 2.5 Km
Cycle 10 KM
Run 2.5 Km
If you don't have a bike - 10K run!)

Cash out
Balance drills (see this post for instructions)

Publish weights/times/comments to FuncKey.

Vires et Honestas

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Run and Gun (Thursday 9 July 2009)

Running today. Yes running. I know some (most!) of you hate it, but it has to be done and it's really not all that far. We are looking at intervals, which a great way to build up endurance with short, high intensity effort interspersed with periods of less intense recovery.

Buy In
L-Sit Progression

Strength
Deadlift 5x3

Conditioning
5 Km interval workout;
Jog 1600 m
Sprint 400 m
Jog 400 m
Sprint 400m
Jog 400m
Sprint 200m
Jog 200m
Sprint 200m
Jog 200m
Sprint 200m
Jog 200m
Sprint 200m
Jog 200m
Sprint 100m
Jog 100m

Cash-Out
Basketball shots x 25. For every missed shot do 5 squats. (Accuracy)

I know you will be tired for the cash-out which will affect the accuracy of your shots, but that's the idea. By having this skill based exercise after the run it forces you to perform under pressure and will concentrate the mind. That way you should find the same activity easier to do when fresh - see, there's method to our madness!

Post weights, times and any comments or questions to the discussion topic found here.

Vires et Honestas

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Rest Day Wednesday 080709

And rest......

Actually, if you want to exercise your minds, there are some great fitness resources out there on the web. Robb Wolf has a greatnutrition blog that is well worth a browse. Why not let us know your favourite fitness and nutrition blogs in the comments section below?

Monday, 6 July 2009

Tuesday..... (Tues 07 July 2009)

Tuesday is an odd day for me; not as bad as a Monday but still too early ion the week to be a good day. Oh well, the only way to beat that into submission is to train hard and blow away the cobwebs!

Buy In
L-Sit Progressions (for some great progression ideas check out the great page at Beast Skills(WFS)

Strength
Press 5x3

Conditioning
AMRAP 15 Minutes:
10 Press-up
15 Box Jump
20 Sit-up

Cash Out
Double Unders x 25 (works on co-ordination, speed and accuracy)

Post weights, times and any comments or questions to the discussion topic found here.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Back to it (Monday 6th July 2009)

So now the testing is done we can resume our normal service i.e. that of putting ourselves through the fitness wringer to come out stronger the other end!

Buy In
Burgener Snatch Progression (video here)

Strength
Back Squat 5x3

Conditioning
4 rounds for time:
15 Lunges
15 Pull-Up
15 Ring Dip

Cash Out
Hand Stand Practise

Post weights, times and any comments or questions to the discussion topic found here.

Vires et Honestas

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Oh blimey, it's the O-lifts again (Friday 3 July 2009)

Today's testing is slightly different in that we will be looking at the two major Olympic lifts (the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk). For these, instead of the usual build up to a max effort, we are going to limit the number of lifts to 5 singles of each because fatigue will quickly affect each of the lifts and with poor technique comes a heightened possibility of injury.

Friday 3rd July 2009
Buy In
General Warm-up and warm-up reps

Strength/Skill
Pulls-ups max reps on a single attempt (Kipping is allowed)
Snatch 5x1
Clean and Jerk 5x1

Conditioning and Cash Out
100 Rope jumps
30 Double unders
100 Rope jumps


Post weights, times and any comments or questions to the discussion topic found here.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Tests, tests and more tests... (Thursday July 2nd 2009)

Continuing on with our Strength testing protocols, this time looking at the Deadlift and the press-up. Instructions for the protocols can be found here, along with a link to a calculator to determine your 1 rem max from your 3 rep max lifts if needed.

Thursday 2nd July 2009
Buy In
General Warm-up and warm-up reps

Strength/Skill
Deadlift Single Rep Max testing
Press-ups max reps on a single attempt

Conditioning
Swim 1000m or Cycle 5000m
(if you can't do either - 5KM run)

Cash Out
Hand Stand practise - 1 minute total inversion
Use a wall if necessary.

Post weights, times and any comments or questions to comments or the discussion topic foundhere.

Vires et Honestas

Introducing the FK.UK Daily Workout (Wed 1st July 2009)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, SPQRFitness has teamed up with FK.UK to provide a Daily Workout. So it isn't necessary to create two workouts each day, the FK.UK DW will become the offical SPQRFit workout. Don't woory though, most of you will find the format very familiar.....

The first week is taken up by testing protocols to give you (and us) a good baseline from which to gauge scaling and to give you some numbers to aim to beat as you improve in your training. Detailed instructions can be found in an earlier post (here) so it is strongly suggested you read that before commencing.

Buy In
General warm-up followed by warm-up sets of the exercises below

Strength/Skill
Back Squat Single Rep Max testing
Press Single Rep Max testing

Conditioning

For time
Run 400m
30 Pull-Ups
40 Press-Ups
50 Squats
60 Sit-ups
Run 400m

The idea of this one is to induce a change in muscular endurance in addition to any metabolic conditioning effect. To that end, you want the workout to take between 7 and 10 minutes to complete so scale the reps on the calisthenics accordingly so you finish within that domain.

Cash-Out
Dot drills - Hopscotch x 4, hopscotch with twist x 4, skier x 4
(examples of the above dot drills can be found here (link is safe for work/family. A simple Dot board can be drawn on the floor using chalk or marked out with tape)

Post weights, times and any comments or questions to comments or to the discussion topic found here.

Vires et Honestas

Monday, 29 June 2009

wheels within wheels...

OK, Sorry for the lack of workouts posts the last couple of days. Plans are afoot and will be revealed on Wednesday.........

Friday, 26 June 2009

Back Overhead (Saturday 27 June 2009)

We haven't looked at Overhead squats in a while so let's hit them for a quick Saturday workout.

Buy In: Pistol Progressions
Strength: OHS 5x2, 1x1
Front Squat 10-15 reps

Conditioning
21-15-9 for time:
Burpee to box jump
Tyre sledge hammer slams
(Compare to 043009)

Cash Out: 100 jump rope - 50 double unders - 100 Jump Rope

Have fun. Big developments next week with the workouts so keep an eye on the site.

Posts your weights and times to comments or your FK.UK log.

Vires et Honestas

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Dead Reckoning (Wednesday 24 June 2009)

In the near future I am going to be having you all work towards calculating your 1 rep max efforts for a variety of lifts. For some of you, that means workouts with a couple of single effort lifts and for others it means sets of 3-5 heavies. Why the difference? Comes down to your experience level with training. Novice lifters (those lifting for a year or less) shouldn't be lifting their 1 rep weight because the form is often not quite dialled in right so it can be dangerous. For these lifters an adequate 1 rep lift value can be calculated from the 3 or 5 rep max numbers. For the intermediate lifter a true 1 rep effort can be used every so often without cause for worry.

Whatever your experience level, expect to see some heavy lifting coming your way.

In the spirit of that we will be doing some heavy deadlifts today to get a general idea of where we are.

Buy In
Pistol Progression

Strength
Deadlift 5 x 3

Conditioning (Muscular Endurance)
For Time
30 Pull-up/60 Squats
25 Pull-up/50 Squats
20 Pull-up/40 Squats
15 Pull-up/30 Squats
10 Pull-up/20 Squats
5 Pull-up/10 Squats

Cash Out
PNF stretching with a partner

As always, post times/weights/thoughts to comments or your FK.UK log.

Vires et Honestas

Monday, 22 June 2009

We're Baaaack! (Tuesday 23 June 2009)

So we're back from the week off in Turkey. The weather was great, but too hot for anything more than swimming in the pool/sea and drinking ice cold beer. Most days it was at 33-34 Celsius (91-93F) by 08:30 and hit 38-42 in the early afternoon (100-104F). Two days it hit 44 which is a melting 111 degrees Fahrenheit!

So, to work off the beer and pastry, and to get you all back into the swing of it we will start as we mean to go on, i.e. quick and nasty!

Buy in
Run (not jog) twice round the block
15 Kipping Pull-ups

Conditioning
20-15-10 for time of
Power Cleans @ 60% max clean)
Hand Stand Push-Ups (or progression level)

Cash Out
Flexibility work and joint movement exercises

You will notice we are no longer specifying defininte alternatives for Optio/Legionary's. This is because we are going to use a scaled workout system whereby any weights are given as a percentage of your max in order to ensure that we are all working at roughly the same intensity and should, in theory, finish the workouts in a similar time frame. We will also be looking at alternate rep schemes to accomplish the same effect, so instead of a 20-15-10 in the above, we may have you use a 15-12-9 scheme with slightly more weight depending on where your weakness lies.

Weirdly enough, I was speaking to Chet over at FK.UK about this very scaling scheme before the vacation and lo and behold, I return to find none other than Dutch Lowy has written a startlingly similar solution on his excellent blog (read it here). Great minds think alike (OK, his great mind and my not-so-great one).

Have fun with the workout. Posts your weights and times to comments or your FK.UK log.

Vires et Honestas

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Friday Fun Run (Friday 12 June 2009)

Short sharp run today using the interval method again to get more bang for our buck.

For the Olympic work, perform a short warm-up of each lift type then perform just 3 sets of 2, working up to a max effort on the last set.

Buy In
Negative Muscle-Up x 15
Burg/BWLA warm-ups

Skill
Snatch 3x2
Clean and Jerk 3x2

Conditioning
3K track workout
Sprint 400m
Jog 200m
Sprint 400m
Jog 200m
Sprint 400m
Jog 200m
Sprint 400m
Jog 200m
Sprint 400m
Jog 200m

Followed by
3 rounds for time of
Sit-ups x 20
SuperMan x 20

Cash Out
hand stand practise

Post times and weights to Comments or your log.

Another reminder that we are closed next week for vacations.

Vires et Honestas

Thursday Thrusterthon (Thursday June 11 2009)

Sorry for the late posting folks, ISP problems kept me offline for the evening. All sorted now though.

Thought I would give you the choice today. I have listed two conditioning workouts and you get to decide which one you do. There is no strength work today because both conditioning routines have some strength/skill components mixed in.

Buy In
Negative Muscle Ups x 14
Burg/BWLA progressions

Conditioning Choice A
(Taken from the CrossFit Main site on Sunday June 6th)
Five rounds for time of;
21 x 35Kg Thruster
21 x Double Unders

Scale weight to ability and if you can't do double unders do 35 tuck jumps

Conditioning Choice B
"Grace with a twist" - Normally 30 Clean and Jerks for time, we are altering the movement to a Clean and Thruster. Cleans are full squat cleans NOT power clean followed by a squat and thruster.

For time
30 x 62.5Kg Clean and Thruster

Scale weight to ability, even if that means using a PVC pipe. We want more of a metabolic effect rather than this being a purely strength based exercise.

Cash Out (Co-ordination)

Seated wall toss test

Just like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, sit with your back to a wall. Throw the ball with the right hand so it bounces on the floor then up on the opposite wall before catching in the left hand. Repeat for 30 seconds and count the successful repetitions. Rest 30 seconds then repeat, throwing with the left hand, catching with the right.

Post choice of routine and times to comments or your FK.UK log.

Sprint training will be held this evening at the Varisty Centre in Guildford as usual.

Quick Note: Just to remind you that we will be closed (and there will be no blog postings) for a week from this coming Saturday due to vacations.

Vires et Honestas

Monday, 8 June 2009

Tuesday tech (Tuesday 09 June 2009)

Back to the squat snatch today after our brief flirtation with the split snatch. From a sport's perspective, the split versions of the clean and the snatch are actually more beneficial to most athletes, especially those in track and/or field sports, but it is important we master the squat versions.

Today's assistance exercises are the fundamentals of the clean and the jerk. As always, we must resist the temptation to increase the weights too substantially. If the bar is too heavy then the motion will change into something different, thus losing the point of the whole thing.

Buy In
Negative Muscle-Ups x 12
Burgener/BWLA Warm-up

Strength/Skill
Snatch: 5 x 2
Clean DeadLift 3x3 @ 110% Clean
Clean Pull 3x3 @ 95% Clean
Jerk Starts 3x3 @ 125% Jerk

Conditioning
For time
15 Pull-Up/1 Burpee
14 Pull-Up/2 Burpees
to
2 Pull-Up/14 Burpees
1 Pull-Up/15 Burpee

Cash Out
Double Unders x 40
(As few sets as possible)

As usual, post times/weights/reps to comments or start a log over at FK.UK.

Vires et Honestas

Sunday, 7 June 2009

My Position...... (Monday 08 June 2009)

We are looking at the Clean and Jerk today again. Remember, we want a nice first pull then an explosive hip action to bring the bar up and allow us to drop under it into the receive position. Aim for your max effort on the last set, even if you can only get one repetition out.

The Cash out is working some agility drills to help loosen up the legs after the heavy lifting and leg centred conditioning routine. Try to keep your feet quick and your body in the correct position (back straight and uprights, big chest, legs prepared with a slightly greater than 90 degree bend at the knee with your weight on the balls of your feet); my American Football players know this as the "football position" but it's amazing just how many other sports have a similar body position requirement but coaches fail to realise it and don't drill it in to their players (in fact, if you think about it, it's not that far away from the get-set position for the olympic lifts so the skills will transfer over).

Still working towards a muscle up for the Buy In; negatives are a great method in that they build up the strength required to master the movement and at the same time help cement the muscle memory of the technique.

Buy In
Negative Muscle-Ups x 10
Burgener/BWLA Warm-up

Strength/Skill
Clean and Jerk: 5 x 2
Snatch Deadlift @ 105% snatch
Snatch Pull @ 95% snatch

Conditioning
Four Rounds for time of:
400m Run
20 Swings @ 25 Kg
20 Box Jump (24 inch)

Optio: 15Kg Swing/20Inch Jump
Legionary: as Optio but 15 reps per set.

Cash Out
Agility Ladder work
Ickey Shuffle x 2
two foot shuffle x 2
CrossOver Shuffle x 2

Post Weights/Reps and times to comments or your FK.UK log.

Vires et Honestas

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Painstorm (4 June 2009)

We are taking a break from our look at the Olympic lifts and assistance exercises to do a Painstorm. These are tough workouts not for the faint of heart that are issued monthly by a cadre of CrossFit trainers across the globe (a list of past Painstorms can be found here). They are always nasty and are a challenge to even the most hardened of athletes.

June's Painstorm comes courtesy of Davie from CrossFit Central Scotland and is a mash up of the three benchmark CrossFit workouts Fran, Elizabeth and Diane.

Painstorm

One Bar, Three Girls

21-15-9 rep rounds of
Thrusters
Pull-ups
Squat Cleans
Ring Dips
Deadlifts
HSPU's


Use the same load for all weighted movements. 

Folks who are only a little nuts should use Fran weight (95lb/ 65lb), those bordering on lunacy could try Elizabeth weight (135lb/ 85lb) and if anyone is insane enough to try Diane weight (225lb, 185lb) I want to see a video of that!


For those not yet up to speed with even the Fran weight, scale as much as required so that form is not sacrificed for speed.

Post time and weight used to Comments or your FK.UK log.

If that doesn't interest you, sprint training is on as usual from 7pm on the Astro Turf at the Varsity Centre in Guildford.

Vires et Honestas

Monday, 1 June 2009

No ordinary snatch.... (Tuesday 2 June 2009)

We continue our look at the Olympic lifts; today a variation on the snatch. Instead of the now standard squat snatch we will be looking at the split snatch which used to be the norm in olympic competition. Some people find this easier to master; probably because it's less intimidating to get under the bar than a full squat snatch.

The Cash out today focuses on an often neglected part of fitness - flexibility. Just because it's not sexy doesn't mean we should forget it entirely!

Buy In
10 Negative Muscle-Ups
1 min total handstand (wall assisted if required)

Strength/Skill
Split Snatch 5x1
Deadlift 5, 3, 1, 1, 1

Conditioning
Death By Dead Hang Pull-Ups

followed by

30xGHD Sit-ups
30xBack Extension

Use Jumping Pull-ups as required
Scale reps to ability.

Cash Out
PNF Hamsting Stretches
Spine rollers

Post results to comments or your FK.UK log.

Vires et Honestas

Sunday, 31 May 2009

How is it June already.....? (Mon 1 June 2009)

Back to Clean and Jerk assistance exercises today, followed by some hang squat cleans in the conditioning routine. I know it is for time, but remember, form comes first, then intensity; if you need to slow down to perform the exercise correctly then so be it.

In the long run you will see greater gains from doing an exercise correctly from the start than you will by using bad form and relying on brute strength to see you through. In doing so, you are artificially creating a ceiling on what you can accomplish.

A new progression on the buy in this time, muscle-ups and hand stands. Give them both your best shot.

Interesting cash out exercise today; it's not often we are tested on our coordination in a fitness environment, but in the sporting arena it is often one of the most important (and overlooked) facets to fitness. Read the link to see how to do the test then record the result, we will do this again in the near future to see if there is an improvement.

Buy In
10 Negative Muscle-Ups
1 min total handstand (wall assisted if required)

Strength/Skill
Back Squat (High Bar): 5x5
Press: 3x5

Conditioning
5 rounds for time
10 Hang Squat Clean @ 60Kgs
10 Ring Dips

Scale weight as required.
Legionary: 3 rnds for time.

Cash Out
Wall Toss Test - max attempts in 30 seconds.
For every dropped attempt do 5 squats

Post results to comments or your FK.UK log.

Vires et Honestas

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Simulations (Friday 29 May 2009)

In an actual competition, the athlete will have three attempts at each lift to record the best total possible, starting with the Snatch then on to the Clean and Jerk. The time between each lift varies depending on the number of competitors lifting and the weights they are going for. The minimum time between lift attempts will be 2 minutes.

For today's lifting we are going to work under competition conditions just to see how it feels when you have a finite number of lifts to do your best.

Buy in:
Planche progressions
Burgener/BWLA warm-ups

Strength/Skill

5 minutes snatch warm-up
Snatch lift 1
rest 3 minutes
Snatch lift 2
rest 2 minutes
Snatch lift 3
5 minutes Clean and Jerk Warm-up
C&J Lift 1
rest 3 minutes
C&J lift 2
rest 2 minutes
C&J lift 3

Post lift results to comments

Conditioning
Today's workout is a "Fry-Up" and is taken from the good folks down at CrossFit West Sussex. Miles and the crew down there are starting work on their new box, and we wish them all the success in the world. 

"Fry-Up"
5 Rounds of:
3 burpees
6 swings (25Kg)
9 lunges

Optio: 20 Kg Swings
Legionary: 15 Kg/3 Rounds

Cash Out
2 rounds of
Ladder Agility Drills
Ickey-Shuffle (train tracks)
Lateral 2 in/2 out
2 steps forward 1 step back

Post times/results to comments or your FK.UK log.

Vires et Honestas

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The big three (Wednesday 27 May 2009)

Shorter conditioning routine today but an increased strength component. We will be doing all three of the "core" lifts in one session. You can either do ascending sets (increase weight across each set) or you can use the same weight across each set.


Buy In
Planche Progression
Burgener/BWLA warm-up

Strength/Skill
Squat (High Bar): 3 x 5
Press: 3 x 3
Deadlift: 3 x 3

Conditioning
"Death By Burpee"
Perform 1 burpee, on each subsequent minute do an extra burpee until you cannot finish the round in the minute allocated (so after 1 minute do 2 burpees, then 3, then 4 and so on until you can't do any more).

Cash Out
Football throws through the medium tyre.
25 throws. For every miss do 5 ring dips.

Post weights/times to comments or your FK.UK log.

Vires et Honestas

Monday, 25 May 2009

More Assistance exercises (Tuesday 26 May 2009)

Back to it.
This week the assistance exercises are the opposite to last week, so where we did Clean and Jerk work on Tuesday last week, we do the same exercises but with emphasis on the snatch. s such, the warm-up combination should be done with the wider snatch grip too.

It is recommended that you use the hook grip right from the start on the snatch. It will be uncomfortable at first, but you will get used to it and in future will mean you can lift more weight.

Buy in
Planche Progression
Burgener/BWLA warm-up combo

Strength/Skill
Snatch Deadlift (105% Snatch) 3x5
Snatch Pull (95% Snatch) 3x5
Snatch Balance 3x2

Conditioning
Four Rounds for time;
30 Wall-Ball @ 10Kg
15 L-Pull-Up

Optio: 20/10/5Kg Ball
Legionary: 20/5 reps/5Kg Ball

Scale Pull-Ups as required.

Cash Out
Hand Stand - 1 minute
Double Unders x 35

Post weights/times to comments or your FK.UK log.

Vires et Honestas

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Repeat offender (Friday May 22 2009)

Today's conditioning routine is one we have done before so for the first time you have something to compare against to judge your progress (was it really two months ago already?).

Buy In
Skipping - Max skips in 120 seconds
Planche Progressions

Strength/Skill
Back to assistance exercise work today (if you want to lift proper, come along to the Woking Centre of Excellence and join the Weightlifting club. Excellent coaching and a friendly atmosphere.)

Burgener/BWLA warm-up
Snatch Balance 3 x 3
(see this link at Performance menu for a description and video - link is safe for work)
Kettlebell/dumbell swings 3 x 10 @ 24 Kg

Scale weights to ability

Conditioning
21-15-9
Thrusters
Box Jump
for time

Aquilifer: 40Kg/30 inch box
Centurion: 40Kg/30 inch box
Optio: 30Kg/24 inch box
Legionary: 20 Kg/20 inch box 15-12-9

Compare to 240309

Cash Out
Basketball Free Throws x 30
For every missed shot do 5 burpees

For those coming to the Woking Centre of Excellence for the regular weightlifting class, the second workout is;
Snatch (work up to max then 2 @ 80%)
Clean and Jerk (work up to max then 2 @ 80%)
Weighted Pull-Up - sets of 5 to max
Weighted Dip - Sets of 5 to max
Flyes - 2x15
Bench sit-ups - 2x15

Post results to comments or your FK.UK log

Vires et Honestas

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

TGIARD (Thursday 21 May 2009)

Finally a mid-week Rest Day so make the most of it. Go out and work on a gymnastic skill or ride a bike, do something fun.

Oh, and then come to sprint and agility training at the Varsity - 19:00 start as always.

Vires et Honestas

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Got Snatch? (Wednesday 20 May 2009)

Well, it's time to put the skills learned in the assistance and tech sessions to good use and actually do some Olympic lifting. The plan is to start with the snatch and do singles rep efforts; work up as far as you can go, then do 2 more at 80% of that weight. After that, repeat with the Clean and Jerk. Remember, good form begets good lifts - don't sacrifice the correct technique to try for bigger numbers, it never works!

If you have an idea of your max lifts, tailor your first lifts accordingly, if not, start with the bar (or even PVC) and work up.

Buy in
Planche Progression
Burgener/BWLA warm-up combo

Strength/Skill
Snatch
Clean and Jerk

Conditioning
"Diane"
21-15-9
102.5 KG Deadlift
Hand Stand Push ups

Scale deadlifts as needed and substitute the HSPU's with assisted HSPU's/box HSPU's/elevated push-ups/push-ups as needed.

Legionary: 15-12-9 rep scheme

Cash Out
Pull-Up: 3 x max deadhang

Post results to comments/FK.UK. Have fun.

Vires et Honestas

Monday, 18 May 2009

Assistance (Tuesday 19 May 2009)

More Olympic lift assistance exercises today in the build up to Wednesday's O-lift proper; this time looking at the first and second pulls in the clean and then a brief push-press session to get the shoulders active again.

The conditioning routine is a staple of the CrossFit.com main site and, as usual, is much more devious than it looks.

Buy in
Planche Progression
Burgener/BWLA warm-up combo

Strength/Skill
Clean Deadlift (105% Clean) 3x5
Clean Pull (95% Clean) 3x5
Push Press (85% Jerk) 3x2

Conditioning
"Cindy"
AMRAP 20 Minutes
5 Pull-Up
10 Push Up
15 Squat

Use Jumping Pull-Ups/Knee Press ups as required.

Cash Out
35 Double Unders.

Post weights/Rounds to comments or your FK.UK log

Vires et Honestas



Sunday, 17 May 2009

Olympic bias... (Mon 18 May 2009)

So today we finally start our bias towards the Olympic lifts for our strength component with..... SQUATS!

Yup, squats are an integral part of the Olympic lifts. We will be doing them slightly differently to the low bar squats we have been looking at and instead will have a high bar placement and work on driving the him in and up on the way up from the bottom to simulate the way we will recover from the clean and snatch lifts. Tomorrow we will be looking at the correct technique, so don't expect to be setting any records! Don't worry, we will be getting to the lifts proper as the week progresses.

We also start our new buy in phase, taking a break from the L-sit to work on Planche progressions. For these we start with the frog stand, move on to the straight arm frog and then the tuck. I don't expect any of us to progress past these stages in this phase so we can look at the more advanced forms at a later date.

Buy in
Planche progression

Strength/Skill
Squat (high bar): 3x5

Conditioning
For time:
21 Sumo Deadlift High Pull (SDHP) @ 40 Kilos
21 Burpees
Run 400m
15 SDHP @ 40 Kilos
15 Burpees
Run 200m
9 SDHP
9 Burpees
Run 100m

Optio: 20 Kilo SDHP
Legionary: 15 Kg Bar, 15-12-9 rep scheme

Cash Out
Max pull-ups x 3

Post weight/times to comments or your FK.UK log

Vires et Honestas

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Clean up, Aisle 6... (Friday 15 May 2009)

Cleans today. We looked at the Jerk portion of the lift yesterday so now we are working backwards to the start. All the recent front squat and deadlift work will be put to good use in cleaning the bar to the shoulders and you will see a real transfer of the skills come in to play.

Buy in
L-Sit progression (Last day - Yaay!)
Wall Squat x 10
Samson Stretch

Strength
Clean 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Conditioning
Taken directly from the CrossFit.com main site workout of the day.
Five rounds for time of:
30 Glute-ham sit-ups
25 Back extensions


Optio: 20/15
Legionary: As optio for three rounds

Cash Out
Burgener warm-up
Double Unders x 30

I will be posting the SPARQ ratings for those players that tested on Thursday once I have your weight.

Have fun with the workout.

Post results to comments/FK.UK log.

Vires et Honestas

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Jerks! (Thursday 14 May 2009)

Shoulder work again today, this week - the Jerk. As we are starting to look more at the Olympic lifts next week it will be good to get a baseline on what we are capable of. Tomorrow we may even look at the squat clean to get a reading on both components of the Clean and Jerk exercise.

Buy In
L-Sit Progression
25 double unders

Strength
Split Jerk: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
Work up to your one rep max. You can start from a squat rack or you can clean the weight up to the shoulders.

Optio and Legionary - 5x3

Conditioning
5 rounds for time
15 Kb Swings (24Kg Men/12Kg Women)
15 Burpees
15 GHD sit-ups

Optio: 20/8 Kg Swings. 5 rounds of 10 reps
Legionary: As Optio but 3 rounds for time.

Cash Out
Yes, I know it's a warm-up routine, but it's also a great introduction to some of the movements for the Olympic lifting that we will be looking at next week.

Post weights/times to comments or your FK.UK log.

Vires et Honestas