It’s October – do you know what that means? The CrossFit Open is 6 months away. What better time to get super strong before we work towards higher volume, conditioning work! We are going to demand more strength from you in both barbell and gymnastic movements. In order to further our development in movement we must abide by Mechanics – Consistency – Intensity. We are going to opt for strict movements before adding momentum whenever possible. That’s right – no kipping!
There will be a major focus on developing prerequisite strength before attempting skill work, reasons for this is to develop exceptional movement in everything we do. There are positive benefits to kipping – changes in work capacity, allows for higher power output (intensity) etc, however it does not benefit those who are unable to perform the movement with control. This is where strength comes into play.
Gymnastic focus will be on pulling, inverted and ring strength in the form of volume and intensity. Intensity how? Strict gymnastic movements in WOD’s.
Barbell focus will be on developing absolute strength prioritizing proper mechanics, balance and coordination. Movements you will see: Back Squat, Front Squat, Deadlift, Sumo Deadlift, Strict Press and the Floor Press.
Your coaches are looking forward to coaching you towards better movement. Remember… strict is sexy!!!
– Coach Rachel
#10 MAKE IT A LIFESTYLE
Finally, the 10th and final step into building your inner athlete is realizing and embracing the fact that you are an athlete. As an athlete, you must live like an athlete. And since the majority of us are athletes for life, making a lifestyle that reflects these efforts in the gym and the efforts we put into our diet will set you up not only to reach closer goals but longer term goals.
Revisit each and every one of these goals as you continue to make yourself a better, fitter, stronger, healthier version of yourself. Incorporating these things into your daily life will remind you that being an athlete doesn’t have to be playing on a team sport. It also doesn’t have to mean you’re trying to make a national level team or try and compete in any means. Being an athlete means you have something to train for and something to eat healthy for – even if that something is simply a better life.
Here it all is – the 10 Steps to Building Your Inner Athlete
10 steps towards building your inner athlete
1 – Quality over quantity (micronutrients, vitamins, minerals)
2 – Push the intensity (get in the gym and work hard)
3 – Fluid balance (water consumption balanced with electrolytes to support training)
4 – One macro at a time (making small changes)
5 – Build your support system (family, friends, mentors)
6 – Stay active (take the stairs! Don’t be a lazy athlete)
7 – Ask for help (Lean on your coaches, don’t assume or guess)
8 – Consistency vs. perfection
9 – Align your diet with your goals
10 – Make it a lifestyle (always keep working and don’t give up)
Sign up for 416Life Here!
#8 Aligning Your Lifestyle with Your Goals
Click the link above and look through a chart we’ve put together. This chart represents the various amount of dedication and trade-offs you as an athlete have to make depending on what your goals are.
As we look through the chart above, a few things are made clear. It’s clear to see that depending on what your goals are, your lifestyle can and will change. It’s also clear that regardless of what your goals are, a few things will always be a top priority.
It’s important to know and accept that goals will change regularly resulting in your day to day life to change. Clearly, not all of these lifestyles are sustainable for extra long periods of time. They all have a time and place so long as we maintain being happy and motivated to reach these goals.
As a quick exercise, sit down with yourself for a few minutes and look at your goals. Write them down and ask yourself if the type of lifestyle needed to reach them is something you can commit to. There is a cost to being lean and performing at high levels in the gym – there’s no doubt about that. There is a lesser cost to living a healthy, balanced lifestyle but also requires an amount of dedication. Are you up for the challenge of changing your lifestyle to meet your goals?
If so (hopefully the answer is YES!), having someone to hold you accountable during this time can shave off a tremendous amount of time and stress while reaching these goals. Work with a coach and:
- discuss and refine your goals
- talk about your current lifestyle and how it might be preventing you from getting to these goals
- make small changes and steps towards aligning your lifestyle with your goals
- check in with your coach once a week to make sure things are staying in line
- asses progress and make adjustments based on your ever-changing goals
- acquire the skills of measuring and tracking food, learn about eating to perform and learn about quality and quantity of different foods so that you can maintain this healthy lifestyle moving forward
Sign up for 416Life Here!
UPCOMING PROGRAMMING FOCUS Aug 7- Sept 17
Congratulations on the completion of our latest 10-week cycle! This upcoming 6-week focus will lead us directly into the 416 Classic scheduled for the end of September.
The 2017 ‘416 Classic’ will have an added twist this year. Along with the classic Olympic Lifts – Snatch and Clean & Jerk, we will also include a barbell complex or two to spice up the competition.
Our latest 6-week focus will include challenges of barbell complexes which combine multiple movements within the same set. This will teach you is to concentrate on the technical aspects between start, execution and finish positions within movements. Technique is the usually the limiting factor in Olympic weightlifting, not strength. Complexes add time under tension requiring you to execute complex movements under fatigue.
Goals over the next 6 weeks includes:
– Build a work capacity that will directly apply to the Olympic Lifts
– Gain full control over your technical Olympic Lifts
– To develop a wider range of mastery with the barbell
– Have a little mental break from performing heavy reps all the time. (Complexes generally force you to go a little lighter)
– Have a lot of fun!
Here is the breakdown of what to look forward to over the next 6 weeks! Our major focus will be on Olympic Weightlifting and dialing in on barbell confidence and consistency. If you are a new weightlifter, you may be experiencing frustrations with the technical aspects of these movements – that is completely normal. Well-seasoned lifters will experience “off days” as well, but these are the trials and tribulations that come with training Olympic weightlifting! Get ready to ride and conquer the wave.
Again we will provide 7 days worth of programming, alternating between lifting and conditioning days.
Lifting days: Monday, Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays.
Lifting Days include:
Squat Snatch + Back Squat Volume WOD
Snatch Complex + Back Squat Intensity
Squat Clean + Front Squat Volume WOD
Clean Complex + Front Squat Intensity
Split Jerk + Strict Press Volume WOD
Jerk Complex + Pressing Intensity
* will be on a rotating basis week to week to ensure there is a balance in variation
Conditioning days: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays
These days will include:
– Pull-Ups, Toes-to-bar, Pistols, Ring Muscle Ups, Bar Muscle Ups, Handstand Push-Ups
– Integration of mobility, stability, and proper body positions to prime you for the movement during the WOD
– Encourage the importance of developing strict strength before adding any kipping movement
The team at 416 is really looking forward to coaching you throughout the next 6-week cycle. Brace yourself – the Classic is coming.
See you at the bar!
How can I track and optimize my recovery?
We all know that recovery is important to our training success. Understanding your own recovery will help you make informed decisions about your training. But what should you be looking for? How do you know when you might need a little more rest?
Recovery needs to be constantly monitored using a series of indicators that will show trends in increasing or declining performance.
Below are 9 indicators that can be monitored daily.
Resting Heart Rate
In times of distress (Flight or fight) the heart rate will elevate, this may be a sign of sympathetic overtraining. A decreased heart rate may indicate parasympathetic “rest and digest” stress, which brings the body back to homeostasis.
Resting heart rate can be measured by taking the pulse on your wrist or neck and counting the number of beats in 60 seconds. The most accurate time will be before getting out bed (from a decent night’s sleep). Following 3 weeks of data, a change +/- 5% can be considered a negative response associated with fatigue or stress.
Drastic changes in body weight can have negative effects on performance and cognitive functionality. Weight can fluctuate because of loss or gain in body fat, muscle mass and/or insufficient hydration or nutrition. Monitoring weight will provide feedback on daily energy and hydration needs. A loss of body weight of greater than 2% is considered a negative response, and can negatively impact recovery and performance.
Sleep quantity and sleep quality are important markers to track in relation to performance. Sleep affects growth hormone and testosterone production and release; the immune system; and muscle repair, all of which can affect performance. It has been suggested that eight hours of sleep each night should be the target, and a good marker to set when tracking sleep quantity. While in a deep sleep, more oxygen, growth hormones and nutrients are delivered to muscles which will aid in better recovery. Measuring sleep quality can be as simple as: Did you wake up during the night? were you tossing and turning? Were you restless? There are also many apps you can download to help track sleep quality.
When the sympathetic nervous system is triggered due to stress such as increased training volume or intensity, appetite will decrease. This will negatively affect energy balance, hydration and performance. Proper consumption of macronutrients and micronutrients will affect recovery, performance, immune-system, and hormonal balance. This marker will also be directly related to body weight changes.
The effectiveness of a training program can be tied to the principle of overload. Challenging the body differently in each training session with adjustments in movement, volume and intensity to produce a positive training response. These variables if applied properly will damage muscle fibers and result in soreness. Persistent or severe soreness can indicate the need for further recovery.
Many of the above markers can be affected by mood. Work, family, relationships, finances can be very stressful and we see mood swings, depression and anxiety very often in today’s population. These stressful states will have a negative affect on training, and are worth monitoring throughout a given day.
Everything you’ve read about “sweating it out” may not be the best solution to recovering when feeling under the weather. When a feeling of headaches, nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, coughing, or sore throats are present; high intensity training can exacerbate the symptoms, and is recommended to not partake in training until recovered.
Previous Training Day
Effective training programs should lead to progress. If training is leading to a drop in results it may be indicative of decreased recovery status. Everyone will have a bad day here and there, but a trend of poor performances in training is a clear sign of that further recovery may be needed.
Tracking these markers over days, weeks and months will provide you with a snapshot of how effective your recovery is. Using a rating scale of 1-5 is an effective and easy approach. After a few weeks of data, follow these guidelines.
1)80-100% positive trending responses is a green light to continue your training and recovery processes and potentially even in crease volume or intensity
2)60-80% positive trending responses, you should continue training, but with caution. Potentially lower training volume and intensity or plan another rest day
3)Less than 50% positive trending responses is an indication to stop your training program and prioritize your recovery method and strategies.
In our 416Life Nutrition and Lifestyle program, recovery plays a major role in our prescription. The templates we provide to members include an interactive table and chart to map out your recovery markers week to week. These markers assist your coach in determining nutritional or lifestyle adjustments to help reach your goal.
What is holding you back from your first muscle-up?
Much like a pull-up early on in your training journey, the muscle-up is one of the most coveted movements in CrossFit. Everyone remembers the time they got their first one and the feeling of excitement and accomplishment that ensued.
The muscle-up is the ultimate test of the upper body, moving from a vertical pull through a transition into a dip. This requires strength, mobility, stability, body awareness and technique.
So where do you start?
To ensure you have the appropriate strength and stability, we recommend the ability to perform 5 x strict chest to bar pull-ups and 5 x strict ring dips as the bare minimum. The more pull-ups and ring dips you are able to complete, the faster the muscle-up will come.
Once you’re are able to achieve this bare minimum, skill and body shape/awareness must be acquired.
Learning the transition in a muscle-up can prove to be a daunting task, but here are a few sure-fire ways to achieve it with dedicated practice.
False Grip – The false grip rotates your hands over the rings so that your wrist carries most of your body weight and shortens your lever arm decreasing the distance from the hanging position to the start of the transition. This false grip will also provide a natural shift into the dip portion of the movement. To become comfortable in the false grip, first practice on the low rings, hanging back (like a ring row), then work your way to the high rings. Hang time is the important factor. Challenge yourself by simply hanging in the false grip building up to :30 sec (make sure your arms are completely locked out) in an active position.
Pulling Mechanics – Once you have mastered the false grip, you must be able to maintain it while pulling your body up to the rings. Since you achieved the bare minimum of 5 strict chest to bar pull-ups, we know that you have the strength; the skill is your ability to keep your knuckles and rings as close together as possible through the pull while you aim to bring your sternum to the rings. Allowing the rings to come apart and outside your body will significantly increase the difficulty of the transition. Practice this on the low rings, with control, and work your way up to the high rings. With your body hanging, it is crucial to maintain a hollow body position to limit force bleed and provide mechanical advantage. As you pull, keep the legs pressing together and slightly in front of the rings with your abs braced.
The Dip and Ring Support – A muscle-up transition performed with efficiency will result in a very low receiving position (think elbows above your shoulders at the bottom of a dip). Becoming comfortable in this position requires stability at the end range of your shoulder extension. Start on the low rings and lower down as far as you can in a ring dip and try to hold (ensure you’re keeping the rings close to your body). Build up until you can hold for :25-:30 sec. Once you can achieve this, work at pressing out that low dip position to the top of a ring dip with your arms locked out
The Transition – The transition is the link between the hang, pull, and dip in the muscle-up. Once you have accomplished the above skill and strength requirements, developing the transition will be the final piece. Starting on the low rings with your toes on the ground, practice the transition by pulling in a false grip to your sternum, then drive your head between the rings as you outline your chest with your thumbs, and pull your elbows behind you. You will then find yourself at the bottom of a ring dip. Continue to practice this on the low rings until you reach 40-50 reps over the course of a week or two. Then challenge yourself on the high rings.
The above progression is a baseline to achieving a strict muscle-up. Becoming comfortable in the static positions, and practicing the skill work are both required to accelerate your success.
Along the way there may be some sticking points. I encourage you to book a 30 min skill session with a coach to help identify your technical issues and develop a an individualized plan to achieving your goal.