Monthly Archives: September 2011

Get Ready for 2012

The dust has settled from the 2011 CrossFit Games.  We crowned the fittest man and women in a three day competition that included a swim in the ocean, handstand walking, olympic weightlifting, rope climbs, monkey bars, sled drags, and just plain old guts. 

So, it’s now time to get ready for the 2012 CrossFit Games season which begins in February 2012.  From the Games website, here is some information on the Open:

The Games season will begin with the Open, a worldwide online competition with one workout per week. The Open will run for five weeks, from February 22 to March 25. Anyone can compete in the Open, regardless of fitness level or experience. More than 26,000 athletes from around the world took part in the 2011 season, and 2012 promises to be even larger.

In order to participate in the Open, athletes can do the workouts at their local affiliate or film their attempt from their garage gym. All scores and videos are then submitted to the Open website, which allows athletes to track how they match up with athletes in their region and around the world.

This is the now the preseason.  Now is the time to get healthy, work on your weaknesses, maintain your strengths, set your goals, and getting mentally focused for the start of the season. 

Get excited because CrossFit Merge is going to be fully engaged in the upcoming competition season that is sure to be full of tough workouts and good times. 

Skill:

4 x 100 meter sprints

Rest 60 seconds between sprints

Workout of the Day (WOD):

For time, complete:

10 handstand push-ups (sub as difficult as possible push-ups)

20 calories on the rower

30 pull-ups

40 dumbbell push presses (40#/25# for women)

50 kettlebell swings (53#/35# for women)

Run the short block

Post times to comments

I know D1 is focusing his efforts on the Masters Division of the CrossFit Games Open.


Are We Maniacs?

Take a few minutes to read this article from Penny Love Hoff of the Huffington Post.  

Is CrossFit Only For Maniacs?

She admits that her only research on CrossFit is from some YouTube videos.  She’s never been to a CrossFit gym for a class, yet she makes some pretty bold claims.  

How would you respond to her article?  What would you say to a friend whose first impression of CrossFit is based on this article?  Does she have some valid points?  Is CrossFit a cult of maniacs, if even to a small degree?

Skill:

Hang Clean

3 – 3 – 2 – 2 – 1 – 1 (find a new 1 rep max)

Workout of the Day (WOD):

CrossFit Games Open WOD 11.2

15 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of:

9 deadlifts (155#/100# for women)

12 push-ups (hand release at the bottom)

15 box jumps (24″/20″ for women)

Post rounds to comments

 

Box jumps, functional movement or a move only for the fitness crazies?  


5 Things Every CrossFitter Should Do

This list come courtesy of CrossFit Lisbeth.

1.) Check out the WOD on CrossFit each day. You don’t have to follow it, but you should at least see what the mainpage is producing each day because there’s a lot of innovation there.

2.) Hand care. Enough with the bloody hand photos! Really. Read this CrossFit Journal article and stop messing up your skin and leaving your DNA on the pull-up bars. (Be smart with your calluses AND grip the bar right!)

3.) Think twice sometimes about going heavy in a metcon — and instead go light and ramp up your intensity and see what happens. Read this article about scaling and power by Jon Gilson.

4.) Mobility work. Nope, that doesn’t mean ride Grandma’s scooter. Get out the lacrosse ball, watch some delicious K-Starr, and start to heal your body.

5.) Laugh more. At the WOD, at your own performance, at life. And if you need help laughing today, there’s always The Oatmeal.

What would you add to this list?  Me, I urge every CrossFitter to log their workouts.  Hold yourself accountable and record your progress.  It will make you better. 

Tuesday

Skill:

Ring work:

L-sits, jump to support, skin the cats, forward rolls, levers

Workout of the Day (WOD):

20 min AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of:

5 dips

10 medicine ball sit-ups with a toss

100 meter, 1 arm farmer’s carry (as heavy as possible)

Fred and Marianoel, both dedicated CrossFitters that log their results after each WOD.


No Shortcuts Here

CrossFit is gaining more attention.  Professional football players like Chad Ochocinco and Matt Hasselbeck have incorporated CrossFit into their training, and ESPN is broadcasting highlights from the 2011 CrossFit Games for a whole new audience to see remarkable feats of athleticism as well as ripped figures. 

As CrossFit grows in popularity, it remains important to understand that CrossFit is not magic; it’s not going to provide any easy fixes or overnight solutions.  

CrossFit can no doubt make you healthier, help you lose weight, and allow you to move and feel better.  Yet the reality is that CrossFit still requires a lot of hard work and consistent training. 

CrossFit is a smarter and more effective way to train compared to weight machines and long hours on the treadmill.  But that doesn’t mean you’ll get the results you want without having to work hard.  There are no shortcuts to true fitness.  It’s going to take time, patience, the learning of new movements, working on weaknesses, and you’re going to have to do all of that on a consistent basis for not just months, but for years.

The common trend amongst those that get the best results out of CrossFit are not those with strong athletic backgrounds, but rather those that make a concerted effort to do CrossFit on a regularly basis. 

When you join CrossFit Merge you enter into an agreement.  We agree to coach you, train you, help you get healthier and fitter, and you agree to show up and work out.  No gimmicks, no silver bullets, just functional movements and your full effort each and every time.

If you can make that commitment to CrossFit and ultimately to yourself, the results are sure to follow.

Monday

Skill:

10 sets of 2 reps of back squat

Use 75 to 85% of your 1 rep max

Rest 60 seconds between sets. 

Workout of the Day (WOD):

30 – 20 – 10 reps of:

Sumo deadlift high pulls (95/65# for women)

Burpee box jumps (24″/20″ for women)

Post times to comments

Lex shows us that it may not always be fancy or glamorous, but that it doesn’t need to be for it to work.


A Video For Everyone

Here are some CrossFit videos to motivate, inspire, and educate you for this week’s training.  Enjoy.

Old school video of Jon Gilson giving tips to fix the squat.

http://www.againfaster.com/the-micd-instructor/2008/4/19/fixing-the-squat.html

A very inspiration video of just how great the CrossFit community is in giving back towards others.

http://www.sportsgrants.org/fgb6/blog/2011/09/fgb6-nbc-nightly-news/

Check out the head first dive into the barbell by Pat Barber as he goes for the win.

What does CrossFit sound like?

“BREATHE” from Paul Schneider on Vimeo.

It was a very tough workout on the grip on Friday, power snatches, toes to bar, and burpees.

Despite this, Burpee Mike had a look in his eye and after some diligent work practicing his transition from the pull-up to the dip, he got his first muscle-up on the rings.

Nice job, Burpee Mike!


Below Parallel Each Time, Every Time

At the heart of all CrossFit movements is the squat.  It’s the first movement one learns at the Level 1 Certification Seminar, and if I could only do one movement for the rest of my life, it would probably be a tough choice between the squat and the barbell wrist curl.

Nothing produces meaningful strength like a proper squat.  And a necessary component of a proper squat going below parallel, that is the crease of the hip is below the top of the knee.

Mark Rippetoe, a highly respected strength coach, has this to say about squatting below parallel:

Squatting high is easier, but easier doesn’t work. You actually know this already, even if you keep the secret buried down below your brain stem. Easier has never worked, and you figured this out in about the fifth grade, provided you weren’t in some remedial program mandated by your state.

When you memorized all your multiplication tables, arithmetic was a lot easier, wasn’t it? When you diagrammed all your sentences, the next semester’s writing assignments were easier, right? When you actually did all your homework, the test was easier. That type of easier does work.

Squats below parallel are your homework. The result of doing them is that you get stronger on all the other exercises, even the pressing movements, because squats make your whole body stronger – if you do them correctly. I know it’s harder that way, and one of the ways you know it’s wrong to do them high is that everybody else does them high. When was the last time that thing everybody else was doing turned out to be the right thing to do?

Deep squats done with a weight that’s a little heavier each time you train affect your body in a way that no other exercise can. And believe me when I say that “other methods” have been tried. They just don’t work. And it’s not that they don’t work as well, they don’t work at all.

You can quarter-squat or half-squat as much weight as you can load on the bar and growth will not occur at the same rate it does when you finally stop being a wussy and get below parallel with every rep, with a constantly increasing load on your back.

Squats done above parallel can’t be quantified – their performances can’t be compared because they use different amounts of muscle mass, different amounts of stretch reflex, and calculate to different amounts of work (the force-times-distance kind).

If the same depth, just below parallel, is used for every rep of every set, then you know that if your squat goes up, you’re getting stronger.

Unless we are doing power cleans or snatches, every squat at CrossFit Merge will be below parallel.  The coaches here are going to be relentless on enforcing this because below parallel squats will make you fitter and healthier.

If you can’t yet squat below parallel with much weight, that’s okay, we’ll work with you as you progress with weight.  There’s nothing wrong with starting light to ensure proper depth, but we won’t compromise on depth.

So, be humble, check your ego, and get brilliant in the basics of the squat.

Tuesday

Skill:

Back Squat

1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 (Find a new 1 rep max)

Workout of the Day (WOD):

5 rounds for time of:

200 meter run

15 front squats (95#/65# for women)

Post times to comments

Morgan fighting to keep the elbows up as she ensures good depth on her squat.


Injuries Happen

Here’s an excerpt from Freddy C. up at CrossFit One World regarding injuries.  Some good nuggets of information in here on injuries and also putting your fitness in perspective.

“Haters always circle their wagons and argue that everyone is getting hurt doing CrossFit. Of course people get hurt doing CrossFit, but guess what? Do any type of physical activity on a regular basis and injuries happen. I trained Krav Maga and fought in the ring. Over the course of those years of training, I was injured WAY MORE than I’ve ever been hurt doing CrossFit style of training.

I’ve seen track stars blow out hammies in the finals at national, world, and Olympic meets. World class weightlifters pull, strain and tear things. Professional football players, baseball players, and basketball players are always getting injured. Professional hockey players get cut up, stitched up, and return to the ice in the same game!! What causes more trips to the emergency room than anything? People playing recreational softball, basketball, and soccer.

You can’t do physical activity without some risk of getting injured. I think that so many people hate on CossFit and make a big deal about the injuries because in the early years of CrossFit, CrossFit shot itself in the foot. Bold claims were made that CrossFit doesn’t cause injuries. Maybe in the early years, there weren’t a lot of injuries, but there were injuries nonetheless. Saying that you can’t get injured doing CrossFit was dumb.

If you do prolonged work at high intensity, whether light or heavy, there is likely a degredation in form. Pushing through that is dangerous. If you want to avoid being injured, listen to your body. Working through injuries is something professional athletes do. They get paid, and they get top notch treatment. For the rest of us, working through injury or exceeding what you are capable of because “that’s what CrossFit is all about” is f*cking retarded. On the flip side of that, the benefits/results of training at high intensity can’t be ignored. People have been doing interval training forever. It’s no secret that it makes you fitter. The problem CrossFitters have is that they don’t realize that you have to turn that off sometimes.

Be smart. You have been warned.”

Speaking personally, my body was way more beat up and injured from years of training in the Marine Corps compared to my years of training with CrossFit.  I was constantly plagued with stress fractures, tendinitis, and knee pain because of overuse and not enough rest.  But hey, that was the job and a lot times you just had to suck it up.

Now, I listen to my body much more and am smart about rest and recovery.  Not everyday has to be a thrashing.  If I need to ice, I’ll ice.  Soreness is really bad, I’ll roll out.  And I take rest days when I’m just not feeling up for it.  

Taking the long view of my health and fitness, over the past two and a half years with CrossFit, I look, and most important, feel much better than I ever did before.

So again, be smart about your training and recovery.  You’ve now been warned a second time.

Monday

Skill:

Deadlift

3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3

Workout of the Day (WOD):

12 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of:

6 plyometric push-ups

8 overhead lunges (45#/25# plate for women)

10 burpee pull-ups

This was Mark’s last day at CrossFit Merge before he’s off to the east coast for work.  Mark has made huge gains in strength, speed, power, and endurance with CrossFit.  For his final workout, je wanted something to smoke the upper body as well as a heavy lift to really fire things up.  I think he was pretty happy after the workout yesterday.

Best of luck and be sure to come back for a visit, Mark.  Your 205# deadlift was just the beginning, 300# is not far off.

Chris going as prescribed on his overhead lunges.

Crystal ditching the plate as she races to the pull-up bar as Justin works his plyometric push-ups.


Fighting for a Cause

Great job over the weekend on Fight Gone Bad.  You, along with thousands of other CrossFit gyms and hundreds of thousands of fellow CrossFitters, put in the time, learned the movements, planned out a strategy, and most important, put 100% toward the workout.  Thank you for working hard and making the sacrifice for some great causes. 

Oh yeah, the BBQ after the WOD rocked as well.  We’ll definitely have more cookouts very soon. 

Saturday’s WOD

Fight Gone Bad

1 minute at each station for max reps of:

Wall ball shots (20#/14# for women)

Sumo deadlift high pulls (75#/53 for women)

Box jumps (20″)

Push presses (75#/53# for women)

Row (for max calories)

Rest 1 minute between rounds

Complete 3 rounds

Score is total repetitions/calories

Some group sit-ups to break the tension before the WOD.

D1, Chris, and Sarah, in the final, agonizing minute of Fight Gone Bad.

Burpee Mike with a classic CrossFit expression.

135# overhead squats and a wrestling singlet?  What?  Some post WOD, post BBQ, CrossFit antics I suppose.


10 Way to Improve at CrossFit

Courtesy of CrossFit Leander

1. Leave Your Expectations At The Door

This is not P90X, Yoga or Zumba.  This is Crossfit.  The path we take to reach physical excellence is unlike the aforementioned activities and expecting otherwise based on past experiences will only serve as an obstacle in your Crossfit journey.  Having expectations automatically attaches you to an outcome and if the outcome doesn’t come to fruition, you’ll set yourself up for disappointment.  Allow yourself to be open to new ideas, new techniques, new outcomes and various ways of getting there, because Crossfit is anything but conventional.

2. Relinquish All Myths

When we were kids, we got away with the wildest explanations of why things are the way they are, and when people (namely other children) would ask how we knew, we would matter-of-factly reply, “Because my Mom said so.” Well your mother, bless her heart, was told these things by someone else, who was also told these things by someone else. Are you starting to see the pattern? The point I’m trying to make is that you can’t replace facts and data with what you heard from someone else. There are a TON of misconceptions about Crossfit and fitness in general, and the only way to help set the record straight is by doing your own research & encouraging others to do the same. Be an advocate for knowledge.

3. Keep It Positive

Part of why Crossfit is so appealing is because of the positive, can-do environment. I like to refer to it as the powerful platform of unlimited potential. When we’re struggling with thoughts of self-defeat during a WOD, there’s always someone there to tell us we can do it. This camaraderie can taper off over time if you’re not conscious about the topics you choose to discuss before and after class. So keep it positive. We’re not there to gossip or complain or vent, we’re there to move past all of that.

4. Listen, Listen, Listen

Just like reading an entire instruction manual, there are several benefits to listening to the coach. You may not  understand it all in the beginning (“a burpeewhat?!”), but as you continue to listen (and watch), things will start to make sense. You begin as a sponge and it’s in your advantage to soak up all the knowledge and benefits that are constantly being shared if you pay attention. If you’re genuinely interested, people sense that and will seek to help you out.

5. Remember To Breathe 

That’s like telling you to remember to close your eyes before you fall asleep. Duh? It seems so basic, but you’d be surprised at how often we forget to breathe during a warm up and a WOD. I speak from many months of migraines. Just breathe.

6. Staring Is Caring

Shyness is incapable of surviving in a Crossfit environment, so don’t be afraid to stare. More importantly, don’t feel uncomfortable if someone is staring at you. When we stare at someone in Crossfit, it’s usually because we’re admiring their form and / or technique and trying to file it away in the mind’s rolodex for future reference. You can learn a lot by

7. Quality Over Quantity, Always!

Numbers are a great tool because they represent a goal that we’re all striving to achieve. But it’s important to remember that they’re exactly that: just a tool. Numbers don’t matter if you sacrifice the quality of your form. This not only puts you at risk for injury but it is counter-productive to the strength you’re intending to build. You’ll earn more respect coming up 10 squats short at the end of a WOD because your rock star form slowed you down, then half-assing them just to make time.

8. Be Someone’s Cheerleader

So you’ve finished your WOD and you’re torn between laying on the ground panting in exhaustion, socializing with fellow finishers or rooting on some of your team mates who are really, really close to finishing their WOD. If you can muster up the energy to push through the tail end of a WOD, then you can muster up the energy for one more minute to whip out your proverbial pom-poms.  If you’re genuinely interested, people sense that and will seek to help you out.  And when the time comes when you find yourself stuck on a WOD when everyone else is finished, you’ll be amazed at how many of them will step up to the plate to cheer for you. Pay it forward

9. Keep Going To Crossfit, Even When It Hurts

Much like dogs, when we’re injured, we tend to “den” (find a safe and secure place, often our homes) until we feel better. The problem with this in regards to Crossfit is that sometimes what we think will take days to heal, can actually be relieved within one hour or less of guided mobility. When I had lower back issues, I was shown a technique on a foam roller to relieve the pain and it went away almost immediately. Sometimes we also discover that it’s not an injury at all, just a pull or soreness. And often times, that soreness becomes irrelevant within the first few rounds of a warm up. So no matter what kind of discomfort you’re feeling, keep showing up for Crossfit and let your coach know right away so he or she can evaluate what’s needed to make you feel better.

10. Make Peace With “Last Place”

It’s just a figment of your imagination. The only person you’re truly competing against is yourself and it’s important to remember that to get where you’re supposed to be going, you have to start somewhere. Without dark, we cannot know light. Contrast is a beautiful thing. Enjoy the journey.

Wednesday’s Skill:

Pistol practice/progressions

Workout of the Day (WOD): 

Bottom to Bottom Tabata Squats (count total score), then run 3 laps around the block for time.  


The Healthlift

PRs galore yesterday on the 1 rep max deadlift.  Great effort and results from everyone.  The body was designed and wants to pick up heavy objects, and that you did yesterday.

Skill:

Max Deadlift

1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 (set a new PR)

Workout of the Day (WOD):

Double Tabata of:

Heavy kettlebell swings

Jumping lunges

Score is total reps of both movements

Post deadlift weights and Tabata scores to comments

355# for Fred.

Chris with a PR on his 350# deadlift.

Marlene surprising herself with a 153# lift.

Delaney getting an easy lift at 203#.

Michael on his way to a 175# deadlift PR.

Adrienne setting a personal best with 163#.