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Kacey’s Nutrition Corner

Staying Clean around the Holidays

Believe it or not, the Holiday Season is upon us. For most of us this means endless
celebrations, office parties, and family get togethers which include an abundance of
food and alcohol. Many of us are on the path to better health and nutrition, so don’t
let the holidays get in your way. The average person can gain 5-8 pounds this time
of year! WOW. The following are jut a few things to keep in mind to avoid becoming
one of those average people.

1. Eat something before you go
It may sound obvious, but the less hungry you are, the less likely you are to
indulge in something that you shouldn’t. Before heading out to that party,
make sure you have filled up on something nutritious that will hold you over.
Proper hydration also plays a large role, too. Drink plenty of water during
the day so that dehydration isn’t mistaken for being hungry.

2. Think about how you will feel later
Sure, that freshly baked cookie might taste good now, but how are you going
to feel physcially and emotionally later? Whenever I pass on something I
know I don’t need, I’m more upbeat and confident in myself when I go to bed.
Before you take a bite out of those cookies, ask yourself if you will regret it
later.

3. Get your sweat on
Traveling schedule keeping you from the gym? Make up your own workout!
That is the beauty of crossfit. Even without a gym or any equipment, you can
get a great sweat going in just a few minutes. Burpees may suck, but they
require very little room and no equipment and yeild a quick sweat. Pushups,
situps, lunges, air squats, handstands, and planks are all great bodyweight
movements to keep in mind. Also, if you google “travel WODs” you’ll find a
million different options to keep you occupied and in shape.

4. Lastly, think about the big picture
Remind yourself why you eat and live the way you do and how that makes
you feel. No one forces you to eat shitty food. Make your own smart
decisions over the holidays!

Happy Holiday season everyone!

Crossfit Thoughts with Casey: Volume III

Customizing Every Workout: How to Prevent Stagnation

To continue achieving progress on your Crossfit journey, you can (and should!) customize your workouts.

Stagnation is one of the biggest battles we face as athletes.   Whether you seek pull-ups after several years into your fitness journey, find yourself stuck at the same snatch max for months, or can’t seem to find a way to PR your favorite benchmark, this message is for you.

A customized game plan will help you work through these fitness plateaus.  It may require a different approach to scaling, selecting more efficient movement choices, or purposely setting an intention for attacking a workout.  Below are some proposed strategies on how to continue progressing in three specific workouts: 

Workout #1: Build to a 1RM Snatch (How to handle heavy days)

Lifting is fun, and max out days are few and far between on a well-run program. Athletes often use this day to focus on a number rather than a movement pattern. For some, getting that extra 5 lbs added to your PR is worth doing the ugliest movement of their lives!  For someone who is STUCK and has been for awhile, this is a day to PR the movement pattern, not the weight. A couple of ways to do this:

-Land a heavy snatch with a 3 second hold at the bottom of the squat (Show control)

-PR your speed under the bar (Show proper mechanics)

-Hit 100% of your attempts that day (Show consistency)

All of these are “scaling” the workout. While you may not lift as heavy, these scaling options are much more difficult than making an ugly lift. Grow your movement patterns and the PRs will follow.

Workout #2: AMRAP of Rope Climbs, Running, Wall Balls (New Skills in Metcons)

Rope climbs are hard!  We can say it. Rope climbs are a high-skill movement and are metabolically taxing (aka I’m breathing really hard!).   Adding a fear of heights to the mix makes these suckers a spicy addition to any workout.

For those first learning this skill, they often scale far more than they should for fear of failure or “not getting a good workout in.” The problem is, these individuals will never end up learning how to properly rope climb under high heart rate.

It is okay to finish last. It is okay to take a workout with 3 rope climbs per round and do 1 rope climb per round instead. It is definitely okay to not make it all the way up the rope. Scale to something that is doable, but also helps you learn the skill.

This applies to a myriad of movements. Instead of automatically reverting to your favorite scaling option, try to find something that challenges you. It is OKAY to fail reps in a workout; in fact it is necessary for you to fail to truly master the skill.

Workout #3: “Grace” 30 clean and jerks for time (Re-evaluating benchmarks)

Benchmarks are tests. They are science experiments. They are opportunities for you to try new things in an environment that you can compare to later. Grace is one of the best places to run these experiments.

With the 30 clean and jerks, there are two main decisions.

-How much weight do I use?

-How do I break up the reps?

There is nothing wrong with taking 10 minutes on your first RX Grace. Ask any accomplished Crossfitter and they will have a story of the time they got murdered by a benchmark the first time they RX’ed it. It’s part of the process. Often the social embarrassment of being last will stop people from taking this chance. Take the chance! See if you were ready for this. On the opposite end, when is the last time you firebreathers reading tried Grace at 185/135?

For those who have RX’ed several Graces, it’s time to test out some new strategies. If you have been doing sets, try singles. If you have been doing singles, try sets. You may get a slower time. THAT IS OKAY. It was a test, an experiment, and you learned from it and got fitter in the process.

These are just some examples, but consider applying this thought process to every WOD you approach.  When in doubt, ask a coach for help establishing creative ways to improve your gym performance.

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Crossfit Thoughts With Casey Vol. 2

Patrick S.

Patrick S.

Stability in positions: The missing piece of your training

“Hey Coach, how do I get stronger?”

“Hey Coach I can’t get my muscle up”

“Hey Coach, Overhead Squats suck”

“Hey Coach, my handstand walks aren’t getting better”

As a Crossfit coach, these are questions that we hear daily. It is both a joy and a frustration to hear them. We love that individuals care about developing these skills, but often see some consistent faults in trying to correct them.

Usually, the answer that people tell themselves is “do more”. If you want to get better at pull-ups, people tell you to do more pull-ups. If you want to get a higher bench press…do more bench press. If you want to get a better overhead squat…well nobody does more overhead squats voluntarily but you get the picture. In most people’s minds, throwing volume at the problem is the quick and easy fix.

I would challenge this line of thinking and encourage you to go back to positions. Take an honest look at your pullup, squat, muscle up, overhead position, handstand hold and ask yourself whether you have try stability in that position.

Here are a couple of good tests:

Overhead Squat: Can you hold the bottom position for 90 seconds with an empty barbell overhead? Is this effortless or excrutiating?

Muscle Up: Can you hold the top AND bottom of the dip for 60 seconds on the low rings?

Handstand Walk: Can you hold a freestanding handstand for 10 seconds without moving your hand?

If you don’t have control over these positions, it makes complete sense that you are not getting stronger/better at them. Without a solid foundation/base to fall back on, it’s impossible to create improvement in power. Think of it like trying to jump as high as you can in mud/sand versus on a solid surface. Both support your feet getting off the ground, but one gives a much stronger result.

Next time you are early to the gym or staying after, work some positions. The term is time under tension. Can you hold the top and bottom of the movement for a significant amount of time without moving/shaking/falling over? If not, scale back the movement. This should be quality, light, unloaded practice. When in doubt, ask a coach for progressions! We are always happy to help.

Once you start mastering that stability, you will see the strength and technique gains you are looking for. Good luck and go work some positions.

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Crossfit Thoughts – How to Develop a New Skill

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Crossfit Thoughts With Casey Vol. 1

 

How to Develop a New Skill

 

In Crossfit, there are dozens of skills that can be developed and mastered. Powerlifting, olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, running, rowing, jump rope, kettlebell work, pacing strategies, mental game, the list goes on and on. Even within that list there are even more pieces to attack (Take gymnastics for example, you have pull-ups, toes to bar, dips, chest to bar, muscle ups, push-ups, air squats, burpees, and on and on).

 

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to figure out how to learn a skill, but it is even more frustrating to think you “have” a skill and then be unable to perform it under fatigue. The Open is especially evil about this (Think about how hard double unders were after thrusters). With that in mind, I wanted to share a few tips on how to “master” a new skill.

 

Step 1: Intellectually understand the Skill

 

Before you hop onto a bar and try a muscle up, or attempt double unders, it might be a good idea to get an idea of exactly what you are doing. When does the movement begin and end? What body parts are supposed to move where? Where is your grip? How long should it take? Are there best practices? Common faults? Familiarize yourself with how the movement works. (Coaches at the gym and progression videos are a great resource for this)

 

Step 2: Perform the Skill for the first time

 

After understanding the skill, you can begin working through progressions and eventually do the skill for the first time. This may take some time and a lot of failed attempts. Don’t get down on yourself! Missing a rep or not doing something right isn’t necessarily bad. If you are able to feel what you did wrong and adjust, then you are improving.

 

One big mistake people make here is just banging their head against the wall with attempts. I see this a ton with double unders. They keep trying the exact same thing (jump height, rope speed, hand position, knee bend) and keep missing. Change it up! Try something new until you find what works.

 

Step 3: Perform the Skill consistently under low pressure/low heartrate

 

This is where practice before or after class comes in. For something like pull-ups, this means 10 singles once or twice a week. SUPER low volume and VERY high attention to detail. Try to make these perfect reps. Take plenty of rest time (as in 60+ seconds) between reps.

 

Step 4: Practice the Skill under fatigue

 

Going from being able to do a few singles on pull-ups to RX-ing Fran (An awful combo of 45 thrusters and 45 pullups) can sometimes be a big jump. A halfway option is to pre-fatigue yourself and then practice the skill. EMOM’s are your best friend here. Let’s say I am trying to get better at pull-ups, I would do the following EMOM.

 

EMOM 10

Even minutes: 12 calorie row

Odd minutes: 5 pullups (done in sets of 1-2)

 

This allows you to simulate what a workout may feel like without the intensity or the pressure. Your heartrate is up, but you are not blowing yourself out and completely losing your mechanics.

 

Step 5: Start using the Skill in WODs

 

Once you feel comfortable doing the skill under high heartrate/at moderate amounts of volume, now it is time to start attempting that skill in a workout. Whenever you apply this to class, have a conversation with your coach. Let them know that you are trying a skill for the first time in a workout, that you might be a touch slower than usual with your time as you are focusing on having quality reps. Once you are able to apply big sets of a movement in a workout, you have “mastered” the skill.

 

With a little bit of maintenance, the skill should stick around for you if you built it in the intentional manner described above!

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Double Unders Tip #2

HOW TO: Double Unders – Stop Tripping On The Rope!

If you constantly trip up after 1 or 5-10 reps. . . this video is for you.
Here we talk about 2 very important tactics you should use to prevent tripping up on your jump rope.

 

Skill Transfer Exercises for the Snatch

Coach Mike Burgener of CrossFit Weightlifting teaches skill transfer exercises and drills for the snatch.

Skill Transfer Exercises 
1. Snatch Push Press
Overhead Strength
2. Overhead SquatCore Strength
3. Heaving Snatch Balance Speed of Arms
4. Snatch Balance w/out dip – Foot/Arm Speed
5. Snatch Balance with dip Foot/Arm Speed

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Burgener Warm-Up

These 5 movements if practiced daily will help you with your weakness in the Olympic lifts.

Burgener Warmup
1. Down and FinishSpeed Through the Middle
2. Elbows High and OutsideKeep the Barbell Close
3. Muscle SnatchQuick/Strong Turnover
4. Snatch lands at 2″, 4″ and 6″Footwork
5. Snatch DropsFootwork