I admit it – this post will probably not apply to all our Blackwater members. However, it is very important for 50% of us so if you’re a boy you’ll just have to scroll on down to the WOD!
1) Why do I need a sports bra?
For comfort. CrossFit often involves high impact movements – running, box jumping, skipping… None of these are going to feel comfortable with your girls jiggling around like crazy – constant movement and trauma can cause pain in the breast itself and can also end up giving you back and neck pain too.
For long term aesthetics. The muscle tissue under the breasts does very little to support the breast itself which comprises mainly fatty tissue supported by thin bands running through the breast called Cooper’s ligaments. Repetitive jiggling and joggling can stretch these ligaments permanently resulting in droopy puppies.
To save your blushes. That plunge or balconette that is so good day to day may not quite cut the mustard in the gym. Does it do its job when you are upside down? Having a nipple pop out will not only put you off your training but will distract your coach from coaching you whilst he/she does everything possible to avoid looking at the offending bit of anatomy!
2) How do I find the perfect sports bra?
Get measured. If you can possibly get to a store and be properly fitted for a bra, do it! Lots of women are walking around wearing the wrong bra size – generally too big in the band and too small in the cup. The very first time I got measured I changed size from a 36C to a 30F – that’s a pretty big difference!
Bravissimo is my all time favourite place to be fitted. They cater for ladies D cup and upwards. They don’t use tape measures but fit you by eye and by testing different bras. You may find that you wear different sizes in different makes. The only downside is we don’t have a branch locally – if you are in Covent Garden, Oxford Circus or Cambridge they are well worth a visit.
On the high street Debenhams and John Lewis are generally pretty good. In my experience it’s better to give Marks a miss – especially if you wear a small back size. I’ve been sized totally wrong a couple of times there and found that they don’t carry much stock for small back sizes with larger cup sizes.
Think about what you will be doing in it. If your training is going to involve running and jumping you will need something supportive! If you are anything more than totally flat chested you will need a back and cup sized sports bra. I look in envy at the stylish crop tops on show at CrossFit events but these will not do the job if you have anything more than a small handful up top!
Get online. Once you’ve been fitted you’ll generally find a better choice and more competitive prices online.
Boobydoo.com carry an extensive range and are fast and efficient in my experience.
Bravissimo are also great for larger cup sizes. They aren’t the cheapest but you can often pick up last season’s colours in the sale section.
Wiggle carry a smaller range but you can often pick up good deals there.
Find the bra you like and then shop around to pick it up at the best price!
If you need one NOW – Debenhams in Chelmsford is probably your best bet. They carry a reasonable range and they can fit you, so you’ll find something there with the right support in the correct size – even if it isn’t in flouro pink with leopardskin trim!
3) My favourites!
Panache Underwired Sports Bra I love this one because it’s one of the only sports bras I’ve found that delivers on support but actually gives you a bit of shape rather than squashing your chest into a big long sweaty sausage. This is my go to benching and push-up bra – I reckon I get at least an extra inch in height with this one on!
Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra This is great if you want everything strapped up as tight as possible. It’s a little difficult to get into with a fiddly clip high up on the back but your girls won’t be going anywhere in this one. This is definitely one to try on in store first – the bands come up very small so you may need to size up if you want to be able to breathe.
Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports This is another of my all time favourites. Great support and it comes in some really nice colours and patterns. If you are brave enough it’s good enough to wear as a crop top on it’s own.
This isn’t an extensive list – these are just my personal favourites. Other brands you could check out are Enell, Berlei, Freya and Sportjock.
Clean Complex Clean grip deadlift+ 2 high hang cleans + hang clean
OPT does Helen in 2008. One of the first CrossFit videos I watched
James (OPT) Fitzgerald won the CrossFit Games in 2007. That was the very first year of the games. Back then it was like a bunch of friends throwing down with each other. If you happened to drive past and recognise what they were doing as CrossFit you would have been welcomed to join in. OPT is now 41 years old so eligible to come and try and join me at the CrossFit Games this year or next.
Today’s gym benchmark at Blackwater is Helen. One of the most popularly programmed ‘Girl’ WODs. There’s been a huge number of variations of Helen, ‘Fat Helen’, ‘Fatter Helen’ and of course ‘Eva’ which is basically double the reps, double the running and at an RX+ standard with 32/20k swings and chest to bar pull ups.
However, out of all of these, the basic ‘Helen’ puts the biggest knot in my stomach. Knowing I am expected to go all out without any excuse of weight or skill slowing me down is more scary than plodding through a 40 minute marathon paced with a high but not at my limit heart rate.
This is exactly why good scaling is essential. I have seen so many people make up ridiculously hard workouts with movements and weights that are almost at their absolute limit. They think that they are being total beasts by making things so hard for themselves but actually all they are doing is making sure that the stimulus from their workout will be remarkably small. Yes they will still get a good strength workout but as far as cardio goes their heart’s not going to get out of third gear.
So next time you open up the CrossFit Blackwater page, look at the WOD and think how easy it looks, be very very wary… Sometimes the easiest on paper can be the hardest. Something you can fly through weight and skill wise bites hard. Lactic acid shutting down your muscles is at most uncomfortable, missing a lift is often annoying, but nothing hurts like getting into that max heart beat, pushing hard as you can zone, that’s when you find out how much you want it.
Hope you enjoy Helen today, your scores are going to be written down and kept for the next time we programmes the benchmark.
Back Squats – 3-3-2-2-1-1 – Build to a heavy single.
This was one of the first CrossFit videos I watched. This is also the original CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz. Annie, Eva and Nicole all trained here together and regularly hit main site workouts that people would copy all around the world.
Back when this was filmed around 2008 if you were close enough to an affiliate to train there with other Crossfitters you were truly blessed. So what the rest of us did was follow crossfit.com. Every morning a workout would appear on main site then you would get yourself to your local globo gym and do it to the best of your ability and rush back and post your times on the main page comments -scrolling up and down seeing who you beat or who beat you. Just like at the gym now, I had my names to look out for, people I would do my best to beat every day. Nik ‘Alan’ Nichols from Texas and Richard Vanmeerbeek from Belgium were my main contenders and like me they posted a score every single day… apart from the rest days of course when we made our own workouts up.
Fast-forward six years from my good old days, and where
is CrossFit now? There are over 4,000 CrossFit gyms spread across the
entire world. There are now hundreds of thousands of
CrossFitters, and it seems like there are hundreds more
every single day.
I hope you enjoy the video… And yes the form’s not always great 😉
Hang Power Clean 3-3-3-3-3 – Build to a heavy 3 reps
50 Air Squats
7 Muscle Ups / 21 Ring Rows
10 Hang Power Cleans 60/40k
We are continuing to use the high hang clean in this cycle to drill a complete and explosive final pull and speed underneath the bar. Today the complex is a repeat of week 1 – check your training logs to see what you are aiming for in today’s session!
Clean deadlift + 2 high hang cleans 5x(2+1)
Clean pull 3×3
Back squat 5×5
For time 50-40-30-20-10
In CrossFit almost every day is different. However we need to measure your progress in more ways than just your lifting. The best way to do that is with a variety of benchmark wods that test different aspects of your training, skills and how well your body uses different energy pathways. Simply – whether you’re good at shorter faster workouts or excel on the long ones.
Today’s test is Helen. A mid range workout with most people falling within the 8-12 minute finishing time. It’s a test of your cardio-respiratory capacity combined with a bit of grip endurance. Kettlebell swings followed by pull ups are tough.
It would be great if everyone could make a note of their time and how you scaled, so next time around we can see how much you have improved. My first Helen took me 13 minutes. I hadn’t learnt how to kip pull ups and the 24k kettlebell felt a lot heavier to me back then than it does now. Since then, over 8 or so years, I have taken almost 5 minutes off my time. You may wonder how I remember that long ago being so old…. I don’t. Luckily my workouts are all logged since I began in 2008. I cannot emphasise enough how much it’s helped me over the years having a log. For example, I remembered doing one of the Games workouts from this year at Fitness First about 5 years ago. Going through my log I was able to formulate a great strategy and get an idea of how the workout would feel.
In case you fancy reading ALL of my struggles since discovering CrossFit here is my log. You won’t take long to find a rant about double unders being impossible, how I will never be able to overhead squat or my final breakthrough with the muscle up. When I watch you all learning I remember being in that exact same place and I know the work needed to get each skill mastered.