Category Archives: Popular

Sports Bras and Olympic Lifting

Puppies

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.

One handstand pushup and they'll be nipples flying everywhere...
One handstand pushup and there will be nipples flying everywhere…

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?

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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

Jerk from racks 3×3

Conditioning

10min AMRAP:
5 hspu/10pushups
10 kettlebell swings 32/24kg
15 abmat situps
50 double unders/100singles

Barbara

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Pull ups at the French Throwdown

Today we will be hitting another benchmark for the first time. Barbara is one of the more notorious ladies. Whereas with Fran you might of heard of the ‘Fran Cough’, caused by the flat out sprint and the huge amount of oxygen your body sucks in for the duration of the workout. You may have also of experienced the lactic threshold muscle burning you get from the 100 rep format of Angie. Barbara has it’s very own personality. I call it the ‘Barbara Headache’.

Its not the pull ups, push ups, sit ups or even the air squats that cause this headache. Its the 3 minutes rest you get inbetween each round. This will be scaled so you can go almost unbroken on the first round. 140 repetitions completed in 3-5 minutes. This will get your heart rate flying. Then you rest for 3 minutes, rinse and repeat.

I have two theories about the headache you get afterwards (or for some after 2-3 rounds Matt Williams). Firstly you’re hitting a high heart rate 5 times rather than just once in a normal amrap or rounds for time. 5 sprints equals a lot of blood shooting around the veins in your forehead. My second theory is the multiple directions your head moves in, not one of the exercises allows your head to have a break. I personally go with theory 1.

So yes the 3 minutes rest makes this one of the more notorious benchmarks. It allows your heart rate to lower and your muscles and mind to be ready to sprint again. In my view a lot harder than doing the whole 5 rounds without a break.

Conditioning

Barbara

Five rounds, each for time of:
20 Pull-ups
30 Push-ups
40 Sit-ups
50 Squats

Rest precisely three minutes between each round.

Finisher

Weighted Bridge holds (plate on lap)

Ring In outs

The Open is coming

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Open leaderboard from 2011 Individuals

Todays amrap comes from the 2011 CrossFit Open. This was also the first week of the very first open. It was 6 weeks with 1 workout to be completed at an affiliate or filmed at a globo gym per week. 26,000 people entered to try and get a place at the finals in California. Compared to now that is nothing. Over 200,000 people entered this year including 55,000 in the masters divisions. Back then masters also started at 45+ and being a fresh faced 41 year old I was in the hat with the individuals. The top 60 went on to the Reebok stadium in Bolton for the regionals that year, I managed to qualify 21st in Europe.

Continue reading The Open is coming

You cannot hide your goats forever

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Thursday night club

Everyone has Goats. I don’t mean the kind you find at petting zoos or animal rescue centres keeping donkeys company, but athletic goats. In CrossFit these are things we find difficult, skills we try and try to get but they still elude us – actually they are anything that we firstly want and secondly are finding it extremely hard to achieve.

As a novice bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzennegger had a big goat. It was his extremely skinny lower legs or calf muscles. He purposefully cut all his tracksuit bottoms off at the knees to make sure everyone else in the gym would continuously mock his biggest weakness. Then he used all of that to fire him up to train those calves again and again until they were pumped up and ready for the stage.

So, what’s my point in telling you about a bodybuilder from the ’70s? Never hide from your goats, the more you spend time with them the better they will get. I have refused to practice certain movements in the past just because I was ashamed people would be watching me fail. There’s a big saying in CrossFit to ‘Leave your ego at the door’.  Come straight in and attack that goat – I now practice my current pesky goat 2-3 times a week and some of you probably know that I have trouble with bar muscle ups as I have been practising right in front of you – something I would not have done a few years back and because of that the goat has survived to this day.

Most of us have a herd of the buggers to sort out, my advice is get the noisiest ones out first then the rest will come a lot easier.

 

Strength

Back Squats –  5-5-5-5-5 ascending weight

Conditioning

8 minute amrap:

5 Handstand Push ups / 10 Push ups
10 Wall Balls
15 Toes to bar

rest 2 mins

EMOM 10: 12 Burpees

5 Reasons Why You Should Join a CrossFit Gym in Essex

5 Reasons Why You Should Join a CrossFit Gym in Essex

There’s a common misunderstanding among most gym goers that CrossFit is ineffective, unsafe and should be left well alone; but that is where you are completely wrong. If you really knew what CrossFit was about you’d understand that it is incredibly rewarding and gives you the confidence to perform activities you never thought were possible. Here are a number of reasons why you should join our gym in Essex and start training today:

  1. Even though CrossFit is considered an intensive sport, intensity is relative to your own physical and psychological limitations. Many individuals are of the understanding that you need to be in good shape before you start training, but once again that is not the case and I’m afraid you have been ill informed. Studies have in fact proven that short, sharp exercises are actually better for you and should not be daunting.

 

  1. Unlike many fitness programs, you are able to see the results early on in your training regime and it’s this measurable data which drives you on to improve further. There is no hiding away from your weaknesses when training at our gym. Working in harmony with our trainers, you are able to quickly discover what they are, attack them head on and become a better all-round athlete as a result. In most cases, the more unfit you are to begin with, the more you’ll be amazed by the initial results and your progress. Here at CrossFit Blackwater, we suggest training two or three times a week, that’s all!

 

  1. Previously, I mentioned that many gym goers believe that CrossFit workouts are dangerous and the intensity at which people exercise is enough to leave you in a heap on the floor! Well, firstly I’ll point out that is where you are wrong! CrossFit allows you to train multiple metabolic systems (opposed to just one like in most sports) and you we are able to preserve your muscle mass, toughen your bones and support your joints. Coupled with a nutritional diet, you will feel better about yourself, perform to a higher standard and give yourself extra energy, even as you get older!

 

  1. One thing most people don’t realise is that it’s not all about fitness; CrossFit is also very community focused. Understandably, you may feel slightly intimidated at first, but you’ll quickly start to realise how supportive we all are here at CrossFit Blackwater. Each of our incredibly experienced CrossFit trainers make a point of knowing everyone by their name and their ultimate goal as it’s this relationship which makes training here fun and enjoyable. You’ll never have to work out alone again!

 

  1. Last but not least, our gym in Essex offers you something no other gym can offer: at CrossFit Blackwater you have the chance to learn from and train beside the very best in Europe, Scott Jenkins. I mean need I go on? The only way you are ever going to know how rewarding CrossFit is, is by signing up to Witham’s premier CrossFit gym and trying it for yourself!

 

 

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Jeff & Pete seeing who can wear the most CrossFit gear during Mondays Push Press

Strength

Deadlifts – 5-5-5-5-5 – Linear progression

Conditioning

5 minute amrap:

10 Deadlifts 80/50k
10 Bar Hop Burpees

rest 2 mins

5 minute amrap:

10 Wall Balls
10 Abmat Sit ups

Finisher

Tabata Core Holds

The History of CrossFit and Hips

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Simon admires Steve’s body position on the strict chest to bar pull up

When I first started experimenting with CrossFit my background had been mostly isolation exercises. As far as I was concerned using your hips was cheating. Getting that last bicep curl by leaning back a bit and doing something strange with my legs… Or as we now know it using our hips. My body seemed to do this on it’s own without any direction from my brain, it was like there was an inbuilt method in my genetics kicking in and getting that last rep done.

This was widespread in CrossFit competitions in 2009 – Olympic lifting was basically ‘get it up there anyhow’, kipping handstand push ups had not been invented and a muscle up was done with very little kip in a false grip using mostly biceps then triceps to finish off. Happy days :)… for me.

Then slowly over the next few years people started taking Olympic lifting seriously – getting actual REAL olympic lifting coaches in to teach them and inventing newer, faster ways of doing the bodyweight exercises. The `Hip Revolution`, as I call it, was born.

Everything was about the hips. Ring dips, hspu, muscle ups, olympic lifting of course, no longer could you get away with muscling a 80k snatch to win a Throwdown. CrossFitter’s were shouting ‘hips, hips, hips’ on everything.

Our hips do produce the most power and are essential in Olympic lifting. But this power comes at a cost, just like gas guzzling cars they eat oxygen as fast as a Bugatti sucks down petrol. On the longer conditioning workouts they are going to burn a lot of fuel and you’re going to need the help of the smaller muscles, the old fashioned musclers.

That is why we programme for both at Blackwater. Olympic lifting specialised days refining your technique and explosive speed, strength days with the big lifts like squats and deadlifts and on top of that isolation exercises to keep tendons and joints strong and every muscle ready to take big lactic acid hits.

Giant Set

3 rounds – Move with purpose between exercises, rest 2 mins between rounds.

Strict Press – 10-10-10 – ascending weight. Build to a heavy 10 reps.
DB/KB rows – 10-10-10 each arm
Hand Release Push ups – 15-15-15
Bicep curls – 10-10-10 each arm

Conditioning

15 minute amrap:

5 Burpees
10 Wall Balls
15 Air Squats
20 Sit ups

Finisher

Band arm extensions

 

Reflections on the 2015 CrossFit Games

Scott Jenkins 2015 CrossFit Games Masters 45-49
Scott Jenkins 2015 CrossFit Games Masters 45-49

CrossFit Games 2015

Hard to think it’s all over. One of the best experiences of my life, totally lived up to the 7 years of trying to get there. Epic week in Los Angeles, brilliant people, treated so well by CF HQ and will never forget it. Now here is a run down of the events, my mistakes and highlights.

 

 

Event 1:

40 GHD Sit ups
10 Bar Muscle ups
100lb Sandbag Run 50m
32 GHD Sit ups
8 Bar Muscle ups
120lb Sandbag Run
24 GHD Sit ups
6 Bar Muscle ups
140lb Sandbag Run – CAP +8 14th

Bar muscle ups have been a weakness of mine addressed lately and I thought I had got quite good at them. After 40 ghd sit ups (of which I don’t own one to train on) not so much. 3 unbroken before having to hit doubles and singles. Was laying in 18th before finishing with a sprint and some unbroken ghd’s. No mistakes just need to work more ghd sit ups and bar muscle ups.

Event 2: Max Thruster

This was always going to be a bad event for me. My 1rm are never good on any movement, stamina is much better than my explosive strength so needed to just limit the damage here.

185lb Fail
185lb
205lb
210lb
215lb – 18th
225lb big fail

My best is 220lb so not far away. Was quite unsteady on event the good reps and was lucky not to pick up a few more no reps.

So after 2 events I was in 19th. I knew it would be a bad start with my worst events first but hoped to be laying more in 12th now.

Event 3: SQT

Now I was confident on this one. If there’s two things I can do it’s snatch and sprint, light snatches of course not 1rm.

3 rounds for time:

10 Snatches 42.5k (muscled of course)
4 x 50m Shuttle – 3.24 – 2nd

Set off on first round in joint 2nd, then moved into a clear second after the 2nd set of snatches. Craig Eisman had a lead on me which I see was going to be hard to catch then on the 3rd round he no repped he’s last snatch and I see a door… And with that bombed after him like mad, for 30 seconds I see 1st place and a what would have been a funny interview at the end. As I hit the last 50m he came back past me, I reacted but my legs didn’t, the message was clear, run faster, I did not care about pain, but my legs did not receive the message. But this was a huge improvement, back in the game and the commentators finally had to flick through their notebooks and find out my name.

Day Two

Event 4:The Long Chipper

1000m Stadium Run
25 D Ball Over shoulder
25 Box Jumps
25 C2B PUll ups
50 Wall Balls
25 C2B PUll ups
25 Box Jumps
25 100lb Sandbag over shoulders – CAP +21 – 8th

Started great. Went past 4 to 5 people on the run then got to the downhill. Knees hate running downhill or steps so people filed past me here. Finished the run in 16th. Next mistake NO TOP on D Balls, covered ball in sweat which made it hard to pick up. Then came box jumps and time to start moving up the field, I know they are not my favourite but it was more about who could keep moving rather than who could do fancy box jumps. Managed to make up 5 places and then in the last 30 seconds another 3 places on the sandbag which felt like a bag of pigs at the end. Still 8 places gained from the run which if on the flat I would have killed.

Event 5: Double Hanger

3 rounds:

100 double Unders
7 Hang Power Clean & Jerk 185lb/85k – CAP + 1 – 10th

Amazing finished 100 doubles in first. Now the 185lb felt like 205, plan was unbroken which soon turned into 3/2/2. I’m good with bar cycling but this was just out of my comfort range, lost out on this one to stronger people, this will be addressed this year.

Ended day two in 10th place. Top 10 move onto the final after Event 6. Sleepless night.. Must make the final.

Day 3:

Event 6: The Sandwich

80 Calories Row
40 Push Press 70k/155lb
40 Deadlifts 70k/155lb – 11.51 – 7th

Rowing good, push press was total pain, broke down from 10 to 4,5,6 rep counts. Few no reps which was correct as unbalanced. But when I got to the deadlifts I knew I would not drop any places. Although only 25 unbroken. Plan was 80 unbroken all the way. Much harder than expected.

BUT I WAS IN THE FINAL 9TH PLACE.. not bad seeing as after two events I was in 19th.

Next the final was rumoured then announced as Amanda.

Event 7: Amanda

Problem was my knees were so sore I could hardly walk. I knew though I would have a few hours in the tent rolling and massage before going out there so set to work getting ready for the last workout, the final, in the tennis stadium, so excited for it.

9-7-5 reps of:

Ring Muscle ups
Squat Snatch 135lb – 9.31 – 7th

The experience and walking in the tennis stadium was so great. Got goosebumps, probably for the 50th time in 3 days but they were proper bicep pump goosebumps all over. Fantastic.

BUT I made huge mistakes. No taping on hands and they ripped pretty bad. Secondly I left the step thing under the rings and severely restricted my kip basically because I hate jumping for rings. Manned up and threw it away for the 7 and 5 and the ring muscle ups became easy. All about the squat snatches which also got easier and easier. Problem was the 20 mins after warming up, I tend to go cold. So could have gone faster on this one. My pb is low 6s.

Overall Finish – 9th in the world

Can’t knock it, my initial goal was more but after seeing the standard of my competitors it is very satisfactory. As they called me ‘rookie’ I made plenty of rookie mistakes which will not be repeated, probably make different ones next year.

I will be back in 2016. My training will be speared towards the games, nothing else. Worth every minute of anxiety, pain and suffering to get there. Absolutely loved it. Huge thanks to HQ for throwing such an unbeatable event. Coach Christine, the judges helpers, crowd and my friends and family were superb. Huge thanks to all of them.

 

Olympic Lifting

Snatch Grip Deadlifts 3-3-3

Snatch High Pulls 3-3-3

Squat Snatch – build to a heavy single / Beginners practice drills

Conditioning

21-15-9

Deadlifts 100/60k
Run or Row 400m

Finisher

Strict Toes to bar or knee raises