CrossFit Pacific Beach Blog

In this 90-minute seminar we will examine the good, the bad, and the ugly of sports supplements. Not all supplements are created equal, and this seminar will give you the knowledge to tell the difference. We will distinguish between the rock stars with a track record for performance enhancement, the duds that are a waste of money, and most importantly, which supplements are not fit for human consumption. 

Reserve your seat to learn everything you need to know about:

-Creatine

-Beta-Alanine

-Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT)

-BCAA (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)

-Protein Powders

-Pre and post-workout fueling

...and more

In addition, you will be able to try a variety of products and even take home some supplement swag.

This clinic is open to everyone, not just members of CrossFit PB.

To reserve your spot, please CLICK HERE.

If you missed part 1, CLICK HERE

3.  Change your habits – there is no difference between 60 and 70kg

For the past six years, my squatting warm up sets have looked like this:

  1. Empty bar x 10-15ish
  2. 135x5x2
  3. 225x5
  4. 275/315 x 3
  5. Another warm up depending on rep ranges
  6. Working sets

This was always a great progression for me.  I warmed up slowly.  On heavy days I jumped to 315 and lighter, speed days, I stayed around 275 for my third set.  I recently started training with someone that is really strong (600# squat strong).  Whenever we train together, he always starts with a red, not a blue.  For the past six years 60kg was my first set.   Well, now that this really strong guy is in my life, we start at 70kg.  This 10kg difference does not sound like much, and it isn’t.  The difference however, is that over the course of a squat session, everything I do is 10kg heavier than I am used to.  If I average 25 warm up reps, this equates to 250kg (550#) with the exact same perceived level of exertion.  With two squat sessions a week, without much effort, I have added over 1,000 pounds total to my weekly squat training.  That volume pays huge dividends over a month or a year.  The same can be done for every single lift.  If you always start squatting with blues, grab a red.  If you always start snatching with greens, grab a yellow. 

4. Increase the reps of non-work sets in the 65-75% range

Let’s pull away from squatting and move the conversation to the Olympic Lifts.  The same ideas apply to the quick, technical lifts as they do to the slow lifts.  The concept of increasing volume in warm ups is incredibly important.  Let’s assume we are building to a heavy double in the clean and jerk.  Most warm ups include small incremental jumps until you reach your max weight.  This method is fine and applied by many lifters.  Unfortunately, moving through middle percentage weights and only getting a few reps leaves a lot of volume, speed work, and mechanics on the table.

If your 2 Rep Max is 100kg, it is safe to say that 70-80kg, is a made lift every time.  At these percentages, lifts are fast, smooth, and at a weight that allows the body to get sufficient volume without exhausting the muscles.  Middle percentages are very beneficial to hit a couple sets as opposed to rushing to get to a max weight.  Increase the total weight lifted, focus on speed at submaximal weights, and make them as fast and efficient as possible.   The results will be outstanding.

5.  Focus on position work

One of the most limiting factors in athletes getting strong is an inability to get into the proper positions.  The hardest movement in the world, the snatch, is a perfect example.  I see far too many people warming up, taking the bar from the floor, and throwing it overhead.  We spend so much time in warm ups going over the positions and then as soon as you touch a weight, we forget it all.  Have no fear; I used to do the exact same thing.

To combat this, as I mentioned above, I had to make a game out of my weaknesses so I could enjoy working on them. The best way I have found to work on my weaknesses in the Oly lifts is to create a complex for myself.  I often struggle with leaving the bar out in front of me because my chest rises too early.  To change this, in my warm ups and with light weights, I will create a complex of two snatch pulls, one muscle snatch, and follow it with some overhead squats.  This quick complex allows me to work on patience, staying over the bar, and then some overhead squats to work on the full range of motion.  There are thousands of combinations that you can throw together to work on weaknesses.  Get creative and focus on the things you need to work on before you get into working sets and continue to make the same mistakes.

For the most part, consistency and intensity are the best ways to get incredibly strong.  But along the way you should enjoy the process, find ways to get creative, and enjoy the nuances of weightlifting.  I enjoy making little mind games up during my warm ups.  They help give me focus and break the monotony of back squat number 4,687,982.  Now, go get really strong.

I have probably been asked the question, “How do I get stronger” at least 4 trillion times in my life.  Whether it comes from  soccer moms or college meatheads, everyone wants a magic pill so they can peacock themselves down Garnet Ave and be the talk of the town.  In my 18+ years of sitting under barbells, I have found some pretty creative ways to keep me focused and in a constant state of progression.  One of the most effective ways is to turn your warm ups into mental games.  After all, anything can be turned into a game.  Walking to the grocery store is just walking to the grocery store until you time yourself or begin to measure the most effective ways to walk there.  Getting strong is no different.

I have created a game out of every aspect of nearly every single workout ever written on a whiteboard.  I mean, one of the reasons I love CrossFit so much is because every day kind of feels like a game.  One of my favorite things to make a game out of is my warm up.  Warming up raises your core temperature, loosens joints, and fires up the snatch neurons we were all born with.  Far too often I see people half-ass their warm up.  Too often people do one or two light reps, add weight, and never put any thought into why they are warming up in the first place.   Warms ups are a great time to play little games with yourself on a daily basis which will add a ton of strength in your training.

1.  Focusing on “Over-Perfect” Form

Over-perfect is a fun way to challenge myself to sit as perfectly as possible in the bottom of a squat.  When you start getting into working sets in the 85-100% range, focusing on form is a byproduct of training.  The more you squat, the better you squat, and the less acutely you will have to focus  when you get to working sets.  Working sets are reserved for a clear mind, one or two coaching cues, and a ton of aggression and purpose.   Warm ups however, are a great time to try to get in the absolute best possible positions.

My general warm up for a back squat will consist of an empty bar or 60kg.  You will often find me sitting in the bottom of a squat and shifting from side to side working on my ankle flexibility.  My next step is to sit in the bottom of the squat and let my hips sink as low as possible (added weight helps push the hips down for more of a stretch).  This also adds some sport specific mobility and trains my body to know where my bottom position is.  The next step is to work on my thoracic spine.  While sitting in the bottom, I focus on getting my torso as upright as possible.  This allows me to find my heels, get comfortable with the bar on my traps for a high bar back squat, and works on some flexibility.  This simple little routine allows me to train my body for perfect movement, cues my body to the positions I expect to hit, and allows for some specific mobility training.

2.  Focus on speed at lower weights

One of the easiest ways to get stronger is to get faster.  Whether it is squatting, deadlifting, or snatching, the speed of the concentric movement is absolutely critical to moving heavy things. It is no surprise that so many top athletes focus on speed and power through jumping movements.  The power generated through creating speed is paramount for anyone interested in getting stronger.  To train this, during any strength movement, control the eccentric portion of the movement and explode through the concentric.  Train your body to be fast, move explosively, and watch the weights move easier as you move into your working sets.

 

Pistols are one of the toughest functional exercises in CrossFit besides handstand pushups and muscle ups.

The pistol is a one legged squat.  Pistols are a great demonstration of strength, endurance, coordination, balance, and flexibility. You need to have good hip and ankle flexibly to attain the bottom position of a pistol squat.  
 
Why do we do these?  
Single legged squats strengthen some of the stabilizing muscles of the hips and pelvis. These include the gluteus, adductors and quadrates. Pistol practice helps unilateral loading in one leg. Through unilateral loading practice we can increase our jump height and squat numbers!
 
What makes these so tough?
Some people lack the core strength and flexibility to lower themselves down and stand back up with a leg extended out in front of them. Following the proper progressions as opposed to just jumping right into it will help you achieve your goal of the RX pistol. 
 
So how can we improve them?
Work your ankle mobility-  make sure you get a good calf warm up. Foam roll your calves!! 
Below are movements to work on that will help you and challenge your pistol game. 
 
  1. Weighted back squats- You should have good technique and full range of motion in the squat before attempting a pistol. If you do, it will make the pistol a lot easier. 
  2. Box step up - Use your top leg to step up and down without using your bottom foot for assistance. 
  3. Pistol squat on a box- start on a high box and gradually lower box height. Keep the weight in the heel. Do not sit-down completely, but touch your butt lightly and stand back up.
  4. Assisted pistol at full range of motion- using a pole, band, or counterweight, lower yourself all they way down and back up. 
  5. Rolling pistols - practice rolling back and then forward standing up to two feet (reverse burpee). Once comfortable, move to a single foot landing.
  6. Weighted pistols- Once you have a pistol and your looking for a challenge, add weight by using a kettle bell or weight vest. 
  7. Box jump pistols- This a more advance movement that requires a jump up on a box and one foot landing in the bottom of a pistol squat.
Happy Pistol Practice!