9 things we LOVE when you do them…at Shapesmiths.

We think that our amazing community does a stellar job of helping the coaches and management maintain an amazing atmosphere. We love having you in the arches day after day enjoying the best hour of your day! Below are 9 of the things that we especially love when we see them.

1. Arrive on time. We know sometimes life gets in the way, trains/late meetings etc. but we love it when folks get in early and mobilise/perform movement prep for specific body parts that need special attention. 

2. Come in knowing what the context of the day is, either practice, benchmark or resilience day. This makes sure we are all on the same page. If you come in a little sleep-deprived to a benchmark day, that’s totally OK. Just let the coach know what’s going on in your life and we can make a game-time decision on what’s best. If you would like some help with sleep & nutrition Feed.Fuel.Perform, led by Dr Sinead, are your go-to in-house experts on that. 

3. Grab a rope. It’s great to see lots of members are educated on correct footwear and some sort of gymnastic grips to protect their hands.  We would also recommend that you have a skipping rope set up for yourself too! They are a bit like wands in Harry Potter 😉  If you have none of those things and are unsure of the correct footwear comment below this post.

4. Waiting until everyone is done before starting to pack away their kit. It’s the worst thing to be finishing a workout, working as hard as you can and the rest of the class is cleaning and chatting it up. When we see our members offer up some gentle encouragement it warms our hearts! Obviously, two caveats to this are that some may not want/need the encouragement and sometimes the coach may have given specific instructions for a cleanup.

5. Allowing the coach to do the coaching in class. We love it when you avoid the temptation to coach your fellow classmates. Remember, everyone has had wildly different days and some comments may not be welcome.  Keep it light, keep it a swell of positivity. A rising tide raises all boats. 

6. Wear clean clothes and deodorant. We sweat a LOT at Shapesmiths. Very easily clothing can pick up smells, especially some technical apparel. So we appreciate everyone that wears clean clothes and wears deodorant/antiperspirant to keep the place smelling so fresh and so clean-clean. 

7. Cancel classes with enough notice: This is especially awesome as it opens up precious spaces for other members keen to train that day. The notice required is 10PM the night before for morning classes and 2 hours for ANY class AFTER 9AM. 

8. Helping to clean up everyone else’s equipment. This is a beautiful thing when it happens. So many of you do this here! SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS! Keep it up!

9. Use as little chalk as possible. Some of you are very savvy. You have figured out that you don’t need as much chalk as you originally thought you did. For those not in the know, too much chalk can cause rips (it increases friction between pull up bar and your hands…science.) Too much chalk also means decreased fitness through too many unnecessary ‘chalk breaks’ (this is tongue in cheek but, still).

 

Have fun and play. We love it when everyone is learning, challenging themselves and having fun. Simple as that. The more smiles and laughs the better.

Shapesmiths CrossFit® Program Update June 2022

Read on for your programming update on what to expect over the coming weeks in the Shapesmiths CrossFit® program! 

Following on from the previous 6-week block, as promised we progress the back squat work, add in some more front squats (which has huge carry over to Cleans), shoulder to overhead and start to include Deadlifts to accompany LOTS of ‘pulling’ from the ground

The above is all in preparation for a Benchmark workout called ‘The Shapesmiths Total’ (TST) which will be on the program in the subsequent 6 week block.  TST will test your front squat, deadlift and push press. This is a variation on the classic CrossFit® Total which has Deadlift, Squat and Strict Press.  

We like the push press as a test in our total because of the crossover to many other shoulder to overhead elements. By simply incorporating a Push Press into our total it also removes the temptation that comes with the strict press, to bend at the knees and hips to get a boost. 

Speaking of the push press…

The next six weeks see’s plenty of barbell pressing. But watch out for handstand push up work and dumbbell pressing as well as ring dips. They will all have huge carry over to your push press with a barbell as the are similar in movement pattern.  Even kettlebell windmills will help your lockout overhead! 

An old saying in CrossFit® is ‘Everything is everything’ and it certainly is when it comes to movement patterns in CrossFit® benefiting each other via the universal motor recruitment pattern.

Some further themes:

– Gymnastics Development: Toes to Bar & Knees to Elbow. We are prepping you this cycle for a benchmark workout called ‘Robin’

– Barbell Cycling and hitting some intensity. Unbroken Power cleans for example provide a huge challenge on Thursday of this week. It’s important that you modify/scale to an appropriately challenging weight!

Top Tip: for those who are looking to develop strength, you can use this WOD to do just that. Plan your jumps for the P) section of the warm up so you can test yourself a little in sets of 2-3 reps and be at WOD weight within 8:00

For example if your 1RM is 100KGs…when the 8:00 starts, begin with 60KGs for a set of 3 x 2, then hit 70KG for 2 x 1, 80KG x 2 reps, 85KG x 2 reps x 2 sets before heading back down to WOD weight, around 50-60KG for. the set of 10 if you think that is do-able for 4 rounds.

Often you will find there is time to build and get in some heavier reps in the P) section of the warm up. Another example was the workout Poison Ivy, coming up in two weeks on Tuesday. Plenty time to build your OHS and challenge yourself as long as you plan your jumps and know your numbers. Always room to use an RPE (rate of perceived exertion) if you are not quite up to date on your numbers.

– A Strength/Heavy Day is coming on Monday of next week! Strict Press and Strict Pull Up day is an ideal day to develop press and pulling for the Shapesmiths total and also for those who want to get a strong pull up foundation!

Read more why we program heavy days at Shapesmiths here; https://www.crossfit.com/essentials/heavy-days

– Further themes (which have also been consistent in every program block since 2016) include covering off the seven ways the body moves, each week:

Squat – Hinge- Push/Pull – Flex Extend – Rotate & Twist – Run – Jump

We build around these seven themes with classic CrossFit® exercises, to make several couplets, triplets, chippers and more!

Finally: 

Ever wondered what R)AM)P) sections of our warm up stand for? Read all below!

https://shapesmiths.com/what-does-r-a-m-p-mean-in-the-shapesmiths-wod/

Happy Wodding, fitness friends!!

 

 

What does R.A.M.P mean in the Shapesmiths WOD?

Have you ever wondered what the R) AM) P) section means when you read the screens for your daily workout? Well, wonder no more!!

Since day 1, in 2016, Shapesmiths have used the RAMP warm up system to give unique structure our workouts. We use it to ensure that everything has method and thought behind it so we can maximise your time spent in the gym!

In short here’s the lowdown on what RAMP stands for!

  • Raise – Increase muscle temperature, core temperature, blood flow, muscle elasticity and neural activation.
  • Activate – Engage the muscles in preparation for the upcoming session
  • Mobilise – Focus on movement patterns which will be used during the game.
  • Potentiate/Perform – Gradually increasing the stress on the body in preparation for the upcoming competition/session.

If you would like to read more and geek out further, check the below blog!

What is the RAMP warm-up?

So you’re doing the CrossFit Open, Rx?!

Box Jumps in the CrossFit Open

Earlier this week I shared the article: Should you do the Scaled Division in the CrossFit Open & Why?

Today we delve very briefly into the other side of the open. Taking part, as prescribed (Rx) by CrossFit® HQ.  

As a side note: check out this article I wrote on bridging the gap between scaled and RX. It will give a bit of background on why Rx is a great thing to be working towards in your CrossFit® life.

Simplifying the Open.

The below is a powerful piece of information we have been updating yearly since 2017. It shows movements that have appeared in the CrossFit Open & the number of times it’s been seen, in descending order.

  1. Muscle Ups (Bar or Ring) – 11
  2. Double Unders – 10
  3. Toes To Bar – 10
  4. Thrusters – 10
  5. Wall Balls – 9
  6. Chest To Bar Pull Ups – 9
  7. Snatch (Full / Power) – 8
  8. Burpees (Bar Facing /Regular/Box) – 8
  9. Deadlifts – 8
  10. Clean (Power/Full/DB) – 7
  11. Box Jumps – 6
  12. Handstand Push Ups – 6
  13. Calorie Row – 6
  14. Overhead Squats – 4
  15. Shoulder To Overhead – 3
  16. Walking Lunges – 3
  17. Handstand Walks – 3
  18. DB Snatches – 3
  19. Clean & Jerk – 2
  20. Push Ups – 1
  21. Push Press – 1
  22. DB HC&J – 1
  23. Single Leg Squat – 1
  24. Front Squat – 1

Out of 20 total movements, only 4 have been included every year in the CrossFit® Open. They are double-unders, toes-to-bars, a muscle-up variation and thrusters.

You’ve signed up for the open. Should you do the Rx Division?

If you are regularly (for around two months) performing the Shapesmiths programming as Rx (as it is on WODify with recommended loading) you should be entering into the Rx division.

If you are consistently hitting Rx on some WODs, but missing a few things like consistent double-unders or Muscle Ups, know that the open can spur you on to great things. Back yourself. We will have plenty of  additional open prep in Shapesmiths Gymnastics class this Jan & February for the toughest movements in the open.

Also worth noting that, in previous years, participants in the CrossFit® Open have been given the ability to choose to do either the Rx, Scaled or Foundations for any of the workouts. In instances where a certain listed skill is really lacking, you should chat to your coach and plan together. Because we love to help.

Ultimately, if you are still really not sure, you should drop us a WhatsApp message (02032021004) or chat in person. We will be able to tell you straight away.

Love you all. Hope this information helps!

Lee

If you want to join us at Shapesmiths for the 2022 CrossFit Open, or want to start your training for the 2023 CrossFit Open, contact us below!

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Should you do the Scaled Division in the CrossFit Open?

CrossFit Open scaled pullups

The scaled division’s purpose in the CrossFit® Open is to increase participation in fun events at the gym and bring you all, our TRULY wonderful community, together at Shapesmiths. 

The Open also fits right in as one of our ‘Benchmark days’, which you all have taken part in already.  The workouts for the CrossFit Open will be similar to those you have ALREADY done at Shapesmiths. The only difference is, late February through March, we will run ‘heats’ all day on Saturday so you can complete the workout, you’ll have fitness friends that count reps FOR YOU and have a bit of a social throughout the day and afterwards. It’s a brilliant laugh and a great way to meet people!

What type of movements will you be asked to do in the Scaled division?

In short, you won’t be asked to do anything that we haven’t already programmed for you.

Below is a list of everything that has ever come up and also the weight for barbell movements. If you can do the below, you won’t get stumped.

Gymnastics

  • Hanging knee raises
  • Single-Unders (Single skips with skipping rope)
  • Burpees (we know you all love these)
  • Jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups (standing on a box, you can use your legs as much as you want to jump up and touch your chest on the pull up bar)
  • Hand release push-ups: (lay fully on floor, take hand off floor, return to the top of a plank with hands on the floor, body in line, anyhow)
  • Scaled mini wall walks.
  • Bear Crawls.
  • Jumping Jacks.
  • Lateral Jumps.

Barbell

You need to be able to 1-2 reps of each of the following.

  • Deadlifts Men 40kg/Women 25kg.
  • Snatches* Men 40kg/Women 25kg.
  • *ground-to-overhead/clean and push press allowed
  • 10 Push Press Men 40kg/Women 25kg.
  • 10 Cleans Men 50kg/Women 35kg.
  • Thrusters Men 30kg/Women 20kg.
  • Front-rack lunge Men 20kg/Women 15kg.
    Power snatches Men 20kg/Women 15kg.

Other

  • Wall-ball shots 20/14lb to a 10/9ft target
  • Row (calories)
  • A couple of Dumbbell Snatches, Cleans & Thrusters with 15KG Men/10KG Women

So, if you would like to get involved in the CrossFit open, but you are wondering if even the scaled open won’t be ‘scaled enough’ for you, you now have some insight into the standards you will need to take part.

NEW THIS YEAR (and last) is a Foundations level, below scaled. This makes it truly inclusive! There will be something for everyone! And of course if you can’t decide between scaled and RX, here’s what you should expect in the RX division.

Give it a go. You honestly won’t regret it. It’s an amazing time of the year where you really get to give it your all among such positive people that really want to see everyone simply do the best they can. Plus, we will have some treats for after each WOD.

REGISTER and SIGN UP: https://games.crossfit.com

With Love,

Lee

If you’re interested in learning more about how to scale CrossFit workouts to best fit your abilities, contact us below!

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ADVICE: Injuries, niggles & scaling, we’re here for you!

Ring muscle up

Remnants of your past sporting or desk-bound endeavours can be brought to light in the CrossFit® gym.

This is nothing but a positive thing. Backed by our world class medical staff, the Shapesmiths team have lots of opportunities to improve and fix the injuries and niggles you have been meaning to get looked at for a while. T.L.C on tap, if you will (feel free to hashtag that). 

Here’s a couple of ways you can optimize your training, and just as important, your cooldown, if carrying a niggle/injury.

  1. Talk to your coach about your niggles/injuries.

Quite commonly every coach will see issues that focus around the ankle, knee, hip, shoulder and wrist. The Shapesmiths coaches genuinely love to help you guys and girls find appropriate modifications/scalings. So please know that if you are carrying a niggle/injury that we are here to help, we are here for you.

If you are already aware of an injury/niggle the best time to highlight it and seek a suitable scaling is before a class or at the TV screen briefing.

You can also drop us a whatsapp message and flag any medical issues really early. We can pick up the thread and advise what the best course of action is quite easily.

  1. Talk to your Livewell Clinic team about your niggles/injuries.

If you have something going on, please do touch base with The Livewell Clinic!

They offer you an amazing 15min free consultation that could give you insight into whether or not you should keep training, train with modifications/scalings or, if it’s serious (think broken bones etc), to stop all together. 

Livewell practitioners can help you by using soft-tissue techniques, articulation of joints and manipulation in differing degrees to break down scar tissue and improve range and quality of motion in the body. Perfect for CrossFit®.

Contact info here: http://thelivewellclinic.co.uk/contact-us/

Keep healthy, keep happy, keep CrossFitting

 

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Don’t Lay Down, Cool Down: A Guide to the Cool Down at Shapesmiths

At Shapesmiths, we warm you up, with general and specific prep work, using the R.A.M.P protocol. In order to maximise training time AND encourage the community hanging out Post-WOD, it’s over to you for the cool down.

We encourage you to grab a class-mate, hang-out and chat whilst you complete an appropriate cool-down.

SO, what to do…simply, a MOVEMENT based cool down, straight after your WOD at Shapesmiths, will begin your body’s recovery process and make your life in the proceeding 72 hours a LOT easier. “Hurrah!” we hear you cry.

Here’s a simple guide to cool-downs, post-WOD.

  1. DON’T LAY DOWN.

CrossFit® should not only strengthen your body but also your mind. For sure, take a knee, or have a seat for a minute, but stay off your back. Sprawling out on the ground, as soon as the WOD is done, makes it look like we’ve been defeated rather than strengthened by the workout.  It’s best to keep moving and start the recovery process immediately. Go for a walk outside, put your kit away and then make your cooldown decision from the below.

  1. Shorter, Intense WODs = A longer cooldown. 

Examples; Karen (150 wall balls), Fran (21-15-9 Thrusters & Pull-Ups), Isabel (30 power snatch for time)

If you have just done a short, intense WOD, try and sit on an EchoBike, Rowing Machine or walk for 2-3mins outside.  This will bring the heart rate back down and will help flush the blood around your body and remove any nasty metabolites we don’t want in there.

Then focus on movement.

Some of you cycle to and from the gym. This is an AMAZING way of flushing out and beginning the cool down process. Just be sure to include a little more movement such as couch stretch and pigeon pose, twinned with some lunges, when you get off your bike on the other end.

  1. Longer, steady WODs = A shorter cooldown.

Examples; Chipper-style and most Mental Toughness WODs, Murph (1mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, 1-mile run).

These don’t require as much cooling down, as you will have been moving at a consistent pace, without an overly spiked heart rate.  Instead purely focus on movement (see below for more info).

  1. Use Movement, Because Movement > ‘Mobility’/Stretching/Foam Rolling in your cooldown.

The advantage of performing a movement based cooldown is the promotion of oxygenated blood flow into the muscles. This clears out the waste products of training whilst also keeping the muscles understanding the motion that you are trying to restore.

If you can add in some multi-directional, tri-planar motion to your cool down via lunges + reaching. You can even work with a partner and combine a few sets of 10 lunge plus med ball pass to one another. This will help promote the muscles to glide over each other in different directions, thus providing enough friction to help remove some of the adhesions and trigger points caused by repetitive movements, that can occur in day to day life, and in the gym.

Adhesions can form in the areas and directions that the muscles are not being moved in, due to a lack of blood flow and fluid to the area. Trigger points can form in muscles that are repeatedly moving in the same direction due to overload and hypersensitivity. 

   5. Repeat what you know from the RAMP

If the above isn’t your jam, you can simply REPEAT the AM) section of our RAMP warm up. That’s the Activation and Mobility section. It should be fresh in your mind and easy to work through.  Head to the dedicated stretching area upstairs on the mezzanine with a class mate and catch up whilst cooling down.

A Note on Foam Rolling.

Foam rolling feels really nice. It really does. It can be a nice way of self massaging post workout too. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the following though:  If you have been foam rolling the same areas, time and time again, for weeks or months, it is indicative that your mechanics aren’t changing for the better. The same areas are likely becoming overworked and hypersensitive for some reason.  Essentially by foam rolling you are treating the symptom not the cause and the foam roller is the paracetamol.

The reasons for the overworked muscles and hypersensitivity can be specific to an individual’s movement mechanics. SO, seeking advice from The Livewell Clinic is recommended to get things checked over and ironed out. It’s very possible that we can address mechanical issues and optimize your cool down. This dual approach can be to the point and very successful.

Certainly, the foam roller can help with the removal of waste products in the body as described above. But we would urge you to limit your time on the roller to 3-5:00 maximum. Whilst laying on the floor you are not spending your time optimally.  When you consider that improving human function in motion is our priority as a CrossFit® gym a whole body movement-based approach to your cooldown is best.

SO, when it’s time to cool down, don’t lay down.  Much love, everyone!

9 things we love…when our members…

We think that our amazing community does a stellar job of helping the coaches and owners maintain our arches and help day to day to keep things running smoothly. Below are 9 of the things we love when you all…

  1. arrive on time for class. In fact, we love it when folks get in early and mobilise/perform movement prep for specific body parts that need special attention. We know sometimes life gets in the way, trains/late meetings etc. but we love when you check ahead on the trains and allow additional travel time.

  2. come in knowing what the context of the day is. This makes sure we are all on the same page. If you come in a little sleep-deprived to a benchmark or resilience day, that’s totally OK.  Just let the coach know what’s going on in your life and we can make a game-time decision on what’s best. If you would like some help with sleep & nutrition, pH Nutrition, lead by Liam Holmes, are your go-to in-house experts on that. When Practice days are here, thats our aim. To get better at skills.

  3. Bring the correct gear in their gym bag. It’s great to see lots of members are educated on correct footwear and some sort of gymnastic grips to protect their hands.  We would also recommend that you have a skipping rope set up for yourself too! They are a bit like wands in Harry Potter, you need your own, they are unique to you and they can be used to Expelliarmus bad feels 😉  If you have none of those things and are unsure of the correct footwear etc drop us a message!

  4. Wait until all members are done before starting to pack away their kit. It’s the worst thing to be finishing a workout, working as hard as you can and the rest of the class is cleaning and chatting it up. When we see our members offer up some gentle encouragement it warms our hearts! Obviously, two caveats to this are that some may not want/need the encouragement and sometimes the coach may have given specific instructions for a cleanup.

  5. wear clean clothes and deodorant. We sweat a LOT at Shapesmiths. Very easily clothing can pick up smells, especially some technical apparel. So we appreciate everyone that wears clean clothes and wears deodorant/antiperspirant to keep the place smelling so fresh and so clean-clean.

  6. cancel classes with enough notice: This is especially awesome as it opens up precious spaces for other members keen to train that day. The notice required is 2 hours for ANY class AFTER 8AM and before 10PM the night before if attending a morning class BEFORE 8AM.

  7. take pride in your gym space. Not just in class, but in open gym too. It helps us so much when you all help to clean up, wipe down equipment and anywhere chalk has touched. Tidying odd things around the room like the J-cups, putting the benches back, tidying change plates away and picking up thumb tape win extra points too 😉

  8. sign into open gym. It’s super simple via the kiosk. Here’s a step by step if you’re not sure: https://youtu.be/fCa92LVyXjs you can use any computer/TV set up in the gym.

  9. have fun and play. We love it when everyone is learning, challenging themselves and having fun. Simple as that. The more smiles and laughs the better

THE LAST WORD ON PROGRAMMING.

I have ‘sat on’ this post for quite a while. I was trying to think of the best way to put it in my own words. However, the CrossFit Level Two Training Guide and Workbook is so well written, in parts, that it’s best I share big chunks of it with you and then elaborate slightly in my own words.  

Hopefully, the previous three instalments of ‘How it All Works’ have gone some way to ensuring you know we have your best fitness interests at heart and that there is at least a clear method to how we program. In the ‘THE LAST WORD ON PROGRAMMING’ I would like to go one-step further down the rabbit hole to answer some oft debated points. 

THE MAIN TAKE-AWAY ON PROGRAMMING.

What the Guide Says: ‘Programming, whether “good” or “bad,” is secondary to effective coaching, appropriate scaling, using sound mechanics, and a group dynamic conducive to pushing oneself (i.e., highest intensity brought to the work). Even with less-than-optimal programming, a trainer with a good eye for movement mechanics, and who develops a good rapport with his clients, will help clients improve their fitness for years. Functional movements performed at high intensity, regardless of how well they are combined and varied, are powerful enough to elicit dramatic changes in one’s health and performance, particularly for the unaccustomed.’ ‘For any level of athlete, a well-varied program should cover many different aspects of fitness. As an athlete becomes more advanced (e.g., CrossFit Games competitor [regionals and beyond too]), additional time may be needed improving weaknesses in addition to regular programming.’  

What Shapesmiths Say: In short, we really hope that you guys value the coaching quality and know that every day the growing team is striving to develop as coaches and improve our knowledge, to help you all. Weaknesses shouldn’t be shirked away from. If you know that you need to improve a basic skill like running, don’t avoid those types of workout when they pop up. Instead relish the opportunity to improve.  Check in with your coach if you don’t feel suitably challenged, it may be that we need to work a skill more to unlock a new intensity or you are indeed ready to modify up, to make things a little harder.   

WORKING WEAKNESSES    

What the Guide Says:A weakness is a certain skill that is lacking relative to an athlete’s proficiency in other areas. By improving one’s capacity in these weak areas, the athlete’s overall fitness increases. Effective CrossFit programming by itself is weakness development. With well-varied, unbiased combinations of loads, time duration, movements, etc., clients inevitably see improvements in their fitness for years. Over the months and years, just performing the elements one struggles with will improve one’s proficiency in these movements. An athlete may choose to do additional weakness work to accelerate progress and will likely find this also improves strengths. It is also a good consideration for a client that has reached a plateau.’   ‘It is unlikely that the programming needs to change drastically to address weaknesses, particularly for an affiliate or large group setting. Further, trying to tailor the program to every individual weakness is impossible. The best the trainer can do is to observe and respond to the general trends in the gym and provide well-varied programming consistently.’  

What Shapesmiths Say: In our box, Shapesmiths coaches get a real kick out of seeing its members come in on their first day a little nervous and over a few months end up making huge progress. If you ever feel like you have ‘plateaued’ come and talk to your coach and we will talk it through and see whether that is actually the case. Personal bests come in many forms, not just in kilos or seconds.  If you have time, using open gym could be a great shout for you! We have an open gym guide that is housed in our Facebook Members Page. It has an excellent supplemental strength program, gymnastics program and engine program. All three of these are also covered off in regular class programming too in the form of the Weightlifting Class, Engine and Shapesmiths Gymnastics. 

Also, don’t underestimate NUTRITION to help you through plateaus. It is the BASE of the fitness pyramid, after all.   Get in touch if you are keen to address this.  

ADVANCED-LEVEL ATHLETES.  

What the Guide Says:   ‘These are those that can perform all workouts and movements as prescribed in the workout of the day (Rx). Typically, these athletes either came to CrossFit after years of performing some functional movements at high intensities (e.g., collegiate gymnast) or they have been doing CrossFit consistently for years. There are times a trainer needs to scale this athlete due to sickness, injury, personal problems, or a recent string of difficult/demanding workouts. Occasionally suggesting a variation with lower loading and/or repetitions benefits the advanced athlete both physically and/or mentally.’  

What Shapesmiths Say: Our aim, via appropriate scaling, is to get everyone to a point where they can Rx workouts. However, this is not at the expense of having fun and enforcing correct mechanics. As the gym’s ‘training age’, defined here as: ‘the gym’s members total time, exposed to the elements of CrossFit’, increases you will look around the gym and see more and more people Rx-ing WODs.   This Advanced level, should not be confused with Elite Level, which is those that would be going to Semi Finals, (formerly sanctionals and Regionals) and the CrossFit Games. That is less than one percent of the whole population of CrossFitters and although a nice thing to have in a gym is not Shapesmiths primary focus.  We hope that the more advanced athletes at Shapesmiths know that we will continue to apply the same principles of athlete development to them and that sometimes it is totally OK to scale a workout back, no matter who the athlete is. 

ONE OF THE 4 MAJOR PROGRAMMING PITFALLS.

What the Guide Says:  ‘CrossFit programmers may be tempted to use excessive volume. This occurs with more than one training session a day (i.e., double days). In some cases, athletes may even attempt more than two sessions. This pitfall affects those trying to emulate the volume sometimes used by CrossFit Games athletes. Games athletes’ training is not representative of what CrossFit programming should look like. Multiple sessions a day are not appropriate for 99 percent of CrossFit athletes (less than one percent of those who participate in the Open go to the Games). ‘   ‘Even multiple workouts in one extended “session” should generally be avoided. Extra sessions and/or extra workouts may help performance in the short term but often lead to overtraining, higher risk of injury, and burnout in the long term. Double days help Regional or Games athletes prepare for high-volume competition and can help them get in more volume so they can advance certain skills relative to their competitors. Generally, however, there is actually a decrease in intensity across sessions. ‘  

‘ “Be impressed by intensity, not volume.” If a client is looking to be competitive, very gradually and cautiously increase volume. For example, start with additional skill sessions (e.g., double-under practice) in areas in which the athlete is not as proficient, not multiple workouts. Look at CrossFit.com and assess what the athlete cannot complete, then add “volume” by way of working on these skills. The volume should gradually increase over the long term.’

What Shapesmiths Say: Nothing to add.   

END 

How it all works: Shapesmiths Coaching & Programming Part III

Goal Setting, Judging Potential & Modifying workouts.  

An important point to note. Here at CrossFit® Shapesmiths We Don’t Judge Potential.

Belief is the main tenet that all our coaches at Shapesmiths are here to re-enforce. We all understand it’s really important to focus on sensibly building self-belief within our members. In short, we care.

Any major goal, lose 30 kilos, get off diabetes medication, compete. We don’t judge a person’s potential. We are here to try and help by setting clear thought out goals. When talking about goals relative to CrossFit® specifically it’s important to utilise the three types of personal best numerical, technical and consistency. This could apply to any skill or lift and will help keep your progress in an upwards trend.               

Scaling/Modification is a huge part of what we do at CrossFit® Shapesmiths. Modification is, simply put, a way of preserving the stimulus or intent of the workout.   

A long term goal of modification is to create the ability to perform workouts ‘as prescribed’ or Rx. A properly scaled workout maximises relative intensity (load, speed, range of motion) to continue developing increased work capacity, despite limitations.   At Shapesmiths when modifying your workout the coach goes through a two-part process. Firstly, the coach addresses the intent of the workout, and secondly the individual needs of the client.   The intent of the workout can be broken down into three parts: 

  1. Target Time Domain: How long should the workout take?
  2. Target Intensity: At what pace should the athlete be moving through the exercises?
  3. Target Movement Patterns: What general movement patterns (squat, hip hinge, vertical press, vertical pull, etc) should the athlete be developing?  

Individual athlete needs can be broken down into three parts:   

  1. Limiting Factors: What particular facets of the workout limit the client?
  2. Impact on Intent: In what way(s) would allow the client to attempt the workout as RX’d preclude them from achieving the desired intent?
  3. Safety Precautions: Are any aspects of the workout a risk to the client?

As an example, take the following workout:  

21-15-9 for time: Deadlift, 85kg/65kg Bar Facing Burpees  

-Target Time Domain can be estimated at 5 minutes or less -Target Intensity is high, this is obviously designed to be a scorcher of a workout

-Target Movement Patterns are a hip hinge and a movement to get the client down to the floor and then up and over an object  

Here are some potential individual needs:  

A member has a 1RM deadlift of 100kg. 85kg will likely be too heavy to maintain the target intensity or time domain, so the simple answer is to reduce the load.  

A member who has poor position, when deadlifting from the floor, and the coach deems it unsafe to allow them to perform the movement at high intensity and for repetitions. In order to maintain the hip hinge movement pattern, a deadlift from an elevated surface, or a kettlebell swing, may be an effective substitute.  

A member has poor cardiovascular conditioning and will be unable to complete the workout as prescribed at a high intensity. Reducing the reps to 15-12-9 is a simple way to reduce the endurance requirements of the workout and help keep the intensity

An overweight client has a lot of trouble with burpees and will likely be very slow. Additionally, the coach deems that having them jump forward over the barbell will be unsafe. Scale the movement to a squat thrust (down to top of push-up position, stand back up) and stepping over the bar will both increase the intensity and keep the client safe. 

Hopefully the last three parts of this series give you a good insight into the how and why of what we do.  Coming NEXT will be a bonus feature called The last word on Programming and getting better at CrossFit®.  Stay tuned…