Tag Archives: strength training

So You Want to Try CrossFit?

Andrea Ager CrossFit Games 2011So, you’ve heard about this CrossFit thing and you’ve decided to give it a shot. But, maybe you are a little worried because you’ve heard about it from friends who do it. Or you’ve watched a few videos of some of the elite (or insane) athletes doing crazy workouts. You don’t think you are that strong, that fast, or that fit yet.

Don’t worry about it.

Seriously. The nice thing about CrossFit is that everything is scaled appropriately for your capabilities and experience. So, everyone starts out light if they aren’t familiar with weight lifting. Heck, for the Overhead Squat I spent weeks using nothing but a wooden dowel until I became more flexible and skilled.

One of the most important things to focus on when you are just starting out is to take the time to get your form and technique perfected before trying to go heavy. Don’t be shy about scaling the lifts and WODs (i.e., workout of the day) by using less weight or scaling the technique (e.g., doing burpees without the push-up component). A good coach will recommend that when you are new and tell how you to scale, because he or she wants you to get the most out of the program and not get injured. So, focus on learning in the first few months (and it does take months) so that you become really good at the lifts and exercises. Then, once you feel comfortable and you’ve worked through the adaptation (you will be sore a lot), you can start adding more weight. Your coach will help you program that.

Great Training Program Videos for 4 Critical Lifts

I just discovered the “6 Weeks to Superhero” series from T Nation and have really been enjoying them. It features Christian Thibaudeau, who is actually a bodybuilding coach. But, I think some of the lifting tips and training exercises would also work well for someone who just wants to get stronger and better that these 4 critical lifts:

Deadlift
Squat
Bench Press
Overhead Press

Deadlift Tips

woman doing deadliftI love the Deadlift, but many fear it and think they will hurt their back. With a tight focus on good form, proper technique through the entire lift (both up and down), and a consistent approach; you really have nothing to fear and a lot to gain. The Deadlift and the Squat are two of the best lifts for activating muscle growth throughout your entire body. Well worth learning how to do them well.

CrossFit Helped Me Discover What My Body is Capable of

Gladiator imageI have been doing CrossFit for almost a year and what a journey it has been! For the first 2-3 weeks I was so sore that I seriously couldn’t even walk down stairs. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. I had to find alternative ways to get places. I remember days that I couldn’t lift my arms over my head. I almost quit. I thought I was seriously damaging my body.

How Many Carbs Do You Need if You’re a Paleo CrossFitter?

Photo of some foods with carbohydratesI found this article by Lyle McDonald on Bodyrecomposition.com very interesting: How Many Carbohydrates Do You Need? It’s a question that I have been asking myself a lot, since I have been following the Paleo diet and actively do CrossFit every week. I wish there was an easy answer, but there isn’t. The answer is “It Depends“. It depends on who you are, your activity level, and what you want to accomplish (e.g., weight loss, endurance running, muscle building, etc.).

Hitting Deep Muscle Pain and Tightness with the RumbleRoller

RumbleRoller ModelsI’ve been using a really firm J Fit foam roller for quite some time now. As I wrote about in this post, using a foam roller is a critical useful tool for increasing blood flow and circulation to your muscles and tissues to promote healing. They can also provide “myofascial release”, which is a technique that results in softening and lengthening of the fascia over your muscles. By focusing the roller on places where you are stiff, sore, or are experiencing reduced flexibility; you can break down unwanted adhesions between the fascia and the underlying muscle tissue. At first the foam roller was pretty painful. But after using it for awhile, I’m used to it and it takes a lot more pressure to work on the knots in my muscles.

Improving Your Squat – 5 Great Videos to Fix Form & Address Weaknesses

Lady Doing Back SquatI’ve been watching a series of 5 Squat videos from Matt Wenning over at Elite FTS. Oh, and by the way, Matt can squat 1100 lbs. I’m glad that I ran into these today, because tomorrow is our Squat day at my CrossFit box. There are some really great tips on how to maintain proper, powerful, and safe form while doing the squat. He shows a guy adding 40-50 lbs to his max Squat in just one session, thanks to improvements in form. Pretty impressive! Then he wraps up the series talking about how to address your weaknesses through assistance exercises that will help you strengthen the muscles that you need to have work together in more powerful harmony during the Squat. I’ve put the full series of 5 videos together for you below. Enjoy!

Strong is Sexy for 3-19-11

Strong is sexy ladyWe’ve come to the end of the week, March 19, 2011. The “Strong is Sexy” weekly event is off to a slow start, with the monkey tying for positive votes with the strong lady. But, since the monkey received more thumbs-down votes, the win has to go to the lady. Her photo is featured below. Each week we will feature the strongest and sexiest women as determined by votes from all of you. To participate, you can upload a photo of yourself. Once we approve the photo, it will be available for voting. So, be sure to tell all of your friends about it so that they can come back and vote for you here!

Strong is Sexy – Help Us Prove It!

Photo of Overhead Squat Lady2As I wrote about in “Women and CrossFit – Time to Kill the Weightlifting Myth“, there are many misconceptions and poor role models for women who want to be fit. It isn’t about becoming “skinny” and looking like a supermodel. It is about being healthy, strong, and achieving a level of fitness that is right for you and sustainable for your lifestyle. That is what’s really sexy: Being the strongest you that you can be! So, to prove this point, every week we will feature the strongest and sexiest women as determined by votes from all of you. To participate, you can upload a photo of yourself. Once we approve the photo, it will be available for voting. So, be sure to tell all of your friends about it so that they can come back and vote for you here!

More Training for Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder logoI’m still ramping up my training for the Tough Mudder event in NorCal this September. I’m wearing my Vibram FiveFingers much more regularly and did another 4 mile trail run in a pair of the KSOs. You may recall that I did buy a pair of the KSO Treks earlier and did a trail run in them as well. The fit was a bit too large. They felt fine for walking around, but my smaller toes kept slipping out of their pockets as I started running harder and climbing. So, I bought a size smaller of the KSOs, which are a bit different (better for water, thinner sole). Now my big toe is a bit cramped. Guess I have weird toes.