One of the main reasons that people love CrossFit so much is the changes they see in their bodies. CrossFit has helped so many people get in the best shape of their life from the high intensity and constantly varied workouts. However, working out is not the only thing an athlete needs to do to see the best results. The most important part is nutrition.
CrossFit developed a pyramid with sport being on the top, Weightlifting next, then gymnastics, followed by metabolic condition, and finally on the bottom is nutrition. If your nutrition is bad, it is going to affect every level above it. Improving your nutrition will make every level of the pyramid even better.
The diet CrossFit favors is called the Zone Diet. The Zone Diet helps you create a meal plan with how many calories you should take in and how much of each macronutrient you should eat. It is very similar to Paleo because you want to eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar, but it outlines how much of each you should be eating with each meal.
If you want to learn more about nutrition, check out the video below.
2 Simple Steps to Learning the Olympic Lifts – Cherry Hill CrossFit Gym
Sometimes, less is more. And this concept certainly applies to learning the Olympic lifts for the very first time. Christmas Abbott – National weightlifter, CrossFit Games competitor, and box owner – does a great job of breaking down the lifts into two simple steps to help her athletes focus on the fundamentals and not worry about every little technical step. Now, that’s not to say that we don’t need to refine the movements once we get the basics down, but understanding them at the most simple level will get you under the bar before you know it!
#1 – JUMP AND PUNCH! (THE SNATCH)
That’s it. Just jump and punch. I know it seems too good to be true, but you don’t need to over think it. Start by standing the bar up so that it hangs naturally at your waist, right in the crease of your hips (full grip around the bar, using the hook grip if you know how).
Once you’ve achieved this position, it’s time to jump. Be aggressive! So, jump hard and high, extending your hips as much as possible before you punch that bar overhead.
After you jump, driving through your heels, it’s time to punch! Again, a hard and aggressive punch is required to ensure you get that bar overhead quickly, locking out your arms.
Simply stand tall to complete the lift!
#2 – JUMP AND CATCH! (THE CLEAN)
Similar concepts can be applied to the clean, except instead of jump and punch, you now need to jump and catch. Start the same way, by standing the bar up to your waist. This time, bring your hands in a bit closer, so that your thumbs can just barely brush the sides of your legs.
Again, you jump to initiate the movement!
To “catch”, you just need to swing your elbows under the bar, getting them up quickly and as high as you can. Stand to finish the lift!
Now I’m sure some weightlifting coaches are cringing as they read this, thinking “These movements or much more technical and complex than just two steps!”. I don’t disagree. Both the clean & jerk and the snatch are high level movements with lots of intricate parts to them, but for someone just starting out less is definitely more! Here is a link to the video to help you hammer home these steps.
Pistol Progression Part 3 of 3 – CrossFit Classes in Cherry Hill
Well, if you’re reading this, that hopefully means you’ve been through parts 1 and 2 of our pistol progression and are having awesome success with the movement! Here is our third and final piece of the puzzle. With these tools, you’ll be able to add the pistol to your movement arsenal (no pun intended).
#1 – UNILATERAL ROTATION
When performing unilateral movements such as the pistol, our body naturally aligns itself by internally rotating. We are going to start right where we left off from part 2 of our progression, on the box, but now we will take a look at the step-down from the frontal view.
Notice how the body is not facing directly forward, but the torso is in line with the knee. The body is turned out towards that supporting leg. This rotational component is crucial to success with the pistol, and one that many athletes neglect. Again, start by standing atop a box with both feet together. Then begin to step down by reverse lunging, keeping the back foot sliding down the box until it reaches the floor. Be sure to start with your torso square, but rotate over the knee as your begin to descend. Same applies to standing back up. Being facing forward, then rotate over the knee as you stand, finishing back with a squared torso/hip position.
#2 – SIDE STEP/LEG SWING
Here is where our pistol practice gets fun! Instead of sending our leg straight back to start our descent from the box, we now want to stand close to the edge of the box so that our foot can hang off the side. Perform our step down by sending your leg back behind you into the air. This will send the torso forward and allow us to lower our level.
Once we reach the bottom of our pistol it’s crucial to swing that leg through to the front!
This is the position we want to get comfortable with! To stand back up, simply swing the leg back behind you and reverse the process!
This is just another way of progressing the pistol and allowing it to be stronger. Once you master the leg swing version, you can start to keep the leg slightly in front and it eventually become a true pistol!
Hopefully, this 3 part pistol progression has gotten you closer to getting that magical movement. Remember, it’s not about getting the pistol on your first try. It’s about being better than you were yesterday, so have patience and practice as much as possible!
Pistol Progression Part 2 of 3 – Cherry Hill CrossFit
As promised, here is the second installment to our pistol progression. If you were able to successfully perform all the movements in part 1, then you are ready to tackle these next steps!
#1 – BOX SQUAT AND STAND
With just a basic box or bench, we need to set an item up for us to sit down to and stand back up from. Now, what a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s ok to have a displaced center of mass (aka chest forward as we stand from squat position) when we are doing body-weight/gymnastics movements. In fact, it’s completely normal! It’s when we are under heavy load, say in a front or back squat, that we need to focus more on keeping the chest tall and knees out, lessening that displacement.
To start, set up your box or bench and simply squat down to a full seated position on the box. When ready, stand back up! It’s a very simple concept, but allow your chest to come forward as you rise and descend. Send your hips back. This exaggerated movement is key to success with our pistol.
#2 – MAINTAIN VERTICAL SHIN
How do I maintain a vertical shin while squatting? The answer is simple…..Knees out! Understanding squatting mechanics is essential for our pistol, so by pushing the knees out, our shin becomes perpendicular to the ground, allowing us access to the hip.
KNEE IN – ANGLED SHIN
KNEE OUT – VERTICAL SHIN
#3 – BOX STEP DOWN
Find a box that is a decent height for you to step onto. Once on top of the box, start standing tall, arms out, and send one foot back so that it drops off of the box. From here, bend forward and begin to step all the way down to the floor. Slide all the way down the box until your foot reaches the floor.
Your finish position should be with your foot flat on the floor and your hip crease below your knee.
Now we need to stand back up! To do this, I want you to do exactly what you just did to step down, but in reverse order. IMPORTANT: The back foot is not pushing! There is no jump or drive from the foot that is on the floor. Make sure you are loading your weight onto your front foot (foot on the box) by leaning your chest forward (as we practiced in step 1) and driving through that foot!
Practice these 3 simple steps and you are that much closer to getting through our pistol progression! Part 3 is just around the corner so keep your eyes peeled!
As someone who trains CrossFit, one of the greatest experiences I’ve had was attending the CrossFit Games last year in Carson, California, and is something I encourage all CrossFit athletes to do at least once. It’s like taking the energy of your home box during Grace, and multiplying it by 1,000! Being in an arena with thousands of individuals that share the same passion about fitness as you is a pretty amazing feeling, and something I’ll never forget.
The 2015 CrossFit Games are upon us! If you weren’t able to make the trip out West, all the action can be streamed live at games.crossfit.com. This year marks a special occasion, as it’s the first year that 4x Champion Rich Froning will not be a part of the individual competition. This opens the door for contenders like Matt Fraser, Scott Panchik, and Noah Ohlsen. It will almost be surreal to see someone other than Rich crowned “Fittest Man on Earth”. We also welcome the Teen division this year for athletes between 14 and 17 years of age, that have not elected to compete with the adult men and women, of course
The competition kicked off this week with the Masters and Teen divisions. With this being the first year we have seen teenagers competing at the Games, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but they have proved to be just as entertaining as the adults and are incredibly inspiring. I cannot wait to see this group progress over the next few years into the adult category and compete on the main stage. With CrossFit being a relatively newer sport, past champions may have 7 to 10 years of training under their belt at max. These teens have come up through the ranks of the CrossFit Kids program and some are able to say they have been training CrossFit for nearly 15 years! It’s great to see our youth so dedicated to a healthy lifestyle.
In addition to watching live events each day, spectators also have access to Vendor Village, every CrossFit enthusiasts dream. Rogue, Reebok, Progenex, NorCal CrossFit (Jason Khalipa), CrossFit Mayhem (Rich Froning), Caffeine & Kilos, Wodify……you name it. They all have tents set up with gear to purchase, athlete meet-n-greets, free samples, etc. You’ll have the chance to chat it up with Christmas Abbott, Garrett Fisher, Kendrick Farris, & Dmitri Klokov, just to name a few. You’ll finally get to meet these people that you’ve been stalking on Instagram for months, and come to realize they are normal guys and gals, just like you and me. Another great part of vendor Village is the food. Lots of options, some healthy and some not so healthy. From the Paleo Asian Turkey stir fry, to the bison burger, everything is delicious.
The weekend will come to an end in the tennis stadium at the Stub Hub Center, for the final individual events. You can bet the farm that your top 5 contenders will be separated by only a few points, and the winner of the event will most likely be crowned Fittest Man/Woman on Earth.
If you find yourself with the opportunity to attend the CrossFit Games, I highly recommend doing so. It’s an experience unlike any other, and will make you appreciate CrossFit even more than you already do!
Pistol Progression Part 1 of 3 – CrossFit Cherry Hill
Here we are, back with another movement that many crossfitters seem to have trouble with; the pistol. For those not familiar with the term, a pistol is simply a one-legged squat. This movement requires not only strength and balance, but damn good mobility as well. This will be part 1 of a 3 part series on how to develop the pistol. Practice these easy steps and you’ll be one-legging in no time!
As mentioned above, the pistol requires three major factors; balance, strength, and mobility. We’re going to run through a checklist to help decipher which area(s) we need to work on.
#1 – BALANCE
“I can’t do a pistol, it must be poor balance!” My response to that would be to ask yourself the following: Can I stand on one leg? Can I hop up and down? And can I stop and land back on one leg? If you were able to answer yes to all three, then balance is probably not the issue.
Another way to test for balance issues is to test your lunge. From that same position, standing on one leg, are you able to send that leg back and down into a lunge position? Can you stand back up to your original position (one leg up) without using your hands or falling over? If you can, balance is not your problem! Try making it a bit more difficult by lifting your back foot as you lunge and stand!
#2 – STRENGTH
“I can’t do a pistol, I must not be strong enough!” If you are able to back squat (or front squat) a barbell with weight on it worth your body weight, you’re probably strong enough to do a pistol.
#3 – MOBILITY
“I can’t do a pistol, I must have poor mobility!” Can you perform a proper air squat? If you can keep your feet straight, press your knees out, and get your hip crease below your knees, then mobility is not your issue.
To truly test your mobility, bring your feet in even closer (almost together) and try squatting! If your back begins to round, toes turn out, or heels start coming off the ground, then we can look at mobility (mostly ankle and/or hip) as the culprit.
After running through our balance, strength, and mobility tests mentioned above, and being able to pass all three, you’re now ready for part 2 of our pistol progression!
Handstand Help and Tips – Best CrossFit Cherry Hill
Handstands. Gymnastics are an important part of our CrossFit training, and one of the most pivotal gymnastic positions is the handstand. For most, it is also one of the hardest! Check out these 4 simple steps to master the handstand today!
#1 – LEARNING THE PROPER POSITION
With your feet together, grab a bumper plate and hold it overhead. This position will replicate the position you will eventually be in when you are upside down. Become familiar and get comfortable with this position. Be sure to keep your midline tight, not allowing hyperextension, and your arms fully extended with your head through your shoulders. Notice, you can see the athlete’s ears from a profile view. This is a good way to ensure your head is in the proper position.
#2 – HALF WALL WALK
Now it’s time to get upside down…..almost. Start by doing half of a wall walk. Lay on the floor in the bottom of a push up with your feet against the wall. Gradually press your body up and begin walking your feet up the wall until you are about half way to being completely upside down. Next, walk your hands as far forward as possible without moving your feet. This will force you to open your shoulder and press down into the floor, further mimicking the handstand position by activating the shoulders and not allowing a bent elbow. Be sure to keep your belly tight and squeeze your glutes!
#3 – FULL WALL WALK
Once you are comfortable enough, it’s time to walk all the way up the wall! ALWAYS start so that you are facing the wall once upside down. This will reinforce the tight midline that you practiced earlier and will prevent you from arching your back. Your goal is to be as close to the wall as possible, with nothing but your feet actually touching the wall.
#4 – FREE STANDING HANDSTAND
Finally, just as in step #3, you can attempt another full wall walk, but this time you will gently pull your feet off the wall to achieve a free-standing handstand! Be sure to grab a buddy to help guide you to and from the wall.
Practice these four easy steps and you’ll be hand-standing (if that’s a real word) in no time!
3 Quick Mobilization Techniques to Improve your Overhead Squat – CrossFit Gyms in Cherry Hill
We spend countless hours in the gym to strengthen and condition our bodies, but how many of us are taking the time to properly mobilize? General maintenance of your body is just as important to your progress as lifting those heavy weights. One of the most demanding positions we enter is that of the overhead squat. Here are 3 easy mobilization techniques for you to do in preparation for your next lifting session:
#1 FOAM ROLL THORACIC SPINE
Your thoracic spine is the area between your lumbar spine (lower back) and your cervical spine (top of shoulders to bottom of head) that always seems to be tight and limit us in the overhead squat. To loosen this area up, simply grab a foam roller and gently roll back and forth. We don’t want to roll too low down to our lumbar, but keep the roller between the bottom of the rib cage and the top of the back. Take your time and roll slowly! When you find a tight or sensitive area, hang out there for a few and apply slow, constant pressure until the area loosens. You can roll with your arms extended overhead (just like the position we are trying to achieve) or with your arms wrapped around your body as if you were giving yourself a hug, ALWAYS making sure we remain tight in the core and keep your ribs down.
#2 CALF RELEASE/ANKLE FLEXIBILITY
Find any door, wall, or vertical surface in your house and put the ball of your foot up against it, trying to keep you heel as close to the surface as well. Then simply drive your hips forward as your keep your foot in place. You can use a door knob or something in front of you to grab and assist in pulling your hips forward. Again, keep your belly tight and squeeze your glutes! You can generally contract and relax for about 2 minutes to see change!
#3 OPEN HIPS
Using that same wall or door from technique #2 above, lay flat on your back with you feet up against the wall. Extend your arms overhead to mimic the overhead squat position. Then gently rotate your hips in and out, keeping your feet touching the wall and your belly tight. This movement helps the internal hip capsule. You can also reverse your position to mobilize as well. Stand up with your back against the wall and squat down. Use the wall to help keep your torso upright and gently use your elbows to drive you knees out over your toes in external rotation.
Take ten minutes before your next overhead squat (or snatch) session and implement these techniques. You’ll be amazed at how you can achieve a better position in just a few short minutes of mobilizing. Be sure to test yourself prior and re-test after you’ve completed them to see if you position has improved!
To watch the video from start to finish, check below
. And for hundreds of other mobility techniques, be sure to check out MobilityWOD and Dr. Kelly Starrett.
As we prepare for the addition of a CrossFit Kids program at our box, I’m sure many of you are wondering “What exactly is CrossFit Kids?”
You’re probably asking yourself these questions too:
Isn’t weightlifting at a young age bad for you?
Is it dangerous?
What ages are allowed to participate?
CrossFit Kids is exactly what you think. It’s a way to teach children the importance of fitness, focusing on the principles of mechanics and consistency before intensity. It’s a way to show kids that exercise doesn’t have to be a drag, but that it can be fun! Most importantly, it’s a way to provide an active alternative to a sedentary lifestyle, which will help to combat childhood obesity and means better health for our future.
CrossFit Kids is designed to provide B.I.G. fun; Broad-Inclusive-General fun! It has a huge emphasis on proper movement and good, consistent mechanics (just like CrossFit for adults does). The program is scalable for the varying ages (3-18 years old) and experience levels, and will take into account the vast difference in maturity between a third grader and a sophomore football player. Their needs are the same, to move properly and functionally for everyday challenges. It’s the degree of those needs that will be adjusted when programming for the two.
Can weightlifting be dangerous for kids? Sure. Weightlifting can be dangerous for anyone when not performed with proper mechanics and techniques, and in an unsafe environment. Now, that doesn’t mean that your 4 year old will be doing heavy power cleans. As instructors, it is our job to determine the physical and mental maturity of the child and determine a proper workout. CrossFit Kids will have a heavy emphasis on bodyweight and gymnastics skills, coupled with strength training when appropriate.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re looking for a fun way to keep your child active and give them a healthy lifestyle, CrossFit Kids is the perfect solution! Think about how much you enjoy coming to the box. It’s time to share that same joy with our children. We strive to make the box a friendly environment for the entire family!
Before you go, check out this amazing CrossFit Kids program in Long Island, providing a fun form of fitness to those with different needs: