During my professional career, I encountered the first serious injury that truly challenged me: a debilitating neck injury. Spending countless hours with my nose buried in engineering textbooks, coupled with my quest to become the fittest person on earth, meant that I often found myself hunched over with the weight of the world on my shoulders—literally and figuratively. This took an incredible toll on my neck.
I vividly remember the pain being so severe that deep breaths were impossible, and lying on my back was out of the question. My only solace was sitting with my back flush against a wall, trying to find a comfortable position to sleep at night. Back then, financial constraints meant that professional physical therapy was not an option, leaving me to my own devices to find a remedy for my ailment.
The constant hunched-over position can cause the muscles in the neck and upper back to become tight and form trigger points, leading to pain and discomfort. Regularly performing this barbell neck release exercise can help to alleviate this tension, providing much-needed relief.
Watch the video demoon my Instagram page and let me know how this works for you!
In 2003, coach Greg Glassman wrote the article titled: “A Better Warm up” in the CrossFit Journal. This article drew conclusions on the potential benefits of practicing functional movement patterns as an alternative to traditional cardio warm ups in a steady state. The increased benefits of this warm up includes the following:
Raising the core temperature of the body and increasing the heart rate
Added stretching of the major joints
Developing functionality and capacity in some of the basic movements
Working the entire body
Preparing the systems of the body for the rigors of the workout
The Original CrossFit Warm up Includes:
The Sampson strength (opening the hip flexor in a lunge)
The Overhead Squat (done with a PVC or empty barbell)
Sit-ups (on an ab-mat)
Back extensions (On a GHD)
Pull ups (strict/kipping or banded)
Dips (on a dip bar or rings)
You may re-call some old CrossFit tee shirts that say “our warm up is your workout” and to many people who are new to functional training the statement might be true, but this is not meant to be the case. This warm up is instructed to be done “Challenging, but not unduly taxing” By picking appropriate scales for the movements that fit this criteria, both in assisting the movements or lowering the reps, anyone should be able to do this without an issue. Originally this warm up was prescribed for 3 sets through of 10 reps each movement with parameters that it should take no longer than 15 minutes under low-moderate intensity, the same heart rate you might jog on a treadmill with.
The beauty in this warm up is its simplicity and effectiveness. It works hip with leg functions, trunk with hip functions, as well as flexion and extension of the joints. By practicing the very basics daily athletes can expect to improve positions and efficiency of the foundations. One of the more impressive benefits is the neurological “greasing of the groove” in the motor pathways. This is also a great way to silently build capacity with intensity or muscular damage you might encounter from the workout, an added bonus.
As athletes build capacity it may be appropriate to add some volume or increase the difficulty of some of the movements. Below is a graded progression for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level athletes:
Done for 3 rounds (as capacity increases, raise all reps to 10, no scales)
Samson stretch 1 minute
10 PVC overhead squat
10 ab-mat sit-ups
10 back extensions
5 pull ups (with or without bands)
5 Dips (with or without bands)
(Done for 3 rounds)
15 pvc overhead squat
15 sit ups
15 back extensions
15 pull ups
15 ring dips
(Done for 3 rounds)
15 PVC overhead squat
15 GHD sit ups
15 Barbell good morinings
3 rope climbs
10 handstand push ups
5 muscle ups
All of this is very individual and ply-able. Balance the capacity of the athlete with a somewhat challenging volume and movement difficulty that allows them to get something out of the warm up without going nuts. From a macro perspective, if athletes are moving better, progressing in skill, and slowly adding capacity to the warm ups, you are headed in the right direction. This is a garnish to your program, an added value in an unlikely place that can accelerate athletes’ progress to their goals, and beyond.
The jump rope is a great tool for aerobic conditioning. It allows for a potent, sustained cardiovascular effort that will provide a challenge in any workout. Using the jump rope also requires and develops many neurological skills such as coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance. That is why fighters love using the jump rope as a tool to practice being coordinated under fatigue. In CrossFit the common use for a jump rope is the “double under” (two revolutions of the rope per jump). This movement takes a slightly higher jump than the single under, and adds increased coordination between the upper and lower body.
The jump rope can be taken anywhere. It is essential equipment for the fit traveler to use for “hotel wods”. Combine this exercise with dumbbells, Push-ups, or burpees for a quick burner after the plane ride. Here are some tips for developing the double under…
Double Under Tips
When starting skipping rope hold the hands at 10 and 2 o’clock at the waist height with the hands slightly in front of the hip. Revolve the rope from the wrists not the shoulders.
Practice single unders until you are smooth and efficient, then try throwing some doubles. Just jump a little higher and whip the wrists twice. Keep the jump smooth and soft on the ground. You can begin with 2 singles into 1 double to acquire the skill.
When picking a rope make sure to start with a length that allows the handles to reach just beneath the armpits with one foot holding the rope to the floor.
To be fierce is to be both strong & powerful but also fiercely confident in your appearance and your capacity to do anything you set your mind to! If you don’t feel this way now, you will! That’s our promise.