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December 17, 20170

by Ben Garves

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.

Double Under Workouts for the Road

Workout #1

Annie”                                                               

50-40-30-20-10

  • Double Unders
  • Sit-Ups

(Do 50 DU, then 50 sit-ups, 40 and 40 etc.)

Workout #2

10 Minute AMRAP

  • 30 Double Unders
  • 15 Push Ups

Workout #3   

5 rounds for time of:

  • 21 Dumbbell Thrusters #45
  • 50 Double Unders

Workout #4

5 rounds of:

  • 20 Alternating DB Snatches #70
  • 30 Double Unders
  • 15 Burpees

Workout #5

15 Minute AMRAP

  • Run 800 Meters
  • 50 Dumbbell Swings #50
  • 100 Double Unders
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November 17, 20170

by Ben Garves

Ok broseph or brosephina, it’s time to get those spaghetti strings you call arms into gear. Many of us are looking to put on upper body size and strength. Going to the gym and wandering around aimlessly produces no results. You need a good plan. The fastest way to put on good muscle in to lift heavy with a variation of exercises that hit all muscle groups in a variety of movement patterns. This Upper body strength and size progression starts with a major lift at a maximal load to develop pure strength and then introduces volume for hypertrophy and gained muscle size. The exercises target different movement patterns for pushing and pulling. There is some isolation work as well to help target mechanical weaknesses of some of the smaller muscle groups and contribute to the larger movements. Try this program for 5 weeks and expect rapid progress and increased upper body size.  Then change the exercises to avoid plateaus. This is a 4-day program with 1 rest day between sessions. The program can be completed with minimal equipment, just a barbell, bench, and dumbbell and rings. Enjoy!

Day 1

  1. Bench Press 6×2 to a 2 rep Max
  2. Narrow Grip Bench 3×8 reps
  3. Arnold Press  3×12 reps
  4. Skull Crushers on the rings  3×10
  5. DB Chest fly + DB Press 2×10 reps
  6. Banded resisted tricep press downs 3×30 reps

Day 2

  1. Snatch Grip High Pull 5×5
  2. Weighted pull up 6×2
  3. Bent Over Row 3×8 reps
  4. Hammer Curls 3×10
  5. Dumbbell hang Clean 50 reps at 55/35lbs for time
  6. Barbell in rack inverted row 2x failure

Day 3

  1. Pin Press 6×2
  2. Strict Press 5×5
  3. Weighted Dips 3×10
  4. Band resisted Push Ups 2x failure
  5. Dumbbell pull -overs 2×20

Day 4

  1. Chinese Row 5×5
  2. Single Arm Row 3×10
  3. 3 rounds for time of : 5 chin-ups,  5 wide grip pull-ups, 5 behind the neck pull ups
  4. 3×10 barbell curl
  5. 3×15 dumbell incline curls
  6. Ring Row 2x failure
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October 30, 20170

by Ben Garves

One of the biggest links missing in CrossFit programs across the world is a lack of coaching and a misunderstanding of how and when to apply intensity. We measure our fitness and results. Those results are driven by intensity. Expressing intensity is dependent upon mastering and refining technique.  You learn, refine and master mechanics of functional movement, then you go as hard as you can until those mechanics start to fail. Refine and push, rinse and repeat. These are the two most important factors in progress. This is the path to virtuosity.

Affiliates are messing this up in their programming by adopting the idea that more is better. If one CrossFit workout gets you fit, then two will get you twice as fit? There is a programming epidemic in affiliates. Coaches are getting lazy, and instead of filling the class up with coaching, skill progressions and development, they are just filling it up with a laundry list of stuff. This most commonly happens by over programming, putting too much stuff in each day and not focusing on excellence in the basics, and intensity in the workouts. Gyms will often program two portions in a workout such as strength and then a conditioning section. To athletes, it may look like they are getting more, but here is a case to support that they are actually getting less: less technique, less intensity, less progress, less coaching and less commitment to virtuosity.

Here is an actual example of todays program from a very popular affiliate in New York City:

Workout

Strength:

Every Minute, on the Minute (EMOM)

  • 0-4 Power Snatch 2 reps
  • 4-8 Power Clean 2 reps
  • 8-12 Push Jerk 2 reps
  • 12-16 Power Clean and Jerk 2 reps

MetCon:

5 Rounds for time of:

  • 50 Double Unders
  • 5 Deadlifts 315/225
  • 10 Strict Handstand Push Ups

Let break this class down time wise and identify where the potential hurdles are in this style of programming:

  • General warm up: 5 min
  • Strength Workout: 16 min
  • Conditioning Workout: 12-15 min
  • Time to lead up in weights, set-up logistics , allow for transition: 12 min
  • Put equipment away, collect scores, cool down: 5 minutes
  • Total: 53 minutes
  • Time left to teach mechanics and skills, scaling and progressions for 6 movements (HSPU, Double Under, Power Snatch, Power Clean, Push Jerk): 7 Minutes

Here are the top three biggest arguments against this style of programming:

#1) There is no time in the hour to do any meaningful coaching and skill development.

As you look at the breakdown, you can see that the class only allows for 7 minutes to teach and refine 6 movements, 5 of which are highly technical. In reality this probably looks like less than 1 minute to cover each movement. Where can you put in a handstand push-ups progression or cover scaling options? Where can you work on double under technique and do some practice? Where can you work on positions and patterns in the snatch and clean and jerk with a PVC pipe? The coach would inevitably just become a time keeper or a crowd herder without the ability to do any meaningful coaching and development with athletes.

#2) Intensity Gets Sacrificed, Results Get Sacrificed

With this habitual style of programming, there is not enough time to get to enough of a stimulus out of each element and/or one element gets sacrificed for the other. To get results you must push intensity. Measurable, observable and repeatable means PR’s guide the effectiveness of the program. Increased work, decreased times, increased weight means you are getting fitter. Would you be able to build up and PR your snatch in 4 minutes? Would you be able to go as fast as you could in a conditioning workout after lifting for 16 straight minutes prior? Athletes typically bias one section of the workout ie. The lifters go for it in the EMOM and then go through the motions in the conditioning, or the people who love met-cons save it for the conditioning workout.

#3) This is Not Variance, Athletes will Break Down and Get Injured

If you are always doing a 15 minute lifting session followed by a shorter conditioning portion, the program is not varied, it is routine, and there is a blueprint for failure based on the missing elements. Where do athletes get to go longer for 30 or 40 minute efforts? Where is the gymnastics or long monostructural practice? As coach Glassman said…“Routine is the enemy, our specialty is not specializing”

Variance allows for a wide breath of different stressors. Repetitive programs can lead to breakdown. CrossFit recommends doing a dedicated heavy day every 3 day cycle. This allows for tissues and joints to recover from high load for health and intensity the next time you lift. You may have noticed there are very few 30 and 40 year old Olympic lifters, that is because they breakdown from the repetitive stress of lifting daily. If the goal is fitness over a lifetime, variance allows athletes to recover from a broad series of stressors to keep training and progressing.

Closing thoughts:

When it come to programming, more is not better, better is better. Better is defined by results, PR’s, skill acquisitions. “Don’t be impressed by volume, be impressed by intensity.” –Glassman

For 99% of people who do CrossFit, a single dose of constantly varied, functional movements executed at a high intensity has the ability to provide astonishing results for  long term fitness, longevity, quality of life and avoiding chronic diseases. Virtuosity in CrossFit does not just apply to moving, it applies to coaching, programming, and the continued example of self development. It is the pursuit of excellence.