Weightlifting Wednesday!

With the close of our deadlift cycle happening last week, we will again begin on a new journey.  The next cycle that we will be working on is Olympic Weightlifting for ten weeks.  We will now be having "Weightlifting Wednesdays".  During all Wednesday coached CrossFit classes we will be spending time working on technique, form and all things clean & jerk, snatch and squats.  On Wednesday, August 9th we will spend time maxing out on the clean & jerk and snatch in class (yes, full squat lifts only!) We will not be doing traditional metcons on these days, and focusing on improving our form and technique on these lifts as well as adding in auxiliary items to make your weightlifting better.

All programs will be written as percentages, which should be taken off of your existing 1 rep max numbers for the snatch, clean & jerk, back squat and front squat.  The clean & jerk and snatch will be off of the full squat lift, no percentages will be taken off of your power clean or power snatch. Please keep that in mind when working off of percentages.  If your power lift is more than your squat, that means that you should be extra excited to work on technique! If you do not have these numbers, we will be testing the clean & jerk and snatch, we did the front and back squats on our last cycle.  If you don't have squat maxes, coaches will help you out!

All exercises will have their percentage calculations keyed off of one of these four numbers. Calculation of percentages for the pulls in this program should be based off of the snatch or clean & jerk. For example, if you have a 100# snatch, and the program calls for snatch pulls at 80%, you would use 80# for those pulls.

When the program is written as snatch (75%/4)3, that should be read to mean: 3 sets of 4 reps at 75%. Snatch 60%/2; 70%/2 should be read to mean 2 reps at 60%, then 2 reps at 70%. When the program calls for something like clean & jerk 60%/2, that means one set of 2 clean & jerks at 60%.

When the program calls for something like clean & jerk 60%/(3+1), that means you should do the following: clean, clean, then clean & jerk. (2+1) would be clean, clean & jerk. 

No exercises in the weightlifting programming should be performed as touch-and- go. Come to a rest and rest for each rep.

When the program calls for a heavy single, it should be a heavy single for the day. You should limit yourself to 2 or 3 attempts at the heavier weights.

You should count misses as reps in this program, especially if they were misses based on simply not making the lift for technical reasons or otherwise.

We suggest you keeping a log during this to keep track of your sets, reps, weights and improvements!  

How to get rid of the band with pull ups

Recently I heard a long-time member voice their frustrations with still using a band for pull ups and not making the progress that they wanted to see on their non-assisted pull ups.  I asked that member what they have been doing outside of workouts with pull ups in them to make their pulling strength better, and they responded with "nothing".  

This made me think two things. First, in the land of CrossFit, there are so many things that one has to be good at which is why it is such a great test of fitness.  "You have to be good at everything" is something you often hear when it comes to the CrossFit Games Athletes, but those of us that are not at that level have certain movements that we struggle with.  If it is a goal to accomplish certain movements, outside work needs to be done to make those goals a reality.  I remember when I wanted to do a ring muscle up and was instantly upset at the fact of not being able to do it with out practicing any progressions and just sort of expected it to happen.  I quickly got slapped in the face with reality, and needed to head back to the drawing board.  I looked up as many progression videos as I could and finally found some that worked for me to be better at the skills I needed to complete a muscle up. By no means am I an expert at them, but I found a way to make myself better with extra time and effort put into the progressions.

The second thing I thought of was what could I do as a coach to help people with the same goal... to get rid of that band!? With anything, if there is a goal, you have ask yourself if you are willing to put in the time and effort to reach that goal. If you are not, then how bad do you really want that goal?  It's easy to see these exercises, try them out one or two times a week and then forget about them until you come back to those banded pull ups.  Make time 2-3 times a week during open gyms, before the workout, after the workout or whenever you have time to do these to reach your goal.

There are around 17 muscles that attach to the scapula, all of which are important to develop so that you can work on your pulling strength.  Part of making your pulling strength better is simple, work on it more! One of the things you can do to help your back and shoulder strength is to use the Crossover Symmetry system that we have at the gym.  There are two sides to the hanging sign of exercises, the side that says "Iron Scap" is the one that I will start off suggesting you try out and do 2-3 times a week.  There are 7 exercises that take about 5 minutes, with different band color levels and a photo description of each exercises.  This helps with the group of scapular muscles.  

The next progression to engaging the scapular muscles are what I will call "scap pull ups".  This is a drill to help engage and initiate pull ups with the lats and stabilize shoulders. In this movement you do not want a bend in the arms, and you also want to maintain the hollow body position as much as you can. Watch the video of Emmet doing these.

The Negative pull ups are also a great way to work on back strength.  Notice my note about when you are not able to slowly lower yourself, that you should try to use a partner to help you maintain the slow decent. This exercise focuses on the eccentric portion, starting in the flex hang and moving to the dead hang position. 


The partner pull up is a great progression from the negative pull up.  Instead of using a band that gives you a little bit of a bounce into the first pulling stage (scap pull up portion), this exercise makes you engage your scapular muscles on your own to initiate your pull up and your partner is there to give assistance as needed.

A great auxiliary type of exercise to increase pulling strength is the bent over row.  Yes this seems like a "bro lift" and not very "CrossFit", but sometimes singling out muscle groups is what you need to build strength in areas that you are lacking. Note that this should be done with a weight that you can do the movement strict.  Many times I see people adding way to much weight and using their back and a sort of kipping motion to complete the lift.
This should be as strict as possible, if that
means less weight, then do less weight!

The last exercise I will talk about is the ring row.  So many times I hear people say "ring rows are too easy" and they are not keeping their core tight, not keeping in the hollow position and snaking/kipping up to the rings, which leads me to believe it's not really as easy as you claim.  I recently saw a video of Tia Clair Toomey (yes the two-time 2nd fittest woman in the world and Olympian) doing these in the video below, which further leads me to believe that they are not "too easy".  Check out the different variations that Emmet demonstrates in the video below.  I could argue that these may be harder than a pull up it self.  Again, the key is to keep the hollow position, a flat plank for your body and initiate the pulling with the "scap" pull up motion.

Thanks to Emmet, Danielle and Wyatt for the great modeling! 

The 2017 Open comes to end with... more thursters!

This year we had 65 people from CFB sign up for The Open, which is the most that CFB has ever had.  My favorite thing about the Open is that it makes people go outside of their comfort zone and try things they never have in a workout.  Yes, sometimes this leads to failed reps, but it also leads to PR's and firsts.  We had people get their first bar muscle up, pull up, jumping chest to bar pull up, double under and more.  We also had several people PR their snatch in a workout, and many PR'ed their 16.4 score on this years 17.4!  Being able to share the energy in the gym and excitement for everyone is why I enjoy the Open so much.

Blake crushing some chest to bar pull ups

Blake crushing some chest to bar pull ups

JoAnne getting after 17.3

JoAnne getting after 17.3

Friday morning through Friday night we had support from members, families, friends and many more came to check out the hard work members have been putting in.

The first and second workout gave us a chance to use those dumbbells we have been trying to collect for the past few months!  Some new and fun movements came our way, but everyone did them with zero complaints and went into each workout with a purpose. The last walking lunges in 17.1 never felt so great!  17.2 we saw the comeback of the bar muscle up from last years Open.  We had more people look comfortable with this movement and of course the ever-so-awesome first bar muscle up came for some members.

Steve doing some awesome bar muscle ups in 17.2

Steve doing some awesome bar muscle ups in 17.2

17.3 we saw chest to bar pull ups and squat snatches, which proved to be a hard combo, but also allowed several people to try some new weights on the snatch and even get a PR!

Our repeat workout this year was 17.4, or 16.4, as those doing the open again noticed...55 reps of all the movements! We had several PR's on this workout and even some first handstand pushups!


Some notable end scores include in the state of Wisconsin: (If I forgot any please let me know!)
-14-15 year old category Riya Karne 13th
-35-39 Mellisa Debuck 29th
-45-49 Bobbi Lengjak 16th
-55-59 Nancy Thiedig 12th
-60+ Peg Thiele 5th
-35-39 category Scott Thiele 9th
-40-44 category Steve Smith 41st
-45-49 category Wyatt Warthen 2nd
-55-59 Masters category Coach Mike Morley 6th and Tim Thiedig 14th
-60+ category for the state of Wisconsin Coach Matt Forshee 6th, Bruce Houghtby 9th, and Ed May 18th

Neel during 17.5

Neel during 17.5

Overall it was a success from the Open announcement parties (a huge thank you to all that brought in food, treats and all the bacon!!). The 2017 Open was a success due to positive attitudes and willingness to take a big step out of comfort zones.  Congrats to everyone that competed and here's to 65+ sign ups next year!  Each of you continue to make yourselves better everyday when you walk into CFB doors and leave your hard work and sweat behind!  We are proud of each and every one of your thrusters, jump ropes, box jumps and even those dumbbell snatches and lunges!


Chris rocking his first Open!

Chris rocking his first Open!


If the competition bug has bit you, there is a local Festivus Games competition that is happening April 22nd at CrossFit 608. Check out https://festivusgames.com/divisions/ for more details and talk with a coach at the gym if you are interested!  There are always local competitions coming up, so if you are have interest, please talk with a coach!


17.5 live from Madison!

17.5 live from Madison!