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5 Tips to Help You Prepare for the Open

Posted by Kyle Ruth on

5 Tips to help you prepare for the Open - Kyle Ruth
  1. Plan to Repeat the Workouts
    In my experience, most people’s first attempt at a test like an Open workout is fraught with mistakes. For the most part, we go into them not really knowing what to expect and end up with terrible pacing strategies. Repeating the workouts gives us a chance to learn from our mistakes and improve our pacing strategy. I’ve found that athletes can commonly improve by 3-5% on their second attempt just by knowing what to expect and how to pace correctly for the workout. You might be thinking 5% isn’t a very big margin of improvement but on workout 12.1 if you scored 120 in the 7 minutes of burpees then repeated the workout and scored 126 (5% improvement) you would have moved from 1995th place in the world to 793rd place in the world.
  2. Film your Workouts
    Even though there are new rules this year requiring anyone who plans to qualify for Regionals to film their workouts...I believe EVERYONE should film their workout. Reviewing video footage of yourself dramatically improves learning and will let you objectively determine your weak points (and eliminate them if you repeat the workout like I suggest in #1). Motor learning research consistently shows that people who watch themselves perform a movement make faster progress than those who don't. Use tools like your smartphone to get ahead of the curve. Check out the Perchmount Fit - it's the perfect tool to help you film your WOD!
  3. Stop Leaderboarding
    Everyone has different goals coming into the Open, some people are sign-up to enjoy the experience and camaraderie, others are trying to qualify for Regionals. If your goal is to maximize your placing, then you need to spend more time focusing on your performance and not getting caught up in the fanfare. Spending hours browsing through the leader board isn’t going to make you any closer to qualifying! Nothing is more distracting than watching your name drop down the leader board each hour, it can become addictive. I KNOW as well as anyone. Spend time finding YOUR weak links (by following my advice in #1 and #2!) and then attack them!
  4. Take Care of your Hands
    Rips take FOREVER to heal completely (mine from WODapalooza 4 weeks ago are FINALLY healed!). The best strategy is to prevent them in the first place (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure right?). My suggestion is to get a pair of gloves or gymnastics grips, and practice with them in the weeks and days leading into the Open. There is no reason to try to show how “tough” you are during the Open...let your performance do the talking without the headache of ripped hands. Basic callous maintenance goes a really long way when you're potentially doing 10 tests over 5 weeks. 
    Check out our Hand Rips collection to get everything you need to protect, manage and repair! 
  5. Be Confident in your Preparation...by Being Prepared
    There will be muscle-ups, there will be double-unders, the pull-ups will be chest-to-bar...you need to be prepared for these movements because they WILL show up. If you haven’t mastered these movements you need start spending time on them right now! For skill based movements like double-unders this might mean simply practicing before and after your workouts. Movements like chest-to-bar pull-ups and muscle-ups have both skill and strength components, your program needs to be developing both.
Aside from that...good luck and leave everything out there. 

Kyle Ruth, M.S., CSCS, CFL-1, USAW
WOD SuperStore Athlete
Owner: CrossFit LKN

Read more

5 Tips to Help You Prepare for the Open

Posted by Kyle Ruth on

5 Tips to help you prepare for the Open - Kyle Ruth
  1. Plan to Repeat the Workouts
    In my experience, most people’s first attempt at a test like an Open workout is fraught with mistakes. For the most part, we go into them not really knowing what to expect and end up with terrible pacing strategies. Repeating the workouts gives us a chance to learn from our mistakes and improve our pacing strategy. I’ve found that athletes can commonly improve by 3-5% on their second attempt just by knowing what to expect and how to pace correctly for the workout. You might be thinking 5% isn’t a very big margin of improvement but on workout 12.1 if you scored 120 in the 7 minutes of burpees then repeated the workout and scored 126 (5% improvement) you would have moved from 1995th place in the world to 793rd place in the world.
  2. Film your Workouts
    Even though there are new rules this year requiring anyone who plans to qualify for Regionals to film their workouts...I believe EVERYONE should film their workout. Reviewing video footage of yourself dramatically improves learning and will let you objectively determine your weak points (and eliminate them if you repeat the workout like I suggest in #1). Motor learning research consistently shows that people who watch themselves perform a movement make faster progress than those who don't. Use tools like your smartphone to get ahead of the curve. Check out the Perchmount Fit - it's the perfect tool to help you film your WOD!
  3. Stop Leaderboarding
    Everyone has different goals coming into the Open, some people are sign-up to enjoy the experience and camaraderie, others are trying to qualify for Regionals. If your goal is to maximize your placing, then you need to spend more time focusing on your performance and not getting caught up in the fanfare. Spending hours browsing through the leader board isn’t going to make you any closer to qualifying! Nothing is more distracting than watching your name drop down the leader board each hour, it can become addictive. I KNOW as well as anyone. Spend time finding YOUR weak links (by following my advice in #1 and #2!) and then attack them!
  4. Take Care of your Hands
    Rips take FOREVER to heal completely (mine from WODapalooza 4 weeks ago are FINALLY healed!). The best strategy is to prevent them in the first place (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure right?). My suggestion is to get a pair of gloves or gymnastics grips, and practice with them in the weeks and days leading into the Open. There is no reason to try to show how “tough” you are during the Open...let your performance do the talking without the headache of ripped hands. Basic callous maintenance goes a really long way when you're potentially doing 10 tests over 5 weeks. 
    Check out our Hand Rips collection to get everything you need to protect, manage and repair! 
  5. Be Confident in your Preparation...by Being Prepared
    There will be muscle-ups, there will be double-unders, the pull-ups will be chest-to-bar...you need to be prepared for these movements because they WILL show up. If you haven’t mastered these movements you need start spending time on them right now! For skill based movements like double-unders this might mean simply practicing before and after your workouts. Movements like chest-to-bar pull-ups and muscle-ups have both skill and strength components, your program needs to be developing both.
Aside from that...good luck and leave everything out there. 

Kyle Ruth, M.S., CSCS, CFL-1, USAW
WOD SuperStore Athlete
Owner: CrossFit LKN

Read more


My Crossfit Foundations Experience

Posted by Mike Murphy on

muscle upI’ve done Crossfit movements for years but never took an official foundations class or signed up to join a local box. A great deal was offered to me as a member of a local fitness club so I decided to jump on it and join the Lake Norman Crossfit Foundations class. 

In the first few classes we covered some basic dynamic stretches and movements. Things like the Samson stretch, spider man stretch, PVC pass-throughs, air squats and how to do a strict press versus a push press. It had been years since I had any formal instruction on some of these movements. I was thinking back to my days of playing high school football and honestly couldn’t even remember what had been taught to me. Over time I’m sure I developed bad habits and got stuck in the rut of only doing things like a push press and not strict press since it requires more focus. For strict press it’s important to tuck your chin into your neck and then at the end of the rep “poke your head out the window.” We also covered the correct form for a kettlebell swing, which I learned I wasn’t opening my hips enough at the end of the movement. I could immediately feel a difference and found I had to battle myself from slipping back into bad habits. 

After that it was time for the Workout of the Day (WOD). The first WOD was what is called an AMRAP. That stands for “as many repetitions/reps as possible”. Our AMRAP workout consisted of five barbell push press and 15 kettlebell swings. We did this for 10 minutes, which doesn’t seem like a daunting task at first but definitely left my shoulders and lower back burning. I opted to go for a slightly heavier kettlebell before the WOD started. I was regretting this decision a few minutes into the WOD. Someone else in the class (Billy) gave me some friendly heckling about picking the heavier weight.

In the third Crossfit foundations class we covered walking lunges and “over unders” which is where you shuffle sideways as if you are stepping over a hurdle and then ducking under one. Then we did more air squats, brushed up on our barbell push press and barbell front squats. The workout consisted of another AMRAP where we would run 400 meters and then do 15 kettlebell squats. I had foolishly run 8 miles that morning prior to class. I had all I could do to keep from cramping. I made sure to check the foundations blog after that to get an idea of what each class would have in store. That way I could give certain muscle groups a break and not overwork myself in any one area.

In the fourth class we started with a review of hip stretching, spider stretch, v leg sit-ups, reverse plank and again covered push press. It’s important to bend the knees slightly and take advantage of the downward momentum to push the bar back up when doing the push press. We covered the box jump, the kipping pull-up, band assisted pull up and butterfly pull up. I had to focus the most on opening my hips and fully standing up at the top of the box jump. I had done all of these exercises before but I was really here to work on my form so I paid extra attention to each repetition.

At the end of the fourth class our WOD was a 12 minute AMRAP of 5 push press, 5 box jump and 5 pull-up. I was shooting for at least 12 rounds, hoping to beat 14 and got 15 rounds completed when it was all said and done. Aside from working several muscle groups my heart rate was up the entire time and left me feeling like I burned a decent amount of calories. I always feel a level of satisfaction with the workout if I get a good sweat.

Afterwards I jumped on the rings to do a muscle up and was able to get one rep before I lost my form. I routinely do muscle ups on regular pull up bars but rarely get to do them on rings. I guess the class watching made me nervous because I couldn’t mimic my typical form. Stage fright apparently got the best of me this particular day.
muscle up

I’ll be writing more about my experience finishing the foundation class and working on my form with these movements over time.

Read more

My Crossfit Foundations Experience

Posted by Mike Murphy on

muscle upI’ve done Crossfit movements for years but never took an official foundations class or signed up to join a local box. A great deal was offered to me as a member of a local fitness club so I decided to jump on it and join the Lake Norman Crossfit Foundations class. 

In the first few classes we covered some basic dynamic stretches and movements. Things like the Samson stretch, spider man stretch, PVC pass-throughs, air squats and how to do a strict press versus a push press. It had been years since I had any formal instruction on some of these movements. I was thinking back to my days of playing high school football and honestly couldn’t even remember what had been taught to me. Over time I’m sure I developed bad habits and got stuck in the rut of only doing things like a push press and not strict press since it requires more focus. For strict press it’s important to tuck your chin into your neck and then at the end of the rep “poke your head out the window.” We also covered the correct form for a kettlebell swing, which I learned I wasn’t opening my hips enough at the end of the movement. I could immediately feel a difference and found I had to battle myself from slipping back into bad habits. 

After that it was time for the Workout of the Day (WOD). The first WOD was what is called an AMRAP. That stands for “as many repetitions/reps as possible”. Our AMRAP workout consisted of five barbell push press and 15 kettlebell swings. We did this for 10 minutes, which doesn’t seem like a daunting task at first but definitely left my shoulders and lower back burning. I opted to go for a slightly heavier kettlebell before the WOD started. I was regretting this decision a few minutes into the WOD. Someone else in the class (Billy) gave me some friendly heckling about picking the heavier weight.

In the third Crossfit foundations class we covered walking lunges and “over unders” which is where you shuffle sideways as if you are stepping over a hurdle and then ducking under one. Then we did more air squats, brushed up on our barbell push press and barbell front squats. The workout consisted of another AMRAP where we would run 400 meters and then do 15 kettlebell squats. I had foolishly run 8 miles that morning prior to class. I had all I could do to keep from cramping. I made sure to check the foundations blog after that to get an idea of what each class would have in store. That way I could give certain muscle groups a break and not overwork myself in any one area.

In the fourth class we started with a review of hip stretching, spider stretch, v leg sit-ups, reverse plank and again covered push press. It’s important to bend the knees slightly and take advantage of the downward momentum to push the bar back up when doing the push press. We covered the box jump, the kipping pull-up, band assisted pull up and butterfly pull up. I had to focus the most on opening my hips and fully standing up at the top of the box jump. I had done all of these exercises before but I was really here to work on my form so I paid extra attention to each repetition.

At the end of the fourth class our WOD was a 12 minute AMRAP of 5 push press, 5 box jump and 5 pull-up. I was shooting for at least 12 rounds, hoping to beat 14 and got 15 rounds completed when it was all said and done. Aside from working several muscle groups my heart rate was up the entire time and left me feeling like I burned a decent amount of calories. I always feel a level of satisfaction with the workout if I get a good sweat.

Afterwards I jumped on the rings to do a muscle up and was able to get one rep before I lost my form. I routinely do muscle ups on regular pull up bars but rarely get to do them on rings. I guess the class watching made me nervous because I couldn’t mimic my typical form. Stage fright apparently got the best of me this particular day.
muscle up

I’ll be writing more about my experience finishing the foundation class and working on my form with these movements over time.

Read more