Category Archives: Equipment

Breaking my CrossFit virginity

I went to my first CrossFit class last month at Crossfit Shapesmiths (in Clapham, London). http://www.crossfitshapesmiths.co.uk/

Overall it was a pleasent experience but it didn’t blow me away.  The guys running it were nice and very enthusiastic.  As you can imagine, the gym owners really love crossfit – that fact made you want to support them.  It’s a brand new facility and during the taster session they were still constructing parts of it.

The owners brought a real sense of community – I think this is quite a common theme amongst other CrossFit gyms.  There was a post workout tea/coffee in a chill-out area next door to the gym where most people hung out after the workout.

The facilities were characteristically CrossFit and there were plans to put in a shower, changing rooms and physiotherapy.  The kit consisted of a big frame (for pull ups etc), bar bells and medicine balls.

CrossFit gym

There was quite a lot of time spent on technique, for the impatient it would probably be frustrating. The exercise itself consisted of 15 minutes of clean and jerk, wall ball, sit ups and 800m run. Repeated AMRAP (as many reps as possible). Overall a good test of fitness, however, over the next couple of days I noticed a twinge in my shoulder. This is nothing new as its something commonly said about crossfit. It is probably wise to exercise personal responsibility when training crossfit to avoid injury.

One of the things we did at the end of the session was to record the number of reps we had individually achieved. This is valuable practice as the saying goes, what gets measured gets done!

It was pretty pricey, which is the main turnoff at £112 a month for two sessions a week (unlimited access at £185 per month).  Compared to a Martial Arts club which ranges from £40 to £70 a month, or gym membership, I would prefer the latter two options.

Resistance training workout routine

This workout routine requires a gym. It mainly involves dumbbells and a cable machine. It is a superset full body workout and concentrates on the big muscle groups first (chest, back and glutes) followed by the smaller muscle groups (shoulder, tries and bies). The supersets are followed by a blitz.

Warm up and stretch

Chest
3 x 10 Dumbbell press ups
3 x 10 Flies
Until failure press ups

Back
3 x 10 Lat pull down
3 x 10 Inverted flies
Until failure shrugs

Legs
3 x 10 leg extension
3 x 10 split squats
Until failure squats

Shoulders
3 x 10 Military press
3 x 10 Cable pull in
Until failure Lat raises

Tries
3 x 10 tricep kickbacks
3 x 10 rope pull down
Until failure tricep dips

Bies
3 x 10 Chin ups (hammer grip)
3 x 10 Cable reverse grip
Until failure dumbbell curls

Pay-as-you-go Gyms

Recently pay-as-you-go gyms have been popping up. When I was travelling and working away from home a lot, I found these gyms to be thoroughly enjoyable. They are well equipped and much better than the standard hotel gyms. At £5 a go, it’s not bad at all.

The main perks of these gyms are no joining fees, no gym induction, no contract and 24/7 opening :)

Two that I’ve been to:
1) The gym group
2) Pure gym

I think easyJet have also started getting into this market too, with the easyGym. That’s the next one on my list.

Coaching and Competitions

I’ve been coaching the GTI Squad which has been a great experience, although I did underestimate the amount of work required sorting out the logistics for competitions.Keen GTI sparrers travel up to three hours on a Sunday morning to train, which is greatly appreciated.  However, this is now becoming a barrier for some people, which is a shame and I’m not sure what the solution is…. I could rotate the squad sessions in different venues, but then if I go north, it makes it difficult for the people in the south and vice versa.  If anyone has any suggestions, it would be much appreciated!

We have our first “away” non-GTI squad tournament coming up, in Scotland.  I’m hoping this will be a good chance for people to bond and improve the team dynamics.  Things are looking good, although a long drive, it’ll be a nice little road trip and we can also enjoy the sites of Glasgow.

The following week is the PUMA World Championships, which I’m hoping a formal GTI Squad will be debuting.  I’ve made the next squad session compulsory for those who want to be considered to be in the team, we’ll see how that goes…

Two other points before I sign off: I’ve bought the squad a bunch of skipping ropes, which is turning out to be a great little investment – it provides an effective and “fun” warm up.  I do 3 minutes skipping, 3 minutes jogging and repeat this two times (will probably need to cut it down to two minutes and do three rounds – people were hanging last time)!  Final point, I used a round timer in the last squad session – big LED screen and loud beeps indicate rest period, round times and 10 seconds to go etc, and its programmable which means I can join in too :-)

Skipping ropeRound timer
Worthwhile kit investment