Increase Your Deadlift Without Deadlifting… What?!

Yes it’s true, deadlifting isn’t the best way to get better at deadlifting.

I’m that person that always asks the question “how and why”? During my basic physical instructor training my class mates called me ‘The Dr’, purely because I would ask all the questions to try and get my head around everything, even the most advanced stuff.

I remember one day learning about the ATP-PC energy system during a long lecture when the instructor was reading his workbook and said something along the lines of, “In a test conducted on supplementing creatine monohydrate it was discovered that 90% of the subjects could do more reps at the same weight than when they started. The conclusion is that creatine monohydrate does in fact increase strength”.

I put my hand up as I usually did and said, “First thing is that if the subjects did more reps at the same weight they didn’t increase their strength, they increased their endurance. Secondly, it’s all well and good telling us it increases the endurance, but how does the creatine actually increase the endurance, like what’s happening inside the body?”. I would go on and on until I knew ‘why’ things happened, because once you know why they happen and you have a deeper understanding then you are in a much better position to help people.

My Friend:

A friend of mine I have been talking to recently has not increased his deadlift in about two years. He has tried three different coaches and programs, he has spent entire 12 week training cycles trying to increase his deadlift and failed, and like most people that are unsuccessful with a 1 RM Deadlift attempt, it’s his back that starts to round out, the bar doesn’t move and the lift is lost. Pretty fucking common.

But you would think that doing multiple deadlift programs over the space of two years with plenty of accessory work including Good Mornings, GHD Back Extension and Rack Pulls might help increase that elusive 1 RM. Nope! His last 12 week training cycle was from a well known coach and he lost 5kg on his deadlift. WTF???

When I asked him how he felt going for his new 1 RM attempt he said he felt worn out and his back was sore… Ya think?!

Lets fix this once and for all:

I read a lot, I listen to podcasts and talk to people that are doing well in their fields, I question everything, read contradictory articles and then I come up with a conclusion. From there it is all about trial and error to see if things work in reality.

Deadlifting is simply lifting a bar up from the ground to the hips. Although it is a basic movement in comparison to squatting or the Olympic lifts, it still uses the whole body, from the fingers to the toes. I have been deadlifting for quite a few years now and I deadlifted a whole lot more while I had severe tears in both my patella tendons from squatting. When you do something enough you start to really figure out what makes it work better and what doesn’t seem to work at all.

If you look at the deadlifting movement (depending on who does it and the lever lengths etc) then you can see that it primarily involves hip extension, a stable core (neutral hip and spine), and a strong straight  torso. From there you can see that the shoulders, arms and hands are pretty important in holding the weight and attaching the weight to the torso.

We have to look at it now in order to prioritise the parts of the lift:

1) Is the core switched on in a neutral position with the spine straight

2) Are the core and spine muscles strong enough to keep up with the hip extensors during the movement

3) Are the shoulders and arms securing the load to the body properly (lat engagement, ideal grip etc)

4) Are the hip extensors strong enough

If you move down that list in order of priority it will give you some clues on what to do and when to do them. Now we all know that the majority of deadlift’s fail because the back rounds out, which means it doesn’t matter how strong your hip extension is, your back/core muscles are the weak link.

You can do all the hip extensions and heavy deadlifts in the world but it will not help. You need to strengthen your core which starts with coordination. You need to be able to feel and fire the right muscles and from there you can add load. Forget heavy lifting for a while, forget GHD Sit Ups, forget Rack Pulls and forget Deficit Deadlifts.

To address point number one you need to focus on simple things like Prone Bridging and Segmented Back Extensions with correct hip position. Pilates and gymnastics teach this stuff pretty well.

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To address point number two you need to build some real strength through the midsection and its ability to brace. Strongmen have some of the strongest cores in the world and I absolutely recommend using Yokes as part of your core strengthening. The diaphragm, transverse abdominals and pelvic floor all press inwards together to support the midline. If you are used to wearing a weight belt then you need to STOP while you are training your core to get stronger (weight belts are fine for maxing out, competitions or even helping with activation, but they are detrimental when it comes to getting your own core strong).

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To address point number three there are ton of things you could do to make sure the arms are locked in tight to the body and that thoracic posture and strength is optimal. Isometric lat strength would be my primary focus though. I see a ton of people prescribing Pull Up’s or Lat Pulldowns etc to strengthen the lats. But the best thing I could suggest is Front Lever progressions/holds because the lats are switched on in an isometric hold the spine is straight and the core is rock tight. All these things are critical for a strong deadlift.

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The other thing I want to add in here is that the shoulder girdle (scapula etc) is generally pulled downward during a heavy deadlift. The shoulder girdle and arms act like a mini shock absorber or elastic band that actually takes a little bit of load away from the back and core during the lift. This can be a good thing for a competition or a 1 RM, but when it comes to trying to train your deadlift, having this shock absorber take load away from your back just reinforces the weakness in your back. Imagine a 1 RM deadlift and the position you are in, now imagine if the weight of the bar was moved from the hands and into the middle of the shoulders, or even on the top of the back. Most peoples spines would snap under that load. Knowing this will become an important part of the strengthening process.

Now to address point number four. I honestly think it is rarely the case that the hip extensors are not strong enough, but if they aren’t then doing more deadlift’s and Rack Pulls will work just fine to build that strength.

In theory this all seems to make good sense, but does it work in the real world?

Case Study #1:

A few years ago one of the affiliates I was doing the programming for did a four week cycle aimed to increase 1 RM deadlift. I thought it would be an ideal time to test my theory. We tested 1 RM deadlift, trained for four weeks and then retested 1 RM deadlift. But during that period of training we did NO deadlifting. What we did do was Low Bar Box Squats (LBBS) and accessory core work three times a week, then regular CrossFit the rest of the time. What happened? Everyone that was present for both tests increased their 1 RM deadlift.

And before you say the ‘regular CrossFit’ could have been what did it, bare this in mind. No heavy squatting or deadlifting for four weeks was done, only LBBS and some Olympic lifting filled the strength side of things, and no, the metcons didn’t increase the 1 RM’s.

Case Study #2:

I was working with a late 30’s athlete who’s deadlift was lagging way behind the rest of his CrossFit ability. Stripper style pull and rounding back, no good. The more deadlifting he did the more it reinforced his weakness so we moved the bar from his hands onto his back and spent a month LBBS’ing. No deadlifting was done for four weeks, we just LBBS’d, did accessory work, did Olympic lifting and metcons. We retested his deadlift and he made a nice big jump from 195kg to 205kg IN FOUR WEEKS!!!

I’m no scientist but the theory makes sense and works in the real world!!

Summary:

Low Bar Box Squatting is my goto tool for people with a shite deadlift. It mimics the movement beautifully, it removes the shock absorber arms, it places the load right through the back and core (strengthening the weakest link), and it punishes you if you try and raise your hips and shoulders at a different rate on the first portion of the pull.

Also don’t confuse this for a Low Bar Back Squat or a Box Squat. The Low Bar Box Squat’s aim is to get as close to deadlift position as possible and lightly kiss the box with your ass. You need to keep tension and not de-load like you might if you were training concentric power. The box height should be the same as if you were setting up for a deadlift, and your shins should be near vertical, kind of like a good morning but with more knee flexion letting the hips ride backwards (not the knees forwards).

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But the LBBS is just one exercise, and although you get the most bang for you buck with it there is much more suff that goes into building it into a training program. It still needs to be periodised, the accessory work has to complement it, things like levers and specific isometric bracing core work, banded deadlifts (speed pulls) to maintain muscle activation without taxing the CNS, and I would always monitor HRV to ensure the load isn’t too much and the athlete isn’t going backward.

If you know me you know I hate people that bombard their athletes with workload and just ‘hope’ that it is enough to get them better. More is NOT better, optimal is better. If you don’t monitor HRV then you are missing out on an amazing piece of kit and I have seen WAY to many people get injured or not improve that could have avoided either if they had used HRV.

Any questions??

How To Take HRV For The Most Accurate Data

Ok guys and girls,

As most of you know Heart Rate Variability is something that I spend a lot of time monitoring and learning about. This post is not ‘about HRV’, this is simply a post on the best ways to physically take the measurement.

HRV is tool that once you begin to understand can make a world of difference!! It has helped me to the point that I couldn’t imagine trying to remote coach and program for people without it. Seriously, I can literally see how much stress a person is under everyday and correlate it to their life and training.

The most important part is the ability to know when to push or when to hold back. Pushing too hard can, over time, cause overtraining and injury which is the NUMBER 1 thing I try to avoid. Injuries will put a massive curveball into your training and reaching your goals. Period.

There is without a doubt a STRONG correlation between constantly low HRV readings and injuries.

So anyway, HRV is great, blah blah blah. But it can only be helpful when the data is accurate. There is no point having inaccurate readings, it defeats the entire purpose and can screw up the programming that is written from it.

HOW TO TAKE YOUR HRV:

So here is exactly how I recommend you to take your daily HRV reading if you want the most accurate data:

1) You must do it as soon possible after waking up (before any crazy stimulation)

2) You must do the exact same thing every morning (even if you wake up at a different time)

3a) Wet the sensor before putting on the chest strap

3b) If you use the finger sensor then no need for water

4a) Find a comfy half seated half lying position to take the reading in (with headrest)

4b) If your monitor struggles to take the reading while you are lying/seated try fully seated (with headrest)

4c) If your monitor struggles to take the reading while you are seated try standing (but relaxed)
* I have only ever met one person that needs to be standing for their HRV to be accurate. It is not ideal.

You are welcome to wake up, get a glass of water and use the toilet before you test your HRV, but you must do the exact same routine everyday. Do not eat breakfast, do not drink coffee, do not get ready for work, it adds too many variables.

The following information I wrote myself for people that use the BioForce HRV System as a troubleshooting guide.

TROUBLESHOOTING:

If you are experiencing difficulties in taking your Bioforce HRV measurement reading, please follow the steps below in order.

The best way to troubleshoot is to determine whether the issue is with the connectivity (related to Pulse) or the Valid RR Int. In the Bioforce HRV app this can be distinguished by checking if the “Pulse” is staying solid green. If the “Pulse” is solid green, then you have an issue with the “Valid RR Int.” If the “Pulse” is flickering back and forth between green and red, you have a connectivity issue.

If you’re unable to keep “pulse” green in the Bioforce HRV app, or “pulse” is flickering between green and red, try the following.

Step 1 – Try restarting your phone. This should restart the app.
Step 2a – If using a wireless receiver, make sure it is plugged all the way in the headphone jack. Try removing your device case, as it often impedes the wireless receiver. Also, be sure to hold the wireless receiver close to the transmitter of the heart rate strap.
Step 2b – If using a Bluetooth HR strap make sure Bluetooth is turned on both in the device settings and in the app itself. To do this, open the Bioforce HRV app, and click on the edit tab in the lower right portion of the screen. Then, make sure that “use Bluetooth smart strap” is turned on.
Step 3 – Make sure you wet the inside of the HR strap, the smooth portion of the strap that touches your skin to improve connectivity.

If you’re unable to keep “Valid RR Int” green in the Bioforce HRV app, or “Valid RR Int” is flickering between green and red, try the following.

Step 1 – Make sure your HR is close to your normal resting HR.
Step 2 – Make sure you are calm with no distractions, which includes; talking, moving around, constantly checking the device, or distracting sounds.
Step 3 – If your resting HR is in the low 40’s or if your HRV score is consistently above 90, try taking your reading from a seated position. Doing this will show greater variability. It’s normal for your resting HR to go up a few beats and your HRV score to go down when readings are taken seated.

Lastly, battery life within the heart rate strap will vary. It is not uncommon to have to replace the battery but in some cases, we’ve found simply removing the battery from the transmitter and wiping it down will solve any issues.

6 Things That Will Significantly Increase Your Competitive Performance

Hi team,

Here’s a little video all about competitions and some of the little things you can do to help achieve greater success. CrossFit is a professional sport now and if you want to get to the top then you need to understand that the little things matter.

If you ACTUALLY do the things in the video I can assure you that you will compete better.

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Everything You Need To Know About De-loading

I’ve just gone through a period of de-loading most of my athletes and was very surprised to hear the amount of people ask what a de-load was and why we needed to do it. I guess that’s why they are the athletes and I am the coach, but it did inspire me to write a blog and inform as many people as possible about de-loading.

What is de-loading?

De-loading is simply dropping the overall training load (volume/intensity) for a period of time to let the body recover ready for more intense training.

Some people say there is a difference between a de-load and a taper but seriously they are the same thing and you do them for the same reasons.

De-loading is not about having a week off (although a week off is definitely a de-load), it is about dropping the training load just enough so that the emphasis is on recovery as a pose to hard training. It is active recovery. A week off will more than likely do more harm than good, we want to improve health whilst maintaining fitness. We will go into more detail about ‘how’ to de-load near the end of this post.

Why should we de-load?

There are a few reasons why an athlete will need a de-load in their training. Ultimately however it is to allow recovery so that the athlete doesn’t start to overtrain or overload any of the body’s structures which results in a plateau in performance and a higher chance of injury.

If you have been in the game long enough you will see a direct correlation between stress/overtraining and injuries. Injuries very rarely ‘just happen’.

To add to that when you de-load the body compensates for the stress you have caused it through intense training and as a bi-product you get fitter.

During a de-load the nervous system swings into a predominantly parasympathetic state, hormone balance favours anabolism, body tissue repairs itself, the muscles and liver get a chance to fully load with glycogen and pretty much every cell in the body gets to take a small vacation from the constant bombardment of a heavy training cycle.

It’s like anything in life, you want just enough to stimulate, but not enough to annihilate. If the body is under too much stress for too long it will start to breakdown in a bad way.

So by timing and carrying out a successful de-load it is possible to stay injury free and continue to make progress as an athlete.

How and when should we de-load?

Now that you know what a de-load is and the benefits of it, it’s time to dive into the ‘how’ and ‘when’ you should carry out the magical task. The timing (when) is the most important part so let’s dive into that first.

When:

Like usual everyone is different when it comes to the details, and the timing of a de-load is no different. Remembering that the objective of a de-load is to recover, which means that the de-load needs to come after an intense period of training when you are starting to overreach. There is no point de-loading if you haven’t been pushing the limits because you will end up under training and going backwards.

A coach should have a good idea about their athletes and when they will need to de-load, some athletes might be able to last months without a de-load and some might only be able to go a few weeks at a time. An older person may need to de-load more often than a younger person, males potentially more often than females, people that work long, hard hours will need to de-load more often then someone with a slower paced job.

Some key signs that you need a de-load is when you start to feel tired, you aren’t fully recovering between session, weights that are normally ok feel very heavy, a normal session feels harder than it should be. If you keep training hard during this time you head into a state of overtraining.

I know everyone reading this has felt like that before and most people probably just keep on training and wonder why last week they felt amazing and this week they need five coffee’s just to get to the gym.

Another AMAZING way to know when you need to de-load is to use an HRV monitor. I still can’t believe the lack of people using them. Either people are too lazy to learn about them or too old and stuck in their ways to try something new. I have been monitoring HRV for five years now and it’s like having a crystal ball, especially when it comes to timing.

The image below is two weeks into a training cycle and you can see the clear decline in this athletes HRV score.

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The next image shows the following week which involved a de-load. It is clear to see the when the athlete was fully recovered and ready to jump into the next training cycle.

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If you want to learn more about HRV then check out this blog post about the ‘Common Misconceptions’ or if you are interested in buying a monitor head to this page titled ‘About HRV’.

With the athletes I program for individually the de-load weeks are not planned in advance, we just keep pushing until the person needs a de-load, this method ensures we are making the most of every training session available to us. Once we start a peaking cycle for a competition, the de-loads then become timed with the competition. For the athletes following the Athlete Program, de-loads are planned at the end of each training cycle BUT each day the athletes are given HRV guidelines so that depending on their individual state, they know whether to drop the training load or carry on as normal.

If you are following a program that doesn’t monitor your training load (volume/intensity) then you are flying blind and ultimately gambling with your fitness. Sure you will get fitter, but that’s IF you can handle the volume and IF the cycle is magically timed right for you.

How:

Just like stated at the start, de-loading is a drop in the overall training load. So that means you could drop the volume or the intensity, or both. And depending on what you do depends on what you want to achieve.

Complete rest is generally not a beneficial way to de-load for a few reasons. Predominantly the fact that if you don’t use it you lose it. That means you could fail to maintain any adaptations previously made and also complete rest will throw you deep into parasympathy which will make you sluggish and lethargic when you try and come back into training.

Some other things that you can do to make your de-load more beneficial is remove any tempo or eccentric movements from training as they tend to cause more trauma to muscles as well as any plyometric movements that involve maximal force, especially when a muscle or joint is at full stretch or end ROM. Other things to remove would be any anaerobic endurance work because of the large stress it places on the energy systems.

Some things you can add to the program is more stability work and more dynamic fluent movements that involve full ROM without a sudden change of direction. Light cardio is always another good addition and a sh*tload of skill work should ALWAYS be present.

If you are de-loading in the middle of a training cycle then you might want to drop volume and intensity to give everything a good rest. Less total reps, less sets, less weight, slower paces on the metcons. Drop training load to about 60 – 70% of normal and watch the athlete rebound and come back stronger, fitter and faster.

If you are de-loading before a competition then it might make more sense to drop the volume but maintain the intensity required for competition which is 100%+. This means you can come into the competition fresh but still moving at the required intensity for competition. After a competition you would more than likely de-load again ready for a new phase of training.

For CrossFit de-loading means less of almost everything and the addition of more recovery techniques. No rebounding box jumps, no heavy lifting >90%, less reps, less duration and intensity in metcons, more mobility, no tempo work, more stability, more concentric loading like sled pushes and rowing. Olympic lifting is still fine but no tap ‘n’ go reps, drop from the top to keep it eccentric and keep it light.

Summary:

Now that you know the details of de-loading it is time for you to put it into practice. It can take a while to master the details but practice makes perfect so start now. Even write your own template de-load week.

More:
* High Skill
* Concentric Movements
* Dynamic Movements
* Stability Work
* Predominantly Aerobic
* Large ROM
* Mobility Work
* Maintenance Strength Work

Less:
* Sets
* Reps
* Duration
* Weight
* Eccentric Movements
* Plyometric Movements
* Intensity (HR or load or perceived)
* Heavy Strength Work
* Anaerobic Endurance or Conditioning

If you have any questions then just ask in the comments section below!

Underground RX Nutrition

Underground RX Nutrition is here!!

Hi there team,

Over the last few months we have been busy at URX HQ organising High Performance Training Camps, improving the Athlete Program and working on bringing you guys as much support as possible. Nutrition is something that needs focus just like training itself.

Whether you are chasing a spot on the regionals floor or a PB at your local box the first thing you need to do is to take a look at how you are fuelling your body. More than just energy for a workout, what you eat contributes to the overall health and functioning of your body. You can follow the best training program in the World, but if your nutrition’s not on point you wont be reaching your full potential. Period.

Introducing Amber Walker

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After searching for a nutritionist to fit our ethos and values we have found the perfect match.

Amber Walker has joined the Underground RX team as the resident nutritionist to help anyone around the globe reach their health and performance goals.

Amber herself is a three times World Champion and now focuses on nutrition for human performance which involves Regional level CrossFit athletes. Amber believes that every athlete is different and that no one plan suits everyone.

If you are looking for an individualised plan to boost your performance then click HERE and check out the new Underground RX nutrition packages.

Glute Activation During Squatting

Hi there team, just a real quick video on glute activation during the squat to prevent the stripper but from happening and save your lower back.

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CrossFit Should Be Fun

CrossFit Used To Be Fun!

Since officially starting CrossFit in 2011 and opening an affiliate I have really loved every minute of it. The fun of being able to mash random movements together, pick a timeframe, and then enter the pain cave with a group of friends. The vast array of movements to choose from adds to the excitement and challenge whilst really benefiting the person conducting the training. CrossFit promotes a hard working and intense mindset, and for good reason, INTENSITY is what gets results.

As affiliate owners and Regional level athletes that’s what we did (Luke, Mudz and I). Searched online for WOD’s to do, hit benchmarks, tried as hard as possible to increase our 1 RM’s by maxing out everyday, and really had no clear idea about building a CrossFit training program. Sure we knew the basics and we were good, safe coaches, but we had drunk the ‘coolaid’ and frothed on the idea of WODing for no real reason. We would drive to different affiliates on the weekends, conduct horrific workouts then finish with a BBQ and beers.

IT WAS FUN!!

Why so serious!?

But then, as CrossFit started to grow, and people started to get more serious about competing, the idea of doing this randomised (varied) training started to shift towards a more specific approach, working on weaknesses, following individual programs built soley for you. It made sense too, why go and complete ‘BULL’ with a couple of friends if you can spend that same hour working on your specific weakness or the Olympic lifts which are crucial in CrossFit competition.

The problem is that working on your weaknesses all the time can become demoralising, training by yourself can become lonely, and very often the fun can be removed from training. So what should it be? Where should the balance lie? How do you get to the top? Target your weaknesses with laser like focus, train by yourself and become the best athlete possible? Or just do relatively random workouts, train hard and have fun with other people?

Learn to play the long game…

I remember reading about a study carried out where they would take a child and… Screw it, watch the video below. It’s about the ability to delay gratification.

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I think competing at CrossFit is exactly the same. If you want to be successful you have to be able to play the long game. If you are looking for the daily high then as each day passes you can potentially fall a fraction behind the competition. Over the space of one or two years those fractions all add up.

I have always been able to delay gratification, it came naturally to me, I bought investment properties when I was young whilst others spent their money on sh*t. When I trained for Regionals I would take 6 months off each year to rehab any injuries, gain mobility and then begin a 12 week lead up to the Open. I wouldn’t compete in any competitions other than the Open and Regionals. I played the long game, and trust me when I say the feeling of walking onto the Regional competition floor was sweeter than anything.

Now don’t get me wrong, training still needs to be enjoyable, but the closer the balance can be shifted towards specificity the better the long game outcome will be. As a coach I took it for granted, as the video says, only one in three people have the ability to delay gratification. I couldn’t understand why people were not enjoying training? The program was perfect, they just had to follow it!

I was like “Are you stupid, if you follow this plan in 12 months you will be the best possible you?”. To them it was like, “Why am I having a rest day today, I want to go crush a WOD”.

To a point I am still like that, but I now realise that only a few people can actually see and play the long game. So the way I coach and program has changed slightly to bring in a bit more balance.

The number one rule for a good training program is adherence. If the program is adhered to as it is intended then it will be successful. If the program is NOT adhered to then there is no chance of success. If a program is NOT enjoyable then adherence will be low, so it is important that the athlete enjoys the training.

Finding Balance

I write two types of program, The Underground RX Athlete Program and Personal Programs.

The Athlete Program is a generic online program that has been through a few transformations. It started in a very methodical manner, but I soon realised that the type of people following it just want to have a bit more fun and flexibility. Two years on and it is now at a point where I believe it has found its sweet spot. Each day involves different levels of training depending on your ability level as well as biased training you can choose so that the people that want to work on their weaknesses can do that, and the ones that just want to do the thing that looks most fun can do that. It caters for the long and the short game players.

With the personal programs I write they are all vastly different. Some people are happy playing the long game. I write it, they do it, no questions. If I tell them to rest, they rest, if I give them a low load day they just do it. They understand it is all part of a bigger picture.

Kyle Gardiner is a great example. No questions whatsoever, just trust and belief and a jump from 567th – 79th from one Open to the next. At times he was unfit, or things he used to be able to do he no longer could, but he realised it was part of the plan. You don’t have to be fit all year round, he didn’t need to eat the marshmallow everyday, but come the Open he had more than enough marshmallows.

Others can not see the long game. They drop 10% off of their best ever Back Squat and they lose their minds, not realising that peaks can be generated quickly and also lost quickly and you can’t be at your peak all year round. They see a rest day and comment that they aren’t training enough, then the next days training is sub maximal because they couldn’t go one day without lifting a weight. For these people I will tweak their program to give them what they need disguised as what they want. Is it the ‘best program’, possibly not, but if I want them to adhere to it and believe in it then it has to be done.

I tell all of my athletes that if they ever stop enjoying training then they need to stop doing it. Happiness and joy comes first. Without a doubt those that have the most fun see the best results. So here is a little table to show the ideal athlete and program type:

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The instant gratification people are the ones that are always looking for the next best thing. Instead of finding contentment and growth within themselves they look for it in other places. Of course there is a ton of other stuff that goes into this and there are definitely better programs than others. Genetics (and hormones) play a gigantic role in an athletes success or ability to to progress on a program. A freakish athlete could make a bad program look good, just as an unfortunate athlete can make a good program look bad.

Let’s wrap it up…

I think all of this is why a lot of individual competitors are starting to jump into the team environment, they do the hard yards as an individual, they do their time working on their weaknesses more often then not by themselves, and after a few years of that they are ready for a more fun and community based environment. My guess is that teams will soon become ‘serious’ like the individual competition, but I don’t think to the same extent, teams will always have more of a community feel to it then the individuals.

I will wrap this up with a few small notes.

1) Find joy within playing the long game, don’t be in a rush to get somewhere. Work as hard as possible, but only as much as you need to, and trust the process.
2) Be virtuous, do the common uncommonly well. If you can’t hold near perfect position during Kip/Beat Swings, then forget Bar Muscle Ups for a month or two while you work on the basics.
3) Get priorities in order. Health, recovery and technique all come before intensity. Have a solid foundation to build upon.

Lastly I want you to check out this survey conducted on Regional and Games athletes, you will find some stuff quite interesting as it has some very cool information. One key part is the fact that most of the top athletes follow an annual periodised personal program and more often than not they train alone. They play the long game: Survey

Looking Towards The 2017 Season

With the 2016 Pacific Regionals done and dusted, all bar five individual men and women and a handful of masters and teen athletes will be returning to the gym to start working towards next season. I have been on the CrossFit scene since 2011 and the changes that have occurred are huge!!

Back in the day there were a handful of people that competed at Regionals with a genuine shot at going to the Games, fast forward until now and the entire top two heats are all at CrossFit Games level.

The first thing I want to say is that if by now you haven’t seen how open the competition is, and ultimately how on any given day anyone can find themselves snapping up a spot to the CrossFit Games, then you need to open your eyes. The competition is so so so close and it is only going to get closer as more people start competing. You can look at a Regional leaderboard and see more than five names that have been to the Games at some stage and so with more talent coming in the competition is going to get much tighter.

Even after only one week of Regional competition we have seen some big names like Dan Bailey, Brooke Ence, Elijah Mohammed, Kenneth Leverich, Michelle Kinney, Stephanie Ortiz, Kevin Manuel, Brandon Swan, Sammy Wood and even past CrossFit Games champion Kristan Clever miss out on returning to the CrossFit Games. Just look at Sam Briggs in 2014, she didn’t even get the chance to defend her title?!

Why am I saying all of this??

Because in the space of less than 12 months, people who were nobodies are hitting the podium, think Tia Claire Toomey (legend), and people who are champions aren’t even making it back. A lot of sh*t can happen in 12 months, you can either stay the same, potentially go backwards, or if you have the right team around you then there is nothing stopping you skyrocketing towards reaching your goals.

Some people limit themselves with there mindset, self doubt and excuses. Sure these people might do well, they might even make it to Regionals, but they will just make up the numbers (like me when I was there). But as time goes on you start to see more people entering the arena to really have a solid shot at making it to the Games. They commit to a lifestyle that is conducive with success, they surround themselves with others that support their journey, they trust the process and reap the rewards.

Trust me when I say that in 12 months from now there will be new people at the Games. People that today are nobodies, and in the coming years will be (CrossFit) household names.

If you sit in the top 40 people in your region then you could potentially be good enough for the CrossFit Games right now. If you sit in the top 40 – 100 then you could be there in 12 – 24 months, and every 100 spots after that is another potential 12 or so months of training. When you look at it that way then it really is very achievable for people to make it if they set out a one, two and three year plan.

Don’t let me fool you though, everyone is different and everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Some people have more potential than others due to genetics, level lengths, flexibility and natural strength etc.

Is 2017 going to be your year?

Gone are the days where you can just ‘be fit’ and make it to Regionals. There is now a commitment unlike most other sports. 15+ hours training a week, regular bodywork appointments, specialist coaches for each area or modality of CrossFit. It is no joke that the best in the World take part in specific running coaching, rowing coaching, oly coaching, gymnastics coaching and so on. CrossFit athletes are seriously fit, strong and able and if you want to be next, then you need to start thinking like a professional. With that said, it still need be fun, because without going into to much detail those that have the most fun get the best results!

At the start of next month (4th & 5th June) we are hosting some of the best coaches around to run a two day training camp that could seriously bump-start your season. Running, Olympic weightlifting, rowing, gymnastics, and CrossFit will all be covered off in great detail where participants can spend between two and four hours with a specialist coach honing their skills in a combination of theory and practical work. Each modality will also involve a workout based around that given skill.

I will be covering off the CrossFit aspect which is going to involves strategy and planning on all levels. From the year training plan, right through to how to approach a competition and how to approach individual events within a competition. We will also practice things that are specific to CrossFit that will help on the finer level, like how to change weights on a bar during a workout, how to stay relaxed mid competition and mid workout, how to warm up, cool down and recover for optimal performance and much more.

If you are interested in checking out the Training Camp then simply click HERE or the link below and read through the details. To register simply click on the register button at the bottom of the page.

https://undergroundrx.com/training-camp/

If you are serious about competing at a high level, whether it be at the Regionals or the Games, make sure you have a solid and supportive team around you and you live a lifestyle conducive with health, fitness, success and most importantly happiness.

PS: We all know that working on your weaknesses is the most important aspect of becoming a better CrossFitter, no secret there. But also working on you your weaknesses or things that you are sh*t at can be annoying and frustrating… So my advice is for you to learn to enjoy the process of working on your weak areas, enjoy overcoming areas in which you don’t do to well. If you can find the pleasure in not ‘being the best’ but on becoming better than you were the day before then you will find over time and with relative ease your weaknesses will organically become on par with the rest of your game.

If you are immobile then stretch for twice as long as you ‘train’ for. If you are weak then skip conditioning a few times a week and lift more. If you are strong but bad with gymnastics then chill out on the lifting and put those extra hours into practicing and developing your gymnastics ability. If your cardio sucks then again, less lifting, more running, rowing and assault bike intervals.

If you don’t enjoy those things I completely understand, but until you can find your own peace within your head and start enjoying the process of becoming as well rounded as possible you will probably continue to fall short.

Don’t be scared to be the worst at something, because that will only keep your weakness hidden. Embrace it and move humbly towards improving it. If you can do that, then your two year plan just became a one year plan.

Good luck everyone!

Common Misconceptions About Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

It’s no secret that HRV is a very effective and accurate tool to monitor stress, and as time goes on there are more and more coaches turning to HRV to use with their athletes.

HRV can be used on the micro level to ensure the athlete is in an optimal state for training on any given day, and it is also a tool to monitor macro changes in an athletes health/stress. The problem is that HRV is marketed and thought of as a magic machine that automatically tells you what to do each day and everything will be hunky-dory.

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People buy HRV monitors and start using them not really knowing what they are actually doing. Most HRV systems/apps have a three stage system. GREEN which means train hard, AMBER which means take it easy, or RED which means rest. This is the micro level I was talking about, seeing the daily changes. At a beginner level this three stage coloured system is pretty good and user friendly, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.

The macro part is the rest of the iceberg, the part that many people don’t know or understand. HRV is not simple, it is extremely complicated and it takes a real professional to know how to monitor an athlete using one.

The video below goes into a little bit of detail about some of the misconceptions around HRV and might help some coaches or athletes that are currently learning how to use HRV.

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If you are interested in purchasing an HRV monitor simply click HERE and if you have any questions please just ask below and I will be happy to answer.

How To Kip The Dip

After being asked a zillion times I wanted to make this short video on Kipping out of the bottom of a Dip, especially when it comes to Muscle Ups.

Practice these skills, even if it is for a few minutes a day, they take f*ck all of your training load but make a huge difference when it comes to throwing down, becoming more efficient and winning competitions. The little things matter!

In the 2014 Regional Chipper with 50 Ring Dips, I was LAST onto the Ring Dips and SECOND off in my heat, eventually winning my heat (joint with Kyle Frankenfeld) and coming joint 5th overall in that event. Learn how to do this efficiently!!

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Let me know how you find it or if there are any other things you want to learn so I can make more helpful videos!