Six Reasons Why You Should Sign Up for that Next Competition!

  1. Have something to work towards. #GOALS

Having goals keeps you motivated, it gives you something to shoot for. You can focus your training (i.e this week I will work on pull-ups, and aim to link 3 by the end of the next week).  

  1. Discover your weaknesses.

It’s easy to say “I’m bad at double unders”, then just avoid them in a class. But with competitions, there’s nowhere to hide. Maybe DU’s or T2B is the only thing keeping you out of the Rx division. If so, this is a great way to dial in on those skills or lifts that you struggle at. Maybe signing up for that competition is the one thing that will finally motivate you to work on what is holding you back.  

  1. You don’t have to compete alone!

More often than not, many competitions will have a TEAM or PARTNER division.  This is a great way to get your favorite workout buddies together, come up with a silly name and have some fun.  Being part of a Scaled Team at an event can be a great way to get your feet wet if you are new to competing. And sometimes this is a great way for you to challenge yourself to step up to that Rx category if you have one of your teammates that might be able to do some of the higher skilled movements (i.e. muscle ups) while you push yourself on some of the heavier weights required.

  1. Gain inspiration and inspire others.

The camaraderie you get in your local box doesn’t leave when you get to a competition. Sure, everyone would like to win, but that doesn’t mean leaving others in the dirt. You will always see the top athletes stick around until the last person has finished, offering words of encouragement and advice. Be as inspired by the grit and determination of those left on the floor at the time-cap as you are by the flourish of the elite.

  1. Meet new people.

Whether it’s your fellow competitors, volunteers, judges or just watching, you’ve all got something highly emotive in common. This can create a bond you won’t get anywhere else. 

  1. Discover what your body can really do.

Maybe you can’t string T2B together during a WOD or have never run a sub-8 mile during your training. But you will be surprised what you can do come “Game Day”. The adrenaline and energy of the crowds and your fellow competitors can help give you that extra push. Competitions can be an awesome way to PR!  (And you can bet there will be someone there that got it on camera!)

  1. It’s FUN!!!

Ask the majority of CrossFitters that have ever competed and they DON’T do it to WIN, they DO it to FINISH, to COMPETE. And most, even if they said they would only do just one, do another and another! You may not always remember the struggle of training or the exhaustion that comes after the event, but you DO remember the awesome friends you made, the incredible athletic performances and the FUN you had.

If you are looking for more information on competing, what opportunities are out there or even how to focus your training, be sure to ask one of our amazing coaches or set up a personal training session.  If you are not a member, but are curious about CrossFit, whether you ever compete or not, be sure to check out our KICKSTART PROGRAMS including our Comprehensive Kickstart that includes a Movement Screen for Flexibility and Mobility.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: As always, I LOVE WHITEBOARD DAILY (@whiteboard_daily) for quick and easy visual explanations and some great drawings on perspective like the one in today’s blog.

 

Q&A with Bella Zack: High Schooler, CrossFitter, Our Champion

Last weekend CrossFit Dunwoody had one of our own compete in the Garage Games Junior Open in Woodstock, GA. Bella Zack is only 16 years old. She carries with her a water bottle with a sticker that says “Eat. Sleep. CrossFit.” And that pretty much sums her up.  Not only did she participate in last week’s competition, but she placed 1st in her age group to take the top spot on the podium. 

In addition to going to school and working out at CrossFit Dunwoody, she also works part time deep cleaning the gym every day to keep it clean and our athletes safe and healthy.  Her work ethic shines in and out of the gym and we had to know just what motivates this young athlete to grab Crossfit by the horns and dominate the way she does.

So we sat down with her this week and asked her a few questions about what got her interested in CrossFit and why she started competing:

CFD: Tell us about yourself!

Bella: My name is Bella Zack and I am 16 years old. I am a junior in high school at Saint Francis. Some of my hobbies are CrossFit, and I am also involved in Drama at school. When I am not at school or hanging out with my friends, I am at the gym. 

CFD: How did you get into CrossFit? How long have you been at CrossFit Dunwoody?

Bella: In the 7th grade I ran cross country and I liked the way I felt after I finished a race. After the season ended, I needed to find another way to exercise. I started taking CrossFit kids classes at another gym. It was a long commute to get to the gym every night so ended up not going as much as I would have liked. Luckily CrossFit Dunwoody opened up so close to my house! I started working out at CrossFit Dunwoody in October 2017.

CFD: What do you like best about CrossFit/competitions?

Bella: The thing I love the most about CrossFit is that it is different every single day. I also love that there is something that you can improve on every time you come into the gym. The thing I love about competitions is the excitement of showing off what you are capable of and pushing your limits.  

CFD: What made you decide to begin competing?

Bella: I have always wanted to compete but was too scared. I competed in my first competition in December of 2019.  I knew after that I wanted to compete more often and become more serious.

CFD: What advice would you give someone thinking about joining CrossFit?

Bella: If you are thinking about joining CrossFit, you should not be intimidated at all. You can scale any of the movements and the coaches are great at giving modifications. Also, you will feel so much better after you workout. 

CFD: What has competing taught you? Has it changed you in any way?

Bella: Competing has helped me get out of my comfort zone and has taught me to push to the limit. Competing has shown me that I am better than I thought!

CFD: How would you describe your daily or weekly workout routine? Nutrition? Sleep habits? 

Bella: I try to workout five to six times a week. Before I go to workout I try to have a protein bar to give me some energy. I try to get at least eight hours of sleep each night but sometimes that does not happen because of school/TikTok/Netflix, etc..

CFD: What advice would you give to someone thinking about competing? 

Bella: If you are thinking about competing you should sign up for one, even if you are in a scaled division. It is super rewarding once you have finished all the workouts. 

CFD: What is your favorite WOD? Favorite movement? 

Bella: My favorite workout is Annie. Annie is a benchmark workout that is 50, 40, 30, 20, and 10 reps of double unders and sit ups. My favorite movement is the deadlift because I feel super strong when I can pick up so much weight.  

CFD: How has COVID changed your workout routine?

Bella: I worked out and did all of the home workouts during quarantine. I was limited on which equipment I had so I definitely repeated a lot of the same movements. When everything was shut down I was in the middle of trying to build up skills to be able to qualify for a competition down in Miami, Florida. It was definitely hard to adjust to the way I was working out and not being able to go to the gym everyday. 

CFD: Why should people join CrossFit Dunwoody? 

Bella: People should join CrossFit Dunwoody because of the amazing community. I am one of the youngest people who workout there and everyone is so welcoming and encouraging. It is truly my happy place. 

 

Everyone at CrossFit Dunwoody is so proud of her for pushing out of her comfort zone and starting to compete.  She is the future of fitness and we can’t wait to watch what she does next.  Especially on TikTok!!

If you are looking for more information on competing, what opportunities are out there or even how to focus your training, be sure to ask one of our amazing coaches or set up a personal training session.  If you are not a member, but are curious about CrossFit, whether you ever compete or not, be sure to check out our KICKSTART PROGRAMS including our Comprehensive Kickstart that includes a Movement Screen for Flexibility and Mobility.

Why High-Intensity Training (HIT) Is Good For You

Today there are so many fitness programs and classes available it can be overwhelming to decide how to train. If you are researching training programs you have probably heard of High Intensity Training (HIT) or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIT is incorporated into many classes and has grown in popularity due to its ability to produce fast and effective results. But what exactly is it…and more importantly how do you decide if it’s right for you?!

Lets answer your top 5 questions about High Intensity Training so you can feel confident in finding a gym, personal trainer, or other fitness option in your local area.

Your top 5 High Intensity Training Questions:

 

  • What exactly is HIT?
  • Is HIT a good fit for me?
  • What does a HIT workout look like?
  • What types of movements are in a HIT workout?
  • What are the benefits of HIT?

 

1.What exactly is HIT?

High intensity refers to a level of intensity that is measured by a high power output or a high rate of perceived exertion. This will be unique to every individual.

A high intensity strength workout will cause high motor unit recruitment. This means it activates a majority of the muscles in your body and generally requires loads >80% of your 1 rep maximum to achieve the desired stimulus.

Near maximal exertion for aerobic work or “cardio” this would be performing exercises at a pace that elevates heart rate and gets you sweating and breathing heavy. You would work at a pace that would be unsustainable for more than a few minutes at a time. These workouts are often set up in an interval fashion where you go hard for a short period of time and then rest. This allows you to repeat the effort several times until the desired training stimulus is achieved. As you train in this way you will improve your ability to train hard for longer periods of time and delay the “burning” feeling commonly associated with HIT.

2. Is HIT a good fit for me?

High Intensity Training is a great fit for anyone looking to get fast results. The key is determining what the definition of “Intensity” is for you. Jumping into a class workout performing movements you haven’t mastered and loads your body is not ready for is a big no-no.

Working with a coach who has experience scaling workouts to meet your needs and abilities is the key to having long term success with HIT training. They will help you choose the exercises, weights, frequency, and duration of your training session to ensure your body gets the stimulus you need with risk of injury or burnout.

Be weary of anyone who promises vomiting or intense pain from their workouts. It’s not an effective way to get the results you want!

3. What does a HIT workout look like?

For a high intensity strength training workout you will be using heavy loads. Ideally greater than 80% of your 1RM as this is the ideal load for gaining strength, building muscle, and improving body composition.

Often times performing multiple exercises back to back at moderate intensity (60-80%) can produce a similar training result. It is important that the movements are carefully selected to ensure that form is not compromised and that the rest time is adequate enough to allow for repeated effort.

If you aren’t familiar with exercises, weightlifting, or just aren’t sure of what your body is capable of then you will benefit from working with a certified and highly qualified trainer or coach. They will analyze your movement and help you develop the motor control and stability to prepare your body for more high intensity forms of exercise.

4. What types of movements are in a HIT workout?

Any type of movement can be incorporated into a HIT workout. Resistance training with barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells are all great tools. You can incorporate resistance bands, chains, battle ropes or medicine balls. Gymnastics implements like pullup bars or rings. Even simple bodyweight movements and plyometrics can be used.

The most important factor when choosing movements is that you have technical proficiency with the movement and can perform multiple reps at a given load with exceptional form. If your form tends to break down when you are fatigued or you have mobility issues that alter your technique then that movement is not a good choice for the high intensity training session.

5. What are the benefits of HIT?

There are numerous benefits that come from High Intensity Training.

The lactic acid produced from properly executed high intensity training will stimulate the release of growth hormone stimulating sugar and fat metabolism. It also increases protein synthesis which means you will build more lean muscle. HIT training also elevates your metabolism helping you burn more calories both during your training session and for many hours after you’re done.

You also tend to accomplish more work in less time with HIT training. This makes it a great way to train for busy folks who can only train 20-30 minutes 2 or 3 days per week. Just remember that training is only half of the equation. Adequate sleep and proper nutrition make sure that your body recovers from and adapts to the training stimulus, giving you the results you want.

There you have it. Answer to your Top 5 questions about HIT training. If you’re ready to talk to a coach to see if High Intensity Training is right for YOU then get in touch with one of our coaches today for a free consult!

 

Progress Plateaued? How is Your Strength Balance?

By Coach Amber Hopeman

Picture this: You have just completed a strength cycle for your back squat. You go to test your 1 Rep Max and… *Cue the sad trumpets*… No improvement. You have trained hard, you’ve eaten well, you’ve made sure to prioritize your recovery and nothing to show for it.

So what happened? Well there are a few factors to consider but for the purpose of this article I want to focus on one: Strength Balance. And let’s take that one step further by talking about unilateral strength, in this case, your left leg vs your right. Imbalances or discrepancies in strength (in addition to mobility and flexibility) can lead to pain and discomfort in the limb that is taking on more of the load but can also lead to poor performance and inevitably plateaus in progress.

“What we see in CrossFit programming is overzealous training of the squat pattern, with some form of squat being strengthened or conditioned on most days. In the novice or intermediate we will also see poor control in the bottom of the squat which increases the absolute load on the anterior knee and hip, and possibly the back. Holding tempo and developing strength in the bottom of the squat are important to develop in athletes who have painful squats.”

But whether your lack of progress is due to pain or not, most of the training we see is bilateral (front squat, back squat, strict press, strict pull-up). When was the last time you trained or beyond that even tested your unilateral strength (Front Rack Step Up, Single Arm Press, Single Arm High Pull)?

In the case of the above scenario a similar situation arose for an athlete. She was stuck at a 225# back squat despite significant training to improve. When she tested her Front Rack Step Up she was able to complete FOUR reps on her right leg with a 45# barbell. Her left leg… ZERO! No wonder a traditional back squat program was not helping. She had been basically squatting with one leg. With a quick shift in her training, she focused on her unilateral strength over the course of the next few weeks with front rack step-ups, bulgarian split squats and other unilateral movements always completing one extra set on her left leg. At the end of the program, she retested her back squat. 245# BOOM!

The takeaway: The strength was there, she always had the potential, she just had to access it.

In another awesome case, PR Star Fitness, a gym in Virginia all tested their athletes back squat numbers. Athletes were given the choice between back squats or step ups for the 6 week cycle. At the end of the 6 weeks, back squat numbers were tested again.
722 total lbs were added to back squat maxes in 6 weeks. Athletes who chose back squats added an average of 6.8 lbs to their squat (3.1% increase). Athletes who chose step ups added an average of 17.5 lbs to their squat (9.5% increase). They also tested Push Press, splitting the gym’s training between Push Press and Landmine Press. Focusing on just bilateral Push Press added an average of 1.4 lbs to an athletes Push Press (1.1% increase). Training the Landmine Press added an average of 13.2 lbs (an 11.1% increase).

So, whether you are struggling to get your first strict pullup, increase your back squat or bench press consider testing your unilateral strength. This just may be what is holding you back. How often does your gym train unilateral movements? Have you ever tested your strength ratios?

Check out the following article Gluteus Maximus Activation during Common Strength and Hypertrophy Exercises: A Systematic Review for more in depth research on how unilateral exercises have greater benefit than bilateral specific to the squat.

If you are looking for more in depth advice or training suggestions, be sure to ask one of our amazing coaches or set up a personal training session or series to test your own strength balance. If you are not a member, but are curious about CrossFit or learning any of these movements, be sure to check out our KICKSTART PROGRAMS including our Comprehensive Kickstart that includes a Movement Screen for Flexibility and Mobility.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I LOVE WHITEBOARD DAILY (@whiteboard_daily) for quick and easy visual explanations. Another great account to follow on this topic is Active Life Rx (@activeliferx). If you aren’t already following them on IG or FB you should be!

 

Why join CrossFit Dunwoody? Hear Anna’s fitness journey!

At CFD, we know how CrossFit and fitness can change lives. But don’t take our word for it! Hear it directly from one of our members, Anna Dorris, who joined CFD in 2017 with no previous CrossFit experience.

Click below to listen to Anna’s experience, what to expect when you come to the gym, and why she thinks you should join CrossFit Dunwoody!

 

 

Want to learn more about Crossfit Dunwoody? Click here to schedule your free trial!

COVID-19 Health and Safety Initiatives at CrossFit Dunwoody

As we begin our return to CrossFit Dunwoody, you may be wondering what steps we are taking to ensure a healthy and safe environment.

Due to limitations of the Executive Order issued by Governor Kemp, we will not be holding Classes on May 18th, but instead we will host Open Gym Sessions. Click here to read more about what to expect as you return to CFD!

GENERAL INFORMATION:

Open Gym sessions limited to 8 people. No more than 10 people will be allowed in the gym at the same time.
Time slots will be 50 minutes to allow for 25 min cleaning and prep. Members must reserve spot online via the WODIFY app.

If slots are full, you will be put on wait list. If a spot opens up, you will be emailed and must respond to reserve your spot.

BEFORE ENTERING THE GYM:

Please stay in your car or away from gym entrance until the prior group has completely exited the facility and the Coach is ready to screen the next group.

A coach will check your temperature before entering. For the safety of our members and staff, if your temperature is over 100.4 or you are experiencing cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell, you will not be allowed in building and asked to leave.

No one will be allowed in gym who is not signed in to Open Gym session. This includes children. Check-in will be touchless & high-traffic touch points will be limited. Upon entering the gym, you will go to a station of your choosing and will only leave that station if/when you can maintain proper social distancing from others in the gym.

There will be no commonly “shared” equipment i.e. weight belts. Only equipment you will be allowed to use is that which is at your designated station or what you bring with you. Hand sanitizer will be available at entrance and throughout gym.

WHILE INSIDE THE GYM:

Masks:

In order to comply with recent Ordinance passed by the City of Dunwoody and to do our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19, we are updating our policy regrading masks and how we move about the space, effective Thursday, July 16th.

Please wear a mask when you enter the gym and remove it once you get to your desired space. Please be respectful of your fellow Coaches and Athletes and stay in your socially distanced workout space when not wearing your mask.

If you need to leave your station and you will not be able to socially distance, please put on your mask. We will do our part as Coaches to provide workouts and equipment that allow you to remain in your space as much as possible.

 

You will be required to wipe down each piece of equipment before and after each use. After completing your workout and when session is done athletes are encouraged to sanitize their station and exit facility without unnecessary delay.

The Schedule remains the same and the limit of 8 athletes per Open Gym Session remains the same.  A Coach will be on the floor to supervise and you can either do the prescribed Workout of the Day during this time or you may do something else – it will be your choice since it is an Open Gym Session.

For more on our Safety Measures for Open Gym Sessions, click here.

 

AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON RESERVATIONS:

You must reserve a spot for the open gym sessions before coming to the gym. If the gym is full and you show up, we are legally obligated to not allow you in the gym.

  • Reservations will open 72 hours prior to the start of the Open Gym Session
  • Once each Open Gym Session is full (8 athletes), there will be a Waitlist.  If a spot opens up, all athletes on the Waitlist will be emailed and the first to reply will be added to the Open Gym Session.
  • Late Cancellations and No Shows: At this time, we will NOT be enforcing late cancellation and no shows.  If there are consistent late cancellations/no shows and/or we must continue to drastically limit Open Gym Session size, we will institute policies and fees regarding late cancellations in the future.

At this time, we will not be allowing Free Trials or Drop-ins.  This is done to protect the experience for our amazing members.  In order to attend an Open Gym Session at the gym, each person must have an active Membership with CFD.

Applying the Shapes: Part 3

So we have learned how to make the basic shapes and no matter how proficient you become in performing gymnastics movements, the fundamentals and foundational drills we discussed are always important to keep practicing!  So how do these shapes, the HOLLOW and ARCH, look when we are performing these movements?

I am going to start with one that may or may not be controversial, depending on how you have been taught.  Who has seen that person who REALLY wants to get their first pullup or muscle-up, they take about 5 to 10 paces away from the rig to get a huge running start and they jump to the bar immediately with chest forward into the arch position and then try to drive as hard as they can into hollow in order to get that first rep?  I know I have.  From what you have learned about the importance of the Arch, do you think they were able to achieve the rigid tension required to transition to the hollow and create the momentum they needed?

So I first offer this: when approaching the rig for your first rep, JUMP TO HOLLOW.  That’s right.  Stand under the bar, jump to the bar where you are already in the hollow position, then use everything you have learned to achieve that initial tension into the arch before attempting that first rep.

Secondly, when trying to become more efficient in stringing any of these movements together you should be focused on maintaining that hollow position at the top of the movement and when returning to below the bar.  For pullups and muscle ups this is crucial to stringing reps together and increasing your efficiency.  So when we are ready to begin our descent we are driving away from that bar in a hollow position so that we can quickly transition back to the arch and so forth. I would argue that the shoulders and lats must stay engaged but the focus should be keeping those legs tight and long.

For toes to bar, the hollow position is broken in order to get toes to the bar but the shoulder position and core engagement of the hollow remains the same.  The legs stay tight and long but the focus should be keeping those lats engaged so that the hips remain behind the plane of the rig and shoulders stay closed until you are ready to transition into the Arch as quickly as possible. No matter what the movement or variation of movement, the shapes all stay the same and maintaining those shapes at the right time in the movement will increase proficiency and efficiency.

I will close this out by saying that none of this is easy.  Especially for us adults.  Those that grew up with a gymnastics background may find this easy but learning these things as an adult can be extremely frustrating.  And drilling basics isn’t always fun.  And I know for most of us when we go to the gym, we just want a good workout and have fun.

But most of us also want to see progress.  We want to get better.  And this takes time.  You may not go home and start incorporating these drills into your everyday routine and that is fine.  But next time you start getting frustrated with yourself for not being able to string your toes to bar together or you start feeling like you aren’t making any progress in getting that first chest to bar or muscle up even though you know you have the strength, consider what you are actually doing to help you achieve this next step.  It might just take a little more focus on the fundamentals.

Next time you have a few minutes before class or after, try some of these out!  If you are looking for more in depth advice or training progressions, be sure to ask one of our amazing coaches or set up a personal training session.  If you are not a member, but are curious about CrossFit or learning any of these movements, be sure to check out our KICKSTART PROGRAMS.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: As you might have noticed I LOVE WHITEBOARD DAILY (@whiteboard_daily) for quick and easy visual explanations.  If you aren’t already following them on IG or FB you should be.  Some other great gymnastics accounts related to CrossFit to follow are: @thegymnasticscourse @pamelagnon @performanceplusprogram @thebarbellphysio @functional.gymnastics

 

Photo credit:

Diagrams: @whiteboard_daily

 

The Hollow: Part 2

The Hollow position is probably the more well known position and the one that is focused on the most when developing core strength and well it’s the position that actually creates and gets you above that bar.  But we want efficiency.  And that means maintaining the tension as we transition from the Arch to the Hollow.  Again, arms and legs are fully extended and knees and ankles are squeezed tight with toes pointed.  Ideally in this position on the ground,  one could push down on your toes and your top half would lift, moving as one shape, not breaking at any point.

Many athletes lose this shape by swinging the legs upward into a piked position, losing lat engagement when the shoulder angle closes or trying to thrust the hips toward the bar thus creating an arch again rather than maintaining the hollow position.

Again, practicing on the ground is a great first step.  Whiteboard Daily has a great diagram of progressions (see above) that you can use to build up your strength and stamina in these positions.  The key is to keep the core tight by keeping back into the floor.  Once you have progressed to the full hollow hold position, hollow rocks are a great way to practice maintaining that tension.  Want to take it up another notch? Grab a PVC pipe to simulate holding onto the rig and practice POPPING into that position as quickly as possible. 

In PART THREE, I will be discussing putting the two of these together and how they should be achieved when actually performing specific gymnastics movements such as the pullup, toes to bar and the muscle up.  In the meantime, here is an exercise you can do to build up your stamina in these positions as well as drilling a FAST and EFFICIENT transition between the two.  It’s called the LOG ROLL, and I first discovered it on BreakingMuscle.com:

This exercise is almost exactly what it sounds like. The difference is that while you’re rolling from your stomach to your back, you will be alternating between the arch and hollow, respectively. Start by finding your hollow position. Then roll left or right, transitioning into your arch position. Once in the arch position roll back left or right transitioning back into your hollow position. The goal is to be able to snap from one position to the other.

Minimize excess movement outside of the hollow and arch as much as possible. Your legs should remain glued together and you should continuously squeeze your glutes, abs, and quads throughout the movement.

Want another challenging option? Check out the Hollow Arch Pulls at the bottom of the same article by clicking HERE!

Next time you have a few minutes before class or after, try some of these out!  If you are looking for more in depth advice or training progressions, be sure to ask one of our amazing coaches or set up a personal training session.  If you are not a member, but are curious about CrossFit or learning any of these movements, be sure to check out our KICKSTART PROGRAMS.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: As you might have noticed I LOVE WHITEBOARD DAILY (@whiteboard_daily) for quick and easy visual explanations.  If you aren’t already following them on IG or FB you should be.  Some other great gymnastics accounts related to CrossFit to follow are: @thegymnasticscourse @pamelagnon @performanceplusprogram @thebarbellphysio @functional.gymnastics

Photo credits:

Diagram: @whiteboard_daily

Photo: @crossfitdunwoody

Gymnastics is All about Shapes: The Arch (Part One)

By: Coach Amber Hopeman (@eat.train.mom)

So last week we talked about improving strict strength in order to build capacity for gymnastic movements. I was listening to a podcast with Pamela Agnon, 3x Crossfit Games Masters Athlete, Gymnast and Co-Creator of the Performance Plus Program and she got me thinking about how crucial it is, especially coming back from not practicing these movements due to quarantine how important it is to really drill the foundation and fundamentals.  And beyond strict strength, when it comes to Gymnastics it is all about making SHAPES!

@whiteboard_daily

The two major shapes we are concerned with when doing gymnastic movements in CrossFit are the Hollow and Arch positions.  In order to kip we are simply moving from hollow to arch and back as efficiently as possible.  And to be efficient we aren’t just swinging from the bar but we are actively pulling ourselves into these positions. 

So let’s break each one down starting with the Arch.  Why start with the Arch?  Because it’s the one most overlooked and when that happens a lot of power is left on the table and if not drilled at the fundamental level can prevent you from progression to higher skilled movements like the Muscle-Up.  The power comes from creating as much tension as possible in the arch to use in the transition to the hollow that will create the upward momentum we need to accomplish these movements.

By keeping the body LONG and RIGID, we create this tension.  Whether on your stomach or hanging from the bar, the position is the same: arms and legs are STRAIGHT, heels squeezed together, stomach is tight and butt is squeezed.  Lie face down on your stomach and try this. Stretch your arms above your head, keep your chin tucked.  Firstly, reach your fingertips as far forward 0as possible and just squeeze those knees and heels together.  You should feel that rigidness. 

Now just squeeze your butt.  If you have stayed long, even with this just small activation of the glutes, your feet should raise off the ground.  Now, while keeping your chin tucked, lift your chest off the ground like there is a string at the base of your neck pulling you upwards as you reach your fingers forward as far as possible.  Lift the legs slightly higher so that knees are off the ground, legs stay straight, toes are pointed. This is the Arch position.  Notice you aren’t hyperextending your back nor are you making a “C” with your body.  Try doing this a few times and then jump to the rig and attempt the same thing.  Engage your lats by drawing your shoulders away from your ears, keep the body long and repeat the same thing you did on the floor.  Notice how your body shifts without swinging, this is the tension we are trying to create.

So it’s great if you are actively engaging in kipping movements again coming off of quarantine. But remember, no one gets better at pull-ups by just doing more pull-ups, you get better by perfecting the basics, drilling the fundamentals that will translate to the power you need when executing the full movement.

Next time you have a few minutes before class or after, try some of these out!  If you are looking for more in depth advice or training progressions, be sure to ask one of our amazing coaches or set up a personal training session.  If you are not a member, but are curious about CrossFit or learning any of these movements, be sure to check out our KICKSTART PROGRAMS.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: As you might have noticed I LOVE WHITEBOARD DAILY (@whiteboard_daily) for quick and easy visual explanations.  If you aren’t already following them on IG or FB you should be.  Some other great gymnastics accounts related to CrossFit to follow are: @thegymnasticscourse @pamelagnon @performanceplusprogram @thebarbellphysio @functional.gymnastics 

 

Photo Credits:

Diagram- @whiteboard_daily

Arch Photo- @crossfitdunwoody