"Running + CrossFit: Replacing Short Runs with Metcons."

The purpose of the shorter mid-week run is usually speed over endurance. By substituting an intense metcon for this run, you will receive the same metabolic training, plus you will usually get some plyometric and strength training as well which will translate to faster running.
 Photo Courtesy of: Samantha Chin 

Photo Courtesy of: Samantha Chin 

Last week, we talked about how CrossFit can help you stay injury free as you get ready for that big running event. This week we will discuss how you can substitute one of your shorter mid-week runs with one of your Metcons (aka conditioning workout). 

The purpose of the shorter mid-week run is usually speed over endurance. By substituting an intense metcon for this run, you will receive the same metabolic training, plus you will usually get some plyometric and strength training as well which will translate to faster running. Not to mention, you will have the benefit of training with a group - being pushed by others in a group often translates into adaptations that are very hard to achieve when training by ourselves.

Make sure that only one of your two sessions each week has that higher intensity to ensure you are able to recover and still do your run training at the intensity you want. Gear your mind up to give your metcon everything you’ve got - approach it like you would a sprint.

Take time to consult your coaches on what workout might be best to get the intensity that you want. A twenty minute AMRAP is not the ideal workout for replacing sprint interval work! Make sure you check out the conclusion next week where we will show you how to put it all together!

- Coach Lea


"Strength Class: What are those?!"

The cool thing about these types of carries is that we are not limited to one object. There are a number of different implements that we can use for carrying and to create a different stimulus for each
 Photo Courtesy of: Samantha Chin 

Photo Courtesy of: Samantha Chin 

If you have ever had to move to another house, apartment, or helped someone else move, chances are you probably had to carry something that was a little awkward.  That is exactly what "odd object carrying" is like. The cool thing about these types of carries is that we are not limited to one object. There are a number of different implements that we can use for carrying and to create a different stimulus for each. There are four different types of carrying that we are going to talk about today: Overhead Carry, Farmer Carry, Yoke Carry, and Sandbag Carry.

1. Overhead Carry:
There are a number of ways to perform overhead carries (the most common variation is single arm). The reason, is because this exercise is used to help build stability on each side for an athlete’s overhead position.

It is common to see some imbalances when athletes go overhead whether it be a snatch, a jerk, or any kind of pressing. When you isolate to one side, it becomes clear which side lacks the stability to hold the weight OH in the correct position. The best way to have these overhead carries translate into strongman is to perform them with a weight that will allow you to keep your arm as straight as possible and carry for a distance of about 80-100 meters.

These can be used as a warm-up or a primary exercise for days when carrying is programmed.  

2. Farmer Carry:
If you want to look really jacked, farmer carries are for you! As a beginner, I would recommend doing these with a kettlebell and start with single armed variations.  This way, you can get a good feel for how your grip strength is and the position you should be in.  When we perform farmer carries, we want the weight slightly away from the body (not touching/rubbing our leg).

For one, it is kind of annoying when the weight keeps bumping into your leg. Two, it really forces you to keep tension in your lats/shoulders to maintain a good upper body position.  Once you have gotten comfortable and a little more advanced with the single arm farmer carry, the real fun begins. We can start to add in standard farmer carries (double arm) with either suitcase handles or a hex bar.  Performing farmer carries with suitcase handles come with a little more difficulties than with a hex bar. The hex bar is one solid piece of equipment that has arms (sleeves for the weights) on each side.

Suitcase handles however, are two separate pieces of equipment that require more strength/control from the athlete (both are great to use). Typically, strongman competitions will have farmer carries with a piece of equipment similar to a hex bar. If you can master performing farmer carries with suitcase handles, you will be just fine carrying one piece of equipment compared to two.

I like to program farmer carries a couple of different ways for our athletes. When using one arm, I believe the goal should be for distance and not so much about load. Even if the load is below 50% of your bodyweight and you are carrying for 100 meters, you will be feeling your grip start to go. With double arm carries, I believe the goal should be more about load. This is where we can really get after it and carry some heavy weights.  

3. Yoke Carry:
In my opinion, the yoke carry is the most fun!  The yoke is a piece of equipment that looks like a skinny field goal post with a moveable bar in the middle.  Some yokes are only made to fit one size but a lot of them come with an adjustable bar that is similar to an axle bar. If you buy a yoke, they do weigh differently (there are some that weigh 155# and range up to 205#). The heavier the yoke, the more weight it can support.  

Just like the farmer carries, there are different variations that can be used by the yoke. Two of the common variations we use are front rack yoke carries and standard yoke carries.  With the front rack yoke carry, you will not be able to do more weight than if the yoke was on your back. Sound familiar? The front rack yoke carry is more of a positional exercise.  This type of carrying really forces the athlete to brace through their midline and keep their elbows in front of the bar. We typically use these when someone is experiencing some wrist issues when they have a regular bar in the front rack position or when an athlete needs to build more stability in their midline to allow for better bracing.

The standard yoke carry (placed on your back like a back squat) is more of a strength exercise. The athlete will still have to keep their midline braced but having the yoke on their back will allow them to carry more weight compared to the front rack carry. The reason behind this is because when the bar is placed on the back, we are using larger muscle groups to support the weight.

Another benefit of both the front rack carry and back rack carry is that they are both great conditioning exercises, and can be performed for distance or for speed.

4. Sandbag Carry:
Sandbags are a great piece of equipment to have a large group of people participate and all feel the same thing (they will experience a lack of oxygen and a lot of butt cheeks).

When we perform sandbag carries, there are a few steps we need to take to make sure we carry it in the right position. When we are picking up a sandbag from the ground, we want to think about getting our hands as far under the bag as possible to ensure we have a good grip and the bag won’t tip forward or backward.  

Once we have a good grip, we want to think about having our hips a little higher so we can create a good position to go into a hinge movement. When the bag gets to about the knee level, we want to think about stepping our feet closer and “lap” the bag on our legs. This position is very important and we do not want to rush through this.  This will give us the time to ensure we have an even better grip on the bag before we stand up. If your arms are long enough to grip one of your wrists, I would recommend doing that. If your arms are a little shorter, try your best to interlock your fingers together. Once we have a strong bear hug-like grip on the bag, we just stand up with the bag against our torso.  

This is where the lack of oxygen comes into play. The bag should be pressed against our diaphragm when we are in the standing position. That is OK if it is difficult to breathe. The best way to stay calm is to breathe in and out their your nose. If you ever done a really tough workout in CrossFit, you will notice that you start to do “shoulder breathing” when you start to feel some panic sink in.  This usually happens when we start to try and inhale too deeply through our mouth in an attempt to take in more oxygen. When you do this with a 180 pound pressed against your diaphragm, you will just allow the bag to press into your diaphragm even more. Stay calm and breathe in and out through your nose.

As we start to carry, we want to think about squeezing our butt each step we take and not lean back with our lumbar spine.  Your lower back will get fatigued too quickly (really try to use your glutes) and it will not feel comfortable to do much else afterwards.

These are four of the types of carrying you can expect when you take strength class.  All of these carries are great for conditioning and building strength. Another bonus: carries are low skill so just about everyone can do them!

- Coach Josh 


"Programming: What to Expect for the Week Ahead, 180716-180722."

Our programming is designed in a manner that increases in volume (amount of weight you move) and intensity (how hard you work) incrementally over a set period of time. If you are consistently putting in the effort, you will find that each week is a bit more challenging in it’s own right.
 Photo Courtesy of: Samantha Chin 

Photo Courtesy of: Samantha Chin 

Have you ever felt a point during your training where everything felt slightly heavier than you
wanted it to? As we approach this week of training, I want you to pay attention to those
thoughts. Success comes from consistency, and consistency comes from learning how to
interpret the feedback your body is giving you. If you feel like taking a rest day, that’s okay! Give yourself a break and get ready for training the next day.

This week we will be entering week 3 of this six week cycle. From personal experience, it is around this time that athletes begin to find themselves in a bit of a conundrum when deciding whether to train or not. Fatigue is a bit more noticeable, and workouts can be slightly more challenging than they look on paper. Let me assure you that all of this is normal. Remember that training is a process.

Our programming is designed in a manner that increases in volume (amount of weight you move) and intensity (how hard you work) incrementally over a set period of time. If you are consistently putting in the effort, you will find that each week is a bit more challenging in it’s own right. This week I encourage you to increase your hydration, take a bit more time to stretch in the mornings and at night, and also eat! Your body cannot perform at it’s best when it’s not fueled.

SQUATTING: THE LOW DOWN
This week we are looking at a 3 x 4 @ 80% or RPE 7. Prioritize your position and maintaining a
strong back angle. From a coaching perspective, sets at 80% is around the time where you
can consider using a belt to help with consistency in your technique.

When squatting this week, ask yourself two simple questions:
1. Am I controlling the weight throughout the movement and maintaining my position? If the
answer is yes, then hell yeah! If no, take the loading down 10% and work on keeping a
stable back angle.
2. Am I standing fast out of the bottom of my squat? If yes, then double hell yeah. If no, take
it down 10% and work on being fast out of the bottom of your squat.

WEIGHTLIFTING + STRENGTH MOVEMENTS:
Weightlifting this week will focus on full snatches (or squat snatches). Take time to listen to the cues your coaches give you and make those your mantra while training this week.

The EMOM format is designed in a manner that will allow you to have multiple attempts at moderate weights. Make sure that you are allowing yourself around :45 of rest each minute. That will give you enough time to take a few breaths and prepare for the next set. The only other strength movement you will see this week is the seated DB shoulder press. We are increasing volume by 2 reps this week. Focus on controlling the weights and maintaining consistency in both arms.

METCONS:
This week we are bringing back an "OG CrossFit" favorite in the beginning of the week. This
one’s all about effort. Work hard because it will be over before you know it!

You will also find some great interval work as well as some longer metcons that are slightly
more skill intensive. With these workouts your focus should only be on yourself. Give yourself
some credit for showing up and be grateful for the abilities you have. When you shift your
mindset towards gratitude and enjoyment, training becomes vastly more successful.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
A classic line from one of my favorite actors, helps to put some positive perspective on things
going froward this week:

“As I once said to one of my brothers, ‘This is your life, not a
rehearsal.’ Somewhere there’s a score being kept, so you have an
obligation to live life as well as you can, be as engaged as you can.
The human condition means that we can zone out and forget what the
hell we’re doing. So the secret is to have a sense of yourself, your
real self, your unique self. And not just once in a while, or once a
day, but all through the day, the week and life. You know what they
say: ‘Ain’t no try, ain’t nothing to it but to do it." 
- Bill Murray

- Coach Danny


 

 

"Member Monday: Hannah Dormanen"

In my time at Kingfield... I have competed, worked out through two full pregnancies, and come back through steady postpartum recovery (which included a hell of a lot of support and solid coaching).
 Photo Courtesy of: Samantha Chin 

Photo Courtesy of: Samantha Chin 

1. Choose 3 words that best describe you.
 Driven
Affectionate
Authentically awkward :)

2. In 2-4 sentences, tell us - “why CrossFit?”
CrossFit, because I love the tempo, the variety, and the challenges that come with each workout. Kingfield, because the caliber of coaching and community is unmatched. In my time at Kingfield I have cranked out my first pull up, my first hand stand pushup, and my first full Murph.  I have competed, worked out through two full pregnancies, and come back through steady postpartum recovery (which included a hell of a lot of support and solid coaching). Kingfield has always been there for me, meeting me wherever I am, and helping me to be the best version of myself in any given moment.  

3. What goals are you working on - inside of Kingfield?
Truthfully, my #1 goal is showing up.  Right now my life feels like it is full-time everything. Hitting workouts hard 3-4 times a week is what I strive for. When I show up, I know our coaches will bring me the rest of the way.  And, I know I’ll find myself in the mix with a group of awesome people who will push me and pick me up when I need it.

4. In 2-4 sentences, tell us what you’re up to OUTSIDE of Kingfield.
I am a mom to two amazing humans and two goofy dogs, wife and partner in crime to Marcus, and my family means the world to me.  If you come to Kingfield on a Saturday morning, you will likely find us there.  Because, in so many ways, this place is our family, too. 

Other fun facts...I lead a team of analysts at Target HQ in Supply Chain/Inventory Management.  I am fortunate to have a circle of fierce lady friendships that fuel my soul with girl power.  And, I LOVE brunch. 

5. If you had 1 box for all of your things - what would you put in it?
Family photos, a lifetime supply of dark chocolate, good wine, and every book on my top 20 reading list...

6. What is your spirit animal?
According to 3-year-old Liam an elephant. According to my mom a gazelle. I’m cool with both, because the combination marries fierce wit, strength, and grace.


"Running + CrossFit: Prepping for Races, While Strength Training."

Hi! Coach Caitlin here with a little intro piece for our newest blog series: "Running + CrossFit." We’ve enlisted the expertise of Coach Lea, our resident Kingfield Endurance Owner and Head Coach, Owner of Northstar Triathlon and Fitness, and US Triathlon Level 1 Certified Coach. She knows a thing or two about training for endurance sports, having completed seven Ironman Races, five Half Ironman Races and many, many sprint tris, cycling races, marathons...the list goes on. She’s also coached hundreds of athletes through similar trials.

Long story short: she knows what she’s talking about.

And if you’ve ever wondered what happens in the turf room, that is where the Kingfield Endurance classes are held. These are CrossFit classes specifically for endurance athletes. While holding true to all the values we find in CrossFit - functional movements done well, with intensity and variation dosed appropriately - these classes take into account the extra training that endurance sport athletes have to do outside of the gym.

Lea is breaking the mold in the way that endurance sport athletes train by incorporating strength training as a regular part of their routine. This results in reduced risk of injury, better performance and overall healthier bodies and minds.

In this blog series, we have asked Coach Lea to share with us how continuing to do CrossFit while training for an endurance event - marathon, half marathon, tough mudder, triathlon - can be beneficial. Today, she goes over, in simple terms, how strength training benefits the runner. In the coming weeks, she’ll discuss how you can reduce your run volume and perform better and she’ll give you an example a training week that can keep you in the gym and have you ready to crush your racing goals.

For more information on Kingfield Endurance or Northstar Tri, click the links. She recommends this to all of her athletes - why shouldn’t it work for you?


IMG_7161.jpg

Here’s the situation:
You have been doing CrossFit for awhile now, but you’ve been inspired to sign-up for your first half or full marathon.

So you search online, find a beginner plan and realize that it is recommended that you run four days a week. You start to feel like you won’t have any time for your CrossFit workouts or that you will be way too sore to run if you do.

So, what do you do?
In this short blog series we will talk about how keeping CrossFit in your training plan can actually help you achieve your running goals. This week we will focus on how incorporating strength training in your program can help you prevent injury.

All tissues have the capacity to handle a certain level of work before fatigue. Load is the amount of stress you put on your body through training, balanced out by recovery through rest and nutrition. Combined, capacity and load limits determine how resilient a runner’s tissues are. When those limits are low, the odds for injury go up and performance potential can go down. This is where strength training comes in.

Runners want to run, we get it. But if you don’t find the time for strength training, sooner or later you’ll have to make time for injuries. You should aim to have at least two strength sessions per week in addition to your running program. Since you have been doing your strength training for some time now, you will only have to make a few adjustments. Your workouts should be done at 40-60% of your one rep max for lifts. This will make sure you are not too sore for your running workouts.

Stay tuned as next week we will show you how carefully crafted metcons can take the place of one of your running workouts.

- Coach Lea


 

 

"Strength Class Movements: Simple, Yet Effective."

 Photo Courtesy of: Samantha Chin 

Photo Courtesy of: Samantha Chin 

When I hear the phrase, “simple, yet effective,” I think of the wheel. Although the wheel was invented many, many years ago and has evolved over time, the function remains the same (used to get us from point A to point B). We apply this simple concept to the strength program here at CrossFit Kingfield; where we keep workouts simple, yet effective. 

There are 4 main movements (deadlift, pressing, squats and carries) that we use in strength class. Today, we will break down each movement and talk about their significance in training and daily routines.  

1. Deadlift:
The deadlift is a full-body movement that primarily works your posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, and low back when done correctly), midline, shoulders/upper back, and grip. The deadlift is considered a "hip hinge" movement that involves the closing and opening of the hips. Is this something you do on a daily basis? The answer is yes. Every time you pick up a pen you dropped on the floor, move a piece of furniture, or pick up your child from their playpen, you are deadlifting. In strength class, we deadlift once a week using many different variations to work on/perfect that hip hinge movement pattern.

2. Press: 
Generally speaking, people can pull more than they can push. Overhead pressing is challenging for many people because it requires a lot of shoulder/t-spine mobility and midline stability. Overhead pressing movements are not the only type of pressing we do, it is, however, typically the type of pressing seen in strongman competitions. Introducing a horizontal push (ex: a bench press) can change things up and give athletes a break from high volume vertical pressing. In strength class, we do a mix of vertical and horizontal pressing.

3. Squatting:
The Squat is one of the best exercises that almost everyone can benefit from. Every time you sit in a chair or on the toilet, you are essentially performing a squat. Squatting is great for developing power, strength, midline stability, and building character. We all have had moments in life where it feels like the weight of the world is on our shoulders. We have two options; we can give up and let the weight beat us - or - we can stand up strong and laugh at the weight. We squat heavy from time to time, but we also want to focus on programming volume, tempo, and different variations that will make us stronger.

Using these three movements plus accessory work, we can begin to build a strong foundation to build upon. But wait, did I say three main movements? What happened to the fourth? Tune in next week to hear all about odd object carrying and all the variations that go with it.

- Coach Josh


"Programming: What to Expect for the Week Ahead 180709 - 180715"

 Photo Courtesy of: Samantha Chin 

Photo Courtesy of: Samantha Chin 

Setting realistic expectations around your training can be challenging. Especially if you feel like you are going at it alone, or you are not quite sure what to expect.

As a staff we put a considerable amount of time and effort into programming workouts on a weekly basis. Some of you know that the coaching staff meets weekly to give one another feedback and discuss how we can grow as professionals. This allows us to objectively grade our performance and brainstorm how we can provide you, our clients, with the best possible experience everyday.

We have found in our own personal experience that having a set focus and an understanding of why we are doing something, ultimately helps us stay motivated and excited in our training. As your coaches we want to be there to help guide you on a daily basis (consistency is the secret ingredient to success). There is no special formula or workout combination that will get you to where you want to go. You just have to show up consistently and have the courage to give it your all!

That’s why we decided to write this blog. It gives us an opportunity to provide you with a closer look into what you can expect to see in class on a weekly basis, and will hopefully help you set an intention for the week. So what’s on tap this week? We are in week 2 of a 6 week block (that includes 5 working weeks + 1 deload week).

SQUATTING: THE LOW DOWN
Squatting will increase in % or RPE each week at a very moderate pace. The goal is control and drive. We spent the better part of 14 weeks developing position, so now we want to turn that into strength and power!

When squatting this week, ask yourself two simple questions:
1. Am I controlling the weight throughout the movement and maintaining my position? If the
answer is yes, then hell yeah! If no, take the loading down 10% and work on keeping a stable back angle.
2. Am I standing fast out of the bottom of my squat? If yes, then double hell yeah. If no, take it down 10% and work on being fast out of the bottom of your squat.

WEIGHTLIFTING + STRENGTH MOVEMENTS: HOW HEAVY IS TOO HEAVY??
In regards to weightlifting this week, we will be following the EMOM style for a bit. This is meant to be a tool that will allow you to work on consistency in technique at moderate weights.

Olympic weightlifting takes time. There is no real bones about it. You have to put in the reps, and when you least expect it, BAM! PR! So this week let’s practice some restraint and work on consistency!

For the rest of the week you will notice some Romanian Deadlifts and "bro-style" DB Shoulder Press. These are meant to be accessory lifts that will allow for some added support and stability to our other major lifts.

SIDE NOTE: If performed with precision and tempo, they will also make you quite buff. Just ask coach Chris :)

METCONS:
We are spending some time over this next cycle with some more interval work and fast paced metcons. The interval work should be performed at a relatively high intensity, but not so high that you can’t repeat efforts that are close in time (roughly ~00:05 to 00:08 apart). With the shorter metcons this week, find a pace at which you can work with for each round. Don’t let your mind drift off and think about the whole duration, rather stay present and set small goals!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Here is something to ponder this week if you find yourself needing a boost:
“There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get
better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within.
Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”
- Miyamoto Musahi, The Book of Five Rings

- Coach Danny


"Member Monday: Jesse Velasquez"

Aiming for a couple of longer term and lofty goals: The 2019 Masters Olympic Weightlifting World Championships in Montreal and perhaps an individual berth at the 2020 Granite Games as a 40 year old Masters competitor?
 Photo Courtesy of: Samantha Chin 

Photo Courtesy of: Samantha Chin 

1. Choose 3 words that best describe you.
Studious
Loyal
Dedicated 

2. In 2-4 sentences, tell us - “why CrossFit?”
I had accomplished everything I had ever wanted to do from a bodybuilding and aesthetics standpoint and was becoming complacent. A friend of mine kept posting on social media about CrossFit. When I finally gave it a shot, I was instantly mesmerized by the daily challenges both physically and mentally which provide a never ending variety of fitness obstacles to conquer. It also brings out a competitive spirit that I really missed from my organized sports playing days, add to that the amazing community at Kingfield: it was a very easy choice for me to make this my fitness hobby.

3. What goals are you working on - inside of Kingfield?
Aiming for a couple of longer term and lofty goals: The 2019 Masters Olympic Weightlifting World Championships in Montreal and perhaps an individual berth at the 2020 Granite Games as a 40 year old Masters competitor? Working with 2 of the most dedicated coaches (Chris and Caitlin) will ensure that I am ready to go when the time arises. I have a tendency to over train if I am not careful and they know my mindset and body's capabilities as well as I do.

4. In 2-4 sentences, tell us what you’re up to OUTSIDE of Kingfield.
I run my own personal training and nutritional coaching business (JCV Wellness). There are so many ways that I wish to give back and fitness is my platform to do that (on a side note, thank you Danny for pushing me towards this path). I love helping others work to become confident, strong individuals through education, nutrition and fitness.

I'm also working on my house and building a relationship with my girlfriend and her children. Between owning a business and parenting on the side, I stay pretty busy outside of Kingfield, maybe in the future I can focus on becoming a competitive eater or professional Scrabble player? :) 

5. If you had 1 box for all of your things - what would you put in it?
My books (hence why I'm studious), sports and music memorabilia, family nostalgia (pictures, heirlooms and other memories of my upbringing), iPad, training and fitness equipment, cell phone, restaurant gift cards, clothes and car keys. I'm quite simple.

6. What is your spirit animal?
A Lion - Lions are born leaders, fun loving, confident and very loyal. Sadly this is true as well, on occasion they want to be the center of attention (I have a bit of that in me). I could have been cliche and said "A Unicorn" since they are so damn awesome and magical but a Lion describes my personality to a T.