Category: CrossFit A.C.T. Blog

4 ways to master the pistol

Why Your Pistols Aren't Getting Better

Pistols - they've come up in programming a lot recently.  They can be considered an advanced movement, but that's no reason to shy away from trying just because they seem difficult.  I've seen lots of capable athletes default to a scaled movement because they perceive themselves as not being ready to try a pistol.  But in reality, here's why your pistols aren't getting better: Lack of practice.  Pistols require tons of balance, strength, coordination and flexibility.  These things don't happen over night.  Take the time to practice the movement during open gym or one night after a regular WOD.  Giving yourself a few extra practice reps to develop the movement pattern will go a long way in mastering the pistol.  Even if you have to do a few reps of a scaled variation before attempting or practicing the full movement, the reps over time will help. Poor ankle mobility.  Tight ankles can be the kiss of death in getting full-depth on a pistol because your dorsiflexion is limited.  That sensation of getting stuck or having tight muscles in the front of the shin can be a good indicator that your dorsiflexion needs some work.  Check out this past blog piece on ankle mobility to help prep you for the pistol http://www.crossfitact.com/?p=13924 Tight hip flexors. Ever feel that pinching sensation in the front of your leg by your hip? Or that your hips can't lower anymore, almost like you're at the end range of motion?  The answer to that is tight hip flexors.  Before you perform a pistol squat, prep the hip flexors by laying face down and placing a lacross ball right where your hip meets your torso.  Rolling over those tight hip flexors will help release some tension. You forget about your non-working leg.  Just because one leg is taking the majority of the load in the pistol squat doesn't mean the other leg is along for the ride.  Your non-working leg requires a good amount of quad and hip flexor strength, along with hamstring flexibility, to prevent it from touching the ground.  Remember to keep this leg active as you descend into the bottom of the pistol. Given the popularity of the pistol squat in both daily programming and the CrossFit Games, it only seems logical that we should keep honing in on practice and mobility to assist in getting the pistol technique down.  Bodyweight movements are some of the most challenging movements that we see at the gym, but rep after rep of practice work will pay off.    

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3 Tips on Attacking Helen

Helen: 3 rounds for time: 400m run 21 kettle bell swings 12 pull-ups   Seems simple.  Sort of....     Helen is one of CrossFit's most famous benchmarks.  These benchmark workouts are designed to measure your progress and fitness levels throughout your training program.  Although they may seem straight forward in rep schemes and movements, the benchmark workouts will make you think twice before saying "that seems pretty easy."  Here are some tips for attacking Helen efficiently: Don't waste time! This workout is a sprint, so you want to minimize time between movements.  As soon as you come in from the run, approach the kettle bell and start swinging.  The more time you spend thinking about how awful that run was, the more time you add to your final score. Break-up the pull-ups into attainable reps.  Not all of us are able to do the pull-ups unbroken (keep practicing though!), so break them up into attainable reps.  By doing small rep schemes, you can take short breaks between your sets, as opposed to long breaks after burning out your grip from a big set. Keep your legs moving.  That last 400m might seem daunting, but don't slow down!  Thinking about each agonizing step will only make you more anxious, which increases your heart rate and breathing.  Run all the way through the door; once you get inside the gym, take those few steps to your kettlebell as time to breathe before picking it up. Remember, benchmarks are here to help you and your training success.  Don't fear them, or even worse - cherry pick them.  Look at the rep schemes before hand and think realistically about how you can attack the WOD.

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A.C.T. In-House Competition Video Re-cap

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=k6UgCSEFdDs&app=desktop

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3 Reasons Why You Should Sign Up For The Open

It's Open season!!! Every year around the end of January, buzz regarding the CrossFit Open starts to pop-up on social media.  For us seasoned vets, we shutter at the thought of re-doing 16.5 for a third time.  But for some of you new to the CrossFit world, we have to educate you on what the Open actually is.  In short, the CrossFit Open is a worldwide competition that filters CrossFit athletes regionally.  The top scorers in the Open move onto the Regionals and the top scorers in the Regionals go to the Games.  Workouts are released weekly for five weeks.  Each athlete performs the workout at their local affiliate, where there reps are counted by a judge/coach and then validated on the CrossFit Open website. I know what you're thinking: "I'm not ready." FALSE. You are 100% ready.  And here's why: The Open teaches you something about your training.  Even though there are rx and scaled divisions, the movements must be performed as listed.  So that muscle-up you've been wanting all year...yea...you have to TRY.  You can't skip the movement or scale it down, you have to TRY.  And if you can't get it, you go back to the drawing board with your training and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE those muscle-ups.  The CrossFit Open points out both strengths and weaknesses in our training, so look at it as a good benchmark for progress. It fosters positive competition.  When 17.1 gets released, the nerves will start; you'll wonder why you let your coach talk you into this.  The first couple of people in the gym do the workout and then suddenly it's your turn.  The workout is challenging and it beats you up, but after, as you're laying on your back breathing heavily, you think, "damn, if only I did three more reps I could have beaten (insert name)."  When the next heat goes, you're up on your feet cheering loudly for your gym mate, telling them to do JUST 1 MORE REP even if you know it's going to beat your score.  That's what positive competition is, fighting hard and supporting hard.  It makes the gym alive with energy. Because WHY NOT? It's literally just a workout. Chances are we will make you do it anyway, so just do it. There's no reason to say you aren't good enough or maybe you'll sign up next year.  Just do the workout, learn something and have fun with it. Open season is upon us, see you on the scoreboard!

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Why #newyearnewyou Doesn't Mean Anything

....3, 2, 1 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!Hooray, it's the new year: time to really start life, to accomplish that elusive bucket list, be more productive and crush goals!  Sound familiar?  Of course it does because we've all fallen victim to these false promises that we commit ourselves too.  So why the veil of social media proclaiming #newyearnewyou? Could it be the first step towards actually taking action to your new year's goals? Maybe.  But in reality, #newyearnewyou doesn't mean anything if....You don't set goals: Goals are super important if you want to hit the ground running in the new year.  They act as mile markers throughout the months, keeping you on track.  Goals don't have to be other worldly, they can be simple.  Simple means easy to work towards, means easy to attain, means a small win for you.  Goals are unique to every individual. Don't worry about having the coolest goals; just set ones that are relevant to your life.  Small goals can snowball into big goals.  You don't try to run a marathon without having trained for it, right?You aren't working towards your goals: It's awesome that you got that new notebook to meticulously write your goals in; but are you actually doing anything about achieving those goals? Putting pen to paper is just the first step, but you can't possibly achieve #newyearnewyou if you are #oldyoudoingnothing.  It's the age old procrastination.  Actually, getting started is more than half the battle.  Once you realize that it's not about being the best or the worst and just DOING, than you'll be willing and ready to work towards your goals.  Some studies even show that you are less likely to start and accomplish a goal if you proclaim it publicly (like on social media) than if you keep it to yourself.You're flakey: "I promise I'll start tomorrow."  Three months later, you're still the 2016 version of yourself.  You still haven't hit the gym, started that diet, taken up that new hobby, traveled somewhere exotic, etc.  There's no follow through.  Ever hear of  “time inconsistency?”  Time inconsistency refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards.  So maybe you value those three episodes on Netflix where you'll find out who the killer is rather than one hour at the gym and time spent on meal prepping.  It's easy to flake out on your #newyearnewyou goals when you can receive a binge-watching high.Achieving the best version of yourself can seem overwhelming in it's entirety.  It's intimidating to look at everyone's posts and think about how awesome their new lives are (less than two weeks into 2017), while you haven't even started thinking about yourself. So be realistic.  Set small, achievable goals - daily, weekly, monthly - to instill the practice of working towards achieving #newyearnewyou. 

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Learning The False Grip

"My wrists hurt!" We get it...learning the false grip sucks.  It's painful on your wrists and most likely you get ripped up.  BUT how else are you supposed to achieve that muscle-up goal without practice? ***Edit: the correct practice. Breaking down the muscle-up into components has helped all of us in the gym.  Taking a very complex and strength-oriented skill and scaling down the individual steps enables us to understand the progression of getting into the dip position at the top of the rings.  But at the very root of the muscle-up, we have false grip.  We've been crushing the false grip practice: false grip body rows, false grip body row to dip transition, and even false grip pull-ups.  By now we all know how to hold false grip, but do we actually understand what false grip is?? False grip places the palm of the hand and part of the wrist directly on top of the ring, making the transition into the dip position much easier.  Although it may seem way more difficult to get used to than a standard grip, starting in the false grip will set our hands into the dip position from the start.     So how do we build our false grip strength?  PRACTICE!!! Check out this video link below for a few tips on how to get comfortable and stronger in the false grip. http://gymnasticswod.com/content/false-grip-progressions-pt1      

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