Programming

I’ve decided to share as much of my programming as possible, where possible. as I write for clients, I’ll post outlines here. Obviously, this won’t be the total programme as that will include warm-up ideas, mobility,  cardio, mental work, but, I thought, its good to share, even if it’s just a bit. Many of my City of London clients will go on to a 20-minute boxing session, for cardio, stress relief,  but also mental training under pressure.

This programme is basically a good spread of functional, compound movements for the legs, with upper back work for posture, and arm stuff, well, for Saturday night!

I’ll cycle between 5, 10, 15 reps, but be open to the mood and workload of my clients

Day 1

A) lunge plus Bulgarian split squat

B) Pull up 5 sets: some of these are wide grip for back development

Day 2
A) Deadlift:
B)  upper body is bench, bar/dumbbell
C) floor flaps for upper back
D) Dragon flag
 Day 3
A) Squat;
B) upper body building moves ( bicep/tri/shoulders)
C) upper back D/B rows
D) Burpees : ideally, build up to  4 minutes of burpees
So start every minute on the minute, start at say 3-5 a minute for 4 minutes. build week by week

Run 400m, then rest, then go again!

This doesn’t seem that difficult a task.

400m, is, after all, 400m, but there are several interesting questions: what race are you actually training for, and what energy system do you want to train.

Let’s talk about energy systems

Whoever invented the human body was a bit of a ‘worry puss’– they felt that one energy system just wasn’t safe enough. Rather like the householder who has a real fire place, electric storage heaters and gas central heating. Some would call that greedy, but a cautious person would call it prudent..

The human body has three energy systems.

One for fast reactive movement (diving under a car to save your three-year-old toddler),

A slower, more extended, but still, a pretty snappy system (for running 350 metres, then diving under a car to save your three-year-old toddler).

Finally, there is the long-term ‘trickle’ energy system (the one you use while shoe shopping, running 5k, miles away from any toddlers)

For people who have little experience of toddlers, these ‘metabolic engines’ are known as the:

 

Phosphagen pathway,

Glycolytic pathway,

Oxidative pathway.

■ The first, the phosphagen, dominates the highest-powered activities (100-metre sprint), those that last less than about ten seconds.
■ The second pathway, the glycolytic, dominates moderate-powered activities, those that last up to several minutes (400-800 metre run).
■ The third pathway, the oxidative, dominates low-powered activities, those that last in excess of several minutes (5k run, walking, shopping).

They all use slightly different energy producing mechanisms, which isn’t the subject of this article.  The subject is, how long do you need to leave it between goes?

Think of 100m, you can run that “balls to the wall” or you could jog it.

Fine.

 

Here is the question. How soon could you do it again at the same pace?

So let’s say you run 100m (flat out, the fastest you’ve ever done) in 20 seconds* and collapse in a hysterical sobbing heap as you hyperventilate, and drool. If I make you go straight back, you’ll possibly stagger back in 30/40 seconds, while whining annoyingly!

 

So if you used the phosphagen pathway, I suspect you’ll need  11 times your time to recover. If you run 100m in 20 seconds, you probably need 220 seconds to recover to attempt the same pace again.

A simple principle is this, the slower you go, the less recovery you need, so, if you were to run 400m in 2 minutes, you probably want a 1-2-1 work rest period, so run 400m in 2 mins, rest 2 mins.

This helps you monitor consistency, otherwise, so some argue, you are not training or developing pace and capacity.  If you run 400m in 1.40, mini/erratic rest 1.50, mini/erratic rest,  2.00 mini/erratic rest 2.10 the argument is that you are simply surviving, not training.

So 2 take-home points

  1. Training needs non-emotional work and consistency to be successful
  2. It’s always the distance, plus the time it took you, plus the effective rest periods

.

( *for the sports pedants among you, if you run 100m in 20 seconds it’s not really phosphagen is probably a mix of what some call Anaerobic Alactic Endurance/ capacity, but the principle will hold for now)

 

 

How to break your concept 2 rower

As part of the management team of a CrossFit facility in the UK, I always struggled to understand how anyone could break the front stand of a concept 2.

However, I have now discovered a very clever way of incurring hundreds of extra pounds worth of repair bills and putting your concept 2 rowers out of service for days, sometimes weeks on end.

Here is how

IMG_6127.JPG

To break* your concept 2 ,  put your foot on the front foot and hold it down. If you are fussy about where you put your foot, try heavy sandbags, or maybe even weights.

This will really screw it up.

I sent the above picture to  Concept 2 to be sure.

Here is their response

“Hello, in short the legs are meant to be moved freely, by putting bags on, standing on etc… you’re putting excess pressure on bolts/joints, allowing the machine to move slightly is okay.  If the machine is moving a lot it is likely technique that needs improving.  Rolling them around constantly or storing on end can also do a lot of wear and tear.”

Consider yourself told.

*This was not my 1st choice of words

My name is Andrew Stemler and I’m probably the East London personal trainer you have been looking for. Email me Andrew@crossfitlondon uk.com

 

 

 

Teeth Grinding

If you grind your teeth, you are probably pretty screwed.

Once you work through people trying to sell you shit stuff and quacks offering naturalistic   potions, blessed by saints,  you probably need to read “ current treatments of Bruxism” by Guaitia and Hogl.  Read it here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4761372/

Here is the conclusion

“In the absence of a causal treatment, the management of bruxism focuses to prevent progression of dental wear, reduce teeth grinding sounds, and improve muscle discomfort and mandibular dysfunction in the most severe cases.

Counselling and behavioral strategies, splint therapy, medications, and contingent electrical stimulation have shown heterogeneous results in resolving the EMG events associated with sleep bruxism, and most of the RCT did not evaluate the effects on other symptoms such as pain or tooth wear progression. Long-term studies with a wide severity spectrum of sleep bruxism patients, and comparing the effect of different treatments should be performed to elucidate the importance of each intervention in the resolution of the signs and symptoms commonly referred by the patients. The choice of not treating bruxism must also be further explored, at least in asymptomatic patients with only mild dental wear. Even more must be done to successfully treat awake bruxism, in which RCTs are still lacking”

Or read  my executive summary.

Fuck

However, as it says , its  “still reasonable to recommend good sleep hygiene in clinical practice, especially considering that alcohol, tobacco, and coffee consumption are risk factors for sleep bruxism  and that sensitivity to stress is commonly reported by the patients”

The good news is there is a Bruxism Association. They  basically, want to shove stuff in your mouth

http://www.bruxism.org.uk/how-can-i-stop-grinding-my-teeth.php

I think it exists more to support dentists, but it could be rallying support to promote further research

More good news could be that the Bruxism association supports  feel good happy solutions.  “ General relaxation techniques including meditation are supposed to produce a sense of self-esteem and control over one’s body”. The draw back , however, for anyone with even the vaguest grip on reality is  “there is no current literature regarding the efficacy of this holistic approach to the management of bruxism”

That said  I suspect I have to join in and say, cut down the drugs, try and de-stress and meditate a bit . And yes, I  can taste sick in my mouth for saying that.

 

BTW: my name is Andrew Stemler and I’m an East London personal trainer and massage therapist. You can book me by emailing me  Andrew@crossfitlondonuk.com

Autoregulation

This blog post begins my discussion and research into the concept of auto regulation, based on these references:

Ardali G. A daily adjustable progressive resistance exercise protocol and functional training to increase quadriceps muscle strength and functional performance in an elderly homebound patient following a total knee arthroplasty. Physiother Theory Pract. 2014;30(4):287–297. doi:10.3109/09593985.2013.868064.

Day ML, McGuigan MR, Brice G, Foster C. Monitoring exercise intensity during resistance training using the session RPE scale. J Strength Cond Res. 2004;18(2):353–358.

Duncan MJ, Al-Nakeeb Y, Scurr J. Perceived exertion is related to muscle activity during leg extension exercise. Res Sports Med. 2006;14(3):179–189. doi:10.1080/15438620600854728.

Eston RG, Wiliams JG. Reliability of ratings of perceived effort regulation of exercise intensity. British Journal of Sports medicine. 1988;22:153–155. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1478740/.

Gearhart RFJ, Goss FL, Lagally KM, et al. Ratings of perceived exertion in active muscle during high-intensity and low-intensity resistance exercise. J Strength Cond Res. 2002;16(1):87–91.

Gearhart RFJ, Lagally KM, Riechman SE, Andrews RD, Robertson RJ. Strength tracking using the OMNI resistance exercise scale in older men and women. J Strength Cond Res. 2009;23(3):1011–1015. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181a2ec41.

Hardee JP, Lawrence MM, Utter AC, Triplett NT, Zwetsloot KA, McBride JM. Effect of inter-repetition rest on ratings of perceived exertion during multiple sets of the power clean. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2012;112(8):3141–3147. doi:10.1007/s00421-011-2300-x.

Henselmans M, Schoenfeld BJ. The Effect of Inter-Set Rest Intervals on Resistance Exercise-Induced Muscle Hypertrophy. Sports Med. 2014. doi:10.1007/s40279-014-0228-0.

Knight KL. Quadriceps Strengthening with the DAPRE Technique: Case studies with Neurological Implications. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1990;12(2):66–71.

Mann JB, Thyfault JP, Ivey PA, Sayers SP. The effect of autoregulatory progressive resistance exercise vs. linear periodization on strength improvement in college athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(7):1718–1723. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181def4a6.

McGuigan MR, Dayel Al A, Tod D, Foster C, Newton RU, Pettigrew S. Use of session rating of perceived exertion for monitoring resistance exercise in children who are overweight or obese. Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2008;20(3):333–341.

McNamara JM, Stearne DJ. Flexible nonlinear periodization in a beginner college weight training class. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(1):17–22.

Senna G, Willardson JM, de Salles BF, et al. The effect of rest interval length on multi and single-joint exercise performance and perceived exertion. J Strength Cond Res. 2011;25(11):3157–3162. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e318212e23b.

Sweet TW, Foster C, McGuigan MR, Brice G. Quantitation of resistance training using the session rating of perceived exertion method. J Strength Cond Res. 2004;18(4):796–802. doi:10.1519/14153.1.

 

 

Tiggemann CL, Korzenowski AL, Brentano MA, Tartaruga MP, Alberton CL, Kruel LFM. Perceived exertion in different strength exercise loads in sedentary, active, and trained adults. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(8):2032–2041. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181d32e29.

 

 

 

14. Testa M, Noakes TD, Desgorces F-D. Training state improves the relationship between rating of perceived exertion and relative exercise volume during resistance exercises. J Strength Cond Res. 2012;26(11):2990–2996. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31824301d1.

 

Is Crossfit really random?

As the CrossFit website will tell you ” CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity”
People are so impressed with how fun and effective Crossfit workouts (WODs) are, that they often forget to see the whole prescription. This often expresses itself in conversations about programming, where some insist that to be “crossfit”  A crossfit programme should be totally varied and random. This is an understandable misinterpretation as in the crossfit journal ( October 2004 page 6) Greg Glassman wrote:

“ the WOD is responsible for quite a bit of confusion about the crossfit method. Crossfit is a strength and conditioning system built on constantly varied, if not, randomized functional movements executed at high intensity . The WOD is but one example of Crossfit programming.”

Like most crossfitters I quickly jumped to the conclusion that Crossfit, as a strength and conditioning regime was all about variety. After all, that’s what the website did. It varied.

All the time.

Surely I thought, you deadlift 11111, on one day, then Fran the next, then a 5k run, then rest day, then onto infinite variation. I clearly remembered this paragraph “Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy”

Voila. End of debate!

However, I worried me, that I found among all the “constantly varied“ statements Greg’s description of a regular class at the original crossfit facility. Indeed the days before my certification in 2005 Id witnessed this format

“One of our favourite workout patterns is to warm up, and then perform three to five sets of 3 to 5 reps of a fundamental lift at a moderately comfortable pace, followed by a 10 minute circuit of gymnastics elements at a blistering pace, and finally finish with 2 to 10 minutes of high intensity metabolic conditioning. There is nothing sacred here” ( CFJ October 2002 page 9)

So, I thought, they are regularly practicing and training gymnastics and the major lifts, then doing wods.

This backed up my subsequent clinical experience. Those who did regular muscle up work, got muscle ups, bigger squatters squatted well, the x gymnasts popped up into handstands.

People who limited their Crossfit to a wod, or a series of Wod’s struggled.

Then I re-read the “100 words. The statement that summarises the crossfit prescription To be honest. I actually read the 100 words properly for the 1st time . To help you understand my revelation, Ive added some “Ands” and some numbers ( my views are in the brackets)

Here is the prescription:

1) Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.

(Ok! Not everyone does, but yep TICK)

And

2) Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch.

(Er, ok, not randomise, but training and practise like you’d find in an oly club. Ok, I can do that. Tick)

And

3) Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds.

( wow, er regular practise and training too. Like any sport, regular practice and training. OK)

And

4) Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast.

(ok.that too wow)

And

5) Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense.

(Oh I get it!!! Once you have done your regular training, do workouts that combine what you know! That makes sense)

And

6) Regularly learn and play new sports.

( if I had time, but yes, I get it)

Many think that crossfit is about total variety in every aspect of training. It is never the less clear that “creativity” occurs in the workouts, not in the regular practice and training .

This model is totally familiar to any team or combat sports person. As a fighter, I trained and worked for perfection in moves and combinations. I had medicine balls dropped on my abs with tedious regularity. I worked the heavy bag. A LOT. But every session had a WOD . In that sport it was a sparring sessions: here the unknown and unknowable “punched me in the face!’. A LOT.

So, structured practice, plus a random WOD.

But the question frequently comes up . In these wods, are there targets or is it just random?

“If you are doing the workout of the day, you are training for these ( the benchmark) wods” . (CFJ Sept 2003 page 4) Back then, the benchmarks were the 6 sisters Angie, Barbara Chelsea, Diane Elizabeth and Fran. In short, Crossfit quickly decided that, in preparing for the unknown, It was as well to target success in benchmark workouts. After all, “Success with high rep calisthenic movements won’t come to be without regular practice. Not all of that practice need be a max rep, but it needs to be regular.” (CFJ April 2003 page 3) Incidentally the warm up is the perfect place for that practice”. (CFJ April 2003 page 3)

But, its too often asserted that “its gotta be random. Its crossfit innit”

Not according to the crossfire level 1 trainer guide. At page 51 it clearly says that “What your programme needs is not to become routine”. Bear in mind that at the time Crossfit began, all that was available at most “leisure centres” was basic bodybuilding and jogging routines. Equally, when discussing variation, Crossfit says that no two, 3 day cycles are the same: so if you spot that back squats and the lunge comes up a few times in a week. It’s not lack of variance, You need to assess what comes before and after the move.

So whats the take home messages

1) Everything you have read and heard about crossfits variation, randomness, excitement, brilliance, is true, but probably written with mainly the WODS in mind. If you simply did Crossfit Wods, it would give you excellent fitness. But thats only part of the 100 word prescription

2) Better Crossfiters looks to the 100 word prescription: it makes you regularly train and practise weightlifting, gymnastics and cardio, then also, mixes those elements up for a workout.

3) Don’t let anyone kid you that regular practise in Olympic lifting, squats or gymnastics, somehow isn’t Crossfit.

It’s right there. Read the 100 words

Posture hack

As much as I hate the concept of nailing people into a position, the reality is that after 8 hours a day, every day ,  of desk slumping, you probably don’t know what proper posture means or feels like .

This useful hack helps.

There are  shoulder harnesses on the market, non of which I have tried, but as I had a band in my bag, I gave it a go.

Btw My name is Andrew Stemler. Im a london personal trainer based in Bethnal Green E2. Contact me here