Some of the top CrossFit athletes display amazing levels of abdominal training and core strength. When you get an opportunity to watch CrossFit games, you will undoubtedly see some of the most impressive midsections in the industry. If you have been wondering what you can do to achieve such a midline, the secret lies in the abdominal journey which starts from the toes to bar. Core training has numerous benefits such as spinal stability and enhancing overall strength in squat, deadlift, and press movements. The following are some of the benefits of toes to bar that you can’t afford to miss out on. Enhanced Muscular Demands The toes to bar movement involve lifting from a slightly hyper-extended position with your shoulders and hips opening to a fully contracted position at the very top. To execute the full range of motion, you need greater amounts of muscle strength, coordination, and control. The kip adds a component of speed and momentum which result in high energy expenditure during the eccentric portion of the CrossFit workout. Also, the lifter is required to load greater amounts of body mass which ultimately leads to hypertrophy and excellent results. Improvement of Shoulder, Grip, and Back Strength Hanging from a barbell while your body is in a dynamic motion is a crucial skill. It requires an excellent range of motion from your shoulder capsule as well as stability and control in your scapular regions and upper back as explained in CrossFit Workout session. Also, you need high amounts of grip and arm strength to control and support yourself during the longer sets. The toes to bar challenge most of your supportive muscles located in the upper body and hips which enhances the overall performance and strength. When you increase the supporting muscles of your body which assist in the toes to bar movement, you can then target a much larger chunk of muscle mass in the hip flexors, serratus, upper and lower abs, as well as obliques. Efficient Sit-Ups The toes to bar movement unlike other CrossFit gym exercises don’t require as many repetitions to be done yet it gives you the same benefit as that you will get in doing endless sit-ups and crunches. This means you will spend less time training your core while you achieve greater results. Through the enhancement of muscular demands and complexities of core training, you can up the effectiveness and efficiency of your training to optimize on results.
Building muscle takes a lot of hard work, awareness, and planning. You need to know what stimulates muscle growth if you want to take your fitness program a notch higher. Lots of articles have been written about building muscle, but often the basics have been left out. Below are some of the useful tips to consider in your quest to build muscle during CrossFit training. Include Protein in Your Diet Protein is necessary for maintaining a positive nitrogen balance in the body. The Food and Drug Administration recommends an intake of about 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight for protein. Remember muscle building is a compound process that includes neurotransmission, strengthening of cell structural components, and other processes. This is why it makes a lot of sense to ensure your diet has sufficient levels of the protein macronutrient. Incorporate Compound Movements Heavy rowing movements such as pull-ups and barbell rows go beyond building biceps to making your arms pop. If you want to strengthen your leg and hip muscles, you should get under the bar and do squats. If you find out the exercise you are doing only concentrates on one joint; chances are you are limiting your muscle building potential. Compound CrossFit workouts are the way to go. Your Post-Workout Nutrition Your post-workout meal arguably has the biggest impact on your muscle. During this time, your body cells tend to be more receptive to receiving glucose for energy. Therefore, a meal that has protein and carbohydrates ensures maximum glycogen synthesis. Aim at getting your post-workout meal within two hours after the completion of your workout. Goal Prioritization Having a goal in your CrossFit workouts is important. The goal may be to lose weight, add muscle, or to improve your agility. Try as much as you can to make your goals specific because in doing so, they will be measurable and able to be monitored. For instance, you cannot realistically focus on adding muscle and losing weight at the same time. The best approach is to concentrate on one at a time. Never Neglect the Eccentric Phase During any of the CrossFit workouts, there are two main types of movement the body goes through; eccentric and concentric. During the concentric phase, your muscles tend to shorten as they generate force. This is the phase the body goes through when you lift weights. Similarly, the eccentric phase is when the muscle gets a little bit longer under loads. This is when you are lowering the weight before pressing it back up. A majority of athletes tend to focus mainly on the concentric phase and neglecting the eccentric phase which ironically provides the most hypertrophy. Next time you are in the CrossFit gym, lower the bar in a more controlled way. Apart from the above, also think about your workout frequency. There are three important kinds of training philosophies, and all of them are important. The most common aspect in all is that they leave enough time between working the same category of muscles so that they can enhance recovery.
CrossFit can be addictive because of the fun and the results it brings. However, all work with no play can undermine your results in the medium term and the long term. CrossFit workouts are so different from the traditional training methods. There is a certain level of intensity which necessitates that at some point in between you need a rest. Rest Days These are days you set apart on your weekly schedule to focus on recovery. At the minimum, you require at least a day off per week, but if you can have two the better. The interesting thing about CrossFit is that one size doesn’t fit all. The amount and quality of sleep you get, your age, your diet, and lots of other factors come into the spotlight when deciding how often you need a rest. Younger folks tend to train for about 5 to 6 days per week while the older folks can do with 2 to 3 times a week. The rule of thumb is to train for a maximum of 3 days and then take a day off. If you go four days in a row, the 4th day will sacrifice your intensity, and this makes your day at the CrossFit gym less effective. It makes much sense to take a day off and then come back stronger and ready to face the rest of the days. It helps to experiment with different schedules so that you can access which fits you best. Test to See Whether You Need a Half Intensity Week If your recovery tracker shows that you are treading in the negative zone, then it is time you took a rest. Also, waking up feeling sluggish and more tired than usual or feeling your heart rate much higher than normal, then you need to take a day off. Injuries can also be a pointer that your body is overworking and has minimal rest. It’s important you become observant and listen to your body. Instead of taking your rest days when you need them, take them before you really need them. Half Intensity Weeks In addition to the rest days, you can incorporate a half-intensity week once every four weeks. However, it’s important to ensure you don’t get lazy during the half intensity week. Looking at your calendar, you should have an idea of the days you work out. For most people, they tend to have a rather irregular CrossFit training schedule where they take some days off for a vacation or some hours attending to their family. However, if your calendar shows that you haven’t missed a day ever since you started your schedule, you may want to factor in a half-intensity week. Remember, your CrossFit workouts vary from other people in your community and hence it is important to focus on your consistency, workout intensity, and recovery practices. It helps to take a minute and flip through your exercise log. Train hard, eat right, and take advantage of rest days to recover and enhance your performance.
When you go to a CrossFit gym, you may find one of the two types of CrossFit. The first type consists of an exercise routine with functional movements performed at high intensity and targeted at our health. The second type of CrossFit is a sport for CrossFit, and basically, this is what you may see on ESPN. The growth in popularity of CrossFit has attracted lots of athletes many of whom are coming to compete at high levels. These athletes come from different walks of life ranging from ultra-marathon runners to former college football players. Some of them have a preconceived notion that because they found success in their respective former endeavors, they will automatically find success even in CrossFit exercises. While it is true that the potential for success exists, there is a process which athletes must adhere to so as to get better. In the same way, you can’t pick a baseball in year one and become a spectacular pitcher for the major league, CrossFit exercises have procedures which you must follow. Being talented is a plus, but the talent on its own can only take you so far beyond which effort and discipline take over. Respecting the Process Everything in life has a progression, and for you to achieve results, you need dedication and hard work. In CrossFit, you must master the functional movements first before anything else. When you develop a stable base and a stronger core, then you can undertake higher skilled movements. If you skip this step, catastrophic injuries may result when doing your CrossFit exercises. On top of this, it is not proper to try out movements which are beyond your means. Doing a movement, the wrong way is not intelligent because you will be required to go back to the drawing and develop that movement once more in the right way. What this means is additional months of strength and skills development plus the risk of damaging your form by doing workouts the wrong way. Below are some of the effective tips that will help you respect the CrossFit process and at the same time put you on the path to achieving your goals. Listening to Your Body It’s important to have a routine, but getting caught in such a routine even when your body is hurting is not right. The famous 3-day-on and 1-day-off attitude were created at the beginning of CrossFit, but it is not cast on stone. When your body is instructing you otherwise, kindly listen. The body usually repairs and strengthens in between workouts, and if you continuously train without recovery, you may actually weaken instead of strengthening. Allow Your Injuries to Heal Injuries and tweaks are a necessary evil in any sport. As your intensity rises, the amount of CrossFit training you undertake can easily result in new injuries or a flare-up of old injuries. Staying healthy is important and ensuring that your injuries heal however small they are can enhance your form and give you more benefits than working out with injuries. The last tip is to understand your volume. The number of reps you do in a given movement and the load you carry should be well-planned for so that you do not overburden your skeletal system.
Serious CrossFit athletes will tell you that recovering from a CrossFit workout is as crucial as the effort they have put into the workout. That said, hydration, one of the fundamental ways to boost post-workout recoveries has often been overlooked. Many people understand and appreciate the role played by hydration during exercise, but have a vague idea of its power in post-workout recovery. This affects optimal performance. Water, in general, plays a key role in the recovery process from the repair of damaged muscles during CrossFit exercise all the way to help in the digestion of vital nutrients. Scientific studies have revealed that muscles are 75% water. Below are some of the top ways water can help in your recovery and improvement of your next workout. Muscle Repair  Exercises cause muscles to strengthen by first breaking them down and after that rebuilding them through the process of protein synthesis. However, for this to happen, your muscles must be well hydrated. If following a workout, you are dehydrated, the protein synthesis process will be drastically slowed down, and this will further delay your post-workout recovery. Digestion  Following an intense workout, it is important to refuel to replenish the depleted glycogen stores and boost recovery. However, for proper digestion to take place, you need adequate water. Saliva which is the major constituent of food breakdown in the mouth is composed of primary water and plays an important role in enhancing the absorption of the nutrients broken down. Therefore, rehydrating well after a CrossFit gym session ensures efficiency of the digestive process and recovery. Reduction in Fatigue  Fatigue is one of the most visible signs of dehydration. When the body is dehydrated, the blood volume reduces and this makes the heart to work extra hard to pump blood to all parts of the body which require nutrients and oxygen. By its very nature, fatigue hinders post-workout recovery and reduces motivation for the next workout. Heartrate Recovery A study done in 2012 brought out the role of hydration in athletic performance. It found out that hydration impacted heavily on recovery. The athletes under examination did a 90-minute run on a treadmill and subjected to two different conditions; one where the athletes took a sports drink during the CrossFit exercise and after and the second condition where they did not hydrate at all. According to the experiment, individuals who hydrated adequately showed a very significant heart rate recovery after the workout which meant their bodies quickly picked up after the stress of exercise. Rehydration following a workout has a huge impact on recovery especially in the buildup to hot summer weather. Therefore, it is important that you develop a hydration protocol after your CrossFit exercise to replenish the fluids, electrolytes, and sodium lost in the course of the workout.
The twenties is a very active age brackets and many people get lots of certifications in physical fitness. However, as you move into your thirties and forties, the energy level and recovery ability of your body start diminishing. Naturally, the body slows down, and when it comes to food choices, workout protocols, you need to make deliberate and intelligent decisions. For CrossFit women, the thirties and forties is a period where they experience hormonal challenges which are unique based on the individual and may range from debilitating depression to unwelcome fatigue. Middle Age Challenges From age 40, life starts throwing curve balls at most athletes despite the efforts they may put in working out, being mindful of CrossFit nutrition, and managing stress. Therefore, there is the need for changes to be made as far fitness and nutrition are concerned as people age. Training has to change from the standard of the 20s into a more customized approach. Laying Out Your Strategies When the struggles come, some athletes respond by exuding expressions of frustration or guilt because of their inability to perform menial tasks and completing workouts. Because of this, it is important you put in place strategies to deal with the stumbling blocks. The following concepts are instrumental in ensuring you have a successful workout plan. Have a Plan and Be Flexible It is important to plan yourself for certain duration on how you are going to carry out your exercises. You do not have to plan for such a long time into the future, but rather you can go for short chunks of time such as weekly schedules as long as they fit into your lifestyle. For instance, if you have only 25 minutes per day at your disposal, you cannot plan for a workout that lasts a whole hour. You need to be practical. Ensure You Recover Adequately After working out in the CrossFit gym, you may notice that you are completely depleted to the point that you cannot attempt any other CrossFit workouts. This is why it is extremely important to listen to your body. If you feel that you need a nap, don’t hesitate because this is important in recovery. Since your body requires stress to adapt, leaving it completely spent doesn’t help either. You need to find that sweet spot which makes you grow and thrive. Scale Down Your Workouts if Need Be On the days when you feel you should have some light exercises, don’t force your body into the hard stuff. Instead, go for a swim, brisk walk, yoga, or simply work on your mobility. Remember having some little CrossFit workouts is better than nothing at all.  Prioritize Your Strength Training Strength CrossFit workouts are recommended in your 40s due to their productivity. As you age, your power output and your strength decline and hence incorporating load-bearing exercises are very important in your life. One of the key benefits of strength training is that it enhances your metabolism and releases endorphins. Also, the good body mechanics that you develop as a result of strength training helps in preventing falls and injuries.
No pair of feet resembles another because they all vary in shape, form, and size. Because of this, you may experience difficulties choosing the right CrossFit shoes. There is a growing trend where individuals tend to choose style over comfort when choosing CrossFit Footwear. This is a mistake and can negatively impact the condition of your feet. This is why understanding your foot type not only helps you in taking good care of them but also in preventing lots of foot problems. Below is a guide that will assist you in classifying your foot type. Determining Your Foot Type  Several methods can help you determine the type of your foot.The Wet Foot Test – This is a test commonly done, and it is very simple. What you need to do is to wet your feet and then place it on cardboard to create a footprint. After that, you analyze the results, and this will give you your foot type. Checking Your Shoe Heels – This is appropriate especially if you are a runner. You have to identify the part of your shoes that are worn out the most as this determines the part of your feet that endure the most pressure from your daily activities. Video Recording Your Feet – This is a bit complicated as it involves doing a video record of your feet while jogging. The best and probably the only way to do this is on a treadmill. You position a video recorder to record the motion of your feet from behind. This can be tedious but is considered the most effective.  Measuring Your Feet  If you want to measure your feet, the best time to do so is at the end of the day because, after a full day of activity, your feet are usually larger. It is extremely important to remember that your feet are not symmetrical and as such you should measure both feet and buy CrossFit footwear whose size is based on the larger foot. If you are doing the measurement on your own, sit on a chair and carefully measure every dimension. On the other hand, if someone else is doing it, just stand and let them take the measurements. Understanding the Type of Your Foot  Once you have done the above tests, you can now analyze the results. The following elements will help you understand your foot type.  Size – Contrary to what some people may think, the size of your foot includes both the length and the width.  Arch – This refers to the midsection of your foot. As the original meaning of the word has it, an arch is simply a curve structure. The reason the middle section of your foot is referred to as the arch is that of its curvature. The arch is divided into three types: flat feet or low arch, normal arch, and high arch.  Pronation – This occurs at the subtalar joint which sits below the ankle. It describes the motion of the foot and how it rolls inward to distribute the weight each time the foot lands on the surface as you walk or run. The shape of the arch can affect the ability of your foot to roll, and this either causes under-pronation or over-pronation. When buying shoes for under-pronation feet, go for those with a lot of cushioning. For over-pronation, go for well-structured shoes that gives maximum support. Lastly, the shape of your foot will determine the kind of CrossFit Footwear that you should buy. There are 4 different types of foot shapes which are the angled forefoot, square forefoot, rounded forefoot, and Morton forefoot. Know the type of your foot before getting the shoes you will be using in the CrossFit gym.
The thruster is one of those exercises that is synonymous with CrossFit. After all, the term was first coined right in the CrossFit industry. Over the years, the thruster has become a respected and valuable movement in CrossFit training with lots of benefit to athletes. However, for you to reap those benefits, you need to do it correctly and efficiently. How to Do the Thruster There are 4 steps on how to execute the thruster, the beauty of it all is that these steps are pretty easy to follow and they are memorable. They include: Step 1 –Here, you stand with your feet while your lower back is tightly arched. Your hands should not be wider than your shoulders’ outsides. Your elbows should also be up in a front rack position. Step 2 –Keep your chest up while your head is in a neutral position. As you push your hips back, simultaneously descend gradually into a below parallel squat. Step 3 –While at the bottom position, explode all the way back to the position you were at the beginning. Make the explosion as hard as you possibly can. After that, using your momentum, press the bar over your head. Step 4 –As you finish, resume to a standing position and let the barbell be slightly behind and over your head. Your shoulders should be stacked over your hips and the hips stacked over the ankles. Then, lower it smoothly as you continuously descend into another squat position. The Benefits of the Thruster Workout The thruster is a perfect example of a compound exercise in CrossFit workout because it utilizes more than a single joint. It combines the push press, front squat, and a clean. Thanks to the multiple movements, the thruster gives you multiple benefits. One of the benefits is that it works all your major leg muscles which are the quads, hamstrings, and glutes when you are in the squat position. The power generated from the legs as you drive out of the squat is gradually transferred to the upper body through the lower back and abdominals and finally ends up on your shoulders, triceps, and upper back to aid in driving the bar over your head. Secondly, the thruster is one CrossFit workout that exercises the whole body just like the burpees. When you add weight to the thruster to make it heavier, you will develop muscular power and strength. When you make the thruster lighter, on the other hand, it will tax your aerobic capacity and muscular endurance. Lastly, the thruster is such a versatile CrossFit workout. Despite the fact that it is performed with a barbell, you can easily swap it for kettlebells, dumbbells, sandbags, and medicine balls. To better your efficiency when performing the thruster, remember to keep your elbows up, your movement fluid, and do not have a tight grip. Whenever needed, always take a rest. It is important to know your limits and what you are capable of so that you do not overstrain your body as this can lead to injury.