Many athletes rest comfortably on lateral raises and conventional pressing not knowing that they are selling themselves short when it comes to shoulder building. There is a lot more that you need to put in your CrossFit training schedule if you want to shake things up. When looking for variety in your shoulder training and virtually any other CrossFit training, planes of action and force angles are crucial. The following are ways you can create a new stimulus and expose significant amounts of weakness for big, healthy shoulders. The Y Press When you perform the standard shoulder presses, they strengthen your shoulders in one plane. If you could only shift the angle slightly, you could work out your mid deltoids much harder. For you to do the Y press, you have to remember your angles. Begin with your palms facing each other and at the dimensions of your shoulder width. As the arms get extended, your hands will move further away from one another, and your fist will rotate to make your palms face forward at the end. The greatest tension is felt at the top because this is where the lever arms are at their longest. This explains why posing at the very top of each rep for about a second or two is smart. The Y presses are excellent movements which can follow your dumbbell overhead presses. Seated Snatches Even with a coach in the CrossFit gym, the barbell snatch is one of those exercises that are complex and somewhat difficult to master. That said, you can simplify the movement using dumbbells. The dumbbells eliminate the involvement of the knee, hip joint, and ankle. When you incorporate a seat, it becomes great because it gives you size and conditioning. Seated snatches, unlike barbell snatches, make you responsible for the negative reps. In turn, this makes you honest concerning the weight you choose. Just like a Z press, seated snatches quickly expose mobility issues primarily because the seated position does not have a backrest. If you discover you can’t bear the weight directly overhead while in an upright torso, you may need to enhance the health of your thoracic spine and your shoulder mobility. Push Press with Snatch Grip Behind the neck, push pressing is one of the underused tools for working out the rear deltoids. If you add a snatch grip as well as a push start, it all becomes invaluable. The beauty of this movement is that it restricts the weight you can bear and at the same time works out your rear deltoids, mid traps, and scapular muscles much harder. A point to note is that this movement needs good shoulder health hence not advisable for beginner CrossFitters. Blackburn This movement mimics the overhead press pattern and serves as a good stimulant towards shoulder mobility, a neutral lower spine, and rear deltoids activation. As a bonus, it hits hard on the rest of the posterior chain. To get the most benefit out of this, secure your heels in the horizontal back extension machine instead of using an unsecured bench or the floor. This works hard everything between the rear deltoids and the back of the knees both isotonically and isometrically. This CrossFit workout gives you an excellent way to train the overhead range with a different reference point thus allowing gravity to form a new force angle.
Mirror muscles which include the back, arms and the core are more noticeable than the rest. For this reason, they tend to be worked out more than the others. Many CrossFit athletes focus on training above the belt and don’t spend as much time training the lower body. You may not know, but the lower body has some of the biggest muscles in your body system. Focusing your CrossFit workout on your bottom half will see you rewarded with athletic quads, strong glutes, toned calves, and healthy hammies. If you are still not convinced, below are more reasons why training your lower body matters. Reduction in the Risk of Injury Training your lower body helps in preventing frequent injuries which means you will stay longer in the game. When you perform functional exercises such as squats and lunges, you promote knee stability which goes a long way in preventing an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear. Strengthening the posterior chain has been associated with cartilage injury recoveries and muscle balances. CrossFit workout burning of More Calories Whether you are targeting at weight loss or not, if you want to get the most from your CrossFit gym, you should focus on the legs. Multi-joint exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and lunges require higher levels of metabolism and more work from the brain and heart because they engage bigger muscles. For you to successfully challenge these muscles, you need to put in more energy which translates into burning more calories. Ability to Run Faster and Longer There is no secret; strength training makes you a much better runner. Movements such as deadlifts and squats are strength based and play a key role in developing your hips. Research further reveals that strength training allows your body to develop endurance and this gives you an edge during competitions. Enhancement of Your Range of Motion Olympic weightlifters, pro-level athletes, and elite athletes need mobility in their joints for them to max their power output. You don’t have to be a top competitor for you to benefit from correct movement patterns. Deadlifts, lunges, and squats will enhance your range of motion which further help you in safely tackling more weight and increasing your gains. Improvement in Your Balance A stronger lower body can help you in avoiding a wipeout. Workouts such as deadlifts and lunges develop your proprioception, enhance your stability, and readies you for anything. It doesn’t matter whether you are a weekend warrior type or an adrenaline sports junkie, maintaining balance is essential for total body control. To add to the above, incorporating a leg day to your CrossFit training schedule, will speed up your metabolism. Lifting weights helps athletes build muscle mass and maintain their form. When your body has more muscle, your entire engine will run faster, and this keeps your metabolism level up.
Research indicates that a person breathes about 20,000 times per day. However, has it occurred to you that you have been doing it all wrong? Breathing seems so natural that while eating or doing any other normal activity, we don’t seem to think about it much. The only time breathing becomes noticeable is when huffing and puffing during a CrossFit workout. Breathing is much more than oxygen coming in and carbon dioxide going out. By the mere fact that we have been breathing doesn’t mean that we have been right all the way. There are a lot of possible ways you could improve your breathing. Benefits from enhanced breathing include stress reduction, lower blood pressure, increased brain size, improved athletic performance among others. Below are the techniques to help you achieve this. Deep Breathing at Rest Proper breathing can help relieve stress by increasing the parasympathetic nervous system activity. This system works in the opposite of fight or flight response system thus giving you a more tranquil and calmer demeanor. If you can, work on your breathing while lying on the ground and your feet raised up against a wall. The advantage of this posture is that it eliminates gravity and its effects on the equation. Then, put one of your hands on your chest and the other one in the abdominal area. Take deep, focused breaths for about a minute or two ensuring that you spend much time on both inhalation and exhalation. The key to this technique is to ensure your abdominals rise before your chest. Breathing While Warming Up Breathing has an impact on your athletic performance, and this is why you should take advantage of the warm-up session in your CrossFit training schedule to refocus on your breath. Take time foam rolling your upper body especially the sections that are hindering your correct breathing ability. Then, perform the deep breathing exercise as explained above before moving into your active warm-up. Focusing on your breath before exercising ensures a reinforcement of proper breathing movements before engaging in the high-intensity interval training. Doing this will lessen your huffing and puffing leading to an effective CrossFit workout. Breathing When Working Out If you want to remember how and when to breath as you work out, you can use the Valsalva Maneuver technique which comprises taking a deep breath immediately before lifting and then holding your breath as you do the lifting. This method is important in creating an intra-abdominal pressure which in turn creates a strong foundation and allows you to handle the much greater weight. When lifting sub-maximal loads, bracing is recommended. This involves activating your core musculature thus creating a super fitness in your mid-section. This helps you to stabilize your core and as such goes a long way in reducing the risk of injury. If you have been keen on counting your macros, stretching, hydrating and foam rolling, you should also try and integrate your breathing into your CrossFit workout plan. Just one or two minutes a day can enhance your breathing and take your workouts and performance to another level.
The farmer’s walk is much more than picking some heavy objects and attempting to walk with them. It is a CrossFit exercise that is a true game changer. It helps you build on the strength and improves your lifting. Simply the farmer’s walk is your one-stop-shop exercise to excellence in CrossFit Workout. It gives you the grip, enhances your glutes, abs as well as the lung capacity. Loaded Carries This is where an athlete takes up a heavyweight and carries it over a distance or an extended time period. You can use anything for the weights including sandbags, dumbbells, stones, kettlebells, and any other object which gives you the challenge to carry. Among the benefits of loaded carries include an improvement in work capacity which is simply your ability to perform physical work. On top of this, loaded carries can improve your grip strength, endurance, core strength, as well as muscle strength. Loaded carries also complement some of the major movements such as deadlift, squat, and bench press. Muscle Building The farmer’s carry is an exceptional CrossFit workout that enhances muscle building, especially in the upper back area. It creates very high levels of muscular tension and lets you sustain that for an extended time period. Research has shown that this stimulates bigger hormonal responses which aid in muscle growth. Grip Strength Improvement Your hands provide you with the base that supports lots of gymnastic movements as well as lifting movements. Without a proper grip, your path to strength will be limited in a way. Stronger grips are a pre-requisite to any form of lifting and will readily strengthen your shoulders. When doing farmer’s carry with some heavyweights, your grip strength will be your borderline into adding more weights. Enhancing Work Capacity According to the Journal on CrossFit Workout, work capacity refers to the ability to do real physical work as measured by the product of the force and distance divided by time. Alternatively, you can think of it as the overall amount of work you can do, adapt to or recover from positively. Farmer’s carry has been praised as one of the best ways through which you can improve your work capacity and strengthen your mental toughness. This can be achieved by putting the body system under a load for a longer period of time to create pressure in the abdomen and chest while challenging the breathing pattern. Increasing Core Strength There are several exercises you can throw into your CrossFit training schedule to strengthen your core amongst them sit-ups and farmer’s carry. The advantage with the latter is that it is self-correcting which means if your core is not working in the right way, you will immediately notice when you undertake this exercise. For you to have a nice and upright postural position, you need a stiff and rigid spine. By hanging on to some weight and walking, you can, therefore, improve both your posture and core strength.
You may have hit a level in your CrossFit training schedule, and you just want a break from the high-intensity cardio exercises. Instead of getting stranded and wondering the next best group of workouts to undertake, you can go for LISS. This is a simply a low-key style of cardio training that has gathered steam especially on social media. LISS is an acronym meaning low intensity sustained the state. It encompasses any aerobic and cardio based activity which is performed at a low intensity but for a much longer period approximately 30 to 60 minutes. Contrary to what many think, LISS is not a new type of fitness. The reason it is trending today because it has received massive support from some popular trainers such as Kayla Itsines who is an Australian trainer and Instagram star. LISS has been used by bodybuilders for decades. Research shows that this workout trend was popular as early as the 60s and 70s and its main aim is to help the body lean out. It is usually combined with low carb diets. Why LISS is Popular The popularity of this workout regime to get added to CrossFit training schedule cannot be pointed to one reason rather there are multiple reasons, and each is enticing in its own way. Below are some of these reasons. Active Rest and Recovery –LISS is an ideal regimen for active rest or recovery for athletes who regularly engage in higher intensity workouts as part of their daily CrossFit workout routine. It significantly lowers the risk of injury. It is Friendly –People who are new to fitness and exercising prefer a much softer entry point into the workout arena. LISS is one of the gateways that ushers you into the journey and helps you get stronger and perfect to be able to handle more demanding workouts later. Think of it, walking on a treadmill or simply jumping in for a casual swim is not as intimidating as enrolling into a boot camp class. The Lazy Girl Concept – LISS is one of the CrossFit training schedules that won’t demand as much effort from you but will give you excellent results. It makes a lot of sense to be attracted to a category of exercises that promise you a trimmer, leaner body with just a couple of hours doing a slow walk on a treadmill. The no pain no gain mantra tends to be intimidating. LISS Activities and Their Effectiveness One of the outstanding features of LISS is that you can undertake it either inside or outside the CrossFit gym. For instance, you could bike to work, do a brisk walk, or use the rowing machine at the gym. These are just some of the lease activities. On the question of whether it works, the answer is an absolute yes. However, for it to give you the results you expect, you should incorporate a balanced exercise schedule. LISS is effective at metabolizing fat, but not as good in accessing and breaking down fat that is stored hence the need to bring in other workouts to complement this.
Oftentimes, we admire bodybuilders and fitness models, not knowing they are dedicated to the gym. Each one of them has a past, and out of their resolve to work hard and build lean muscle, they are where they are today. One of the ways you can also walk along this path of fitness is by switching things up and escaping the confines of traditional routines and moves. There are non-traditional exercises that can greatly improve your physique and athletic performance. This is where it makes sense adding in those traditional CrossFit exercises in your routine. There are several Crossfit exercises that can potentially shock your body and push it towards gaining more muscle and shedding fat. Barbell Thruster This is one of the CrossFit exercises that touche every muscle group in your body. As a total body conditioning workout, barbell thruster demands increased energy from your body, and this goes a long way in slashing body fat. Because of this core demand, the abdominal region also benefits from a thorough workout that helps to flatten it, particularly on the mid-section. When this is combined with diet and additional cardio, getting the desired 6-pack doesn’t take long. To usher you into the thruster, load up your bar with 8 to 12 rep marks and then perform 3 to 4 sets at the end of a leg or shoulder workout. Wall Ball When beginners are introduced to wall ball in their CrossFit training program, it looks so deceiving because it seems to them that there is no magic in squatting and throwing a medicine ball up against a wall. The reality is, the medicine ball is not as heavy, but the plus to this exercise is on the movement pattern demands it imposes on your body. Once you get 10 reps, you won’t believe how your core, shoulders, and legs become taxed. If you want a great conditioning and fat loss workout, try 5 rounds of wall ball of 20 reps each and resting just 30 to 60 seconds between the sets. Overhead Kettlebell Swings Even though this exercise is known for its fat loss and conditioning potential, it is an excellent workout for your hamstrings and glutes as well. Overhead kettlebell swings tap into your muscle fibers to create an explosive component in your hamstring and glutes workouts. You can try 3 to 4 sets each containing 12 to 15 reps of this exercise to enhance your glute-ham tie-in. Box Jump This is not a new workout; it has been used by CrossFitters for quite a long time. However, it has its unique place in the CrossFit training schedule of physique-minded athletes. Just like the overhead kettlebell swing, the box jump encompasses explosive movements which most often than not excite the central nervous system. This in turn greatly improves the neural output of any lifter in the course of their strength training program. 3 sets consisting 5 reps each are recommended before hitting the weights. To add to the above physique exercises; rope climb is another magical workout. This uses the upper body to climb the rope thereby resulting into a wonderful upper body pulling exercise that works your lats, arms, back, and grip.  
In CrossFit, any single exercise that will make you stronger, more coordinated, more flexible, and which will give you the ability to run faster and jump higher is worth adding into your CrossFit training schedule. One of the exercises that have become popular in most boxes and are mandatory to get added to CrossFit workout is the one-leg squat also referred to a pistol. It is a demanding, but beneficial exercise which requires determination if you are to succeed. Pistols are applicable in lots of athletic and real-world activities. One of the fundamental skills you will learn from pistols is how to exert power throughout the whole range of motion while on one leg. Whether you are jumping, running or changing directions, powerful legs give you the advantage of doing your stuff with lots of ease. Pistol helps you develop strength, balance, flexibility, and strength simultaneously. How to Do One-Legged Squat Stand on one leg and allow the other leg to stretch right in front of you while holding it parallel to the ground. Your hands should be kept to the side as you sink down in the same way you would when sitting on a low chair. When you get to the bottom of the position, your support foot should be flat while your glute/hamstrings resting on your calf. Thereafter, go up to the starting position, and by this, you will have done one rep. Even though the description above sounds very easy, performing the pistol is somewhat complicated. If you want to master this movement, you should first understand its components and then learn how to troubleshoot so that you can correctly identify weaknesses in your form. One-Legged Squat Components One of the reasons explaining the complication of this CrossFit workout is the different physical skills it requires. The primary components involved include: Balance –In internal martial arts, this is referred to as rooting because it resembles the solid connection the roots of a tree have to the ground. The center of mass of your body is shifted over a narrow base of support and then taken over an extended range of motion. This is what challenges balance. Flexibility –The joints and muscles of the legs, hips, ankles, and low back are required to work at extreme motion ranges both in extension and flexion. Strength –The thigh and glute muscles are powerful and responsible for moving your bodyweight through a relatively narrow base of support. In doing this, they recruit a tremendous stabilizer function in all of your lower body joints according to CrossFit workout. While tension is maintained all through the isometric, eccentric, and concentric portions, your core musculature is recruited to help in maintaining alignment and balance. Mental Attitude –To maintain control over your body, you need a clear focus and concentration. When you release your fear of falling and instead re-introduce freedom of motion, you can overcome any instance of restricted movement. Troubleshooting When you identify the weak links in the components above, you can now start taking corrective measures so as to strengthen them. In the beginning, the skill may be so different and challenging in such a way that you can’t identify a specific weakness. Some people just get discouraged and accept the fact that pistols may not be for them. However, the best attitude is to press on because there are various steps you can take to correct the problems.
A majority of athletes are quite familiar with the standard push-up movement. However, the same cannot be said of the many variations that have significantly enhanced the challenge of this bodyweight movement in CrossFit gyms. One of the push-up variations known as handstand push-ups or simply HSPU is very demanding both in strength and technique. Simply defined, handstand push-up is a position where an athlete holds a fully extended handstand up against a wall and then lowers his head gradually until he reaches the ground after which he pushes the body back to the wall until his arms are fully extended once more. The challenge in handstand push-up is that the CrossFit athlete is required to rely only on the core or upper body strength while at the same time attempting to push his bodyweight right in the opposite direction against the force of gravity. Benefits of Handstand Push-Ups Handstand push-ups according to experts in CrossFit gyms demand athleticism at the elite level, and this makes it a choice exercise for your training regime. Among the benefits you will get from this workout include: Strength Enhancement When you do handstand push-ups, you will realize an improvement in strength within your prime movers which are the shoulders, chest, and triceps. Typically, handstand push-ups are not designed for beginners although they can be modified to suit the needs of athletes who are less experienced. The reason this CrossFit workout places a greater demand on your muscles compared to standard push-ups is that it involves pushing up 100% of your bodyweight. Women can also benefit immensely from this workout because development of shoulder strength is not a preserve of men. Improved Balance The sort of athleticism required to hold your body upside down while performing the handstand push-up is incredible. Any sport would value such kind of athleticism. If you possess only the strength required for the exercise, but you do not have the prerequisite balance, maintaining the upside-down position may be difficult for you. You can use the wall as a spotter against which to challenge yourself without the risk of falling over. Core Conditioning In as much as exercise balls and balance boards are used to exercise and build core strength, they may be somewhat inferior to athletes who are already experienced and have well-developed cores. The core strength developed through wall-supported or freestanding handstand push-ups in CrossFit gyms exceed by far that produced by any sport or device. When your core strength is well developed, you will enjoy greater protection against injuries. To perform the handstand push-ups, you must have the ability to push much more weight than that in most shoulder press exercises. If you are a young athlete looking to build shoulder strength, handstand push-ups are such a fantastic CrossFit exercise. However, before integrating them into your CrossFit training schedule, you must prioritize safety. If you feel in any way that you can’t measure up to the full handstand push-up, begin from the pike push-up and then progress gradually.