Barbell Club Phase 4

Posted 4th April 2016 by Josh Schouten

Well done to everyone for your performance during the last phase. The classes have been pumping and I’ve seen some great progress. Keep up the good work. 


CFH Training Plan 04/04/2016 – 10/04/2016

Posted 3rd April 2016 by Josh Schouten

Week 2 of 5 The BUILDING Phase


In the short time that I’ve spent working in the health and fitness industry I’ve exposed myself to many different high level coaches and mentors as possible.  I continue to search for new mentors and new coaches to learn from.  “Always a student, never a master” as they say.  I continue to learn and develop my skills at every opportunity I have to learn from other and to put knowledge into practice. (read more… always a student and never a master)

RECOMMENDED WEEKLY READING: Grip Strength & Training for Weightlifting – A few considerations: One, you will be using the hook grip when you pull a snatch or clean. Two, there is need for very little grip stamina – the amount of time you’re pulling the bar is very brief. Three, the force the grip must resist will change during the course of the pull because of the rapid acceleration of the second pull and the transition under the bar. Your Arms are Like Ropes in the Snatch & CleanL True or False? – If you use the “arms like ropes” principle and you emphasize the hell out of it, it’s very likely that the bar might swing out in front of your body after you’ve driven your hips into it. Raise your hand if “the swing” is one of your main technique errors. Your coach tries to get you to keep the bar closer to your body, but the damn thing still loops forward as it’s passing your abdomen and chest. This probably makes you jump forward, which isn’t good. Jumping forward is something you should avoid as much as possible.

T-Nation: The 7 New Rules of Lifting – Training Principles for Lifetime Lifters – Most people can only handle four intense training sessions per week. An intense workout has a systemic effect that impacts the whole body, not just the targeted muscles. Fat Facts 101 – Since saturated fats are stable and do not easily oxidize (1), they are a safer bet for cooking and consumption than the polyunsaturated vegetable and seed oils, whose double bonds are susceptible to lipid peroxidation and rancidity. So maybe antioxidants and polyphenols might not be the only good reasons to snack on dark chocolate (2). The saturated fat in this decadent treat just might be good for you! Build a Resilient Spine: Lock Down Core Stability – Everything starts at the core. Your abs, obliques, and lower back muscles have to be working during all forms of movement in order to transfer energy and create forces.


Always a student, never a master

Posted by Josh Schouten

In the short time that I’ve spent working in the health and fitness industry I’ve exposed myself to many different high level coaches and mentors as possible.  I continue to search for new mentors and new coaches to learn from.  “Always a student, never a master” as they say.  I continue to learn and develop my skills at every opportunity I have to learn from other and to put knowledge into practice.

3-years of writing the CrossFit Hackney programming = 1095 days of
programming (this does not include the personal training clients and the
online clients I have). There is a few days of program design experience
behind what you guys are doing in the gym

There needs to be a reason why we are doing what we are doing.  There are so many “muppets” in the health and fitness industry that get away with murder because the general public have no idea what to believe and who to trust. Most of us don’t ask enough questions and challenge the reasoning off why this so called “expert” has any right to tell you what to do?
Why are we doing this?  Why has CrossFit turned into a pure strength focused class some day?  Why has CrossFit turned into a metabolic conditioning class on other days?  Questions, questions, questions…. all starting to appear in the minds of our CrossFit members this week.  If your coach/trainer can not explain why you are doing something and how it will benefit you, then you should find a new coach/trainer.  There is a silver lining to every cloud and every element of a training phase should be there for a reason.

It take a brave coach to implement change and to be the one who is focused on what members need and not just what they think they want.  Over the last 12months the CrossFit Hackney programming has been continually shifting and changing gears to make our members stronger, more powerful, more explosive, fitter and all round “bad ass”.  Those who have been here for the ride have put their faith into the program and reaped the rewards. 

The current 5 week phase is a whole new challenge to many of us, including myself.  The weekly split of CP-Strength days (barbell club style), aerobic conditioning days (mat-con style), and the CP-Strength + Anaerobic days are very thought provoking to say the least.

We are doing this for a number of reasons:

  1. 1. Structural Balance – Big compound movements like squats, deadlifts, cleans, snatches, pull-up, presses, etc..  are the best “bang for you buck” exercises, no argument.  This is why CrossFit is such a successful training model when it comes to building strong, fit and lean athletes.  These exercises are the ones we want to be performing on a regular basis as they allow us to work the large muscle groups effectively by shift some serious weight. Everyone loves to feel strong and powerful.
  2. Many of these exercises are bilateral movement predominantly focused on the large muscle groups, and not the small stabilisation muscle groups.  The large movement muscles continue to get stronger, and the stabilisation muscles get left behind.  This can cause certain joints to become weak and increase the chance of injury.   The bilateral nature of these exercises can also hide a weakness in left-to-right side strength.  For example if you right leg is stronger than you left leg you can favour your right leg during squats. This can also increase the chances of injury because the weight is unevenly balanced during the squat and more load is places on the stronger side ankle, knee, hip, lower back and shoulder.  Its only a matter of time before an injury occurs and your training is seriously impacted.
  3. Structural balance between left and right side strength is critical to minimising the chance of injury and the health and longevity of your muscles and joints.  Performing unilateral exercises like step-ups, split squats, single arm overhead presses, one-arm rows, etc..  are an essential part of building structural balance.  Rotator cuff and trap#3 exercises are also essential to the health of the shoulder joint.  The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body and is also the most often injured.  The small stabilisation muscles of the shoulder are ofter weak and untrained and this is why so many of use have had shoulder niggles or injuries.  The cuban rotations and the side lying trap 3 raises in the current program has crippled many of the member this week in the gym.  If performed correctly, members have been struggling to lift a 2.5kg weight plate for 8-10repetitions.   These same members can bench between 50-100kg, and yet they struggle to lift a 2.5kg with the small stabilisation muscles, how is this so?
  4. Structural balance ratios can be used to estimate what weights we should be able to perform certain exercises at.  Externally rotation and trap 3 raise should roughly 10% of the weight that we can bench press for a 1RM.  If you can bench press 50kg, then you should be able to perform 8 repetitions of shoulder external rotation with a 5kg weight.  BUT YOUR STRUGGLING WITH A 2.5KG WEIGHT?  Can you see the issue here?  Structural balance is more than just the balance between left-to-right side strength, it is also the balance of certain muscle group.
  5. The current 5 week program is designed to target many of these weaknesses and aiming at making all of our members a little more “injury proof.”  Think of it as building the base of a pyramid, the broader we can build the base the higher we can build the pyramid.  In this analogy the pyramid is your overall strength and fitness capacity.  If you have a small base, you have a small height and a small overall capacity.  Lets build a big base!
  1. 2. Recovery –  this is tricky one for most of us.  We love to exercise because it makes us feel good about ourselves and it’s also an escape for work and the other stresses in life.  Under recovery is a issue, and most members have no idea how to structure their training week.  We struggle to understand that training is a physical stress placed on the body and just how much recovery time our bodies need to grow fitter, stronger and leaner.  
  2. You are a living breathing organism.  Nobody, unless chemically enhanced, can escape the laws of recovery.  You may think that the following rules don’t apply to you, but you would be wrong.
  3. CP-Strength Training – Strength Training can take 4-5minutes be 100% recovered from (after each set)
  4. Anaerobic Training – Intervals of work where the rest period is 3+ times longer than the work period (sprint :60sec and rest 3min) can take 1-2 hours to be 100% recovered from
  5. Aerobic Training – Met-con class or CrossFit classes with long workouts can take 24-48hours to fully recover from
  6. If you are not resting this long between you training session, can you honestly argue that you are maximising your potential training results? We can train when we are not fully recovered, however the training session quality will not be at 100% and the overall impact on the body may not be the desired outcome.  Sport is not health!  Athletes are not healthy!  They understand the risk and the reward of their training and the cost it can have on their health.  What are your training goals and what are you will to risk to achieve these goals?
  7. Training 3-4 times per week is enough to be fit, strong and lean.  Its rather difficult to build a 7-day a week training program, as nobody should be training this many days in a row.  Its also hard to plan what days people will come to the gym and what days people will take off.  There is also the impact of people following multiple training programs.  Ideally all of these factors need to be taken into consideration.  This is impossible to do in a group training environment as many CrossFit coaches would know.  The only way to control this is to be very smart about the programming and change the style of training form day to day.  The current phase is doing exactly this and allowing people to have more recovery of certain energy systems by cycling the day-to-day training styles.
  1. 3. Because your coach told you to do it! –  At the end of the day, my goal is to minimise the chance of anybody getting injured in the gym by following the program.  I also want you all to succeed, to get strong, to get lean, to be the nest version of yourself.  I want you t0 squat, deadlift, jump, run, climb and play with your kids without getting injured.
  2. We are dedicating 5 solid week to focus on injury prevention and build the biggest pyramid base possible.  This small 5 week window is only temporary and in preparation for the hard work ahead. Accept the change of pace and work on you weaknesses over the next 4 weeks to make sure you are ready for the heavy lifting ahead.

Bring on week 2/5.