TWO BLOG TUESDAY// Constantly varied...OTHER STUFF THAT ISN'T CROSSFIT
Since the beginning of CrossFit, CrossFit and bodybuilding have been at each others' throats like a middle eastern holy War. Gregg Glassman ripped on the mainstream gym model, and bodybuilders looked at those pullups like WTF are those? For the most part, the only non-CrossFit fitness regimes that get a free pass from the CF community are Powerliftjing, Olympic Weightlifting, Strongman, and Gymnastics. But anything that doesn't resemble someone trying to impregnate a barbell, kettlebell, or the air below the pull-up bar is just out of question!
But what kind of hypocrites would we be if we preached Constantly Varied, but dogged on athletes trying to constantly vary their routine with some yoga, bodybuilding, or running. On the one hand, having different workouts in the CF gym keeps us intrigued, and attacking the movements we don't like will keep us improving, on the other hand though, doing what we enjoy is also an important part of your fitness journey.
Bodybuilding has been keeping people active for decades, yoga and running for centuries. So lets not write them off so easily. Lets figure out how they can help us reach our personal goals and be better at life!
Ok so at first glance, a lot of body building doesn't SEEM to be very functional, but when you boil it down, any muscle that is more robust and contracts more efficiently becomes a more functional muscle. So isolation exercises can actually be a very useful tool for CF athletes. Here's the movements we wish we were incorporating more into our programming.
1. Horizontal Rowing- Hop on that cable rower or hammer strength rowing machine and get into those rhomboids. A strong upper back is really important for maintaining a neutral spine. Row heavy and often and from multiple angles. We're not talking about the C2 rower. We're talking get that pump baby!
2. Trunk work aka abs aka the six pack- Anything and everything. No ab machine or cable crunch is too gimmicky. Pilates Class? Even better. And no, doing ab work won't make the belly-fat go away, but YES bigger muscles show up better. Trunk work also means your lumbar though too. Nobody has been like, "dang! check out the spinal erectors on them!" But again maintaining a neutral spine is everything when you're trying to give the bar a baby in our gym. Any sort of back extension machine will do the trick.
3. Friends don't let friends skip leg day. If you really need to train your legs in a traditional gym, though stick to the stuff we do- squats, lunges, and dead-lifts. They do just fine for gaining mass obviously, but more importantly leg work without a machine is the only way to maintain athletic hip functioning, coordination and balance. The leg curl, leg extension, and calf raise machines may give you the burn you're looking for, but it's really important to develop your trunk strength simultaneously with your legs. When the legs exert a force that the trunk can't support, is when the bad spinal injuries occur. We won't even pretend like the leg press is a good idea for any humans, or a lesser of two evils, or better than nothing. Stay away! "Great you leg pressed 800lbs and needed to have your friend sit on top too! Lets see what happens when you put that same 800lbs on your back."
4. Grip work- Wrist curls, that weight on a rope thingy, captains of crush grip trainers. How many times have you had to slow down on KB swings, toe to bar, pullups, or cleans because your grip gives out? Train that grip because it will help you maintain the intensity in MetCons, and reduce or postpone hand tears much better than fancy tape jobs, grips or gloves.
5. Cardio Machines- When we're CrossFitting, most of our running workouts are programmed as barfing speed, which we think is the best way to improve your speed, stamina, and endurance, but if you just want to burn some extra fat, some slow and steady cardio in the "fat burning zone" can be helpful. We won't be impressed with your hour and a half elliptical session, it's not great hormonally if done too often, but 20-30 minutes or a whole episode of cake boss will do the trick!
6. Curls for the Girls- Consider the spirit of CF when choosing arm exercises. Standing to do curls or tricep extensions beats seated machines. Consider it more trunk work.
7. Dumbells are the holy grail of the traditional gym. If you can stay in the dumbell section for your entire workout, do it! But be warned, once we get a set of dumbells, you'll wish they were never invented- aka barf city aka you might drown in a sweat angel. They're expensive for a reason and you're just lucky we don't have them!
Finally though, almost everyone (well actually just everyone) who first steps into our gym has the goal to look better, whatever that is, leaner, bigger, thinner, lighter. I (Devin) forget that (I just want a 2:30 Fran Time and 300lb clean and jerk). We want to help you achieve your personal goals-aesthetic and athletic, so if you ask, "how can we make my booty nicer?" we won't give you a strange look.