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June 2014

The Secret to Success at CrossFit Koncepts

I can sum up the secret to success at our gym (CrossFit Koncepts) in four words: Movement, Consistency, Humility, and Intensity.  It's as simple as that!  If you can embrace those for concepts then you will be a success and see huge improvements.


Movement is the key and the foundation that everything we do is based on.  Being able to perform the basic Kettlebell, Barbell and Body Weight skills at a high level starts with learning how to do them slowly with good (striving for perfect) form.  We get athletes in from other boxes all of the time that don't understand why we spend so much time drilling the basics and correct movement errors.  It's because you can't do the intermediate and advanced techniques without putting in the time, effort, sweat and blood into the basics.  Moving well takes a commitment to being mindful and aware of how your body functions - and has nothing to do with your score or time.


Expecting to get good FAST is a sure way to fail.  The most basic of skills takes tens of thousands of reps to become conversant in and as you go up in difficulty the time commitment increases as well.  Skipping the hard work (drilling the basics) and jumping to the advanced skills is not going to end well.  Being patient enough to put in the hours each week will pay dividends in the future but you have to train consistently to be able to access those skills.  Consistency also includes working on those skills and movements that you are not good at.  Being able to make a weakness a strength is not only common sense it is a marker that shows maturity and dedication. Training once a week or every once in a while is not going to cut it.


Understanding that you can't be great at everything and that being the student is a hard pill to swallow for some people.  We see athletes come in all the time who are "fire breathers" at their home box but get crushed when they come to train with us.  Our movement standards are very different, i.e., we have movement standards and we enforce them, and when put into an environment where they are evaluated bu the quality of the movement as opposed to the quantity of the movement they crumble.  Enjoy the process of learning new skills and techniques.  The ability to embrace new movements and concepts doesn't make you a lesser athlete but a better student of life.  Leave your ego at the door along with your cell phone.


Intensity is the red flag that pisses off the bull.  Some workouts are made to be hugely intense while others are made to make you think and practice movement.  Dan John has a great concept he sums up with two terms: Park Bench and Bus Bench.  A Park Bench workout is one where you get the work done, practice the skills and pay your dues.  Intensity doesn't even rear it's ugly head.  A Bus Bench workout is one where you test the skills and attributes that you have been developing during all the Park Bench workouts in the cauldron of competition or under the pressure of the clock. Intensity is also very particular to the person.  Some days a low intensity WOD is all the person needs to knock out the cobwebs and get them in the right frame of mind.

It's not a magic formula. Train the basics, put in the work, don't get wrapped up in your own ego and work as hard as YOU need to.  That's the path to success.

Training from Fire Breathers to Baby Boomers

Fire-breatherIt doesn't matter which group you fit into, be it Fire Breather or Baby Boomers, there are going to be similarities in the training that can't be overlooked. Younger athletes are prone to leap first and worry about the landing when they are already in flight.  Older athletes don't want to jump unless they know where they are going to land and if a glass of wine is waiting for them. Then there are those who have no idea if they are a Fire Breather or a Baby Boomer and are constantly struggling to figure out what to do...

Regardless where you fit on the spectrum you need to keep a couple things in mind.  First - you need to move well.  Moving well means that you are loading and unloading the movement safely and efficiently without undue wear and tear on the body.  Moving well is a combination of good (if not great) coaching and good (if not exceptional) mobility.  Good coaching may be hard to find but it's worth the search and great mobility is something you can pursue on your own.

Second - you need to be comfortable with scaling.  Scaling means either replacing a technique or progression with something less technical or difficult or changing the movement outright.  We have to scale workouts every single day, and it's what a good coach will do to ensure the safety and progress of the athlete.  If your coach doesn't suggest scaling WOD's to you then you need to look around for another gym.  Greg Glassman said a few years back that the main site WOD's were for five percent of the population and the other ninety five percent should be scaling.  BTW - if your coach suggests that you scale something - do it!  They are looking out for you both short term and long term; say "thanks" and then get the work done.

Third - you need to put in the work.  Consistency - day after day, week after week, and month after month is how you are going to improve.  This goes for your mobility, strength and skill work.  No amount of supplements or intensity will trump consistency.  Be patient, put in the work and you will get the results you are looking for.

Finally - it's a workout not a punishment. Some people think they need to be a sweaty mass writhing on the ground for it to be a good workout.  I like to think of it differently.  If you worked hard, improved one or several skills, and feel like you accomplished something at the end of the WOD - it was a good one.  If you got a PR, feel like crap, and are sure you pulled something doing it - it was a waste of time. Going hard all the time is not going to make you stronger - it's going to burn you out sooner.

Fire Breather or Baby Boomer - you've got the same goals: move better, move longer and hopefully love longer as well.

Are You Ready to Run?

Getting ready to run is a lot more involved than just lacing up your shoes and heading out the door.  It takes looking at how you are moving and how you feel to make sure that you are getting the most out of every mile you run.  Take a look at the following video by Dr. Kelly Starrett to get some ideas on what you should be doing to prepare for your next run.


Are you really using the Hinge?

The Hinge movement is the underlying power behind the Deadlift, the KB Swing, the KB Clean, and the KB Snatch.  While it is taught in different manners depending on the tool being used (bar, KB, sandbag, etc.) the fundamental concept is the same: use the legs to drive and transfer the energy into the hips to complete the motion.  Sounds simple but you would be amazed at how many people are doing anything but the Hinge...

The following video gives you a safe and effective way to find out if you are really driving with the legs when you Hinge or if you are pulling with your back and head.  Please don't attempt this test with a KB as it will not turn out well for the person being tested.  Suffice it to be said that you are going to find that most people are generating power in the Hinge from pulling the upper body back and up and not really driving from the ground up.  Give it a try and see for yourself! :)


Russian CrossFit?

With all the videos you see on a regular basis from here in the States you don't get a perspective on what is going on with CrossFit in other parts of the world.  I was trolling YouTube the other day and stumbled across the video below.  After just watching it a few minutes I thought to myself "based on the technique (or lack thereof) it must be CrossFit"!  All it took was watching it for a couple minutes to confirm it...


Whacked Out Wednesday Number 17

With Summer in full effect here in the Washington, DC area I thought I would cool you off with a little WOW treat - Kettlebell training in the snow! This guy is serious about his training; serious enough to strip down and do it in the middle of the winter with the snow blowing and the winf howling! Kind of cools you off just watching it...


New Project!

I am very excited to be able to finally announce that I am working on a new project with Dragon Door!  I can't go into too much detail but I am working with a very talented and exceptional group of people that includes Marty Gallagher, Dr, Chris Golder, John DuCane and Robert Alexander Miller (RKC).  We are still in the development stages of this project and I will pass on more information as I am allowed to do so... and don't ask about the sledge hammer! :)



SorryThe past couple weeks have flown by and I haven't had a moment to spare to update the CrossFit Koncepts blog!?!?  There are some HUGE changes on the horizon not only for the gym but also for me as an instructor.  All I can say is that I am very excited about what the future holds and that there are going to be some exciting events and activites happening in the coming months.  Hang in there and I promise that I'll work extra hard to keep the blog up to date in the coming months... :)