5 Bodyweight Exercises that will make you better at everything


No doubt that in the past few months your workout routine has changed. Depending on the space available in your home and what equipment you have access to that change may have been drastic. If you really enjoy lifting heavy and make that the focus of your training then you may be getting frustrated. 

“Do What You Can, With What You Have, Where You Are.”
-Teddy Roosevelt

Right now you have an awesome opportunity to deload your body, rehab nagging injuries, and bulletproof your body to come back to training ready to rock. There is a lot you can do at home right now that will strengthen your joints, build up core strength, and address imbalances and weaknesses that may have been holding you back.

So check out the top 5 Bodyweight Exercises that will make you better at everything and show up to the gym ready to crush it!

  • Candlestick
  • Hollow Body Wall Walk Ups
  • Pullups
  • Pistol Squats
  • Glute Bridges

1.Candlestick

Roll out the yoga mat or head out into the backyard. The candlestick is a fun exercise that has tremendous benefits. If you are about functional training this is perhaps the best demonstration of real world functional movement. In fact, the ability to move one’s own body from the ground to standing is a great indicator of fitness (burpees anyone?!). You will also learn coordination, balance, and build your core strength as you strive to maintain a hollow body position. Try filming yourself as you do these to refine your positions and maintain a global shape from head to toe.

Check out a great video on the candlestick here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXoNNx-uOtU

2. Hollow Body Wall Walk Ups

Walk walks for short. Think of these as planks taken to a whole new level. The key here is to maintain your position and not let your low back arch. If you are nervous to go all the way upside down or have trouble getting your nose all the way to the wall don’t worry. Just go as far as you safely and comfortably can – there are still so many benefits to doing this exercise!

Focus on moving slowly as you work on these and challenge yourself to spend more time under tension rather than completing the wall walk up as quickly as possible. Play around with different variations and mix in elements like shifting your weight from one hand to the other – this will have tremendous carryover to skills like handstand walking!

Pro Tip* Do not perform these on the bathroom door while someone else is in there! 😉

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmbZyKmJwbo

3. Pull Ups

Pull Ups can’t be beat when it comes to upper body strength training. Build up your lat’s, arms, and core strength by adding these in daily. Pull Ups respond well to training frequency so try to do more small sets throughout the day to build up your neuromuscular efficiency. Try doing sets that are 50% of your max number of pullups to ensure you are always able to rep them out (if 8 pullups is your max always do sets of 4 with plenty of rest in between). If doing your first pullup is the goal then focus on doing just the lowering phase of the movement. Step up so your chin starts over the bar and control your lowering at a steady rate of speed so that it takes at 4-5 seconds to get your arms fully extended at the bottom of the movement.

Most of us have picked up a basic pullup bar that can hang from a door frame but even if you missed the boat or don’t have the space we have you covered. Check out this video for pullup variations that don’t require a bar! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=299&v=vGAK2-_kn1U&feature=emb_logo

4. Pistol Squats

Pistol squats are a great way to maintain leg strength without any external load. They also improve your squat mechanics and mobility if you are disciplined with your form and really focus on movement quality. Make sure you are mobilizing your ankles and properly warming up before diving into pistol squats. 

Below is a great progression you can use to warm up and train this beneficial movement!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WFpjKRP_HI

5. Glute Bridge

The movement we all know and love and probably don’t do often enough. If you are working from home right now (or spending more time on the couch than usual) then set an alarm on your phone to drop and perform some glute bridges every hour. Your low back will thank you and so will your Levi’s!

There are a ton of variations of the glute bridge that you can train. Performing these as often as possible with your bodyweight will pay huge dividends. It can help alleviate back and sciatic pain and will also improve your squat and deadlift. Checking out this video is a great place to start.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl6xvm4-Qk0

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”
-Vince Lombardi

Fitness is a mindset. Not an activity that you go to the gym to perform for an hour 4-5 times a week. Our gym and community is here to facilitate your fitness journey. Let us know if you need guidance, motivation, or just someone to sweat with (virtually of course)!

The Best Exercise You’re probably Not Doing for Your Elbow Health


Still have that nagging elbow pain that won’t go away? It can prevent you from even picking up your coffee cup if it is really aggravated and will keep you out of exercising for days.

This type of pain often occurs as inflammation due to overuse of the forearm muscles (think scrolling your phone, computer work etc). The symptoms of “tennis elbow” or “lateral epicondylitis” can be mitigated with ice or NSAIDs, but your goal should not be to deal with the symptoms.

Prevention is always the best measure and there are exercises you can do that will act as a rehab and prehab. Here are the best exercises you’re probably not doing for your elbow health. Adding this exercise in to finish your workout is a great way to combat elbow pain and prevent it from coming back! Enter the Zottman curl.

The Zottman Curl:

The Zottman curl is one of the best and most efficient exercises that you should be doing if you care about performance in grip heavy workouts with rope climbs, kettlebell swings, and deadlifts. This is also a great movement to prevent elbow pain from occurring. (Especially now with all of the dumbbell work you are doing!)

You won’t need much weight to start (especially if you’re rehabbing an injury). These curls are extremely humbling and are very challenging on the biceps and extensor muscles in your forearms if performed correctly.

Start with a pair of dumbbells and a supinated grip. Perform a bicep curl and pause in the top position or :01-:02 with your biceps fully contracted. Slowly rotate your hands into a pronated (palms down) position before lowering the weight. In the bottom position rotate your palms back to a supinated position before performing your next rep.

Pro tip:
Performing these from a tall kneeling position on both knees will help you activate your core and glutes simultaneously and prevent you from cheating on the curl.

Perform 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps of this exercise with a light to moderate load. You should be able to perform these curls at the beginning or end of your workout 2-3 days each week. Give the Zottman Curl a try and bulletproof those elbows today!

No better time than the present to take care of your body. Let us know if you have any other areas bothering you that you need assistance with! Coach@CrusherCrossFit.Com

The Top 5 Functional Foods


If you’re more couch potato than health nut you want to take advantage of all the tips and tricks that you can. If you forget to take your vitamins or would rather skip the extra burpees then there is a great way to improve your health with 0 extra effort!

Functional foods are foods that have a health benefit beyond just their basic macronutrient content. Since eating is something you have to do, it makes sense to eat foods that give you the most bang for your buck.

Here are the five most important functional foods you can start adding to your diet today:

1. Green Tea
2. Sauerkraut
3. Blueberries
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
5. Turmeric

1.Green Tea
Rather than reaching for that second coffee try having a cup of green tea instead! Green tea contains many polyphenols like EGCG, a catechin containing antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and provide other benefits. Green tea can give you a mental with the potent combination of theanine and a low amount of caffeine. This helps you stay alert and focused without getting the jitters and an eventual crash. Try brewing a cup of green tea when you need a pick-me-up.

2. Sauerkraut
This sour fermented cabbage dish ranks high on the list of functional foods. High in vitamins A, C, K, and folate, sauerkraut can boost your immune system and support brain health. It’s also high in fiber which can help support your gut bacteria and improve digestive health. Sauerkraut also contains glucosinolates and ascorbigen, compounds that are known for their anti-carcinogenic properties. Add sauerkraut to sandwiches, salads, or have it on it’s own!

3. Blueberries
Blueberries are a powerhouse fruit that make for a great snack at any time. They are low glycemic so they won’t have a big impact on blood sugar and have numerous health benefits as well. Blueberries get their rich dark blue color from their abundance of anthocyanin which explains their high antioxidant content. Anthocyanins reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and cancer. Add frozen blueberries to your favorite smoothie and keep fresh blueberries around for snacking.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is often considered to be an old wives tale, a home grown remedy that will fix any ailment. It may not be a cure-all but Apple cider vinegar is certainly a functional food you can benefit from. Produced through fermentation a combination of yeast and beneficial bacteria called the “mother” float in the beverage containing B-vitamins, probiotics, and polyphenols. Research has also found that taking 20 grams of apple cider vinegar significantly lowered post meal blood glucose levels. If you need a little help with digestion try adding some apple cider vinegar to a glass or water or mix it with olive oil for a tangy salad dressing.

5. Turmeric
Turmeric has been a staple in Indian cooking for thousands of years. It contains a compound called curcumin which has been shown to have numerous health benefits. Curcumin is a potent anti-Inflammatory, that may also help with chronic disease, depression, and possesses anti-carcinogenic properties. It has also been shown to boost brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a type of growth hormone that functions in your brain. Don’t be afraid to get your curry on!

There you have it, the top 5 functional foods you should add to your diet today!

3 Reasons why you should NOT stress about the gym being closed


So the gym is closed and you don’t have weights (Unless you are a Crusher, we loaned them out!). Most of us can’t do our normal routine and may be getting frustrated or stressed that our progress will come to a halt.

If you’re stressed because you don’t want your training to go to waste but you also can’t do anything about your current circumstances what do you do?

Keep training you silly goose!

We’re about to uncover the most important things to remember about taking time away from weights and what you can do to make sure you keep those gains you’ve worked so hard to attain* (*it rhymes so it must be true).

Here’s 3 reason why you should not be stressed about the gym being closed:

1.Your strength is not going away overnight.
It takes several weeks for your body to lose strength and muscle mass. Muscles are constantly undergoing cycles of stress (exercise) and recovery. They don’t have to be constantly under stress in order to be maintained, in fact constant stress without adequate recovery will actually

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

-Marcus Aurelius

2.You have so much opportunity to attack weaknesses

Whether it’s taking time to focus on bodyweight exercises to keep strength, jumping rope and running for your conditioning, or stretching and mobilizing there is so much opportunity to attack your weaknesses! Not only that but you also have more time to dial in your nutrition and eat in a way that supports your goals. You can even practice your exercise technique without moving a muscle. Studies of athletes have shown that mental rehearsal, running through a movement, lift or routine has been shown to cause electrical activity in the muscles involved in the movement. Close your eyes and practice your technique. You might be surprised at what you can do when you get back to it!

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

-Abraham Lincoln

3.Focus on what you want, not what you don’t
The most important piece when you’re unable to go to a gym is to remain calm. Nothing widdles away those hard earned muscles like cortisol. Stress levels are probably high enough with our jobs and daily routines being flipped on their head so do your best to stay calm and persevere.
If you focus on all the things you fear or worry about your brain will only find more fuel for that fire. If your internal dialogue is “I’m going to get fat or weak” then you will probably act in a manner that supports that story. If your story to yourself is “I’m going to say health no matter what” then you will most likely act accordingly.

“For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

-William Shakespeare

Times can be hard, but we will stick together as a community and come out on top. If there is anything we can do to help please let us know!

Stop Doing It For The ‘Gram


More and more often these days we encounter folks living life through the lens of their smartphone. Ever since becoming a social influencer turned into a real career it has become increasingly difficult to know what is real and what is staged. Not only that, but how often are you interrupting your own life in order to capture a moment that is sure to get you attention on social media. Is it really worth it though? (literally… stopping your life in order to show off your best work) Stop and ask yourself…

How many beautiful sunrises get missed?

How many meals are really tasted and enjoyed?

How often do you dance just to let loose and blow off some steam?

Knowing that any, most, or all of what you do is being captured on camera changes the way you act. Every birthday party is a performance. Brunch is a photo shoot. A relaxing hike is #themountainsarecalling.

John Muir is rolling over in his grave.

This is not an article to just hate on people making a living off of instagram. It’s to bring awareness to the fact that what you see on Instagram is NOT real life. What you see most folks doing is playing a character in their own life. Showing a highlight reel that contains the settings, outfits, and activities they want you to see.

Ryan Holiday, author of Ego Is The Enemy says it well.

Almost universally, the kind of performance we give on social media is positive. It’s more “Let me tell you how well things are going. Look how great I am.” It’s rarely the truth: “I’m scared. I’m struggling. I don’t know.

Social media can be great for learning, sharing, and capturing memories. Just know that it is usually the opposite of social and it can often take away from the moment to pull out your phone.  Join us in creating a #BEREAL campaign!  Post pictures that will help build each other up and show what is really happening in life.  We are all going through some new times right now and could use support.  

You are worth so much more than likes and comments. Don’t get it twisted.

And if you do, be sure to tag us 😉 #bereal #crusherstrong

@Crusher_Crossfit -Instagram

https://www.facebook.com/crushercrossfit/ – Facebook

Work, Play, Compete, or Live Forever


If you are thinking about trying out a new training routine it’s important for you to consider your goals versus the goals of the program.

Most folks who participate in CrossFit and other HIIT styles of training may not know or understand the different styles of training available and who they might be best for. Some gyms offer a wide variety of classes to address the different needs of their members while others pride themselves on a particular specialty.

Put some thought into which camp you fall into when selecting a training program and you’ll be most likely to maximize your results and achieve your goals. Most folks fall into one of 4 camps.

1.Work
2.Play
3.Compete
4.Live Forever

Work
Let’s start with folks who train for work. They may have physically demanding jobs that require their bodies to perform for the execution of the job or to keep them safe. Law enforcement, firefighters and rescue personnel, and members of the armed forces all need to be in shape to keep them safe and performing at a high level. Other folks may have physically demanding jobs that require them to have strength and endurance for. Maintaining a high level of fitness let’s construction workers, landscapers, loggers, and other active professionals do better at work.

If you fall into this category it is important you find a training routine that supports your job performance. Workouts should be varied and keep you balanced. It’s also important that the workouts address the demands you will face on the job to help prevent injuries. Beware training programs that overwork you and leave sore or unable to perform your daily duties.

Play
If you fall into this category you know the importance of getting daily exercise, but you want it to be as fun as possible. Training should be engaging and allow you to connect with others who have the same goals as you do. You may lose interest doing the same routine over and over again so it’s important that you find a training program that mixes things up and keeps you engaged.

Compete
You train to make you better at a particular sport. Whether your sport is running, biking, skiing, soccer, or even CrossFit your training routine should be specific to the activity you are trying to excel in. Workouts need to consistently train the movements patterns you will experience in your sport to improve performance and reduce injury risk.
A great coach will know the volume of training needed to help you improve and how to plan out a training schedule for preseason, in-season, and off-season training cycles. Make sure you are training for the demands of the sport and not just following a powerlifting or bodybuilding program that doesn’t line up with your goals.

Live Forever
You train because you know it’s important for health and wellness. You’re not looking to compete but to enjoy your life and your family. You may not have a physically demanding job so you need a balance of cardiovascular and resistance training to keep you feeling good and moving well. You may also be looking for nutrition advice and other best practices to ensure you have a long and high functioning life.

If you fall into this category make sure you are training with the minimum effective dose in mind. You should leave most training sessions better than you went in.

Want to get started training, but still not sure how? Talk to one of our coaches about which of our programs might be best for you and we can answer all of your questions!  Coach@CrusherCrossFit.Com

COVID-19 and 5 Immune Boosting Nutrients


#CrusherNutrition has partnered with our team at Healthy Steps Nutrition – to put together a list of 5 essential nutrients, to support your immune system.  During this time – one thing we can control – is what we put down the hatch!  To help protect from illness and boost your immune system, include the following in your diet.  If you need help with your nutrition, and guidance with these steps – email Jen@CrusherCrossFit.Com for more information!  We are here to make humans healthier and happier.

 

    1. Protein
      Protein plays a role in the body’s immune system, especially for healing and recovery. Eat a variety of protein foods including seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products and nuts and seeds.
    2. Vitamin A
      Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Get this immune-boosting vitamin from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, eggs or foods fortified with vitamin A.
    3. Vitamin C
      Vitamin C helps protect you from infection by encouraging antibodies and boosting immunity. Include more sources of this healthy vitamin in your diet by consuming citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and tangerines, or red bell pepper, papaya, strawberries, tomato or foods fortified with vitamin C.
    4. Vitamin E
      Vitamin E is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and improves immune system function. Obtain adequate vitamin E in your diet with consumption of fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils, hazelnuts and peanut butter.
    5. Zinc
      Zinc helps the immune system work properly and assists with wound healing. Zinc food sources include lean meats, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, seeds and nuts.

Additionally there are other nutrients that may influence immune response and play a role in a healthy immune boosting diet, including vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron, as well as prebiotics and probiotics.

*Disclaimer: obtaining these nutrients from foods is preferred, so be sure to speak with your healthcare provider and/or a registered dietitian nutritionist before taking any immune-boosting supplements.

Ashley Osterman
Director of Nutrition Education
Healthy Steps Nutrition

Where does alcohol fit into your training?


Since about 7000 B.C., alcohol has been a staple for gatherings in many cultures. You may have heard that wine can actually be a healthy beverage for your heart, or that a hot toddy when you’re sick makes you get better quickly. Are these claims true? Like most answers: yes and no. It depends on a myriad of things like your genetics and the way your body processes alcohol, additives and the quality of the booze you’re consuming.

So where does this fit into your life? If you’ve ever wondered if you should avoid it all together, or can have a glass or two of your favorite red or microbrew, this article is for you.

Let’s talk about the science of alcohol. What’s in it that gives us that fuzzy feeling?

  • The answer: ethanol. This substance absorbs into our bloodstream and causes a “depressing effect” on the systems in our bodies.Our reaction times slows, stress and anxiety are reduced, and the body altogether slows down.

Weightlifting and exercise in general generate metabolic waste for the body to process. The liver is instrumental in clearing these waste byproducts from the body. If you are working hard in your training you may be putting a hefty load of work on your liver. Make sure that if you are exercising and enjoy a few drinks you are getting ample rest and recovery to keep your body in balance.

There is also the additional calories to consider when it comes to alcohol. If you are trying to lose fat then there is most likely no room in your diet for excess calories. You want your primary calories to come from lean protein, fibrous vegetables, and heart healthy fats. Replacing some of those calories with alcohol put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies. Not only that, but after a few drinks you may become tempted to reach for foods that don’t support your body compositional goals.  Let’s be honest… You can’t say you have a few drinks an then go find a kale salad??

Consuming alcohol doesn’t make you unhealthy or a bad person. Just like anything else you consume, it can have a place if you are responsible and keep it in balance with your health and wellness goals.  Need more help or advice on what your calories should look like?  Send us an email at Coach@CrusherCrossFit.Com to set up a free consult or get some nutrition help!

 

Should Kids Lift Weights?


Weight training and High-Impact training for kids.

Don’t worry, I am not going to get technical with stats and percentages. I’m going to make this simple and relatable for everyone. How many times have you heard…”Kids should not use weights…it will stunt their growth”…Countless times I am sure. I can find countless articles that contradict that and on the flip side I can find articles supporting that. As a parent of two boys who do Crossfit I can tell you I am 100% confident in having them use weights. 

But let’s define “weights”, and more importantly “weights” when it applies to our program. Age appropriate weights is how I’ll describe it.

  • I want you to picture an 8 year old girl holding a set of 2lb-3lb dumbbells doing some shoulder presses.  Now picture a coach beforehand demonstrating proper movement. Can the child demonstrate proper movement without weight? If so, then let’s see how they perform the movement using a very light load. If they can they get to use that weight for the workout. If not, they don’t use a weight. 

Simple as that in our program. The coach dictates what weights are used because we all know little ones, they will grab the heaviest weight they can. It’s in their nature to do that. Weights used are earned through demonstration of movement. The Crossfit Kids training program does not advocate maximal lifts for kids and preteens. We do however advocate supervised low load weight training.  Something to keep in mind however, is how heavy is your child’s back pack?  What types of things do they move around and life on a daily basis?  I will say, much heavier than what we have them lifting in class.  And we are teaching them how to lift those things with proper form.

When our youth are playing their respective sport the force applied to their bodies during play is far greater than those we use in our program. Our application is also done in a controlled setting with no outside variables such as sport. The unforeseen variables in sport pose a far greater risk of injury. Making your child’s muscles and joints stronger will help prevent injury on the field and in everyday life. Helping them move better through proper range of motion will benefit them for their entire life.

Along with age appropriate weight training we also add in high impact training which has huge benefits for your child. These are movements like running, box jumps, and broad jumps just to name a few. Read this article for benefits of high impact and weight training in our youth.

 

http://journal.crossfit.com/2016/11/crossfit-kids-research-brief-bone-density.tpl

Any application of load in any exercise program for anyone needs to be done so correctly. Especially in our youth and our coaches are trained to do so. Explanation, demonstration, correcting of faults, and “earned” loads will keep your child safe and that is Crusher’s number one priority. 

Looking for a place to keep your child active?  Athlete or not –  we would love to help.  Our program is designed for any child of every level.  Email Geo@CrusherCrossFit.Com for more information!

 

Coach Geo

Guess What? Your Coach Noticed.


I had an athlete approach me recently, expressing concern that a peer in class had repetitions that did not meet movement standards.  This person was not upset because of what the scoreboard said, but they were frustrated because our workouts are so much more than what the whiteboard says.  Our workouts are hard work.  I  have always said “How you do anything, is how you do everything.”  I had a conversation with this person about ensuring we are only worrying about ourselves, and our own workouts.  As the conversation progressed – I realized this was a deeper issue than just a few no reps. And I completely understood.

I get it.  You want to beat that person who you always compete with in class.  Or you don’t want to finish last place.  Or you want to come across as this major BEAST during the WOD.  It seems powerful and amazing right?  Well ok – there is more to it than this.  You need to hold yourself to a higher standard.  If you are starting to move so fast just to get the rep done, that your form is shot or you are not completing the full rep – are you really winning?  Are you really working closer to being a healthier version of yourself?  If you clearly have the ability to do things right, and you choose not to, then you are doing yourself a disservice.

What I mean here – “How you do anything, is how you do everything.”  (Not just at the gym.)  If your integrity to your ownself in the gym is lacking – what does it look like outside of the gym?

Why do we perform these types of workouts anyways?  To be the best we can be – the best version of ourselves – healthy… and the list goes on.  What is the purpose if we are shaving reps, moving poorly, and letting our integrity go out the window?  Are you really reaching those goals?  What is this doing for your mind?  Which also transfers outside of the box.

You also have your peers – the one to your left and to your right – who are counting accurately (well except when you have WOD brain and miss 1 of the 300 reps during Cindy).  But for the most part, intentionally counting accurately.  Or the ones who are listening to the coach with movement standards… not letting speed get in the way of form.  FOR TIME or AMRAP does not mean move like trash.  There is next to no value in going fast and moving poorly.  These peers see you (Yes they do, even if you think they don’t) and they get frustrated.  They are working so hard, yet see you cheating.  Cheating yourself, and cheating the camaraderie you all have in your class session.

I found this article on the crossfit journal that I found super interesting – take a peak.  http://journal.crossfit.com/2016/07/an-open-letter-to-cheaters.tpl

Let’s all strive to be the best versions we can be.  Be Honest.  Work Hard.  DO YOU!  Don’t worry about beating someone other than yourself.  Competition is good and healthy – as long as you can leave your ego at the door and maintain integrity.   Reminder of our Rules of Conduct at Crusher – and honestly, these can also go out to real life as well!

“Be Honest with YOUR FELLOW ATHLETES & YOURSELF.

Abandon your ego. No one cares if you finished first or you finished last,

but everyone will be upset if you cheat.”